The new Tudor Ranger field watch is clearly related to its bigger (not in size, but in price) brother, the Rolex Explorer. I vividly remember the first time I saw a Rolex Explorer in the flesh. It must have been the late 1990s. I was on a train, and the guy across me was wearing this vintage Explorer. I asked him about it, and he told me he had already had his Explorer 1016 for a long time.
However, we all know how that went down and what 1016s go for today. Luckily, Tudor came to the rescue recently with the new Ranger, a 39mm field watch with a manufacture movement for €2,880. My colleague Nacho wrote about it in this article. In general, the watch has been well received, but just like all releases, it’s not for everyone.
This article will give you five alternatives to the new Tudor Ranger field watch. Each pick is fit for outdoor activities and is rugged, legible, and affordable. Well, the last bit is subjective, I guess.
Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm
One of the watches that immediately comes to mind is Hamilton’s Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm reference H69439931. We had it in the office some time ago, and I was impressed with what Hamilton can offer for €495. The Khaki Field carries a very readable dial with large, printed numerals and big hands. The big crown makes it very easy to wind and set the H-50 movement. This movement is based on ETA’s 2801 and has an upgraded 80-hour power reserve. The brushed case and green NATO strap underline the “field watch” character. I might prefer the white-dial version on a leather NATO (ref. H69439511), but I guess the black-dial version will be the more popular choice.
Serica 4512 California
Another affordable alternative to the new Tudor Ranger is the Serica 4512 field watch. It’s a relatively small watch (no judgment) at 37.7mm in diameter. I like the military look of this piece combined with the rather unusual California dial. The first time I saw a California dial was on a Panerai many moons ago. You see them more often today, but I was happily surprised to see that Serica adopted it. You can read Jorg’s hands-on review on this Serica for more details. The first generation of the Serica 4512 was powered by the ETA 2801, the same base movement that the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical uses. Yet, at some point, Serica decided to change to the hand-wound STP1-11 movement with 45 hours of power reserve. The price of this watch is €690. In addition to the California version, Serica has more variations of the 4512 available.
Lebois & Co Venturist
The first watch that came into mind when I saw the new Tudor Ranger and its €2,880 price tag was the 41mm Venturist from Lebois & Co. I’ve handled it in the flesh, and especially the quality (finishing) of the dial and hands really stand out. It’s often difficult to capture in pictures, but once you take out a loupe, you’ll see the differences between a dial done cheaply and one that is the object of proper investment. Details like the dial finishing can quickly add to the final price of the watch. Inside the Lebois & Co Venturist sits the brand’s LC-201 Sellita-based movement. Lebois & Co ensures that its watches receive an Observatoire Chronometriqué+ certification, which I explained here. The price of the Lebois & Co Venturist is €2,500.
The oddball on this list is perhaps this Longines Spirit with a 40mm titanium case. However, it’s legible with large numerals, no date (yay!), and a chronometer-certified movement (caliber L888.4) with a 72-hour power reserve. Officially, it takes inspiration from pilot’s watches, I think it will also do as a field watch. The lightweight case is beautifully finished, and the applied luminous numerals on the dial look very nice. It’s a modern watch with some vintage appeal that we like. The retail price of this 40mm Longines Spirit in titanium is €2,730. If 40mm is too large, Longines also offers a 37mm steel version with a date complication for €2,180. You can find our hands-on review of the 40mm titanium Longines Spirit here.
Rolex Explorer 124270
It might sound awkward to put the inspiration for the new Tudor Ranger as an alternative, but if your dealer has it available, the new Rolex Explorer 124270 is a handsome watch. At 36mm, it’s a tad smaller than the Tudor Ranger, but hey, it’s a classic. The retail price is €6,800, and no, it’s not easy to get, but we’ve seen several people getting lucky lately in the boutiques, including one of our team members. The Explorer needs no further introduction, but we’ve covered the most recent version from 2021 here.
This list, of course, could go on and on. I could also see the Sinn 856 as a nice alternative for the new Tudor Ranger, or how about the Vertex M100? You can find a nice field watch from a few hundred quid (the Seiko 5 SRPG series comes to mind) all the way up to the Rolex Explorer at nearly €7,000. What is your favorite field watch and why? Please let me know in the comments below.