This unassuming Tudor combines the very best of two iconic chronographs: the practicality of a Big Block sprinkled with the the magic that was the flamboyant Monte Carlo dial. This is an automatic 7750, but with a dial very reminiscent of the 7100 series Monte Carlos. Alongside the standard production 94200s, Tudor also produced what are often called exotic variants. In much the same way that the Paul Newman is an exotic Daytona, this is an exotic Big Block. We call it the Big Block Monte Carlo, to use its proper title . . .apparently unique nicknames were hard to come by in the 70s.
Not often discussed, Big Blocks were the Wilsdorf group’s first self-wound chronographs—a good decade ahead of Rolex. To accommodate the 7750’s rotor, Rolex’s classic Daytona Oyster case needed to get what the kids call ‘thicc’. This is where the Big Block moniker comes from. By contrast to this Big Block, the same-period Cosmograph Daytona is utterly diminutive at just 36mm to the Tudor’s 40. Among Tudor Big Blocks, the first (reference 9400 series) are the most highly collected. By the time the second (79100 series) generation was released, Tudor had confidently entered the era of mass production. Of those earlier chronographs, the blue and this black exotic dials sell at considerable premium all things being equal.
It’s not difficult to see why, the orange accents add a degree of playfulness to an otherwise very teutonic aesthetic. The rest is deliciously vintage: acrylic crystal, screw-down pushers, bakelite bezel, and Oyster case with strong bevels. There is no confluence in early Tudor I find more appealing than usability, rarity, and playfulness. For all the ridiculous details that exist in Wilsdorf, once in awhile the attention makes sense.
This example is a bit left field. First, the case has definitely seen a polish or two and that should be noted. But then, it makes up for it with a cool caseback engraving that’s been preserved throughout all these polishes, definitely not the norm. The back appears to read ‘MM Quinn’ with a number, though it’s a bit hard to make out. Dial and tritium are great. It comes from a well-regarded California retailer.
Find this Big Block Monte Carlo here from Oliver and Clarke for 13250 USD.