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A short history of Tudor

The origins of Tudor

Tudor is a subsidiary of Rolex and was established by Rolex’s founder Hans Wilsdorf in 1946, in order to offer customers a more affordable alternative, that would deliver the same reliability and quality as the parent company.

The name Tudor is derived from a Royal English family called Tudor which ruled England between 1485 and 1603.

In 1926, Rolex’s founder Hans Wilsdorf got the idea of establishing a Rolex subsidiary which could offer the same quality and dependability as Rolex but at more modest prices. He decided to call the new brand Tudor.

In 1932, Rolex sold its first Tudor watches in Australia.

In 1946, Hans Wilsdorf, officially and formally founded a new Swiss luxury wristwatch brand, called Tudor, which is a Rolex subsidiary. Tudor was established as “Montres TUDOR S.A.”

By the late 1940s and early 1950s, wristwatches were an established fact of life across the world, and by this time Rolex was already an internationally recognized and established brand.

Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex, wanted to offer a more affordable alternative to Rolex

Due to the increasing prices of Rolex timepieces, Hans Wilsdorf wanted to offer customers high quality timepieces in a more affordable price range. In the beginning, Tudor was almost indistinguishable from its parent company, but later on transformed into a brand with its own soul.

In 1952, Tudor launched the Tudor Oyster Prince which is essentially a very robust and strongly built dress watch.

Tudor released the Tudor Submariner which was a homage to and copy of the Rolex Submariner

In 1954, Tudor launched the Tudor Submariner which was a homage to and a copy of the legendary Rolex Submariner. The charactertistics of the Tudor Submariner were water resistance, precision, durability and reliability. These watches were considerably more affordable than the Rolex Submariners.

In 1957, the luxury brand released the Tudor Advisor which was the brand’s very first and last alarm watch.

In 1958, the watch manufacturer launched the Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner “Big Crown”. Its nickname “Big Crown” was given by collectors due to the extra large crown of the watch. The Tudor Submariner’s water depth was doubled to 200 meters.

In 1967, the brand launched the Tudor Oyster Prince Ranger.

In 1969, Tudor launched the Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner “Snowflake”. Collectors called it “snowflake” due to the large white square-shaped hour markers.

Tudor changed its logo

The logo of the dial also changed. Gone was the traditional rose logo, and in its place, Tudor placed a shield. This was the true beginning of Tudor’s identity. The modern Tudor Pelagos is extremely similar, if not almost identical, to the Tudor Submariner “Snowflake”.

In 1970, Tudor launched the first Tudor chronograph watch. The watch was called Tudor Oysterdate.

In 1971, they released the Tudor Oysterdate “Montecarlo”. The watch was called “Monte Carlo” due to the fact that the dial was similar in apperance to roulette Wheels found in casinos.

In 1976, the luxury brand released the first automatic chronograph watches. They were called Tudor Prince Oysterdate “Big Block”. Due to the increased thickness of the case, due to the rotor inside, collectors gave the watch its nickname “Big Block”.

The French and American navies started using the Tudor Submariners

In 1977, the French Navy, or Marine Nationale (MN) and the US Navy (USN) started using the Tudor Submariners in their service. This is a token that Tudor watches were highly trusted tool watches and could survive under very harsh conditions. Due to the wear and tear there are few of those Tudor Submariners left, that have been in the service of various navies around the world, but to collectors, this item, if available, is truly a gem.

These Tudor Submariners weren’t specifically designed for anyone, but the only distinguishing feature of these watches, that were utilized by the navies around the world, were the initials or engravings of the navy’s name on the case back.

In 1978, the brand launched a chronograph watch called Tudor Prince Oysterdate “Big Black Exotic”. This watch was essentially the same “Big Block” watch launched by Tudor in 1976, with the distinction of having a more colorful dial, which earned it its nickname “Exotic”.

In 1995, Tudor launched yet another chronograph watch called Tudor Prince Oysterdate Fourth Series.

Today, Tudor makes it’s own in-house movements, and has its own brand identity

Yes you read it correctly. Tudor is no longer the “little brother” that is being overshadowed by Rolex. Tudor has today got its own brand identity, with its own collections, designs and movements.

Tudor is known for making very accurate COSC certified movements with an impressive power reserve, technically advanced, professional and reliable divers watches, well made bracelets and clasps, and on top of that collections with unique vintage designs reminiscent of Rolex of the old days.


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