Tudor Watches

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Montres TUDOR SA
FoundedGeneva, Switzerland, 1926
FounderHans Wilsdorf
Production output
c. 200,000 (2015)[1]
Number of employees
194 (2016)[2]

Montres TUDOR SA is a Swiss manufacturer of luxury wristwatches based in Geneva, Switzerland. Registered in 1926 by Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex, the brand remains a sister company to Rolex, both companies being owned by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation. Over time, Tudor became well-known for its tool watches, producing watches for professional divers and the military. Between the 1960s and 1980s,[3] several navies issued Tudor Submariners to their divers, including the US Navy SEALs and the French Marine Nationale (French Navy).[4]



1979 Tudor Submariner issued to the French Marine Nationale showcasing the brand's trademark "snowflake" handset

The Tudor trademark was registered in 1926 by Swiss watchmaking company “Veuve de Philippe Hüther” on behalf of Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex watches. In 1936, Wilsdorf took it over himself and went on to found the company Montres TUDOR SA in 1946.[5]

The aim of the Tudor brand was to offer a more affordable watch that would preserve the Rolex reputation for quality. Tudor watches were originally equipped with off-the-shelf movements while using Rolex quality cases and bracelets, allowing it to provide the reliability and dependability of a Rolex but at a lower price.[6][7]

With the launch of the Tudor Oyster collection in the mid-forties, the waterproof Oyster case previously exclusive to Rolex was added to Tudor watches.[3] In 1952, Tudor released its first self-winding model, the Prince. It used a Rolex self-winding mechanism.[3][8] 26 Tudor Oyster Princes were included in the 1952 British scientific expedition to Greenland.[9]

The adoption of the Oyster case and self-winding rotor facilitated Tudor's move into the production of tool watches. The French Navy (Marine Nationale) was involved in field research for a Tudor diving watch.[10] From the 1960s to the mid 1980s, watches were supplied to the French Navy in bulk without bracelets[3] so that all were worn with military-issued straps or those adapted by the wearers themselves. Tudor launched its first diving watch in 1954, the Oyster Prince Submariner, waterproof to 100 metres. This was increased to 200 metres in 1958.[11]

Over the years the Submariner line adopted various features such as the "big crown" and "snowflake hands" that have been reintroduced on Tudor's diving watches of today.[11] In 1964, Tudor also began producing an Oyster Prince Submariner specifically for the US Navy.[12] Meanwhile, 1957 saw the launch of the Tudor Advisor, which incorporated an alarm complication.[13] The first models used and adapted the Oyster case to amplify sound. Later in 1969 this was changed to a more ‘traditional’ alarm case with an external case back to increase the volume of the alarm.[14]

In 1970, Tudor released its first Chronograph, the Oysterdate, with a manually-wound Valjoux mechanical calibre 7734 and a cam mechanism chronograph function. The second series, introduced in 1971, was nicknamed the "Montecarlo" because the dial resembles a roulette wheel. The third series, the Oysterdate "Big Block", were the first Tudor chronographs to introduce a self-winding movement in 1976.[15][16] The Tudor Monarch collection was launched in 1991, and the Tudor Hydronaut in 1999.

Tudor Date-Day, part of the Tudor Glamour series under the Classic line

Recent Tudor models[edit]

In 2009, Tudor instigated a major brand relaunch with new product lines. First came the Tudor Grantour Chronograph[17] and the Tudor Glamour collection of classic watches. This was followed in 2010 by the Heritage Chrono, inspired by the Tudor “Montecarlo” from the 1970s.[18] The Heritage Chrono was the first of the Tudor Heritage line of watches designed to echo Tudor's best-known vintage models and also the first to come with an additional fabric strap.

2011 saw the release of the Tudor Heritage Advisor alarm watch, the Fastrider Chronograph, and the Clair de Rose collection for women. In 2012, the focus was on divers’ watches with the Heritage Black Bay, a reinterpretation of the early Tudor Submariner models,[19] and the Pelagos diver's watch. The Pelagos has a 42 mm titanium case - the first titanium watch from the Rolex group.[20] It is also waterproof to a depth of 500 metres.[3] In 2013, the Heritage Black Bay won the “Revival” Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.[21] The Pelagos went on to win the “Sports Watch” prize in 2015.[22] In 2014, Tudor expanded the Heritage collection with the Ranger, a military-style watch similar to a 1967 model.[23] The year also saw the launch of the Tudor Style line of men's and women's dress watches.[23] In 2015, Tudor launched the North Flag, named for a key moment in Tudor's history, the British North Greenland Expedition in 1952. The North Flag was the first Tudor model to be fitted with an in-house movement, calibre MT5621.[24] During 2016 and 2017, “Manufacture” movements were introduced across all of Tudor's sport watches and the Black Bay line of diver's watches was broadened. In 2018, Tudor announced the Heritage Black Bay GMT at the Baselworld fair. It was the first Heritage Black Bay model to have the GMT function with the in-house, COSC certified MT5652 movement. The blue-red bezel design is also a homage to the Rolex GMT Master Pepsi model from their sibling brand Rolex.[25] Also launched at Baselworld 2018 were the 1926 and Black Bay 58, two heritage-inspired lines named after the year that the Tudor name was trademarked and the year that the first 200 meter water resistant Tudor Submariner was released, respectively.

Current Models[edit]

Tudor currently offers five categories of watches with many different sub-models within:

  • Tudor Black Bay Line (heritage inspired dive watch with available GMT, Bronze, Two-Tone, and Chrono complications)
  • Sports Watches (Tudor Royal, Heritage Chrono, and Pelagos FXD)
  • Classic Watches (Tudor Glamour and Style series, as well as 1926 and Clair de Rose)
  • Diving Watches (Tudor Pelagos line)
  • Women's Watches

Watchmaking and features[edit]

Tudor-manufactured movements[edit]

Movements used in Tudor classic watches are manufactured by the Swiss companies ETA or Valjoux.[26] In 2015, Tudor launched its first in-house movement for its Pelagos and North Flag watches. In 2017, Tudor then entered into a cooperative agreement with Breitling, providing the MT5612 movement from the Tudor Pelagos for Breitling's Superocean Heritage watch, while in return Breitling produces the Tudor Calibre MT5813 movement for use in the new Tudor Heritage Chronograph, based on the Breitling B01.[27][28][29]

Tudor also produces variants of their 2015 "Manufacture Calibre". The MT 5601 was developed specifically for the Black Bay Bronze model, and is slightly larger in diameter and displaying hours, minutes and seconds functions. The MT5602 was developed for the Black Bay and the Black Bay Dark models, and displays hours, minutes and seconds.

Caliber MT5402 is a smaller and thinner version of the 5602, developed for the Black Bay 58 line. As of its release in 2018 it is only available without date display carrying the same specs - of movement speed, material use, structure and power reserve - as the 5602. As of 2021 it also exists as MT5400, a slightly modified size version for the Black Bay 58 models with open case back to properly visually fit the sapphire case back size.

On May 25, 2021, Tudor announced their Manufacture Calibre MT5602-1U alongside their new Black Bay Ceramic timepiece. The movement is almost entirely black, with a black tungsten rotor, a 70 hour power reserve, and a silicon hairspring. It is also the company's first METAS-certified master chromometer timepiece, able to function within a tolerance range of 0/+5 seconds per day.[30]

Fabric straps[edit]

Fabric straps were used by NATO forces from the mid-twentieth century as a functional and hardwearing alternative to leather and metal watch strap varieties that were available at the time.[31] However, the two-piece strap now known as the NATO strap debuted in the British Ministry of Defence in 1973. Military watch bands had to be hardwearing and secure, and with the additions of spring bars and an added nylon strap, the NATO strap provided the best security.[32] They were also used by many professional divers since leather straps do not suit the water and they could be adapted to fit over a diving suit more easily than metal bracelets. The NATO strap was initially only available in a 20mm wide ‘Admiralty Grey’ nylon variety, but as the style gained popularity the different British military regiments began producing straps in all manner of regimental colors.[33] Over time military men began to customize their watch straps, taking on the colors of the regiments they were in, creating the colorful stripes that NATO straps are now often known for.[32]

In the early 2000s, sports watches with fabric straps became popular.[34] At the launch 2010 of the Heritage Chrono watch Tudor supplied both a metal bracelet and a fabric strap. A second NATO strap has been included with all of Tudor's Heritage models from that time. Tudor's fabric straps are woven by a passementerie manufacturer near St.-Etienne, the centre of French silk weaving since the 15th century. The same firm also makes ribbons for Vatican medals as well as passementerie (decorative trimmings like lace and cord for clothing and furniture) for haute couture houses like Chanel.[35]


The first Tudor watches produced in the 1920s and 1930s bore a Tudor signature on the dial, with the horizontal bar of the T lengthened above the other letters. On some rare pieces, the name Rolex also appears.[36] Around 1936, the logo changed to the name in Gothic characters accompanied by a shield bearing the Tudor rose,[17] emblem of the English Tudor dynasty. In 1947, one year after the official launch of Tudor Montres SA, the shield was removed and the rose appeared alone with the brand name. From 1969 only the shield was used. The shield logo remains on all Tudor watches while the rose is now used on the winding crowns.

