From Sales Corner To Firm Favourite..
I’m a bit strange when it comes to watches; they’re either spot on and stay a while in my collection or some small things annoy me and they get flipped very quickly. There’s no grey area, I’m quite black and white in that sense. So when I received a gorgeous Tudor Big Block 79170 I was disappointed to find a couple of niggles which would mean it would soon be on it’s way to a new home. The dial was magnificent and also quite a rare variant: silver with white sub-dials. The case, chrono buttons, dial and hands were perfect, so what the heck was bugging me? Well, the end links, for one. They were loose and rattled about when worn..How on earth could a subsidiary of Rolex produce end links which were nearly 1mm too small? Then there was the Tudor clasp.. a standard non-locking clasp just didn’t hack it on a substantial sports/chrono/diver. That was enough to put me off and to question the overall quality of a watch that was otherwise a bit special. So up went the ad on TZ-UK Sales Corner. Things are, however, more than a tad slow on SC at present and so it sat there a while with no takers.
Eventually, I decided I’d give it a second try. I’d recently received a custom bridle leather Zulu from Mel @ DB10 Straps. It had been intended for my Gilt Rolex 5513 but hadn’t worked as well as I’d expected and as a result it had sat a few weeks in my watch drawer. At 20mm it fit the Big Block perfectly and suddenly the watch was transformed to such an extent that I wore it virtually daily.
Picking up the watch head it really felt like quality kit. The head was heavy and well designed and everything felt as it should. So it must be the end links and bracelet that was letting it down. The Rolex 78360 bracelet was fine. Heavy, solid links with very little stretch gave little to complain about. If the watch was to work I was going to have to take a punt: order an NOS set of 589 end links and hope that someone had filed the original ones. When the new ones arrived from a contact in Italy I fitted them with baited breath. Would they fit properly or had I just wasted £100 with shipping? They fit perfectly!!
OK, all good except the clasp. The standard Tudor clasp was too light and just way too flimsy for a sports watch. However, it just so happened that I owned a Rolex GMT locking dive clasp.. Hmm.. the 78360 bracelet had at one point been fitted to the 16750 GMTs so why not? I fit the clasp and end links and then stood back admiring my work. As I picked up the watch something felt very different: the bracelet felt heavier due to the new clasp and the lack of play with the end links gave a feeling of quality that I’d become accustomed to with my other watches. This had now become the perfect daily wearer. Soooo..time to withdraw the FS ad and enjoy wearing what is now one of my favourite watches!