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There’s just something about a chronograph with an exotic dial. True, there's more to a watch than just mere aesthetics--construction and quality being paramount. But an attractive dial, along with a reputable name and solid mechanics, are a killer combination in any chronograph.
In the Rolex/Tudor family, the Daytona commands a great deal of respect, and remains one of the most well-known and sought-after Rolex models--after all, it's the Crown's only chronograph.
But while Rolex was still filling their watches with hand-cranked units well into the 1980s (and didn't conceive of an in-house chronograph movement until 2000), Tudor was rolling out chronographs driven by automatic Valjoux drivetrains--a fact that is all too often overlooked when the conversation veers toward collectible vintage chronographs.
Valjoux had long been a stalwart of the Swiss watchmaking industry. Brands from Breitling to Heuer relied on the column wheel caliber Valjoux 72, for example, which has become a byword for desirability in the mercurial vintage chronograph market. So it's no surprise, then, that Valjoux would produce an automatic chronograph movement of their own.
A movement that (with its cost-saving construction) would prove a cheap and reliable alternative to the capricious Chronomatic and the elusive El Primero, and is still used to this day.
The 'Big Block' (so called by collectors due to its hefty case), released in 1974, marked an impressive leap for Tudor, largely due to the introduction of the Valjoux 7750 Automatic movement. The Valjoux 7750--reliable, bulky--is perhaps now ubiquitous in modern chronographs, being a staple in the Swatch group stable, but it was an absolute game-changer when it debuted. In addition to bringing the perk of self-winding technology to Tudor's popular line, the new drivetrain included an hour register and a quick-set date, which made the watch more functional and more enjoyable to wear.
Initially, the Big Block collection had three main references, all bearing Rolex cases and bracelets. The Reference 79160 featured a fixed tachymetre bezel, the Reference 79170 a bi-directional hour bezel, and the 79180, which was fitted with a steel tachymetre bezel (reminiscent of the Daytona). It's with the introduction of the 9400 series that Tudor took the Big Block in an entirely new direction aesthetically.
The splashes of orange on the dial juxtaposed with the black background of the dial and the white hour markers make an interesting color combination. In looks as well as construction it foreshadows the colorful chronos in their modern collection, such as the Heritage Chrono. This particular Big Block bears an earlier dial with all the luminous plots blessedly intact.
Best of all, this Big Block has recently been serviced by Rolex and comes complete with service papers.
In excellent overall condition, this well-preserved example has become a favorite expression of the Tudor Big Block, offering a classic sporty look at a tremendous value - an amazing (and savvy) alternative to the Rolex Daytona.
Stainless steel case is approximately 40mm (excluding crown and pushers). Tudor Reference 9430/0. Valjoux Caliber 7750 Automatic Chronograph Movement.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case and bezel are in very good condition, Dial is in very good condition with minimal signs of wear and no major blemishes or signs of discoloration. Rolex crown. Tudor caseback has minimal signs of wear but is in otherwise very good condition, having been professionally refinished. Dial is in excellent condition with crisp printing and no signs of discoloration or hand-drag. Luminescent hour plots show fine even patina over time. Rolex crown. Rolex case back shows some signs of use and wear consistent with age.
Includes one 20mm 78360 Rolex Oyster bracelet with Rolex signed clasp. Bracelet shows some signs of age, including stretching, but is in otherwise very good condition. Also includes two 20mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle