EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TUDOR
Founded in 1926, Tudor have been making watches for many decades that are not only full of heritage but are also genuine tool watches. From making dress watches to dive watches used by the French Marine Nationale and the US Marines, it is safe to say Tudor know what they’re doing when it comes to watchmaking. The brand was founded by the watchmaker from the watchmaking house of Veuve de Philippe Hüther. He had the name Tudor trade marked for the man himself, founder of Rolex Mr Hans Wilsdorf. The name Tudor refers back to the ‘Tudor’ period in England from 1485 to 1603 and with Hans Wilsdorf benign English, the name made sense.
Hans realised that whilst his Rolex watches were exceptionally made, the price point was relatively high. Only those who had high salaries or a lot of money could afford it, which is why Hans wanted to make his exceptional watch making skills available to most people, hence Tudor came in as the solution. Tudor watches were and are well made but focus more on the tool watch aspect than a luxury watch. This in turn also brought the price down since there was little to no precious metals used and mostly brushed surfaces with simple but well made bracelets.
The beginning of Tudor watches
In 1932 Tudor released its first ever wrist watch. Being very plain and simple, it was designed to be a durable wrist watch that could tell you the time accurately. With Tudor being the younger to Rolex, you could sometimes find ‘Rolex’ written on the dial or even find the Rolex crown on the crown of the Tudor watch.
The dial was two-tone featuring a cream dial with Arabic numerals filled with luminescent for better legibility. Tudor gave the watch a pop of colour with its blue baton minute and hour hands with a small seconds hand and dial at the 6 o’clock position.
Source : Time and Tide
Then in 1936 Hans Wilsdorf had the name Tudor given to him in his name, which was when his English heritage came through on the watches. Most Tudor dials and crowns featured the english tudor rose which represents the Tudor period as well. A small but nice little detail that shows it’s still a fantastic watch with attention to detail at the centre of their work ethic.
Source : Revolution Watch
However the company was still very small and it wasn’t until 1946, after the second world war when Hans decided to give the Tudor brand a full title and make it a large company designed to match its older brother Rolex. So in 1946 Tudor became ‘Montres TUDOR S.A.’ The company now made watches for both men and women with Rolex guaranteeing the movement technicalities along with their physical aesthetics and would aid Tudor in distributing their products. The ties between Rolex and Tudor were very strong and still are to this day.
One year later the Tudor Oyster (reference 4463) was released, already the name oyster and referencing style is very similar to that of Rolex so you knew you were getting a well made watch that had been overseen by Rolex. The case was only 34mm and featured the same waterproof case Rolex used but the dial still had its own unique style. It still had the same arabic numerals, silver dial and luminist in the hour makers and hands as the first one they made but this was now waterproof. With the automatic calibre 59 ticking inside the watch, you could now wear it everywhere you liked with the anti-shock absorbers in there giving it that sporty element. The crown feathers the very same screw down crown system that Rolex patented and shared with Tudor.
The year 1952 saw the introduction of the Tudor Oyster Prince which was essentially an upgrade to the previous Tudor Oyster. Whilst previously only available on a leather strap, it now featured a sturdy three link oyster bracelet. The Oyster Prince focused on durability and quality which could be worn as a tool watch.
Tudor even marketed this model as a watch to be worn in strenuous situations like coal mining or racing cars and motorcycles. Tudor wanted to show that their watches could handle high loads of vibrations and forces thanks to their anti-shock movements. The watch gained more popularity when they issued scientists with the Tudor Oyster Prince on an expedition to Greenland with the Royal Navy.
Source : Revolution Watch
Source : Xupes
The year after in 1953 they created a new version of the Tudor Oyster Prince, which had been a huge success as a reliable daily tool watch, but Tudor wanted to create a more formal version. They did just that with the release of the Tudor Oyster Prince Tuxedo (reference 7950). As the name would suggest, it was a smart dress watch only available on a black crocodile leather strap to go with a tuxedo. It was still only a 34mm case, which whilst small by today’ standard was a normal size back in the the mid 1950s, and had the calibre 390 at the heart of it. The two-tone dial featured a smooth black centre with a cream enamel outside ring round the dial for contasrat. The hands were made from the same cream enamel and made in a sword hand design giving it a very smart and elegant look.
1957 was the year that Tudor released the Tudor Advisor (reference 7926) which was a very unique piece with its alarm function. This model was so successful it ran for 40 years from 1957 all the way to 1977. Tudor still used the same Oyster case from the precious Tudor Oyster, a great design with a waterproof function making it ideal for a sports watch. Over the years of its cycle you could have it on a leather, nato or even a jubilee bracelet.
