One Watch, Five Days, Five Ways – South African Tudor MilSub
‘One Watch, Five Days, Five Ways’ is back…and this time we are focusing on one of the rarest and interesting Tudor military watches – the South African Tudor MilSub. These watches were issued to the South African Navy in the 1970s and my research leads me to believe that they were supplied to the South Africans by the French Navy, who trained their combat divers in the early 70s. The watches that have been discovered all have serial numbers that fit exactly within batches that were issued to the French National Navy (Marine Nationale or ‘MN’). This watch is from the second batch that was delivered and is a Tudor Submariner reference 9401 and it is completely original, as found in South Africa with all the wabi-sabi you want in a genuine, issued military watch.
The Lucca Collection
We’ve been really excited to show you the Lucca collection of the past few weeks and so it seemed the perfect opportunities to spend a few days trying a few of my personal favourites on one of my favourite watches. So here we have ‘One Watch, Five Days, Five Ways’ Lucca style…
It’s always a pleasure to wear a watch on a shell cordovan strap, the sheer quality and suppleness of the leather is amazing. Derived from a very small section of the hide, the shell cordovan is in limited supply and is used in the luxury industry for the very highest end products. The green finish of this strap has a depth and intensity that I just know is going to get better the more I wear it. The ‘Elegante’ buckle is the perfect fastener for this strap too. On the Tudor Sub it looked fantastic and softened the watch more than I have ever seen…this is how I’d wear the watch with a suit.
If Steve Mcqueen had ever worn his famous Rolex Submariner reference 5512 on a leather strap, there is no doubt in my mind that he would have chosen the Ponato Racing strap. My Submariner might not have had the opportunity to be raced around on the wrist of a movie star, but it certainly looked like at any moment it could’ve been heading out on an across the globe automotive adventure. The racing car inspired holes give the watch a sporty look that I loved and the matte, washed finish of the leather is very understated. I will wear this strap a lot on this and my Rolex 5513 Maxi…a lot!
Muro Black Nato
I said earlier that the Cavallo Green gave the MilSub a classy, elegance. The Muro Black had the exact opposite effect; it brought out the rugged element of the watch and gave it a very macho look. The watch is inspired by weather worn marble and walls and it was perfect against the patina of the Tudor. The soft finish of the leather look amazing against the matte dial of the watch and the cream side stitching was an almost perfect match with the hour markers. The unhurried aging that only time can gift upon something, the essence of the Lucca Collection, collided perfectly in this pairing. A definite winner!
For me this collection of straps is very important, as I spent a lot of time with Bernhard at Baselworld in the early design and discussion phase of what became this Lucca Collection. One of the things I was most excited about was seeing the straps with the newly introduced ‘contrast keepers – where the two leather loop-keepers on the buckle side of the strap are a different yet complimentary shade. I think it works really well on the Alboro, the rich dark tones of the strap with the aged-tan coloured keepers looks lovely. It gave the Tudor a warmth that was almost ‘tropical’ with the rubbed highlights complimenting the patina of the dial very nicely. The finish of the leather really is incredible and changes, depending on the light and does resemble ree bark, or in Italian alboro…
Duomo Grey Rough Stitch
The artisanal nature of our watch straps is a key element of what makes Bulang & Sons so unique and special. In my mind, the rough stitch is a brilliant example of how the rugged finish of the stitching in final execution can have such finesse of detail…an amalgam of delicate and distressed. The Duomo Grey is inspired by the many cathedrals and churches in Lucca and it looked stunning on the South African. Again, the contrast keepers looked brilliant – this time in black to match the rough stitch and the combination worked well on the Sub. The bezel insert has aged nicely on this watch and grey and brown tones of this watch showed the bezel in its very best light. I loved wearing this strap and it will be one of those ‘go to’ straps for ally of my watches.
So there it was five fun ways of wearing my MilSub in five very different ways. All of them good and all of them perfect parters for the Tudor.