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Tudor Oysterdate 'Big Block' Ref. 79180 With Tritium Dial

Tudor chronographs have always been more daring than their Rolex siblings, both in size and appearance. In particular, Tudor's three-register chronographs are often overlooked in its catalog despite being some of the brand's most innovative models. The "Big Block" was Tudor's third family of chronographs, first launched in 1976 with the ref. 94300.

The Oysterdate "Big Block" marked the brand's first chronograph to come equipped with a self-winding mechanical movement, the workhorse Valjoux 7750, which also allows for a date display with quick-set adjustment. Notably, the Valjoux 7750 boasts a highly reliable chronograph mechanism with a cam and oscillating pinion system. The architecture of this movement necessitated a few stylistic updates compared to previous families. First, it required a reorganization of the dial with the addition of a third register with an hour indicator, the arrangement of the sub-dials on the left-hand side, and the relocation of the date aperture to three o'clock. The case design generally retained the makeup of previous examples; however, the watch does feature a thicker case to accommodate the movement's rotor, hence the "Big Block" name.

In the latter half of the 1980s, Tudor replaced the ref. 94300 series with the ref. 79100. Notably, the dials of these models featured the words "Oysterdate" below the Tudor brand name to the left of the date display and "Automatic – Chrono Time" above the register at six o'clock. Within the 79100 series were three different references, the 79160, 79170, and 79180. What distinguishes the three are the bezels with a black aluminum tachymeter bezel, a black aluminum 12-hour bezel, and a stainless steel tachymeter bezel, respectively.
As they remained in the catalog from the late 1980s to up into the 21st century, the ref. 79100 Oysterdate chronographs span the switch at the Crown from tritium luminous material to LumiNova. Earlier examples will patina as though they are a vintage watch while the numerals, hour markers, and hands on the watches produced later on, after roughly 1997, will remain stark white.

This particular Oysterdate "Big Block" features a tritium dial and a stainless steel tachymeter bezel. It is in excellent pre-owned condition, meaning there are very light signs of wear and some small scratches on the case and bracelet that come with being lived with. The tritium lume on the hands and dial is full and has developed some patina to a light off-white, cream tone. During our quality control check, any necessary adjustments are made to ensure the watch is functioning as intended. The case and bracelet have been professionally refinished. The lug interiors have scratches from the bracelet being removed. The case is marked with the reference number "79180" and with the case number "B532XXX" between the lugs at six and 12 o'clock, respectively.

The solid-link Tudor 78360 bracelet and 589 end-links are in very good condition. The clasp is marked "R2," indicating it's from February 1993. The dial, movement and bracelet are signed by Tudor. The caseback and crown are signed by Rolex. This watch is sold without its original box or papers.
Hans Wilsdorf, the mastermind behind the Rolex brand, founded Tudor in 1946 with the mission to create watches with the same Rolex quality at a more attainable price. Throughout the remainder of the 20th century, Tudor worked to carve its own place in the industry, independent from its parent brand. In that time, Tudor built a reputation among military forces and began establishing some of its own signature design elements. In the new millenium, Tudor further exerted its position as one of the most prominent watch brands in the world with the debut of its first in-house movement in 2015. Since then, Tudor has remained a force to be reckoned with in the watch community and our culture.

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