The watch featured a silver sunburst dial with three silver sword like hands and one red hand toi indicate the time for the alarm to go off. The Advisor featured two crowns, one for adjusting the time as normal and then another at the 4 o’clock position for controlling the alarm hand. This model was powered by a new calibre to account for the alarm feature, the calibre 2402.
Source : H.Q.Milton
The beginning of Tudor fames
In 1954 Tudor made a dive watch called the Oyster Prince Submariner (reference 7792), this was the watch that generated the most fame for Tudor and marked the start of their famous dive watch journey. With 100m water resistance it was able to accompany divers on short dives. It was not until 1958 when they released the new submariner (reference 7924) featuring a water resistance of 200m, this watch model shared a lot of physical similarities with your typical vintage submariner but had its own unique dial and movement. To this day you can still find vintage Tudor submariners with the crown signed by Rolex. Over the next few decades Tudor continuously improved and worked on their submariner lineup.
Source : Monochrome Watches
Tudor saw an opportunity to market their submariners to various militaries around the world so in 1964 they released a new version of the Oyster Prince Submariner reference 7928 which was designed specifically for the US Navy and the French Marine Nationale. The major difference between this model and any other was the square hour markers filled with lume and the classic snowflake tudor hands were featured on the military watches, all for better legibility. This would later lead to the creation of the Tudor Pelagos which we know in 2022. By 1981 the new model reference 94001 was created with the option of the crown on either the left or right hand side of the case. Thai was so it could be worn effectively by soldiers on either the left or right wrist.
New style of watch for tudor
In the early 1970’ Tudor released a new type and style of watch altogether, a chronograph. Tudor gave birth to the Tudor Chronograph Oysterdate with a 39mm case size and a manually wound calibre 7734 movement inside of it. Tudor introduced multiple colours on the dial with the colours orange, white, black and grey featured on it, it was definitely a sporty watch inspired from racing car colour schemes. The watch was a huge success, hence it is still made today in 2022. You had the option of various bezels to choose from depending on which style you preferred.
Source : Bulang & Sons
Tudor was always a good brand for offering the same model in multiple styles which increased their audience and allowed them to offer their customers the perfect watch for them. They were waterproof to a depth of 50m which ment you could wear them in the pool if you wanted to, despite 50m not being much, the screw down crown feature gave that extra level of security. The dual featured two sub dials at the 3 and 9 o’clock position, the left one being your seconds hand and your right one being the miniature recorder. The central orange hand was for timing the seconds and you had a date window at the 6 0’clcok position. The Tudor Chronograph Oysterdate was released on a three link oyster style bracelet and this has remained the same since its debut in 1970.
When we look at Tudor’ current lineup of watches today in 2022 we can see that their designs are all rooted in the original models mentioned above. You can’t talk about Tudor without mentioning their famous Black Bay 58 which was released in 2018 and grabbed the attention of the watch world. The neo-vintage watch was a hit because its design was a modernised version of the first Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner (reference 7922).
The Black Bay 58 combines the elegant classic submariner design with all the features and practicality of a modern day dive watch. Whilst the 7922 only offered 100m water resistance and 30 hours of power reserve, the Black Bay 58 offers 200m water resistance and has a power reserve of 72 hours. Both share the 39mm case size and three link bracelet.
Source : Bulang & Sons
However, the Black Bay58 is not a direct copy, if you look at their dials you’ll notice that the 7922 has the famous Rolex Mercedes hands whilst the Black Bay 58 has the snowflake hands. Tudor did not just take inspiration from the 7922, but also the aforementioned 94001 submariner designed for military units. The choice to add snowflake hands has been very controversial but Tudor wanted to create a professional modern day diver. This ment designing a watch that could tell you the time no matter how bright or dark the lighting was around you.
Source : Bulang & Sons
The large snowflake hands allow for more lume and therefore better legibility in darkness. In 2022, you can now choose multiple different dial colours and case materials, and if you’re looking for a true tool watch, then the Tudor Pelagos could be for you. The Pelagos is the modern day Tudor Submariner 94001 military watch which is still used by the Marine Natioale to this day.
Source : Monochrome Watches
Tudor have created more and more innovative designs like the Tudor royal and Clair De Rose, an elegant sports watch designed to be dressed up and able to accompany you into the swimming pool or hottub! Tudor is a watch brand that continues to make and produce exceptionally high quality timepieces inspired from their origins and feature all the modern day watchmaking technology.