Marketing and distribution[edit]

Advertising campaigns[edit]

In 1953, Tudor launched a campaign based on robustness tests of the Oyster Prince and its endurance in difficult conditions. The adverts included a watch worn by a coal miner during 252 hours of hand excavation, a watch subjected to the vibrations of a pneumatic drill for 30 hours worn by a stone cutter for three months, a watch worn for a month while riveting metal girders in metal construction and a watch worn by a motorbike racer over a distance of 1,000 miles.[9] As time went by, Tudor began narrowing its focus on watches with a more technical design inspired by professions regarded as dangerous. These watches had particular functional features, for example divers' models with date or chronograph function. The people selected for the Tudor Prince Submariner and Tudor Prince Date-Day advertising campaigns of the time were not well-known personalities but rather chosen for their profession. They included rescue divers, mining engineers and rally drivers, all photographed with their equipment.[5]

A major brand relaunch took place in 2009, with a new product line, Tudor Grantour, and a new advertising campaign based on the claim "Designed for performance. Engineered for elegance." The marketing placed a new emphasis on style, in contrast with the 1980s communications based on strength and durability. In 2017, the "Born To Dare" campaign was launched, featuring David Beckham, Lady Gaga, Jay Chou, and a partnership with New Zealand rugby team the All Blacks and their player Beauden Barrett.[citation needed]

Tudor also acted as the official timekeeper at the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens, held in San Francisco, United States,[37] and the 2019 Rugby World Cup, held in Japan.[38]


Tudor watches are marketed and sold in many countries around the world including the United States, Australia, Canada, India, Mexico, South Africa, some countries in Europe, South Asia, the Middle East and countries in South America, particularly Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela. Montres Tudor SA discontinued sales of Tudor-branded watches in the United States in the early 2000s, but Tudor resumed sales in the US in 2013 and in the UK in 2014.[39]


  1. ^ "Baselworld 2015 : chacun cherche son filon". Lefigaro.fr. March 2015.
  2. ^ "Montres Le Guide, numéro 13" (PDF). Bureau d'Information et de Presse Horlogère. 2015–2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e "The Tudor Pelagos". www.hodinkee.com. 21 February 2013.
  4. ^ "Brief History of Tudor Dive Watches". www.revolution.watch. 16 February 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Tudor, Rolex's little sister, is making efforts to get more and more attractive. The plans of the brand are ambitious". www.watch-insider.com. 3 July 2013.
  6. ^ "A Story of Transcendence". www.revolution.watch. 2 December 2016.
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  13. ^ "The Tudor Heritage Advisor". www.hodinkee.com. 17 April 2014.
  14. ^ "A Brief History of the Tudor Advisor". www.timepiecechronicle.com. 7 December 2016.
  15. ^ "tudor history - The chronographs: from 1971 to 1976". www.hodinkee.com.
  16. ^ "Tudor and its Heritage – The 1970s Chronographs and the Tudor Heritage Chrono". www.monochrome-watches.com. 10 November 2016.
  17. ^ a b "Tudor". www.timetransformed.com. 11 September 2015.
  18. ^ "Baselworld 2013 … The Tudor Novelties". www.watch-insider.com. 27 April 2013.
  19. ^ "The Tudor Heritage Black Bay Watch Blends History with Time". www.forbes.com. 15 October 2015.
  20. ^ "A Week on the Wrist: The Tudor Pelagos".
  21. ^ "Tudor Heritage Black Bay". www.gphg.org. 20 June 2016.
  22. ^ "Tudor Pelagos wins "Sports Watch" prize at 2015 Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève". www.luxury-insider.com. 3 November 2015.
  23. ^ a b "A Look Back At Baselworld 2014: Tudor's Heritage Ranger and New "Style" Line". www.watchtime.com. 2 January 2015.
  24. ^ "Baselworld 2015: Tudor North Flag Features the Brand's First In-House Movement (Updated with Live Photos)". www.watchtime.com. 27 March 2015.
  25. ^ "A Week on the Wrist: The Tudor Black Bay GMT".
  26. ^ "What's the difference between Tudor and Rolex?". www.beckertime.com. 14 March 2017.
  27. ^ "Start of a new movement – why Breitling and Tudor have teamed up". www.salonqp.com. 14 March 2017.
  28. ^ "OPINION – Joining Forces For The Best? The Tudor / Breitling Mechanical Alliance". www.monochrome-watches.com. 21 April 2017.
  29. ^ "Avec Beckham et les All Blacks, Tudor veut changer de dimension". www.letemps.ch. 30 May 2017.
  30. ^ Adams, Ariel (May 25, 2021). "Tudor Black Bay Ceramic Master Chronometer Watch". aBlogtoWatch. Retrieved May 26, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
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  32. ^ a b "Everything You Need To Know About The Nato Strap". www.theidleman.com.
  33. ^ "The Fascinating and Humble History of the NATO Watch Strap". www.gearpatrol.com. December 2017.
  34. ^ "Tudor teams up with a third generation French weaver on fabric watch straps". www.wallpaper.com. 14 September 2015.
  35. ^ "Explaining How Tudor's Fabric NATO Straps Are Made (with Video)". www.watchesbysjx.com. 15 August 2015.
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  37. ^ "TUDOR is the official timekeeper of Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018". GQ. 22 June 2018. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  38. ^ Naas, Roberta (14 September 2019). "Tudor Watches, Official Timekeeper Of Rugby World Cup 2019, Unveils Tudor Black Bay Chrono Dark". Forbes. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  39. ^ "It's Official: Tudor Is Coming Back To The United States, And Soon!". www.hodinkee.com. 4 March 2013.