Tropical Gilt PCG 7928 Tudor Submariner
Of all the many adjectives one could throw at this 7928 including tropical, ghost, gilt, and PCG, I believe the most interesting may be antifragile. That word has more depth than the etymology alone may suggest. Nassim Taleb, a Lebanese author and risk analyst, has a book on the topic. In it, he defines antifragile as that which gains from disorder to grow better; something which not only doesn’t crack under pressure (TAG, I’m looking at you), but thrives on it. The vast majority of things in our life are fragile by that definition: macro-economics, my motivation to go for that run, Putin’s military tactics, and Twitter under Elon Musk. But this humble sub’s dial, it achieves something very rare for any object: it has demonstrated the ability to grow better for its harsh conditions in a unique manner that no modern Rolex dial ever will.
Tudor’s Submariner line began in 1954 with the 7922. This 7928 came into the picture in 1959 with several upgrades. The depth rating doubled, crown guards were added, and new more legible dial was designed. Its Fleurier 390 is a simple but robust calibre. There’s no mistaking the tool-appeal on offer here. This watch has all the ethos of modern Sinn, half a century earlier. This watch in particular though is all about the dial. If you study very closely, you may notice it’s a Swiss-only signature too, correct for the gilt and radium. The first four early gilt 7928s came in iterations delineated by their dials and cases, all signed as Swiss-only. There was the Mk1 with square crown guards, generally accepted that only about 100 examples exist. Then came Mk2 eagle beak guards, of which most think a few hundred exist. When the eagle beaks were shaved off, we arrived at this Mk3 PCG case with gilt dial, followed by a Mk4 with underline to signify the transition from radium to tritium safety.
And this Mk3’s dial really does require some spilled ink. First, theres the fact that it’s gilt and seemingly a totally uniform cappuccino. But then its gilt script is almost entirely ghosted, this may be the first Sub I’ve seen for which the adjective ghost is appropriate for its dial but not its bezel. Most notably, though, I believe this dial will only look better another eight decades of well-loved life on from now. The script will likely entirely ghost out, the dial only turning even lighter caramel in tone. Perhaps scotch would’ve been a more apt metaphor than cappuccino or toffee, as it only gets better with age.
I’ve already commented on just how lovely that dial is, but the radium is great too. Mostly, when not exposed to a lot of sun, it will burn and darken. Here’s it’s almost I tritium tone. I can’t even criticize the case to level things out. The bevels are very full, and there’s an even light-to-moderate wear throughout indicating no funny business going on. The bezel has its tritium pearl, even. It comes on a rivet bracelet dated ’67. There’s nothing I don’t love about this Sub, so I apologize if that was all a bit hyperbolic. Not everyone will love a tropical sub. That’s just fine. But, for those that do, it really doesn’t get much better. It comes from a well-regarded Dutch retailer.
Find this tropical 7928 here from Vintage Times Amsterdam for 74250 USD.