If you’re a watch enthusiast, you’ve probably heard of Tudor, a sub-brand of Rolex founded by Hans Wilsdorf. Initially, Tudor was created to offer more affordable watches, but its relationship with Rolex lent it serious credibility. However, Tudor was overshadowed by Rolex, and it completely disappeared from the U.S. market from 1996 through 2013.
In 2012, Tudor released the Black Bay, a modern iteration of the Tudor Submariner produced from 1954 until the 1990s. The Black Bay was an instant hit, and it allowed Tudor to step out from under Rolex’s shadow and beam its own identity more boldly. Since then, certain vintage Tudor Submariners have fetched over $100,000, which has also elevated the brand. In this article, we’ll explore what makes Tudor watches good and take a closer look at some of Tudor’s most popular models, including the Tudor Black Bay, Tudor Pelagos, and Tudor Ranger.
- Tudor was founded as a more affordable brand by Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf, and its relationship to Rolex has lent it serious credibility.
- The release of the Black Bay in 2012 allowed Tudor to step out from under Rolex’s shadow and beam its own identity more boldly, which has elevated the brand’s popularity.
- Tudor offers a variety of models, including those that are derivative of Rolex models, those with unique features, and those that pull Tudor far afield from Rolex.
What Makes Tudor Watches Good
If you are looking for a timepiece that combines rugged construction with minimal precious metals and reasonable prices, Tudor watches are a great option. Here are some of the key features that make Tudor watches stand out:
Mechanical Movements: Every Tudor watch is a mechanical watch, which means it is powered by a mechanical movement rather than a battery. Since 2015, Tudor has offered in-house movements in some of their watches, while others use modified ETA movements.
Rugged Construction: Tudor watches are known for their tough construction, even their dress watches. They are water-resistant up to 100 meters or more, and feature KIF anti-shock systems that replace the standard Incabloc systems typically used in ETA movements. Sapphire crystals are also standard.
Minimal Precious Metals: Tudor uses few precious metals for their watch cases, with steel being the main metal. Other materials like bronze and carbon are also offered on select models, but overall Tudor watches are known for their understated style.
High-End Straps and Bracelets: Tudor’s bracelets are supple yet robust, and their leather and fabric straps are proprietary high-end offerings that cost over $100.
Reasonable Prices: Tudor watches offer great value for their price range, which stops at around $7,000, just below where Rolex’s prices begin.
Overall, Tudor watches are a great choice for anyone who wants a well-made, reliable timepiece that won’t break the bank. Whether you are looking for a rugged sports watch or a stylish dress watch, Tudor has something to offer.
Tudor Black Bay
If you’re in the market for a high-quality watch, you should consider the Tudor Black Bay. This watch is known for its vintage dive watch aesthetic and is the little brother of the Heritage Black Bay. The Tudor Black Bay is a great choice for those who want a sophisticated and stylish watch that can withstand the rigors of everyday wear.
Tudor Black Bay
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight
If you’re looking for a slightly smaller and slimmer version of the Tudor Black Bay, the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight might be the perfect watch for you. With a case diameter of 39mm, it’s 2mm smaller than the regular Black Bay. This watch features the same in-house manufacture calibre MT5602 (COSC) movement, 200m water resistance, and comes in a variety of colorways. The price for the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight ranges from $3,575 to $5,400 depending on the materials and strap/bracelet choice. Some models also feature METAS Master Chronometer certification.
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight
Tudor Black Bay 54
You’ll love the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight, which was an instant hit when it was first introduced in 2018. It’s perfect for those who prefer vintage sizes and is available in various designs. With an in-house manufacture calibre MT5402 (COSC) movement and a 200m water resistance, this watch is durable and reliable. You can purchase it for $3,475 (strap) or $3,800 (bracelet), with special materials costing more.
Tudor Black Bay 54
Tudor Black Bay Bronze
The Tudor Black Bay 54 is a vintage-inspired watch that is highly popular for its smaller diameter, measuring only 37mm. True to the original watch from 1954, it comes with features that help it stand out within the Black Bay family. The watch is powered by an in-house manufacture calibre MT5400 (COSC) movement and has a water resistance of 200m. The price for the strap version is $3,625, while the bracelet version costs $3,850.
The Tudor Black Bay Bronze is another popular model in the Black Bay family. It has a case diameter of 43mm and is made of bronze, which gives it a unique and distinctive look. The watch is powered by an in-house manufacture calibre MT5601 (COSC) movement and has a water resistance of 200m. The price for the strap version is $4,050, while the bracelet version costs $4,375.
Tudor Black Bay Bronze
Tudor Black Bay Pro
If you’re looking for a watch that exudes warmth, the Tudor Black Bay Bronze might be the one for you. This model features a matte gray fade on the dial, gilt accents, and soft tones of bronze. It’s not just a bronze version of the regular Black Bay, as it’s 2mm wider in diameter. The watch is powered by an in-house manufacture calibre MT5601 (COSC) movement and has a water resistance of 200m. The case diameter is 43mm, and the price is $4,250. If you prefer a full bronze bracelet, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight is also available in a bronze version. For a more professional look, consider the Tudor Black Bay Pro.
Tudor Black Bay Pro
Tudor Black Bay P01
The Tudor Black Bay P01 is a watch that has been inspired by a prototype that was developed for the US Navy in the late 1960s. The watch features a 42mm case that is made of stainless steel and has a satin finish. The watch also features a black dial with luminescent hour markers and hands. The Tudor Black Bay P01 is powered by an in-house manufacture calibre MT5612 movement that is COSC certified. The watch has a water resistance of 200m and comes with a price tag of $4,000.
The Tudor Black Bay P01 is a great option for those who are looking for a unique and vintage-inspired watch. The watch has a fixed bezel and a wearable 42mm diameter, making it a great option for everyday wear. The watch is also very reliable and accurate, thanks to its COSC certified movement. Overall, the Tudor Black Bay P01 is a great addition to any watch collection.
Tudor Black Bay P01
Tudor Black Bay GMT
The Tudor Black Bay P01 features a unique bezel locking mechanism built into the strap connectors and a crown at 4-o’clock. It is powered by an in-house manufacture calibre MT5612 (COSC) movement and has a water resistance of 200m. The case diameter is 42mm, and it comes with a waterproof rubberized leather strap. The Black Bay GMT is another popular watch from Tudor with a lot of hype surrounding it. It is a versatile timepiece that can be worn for any occasion and is perfect for those who travel frequently. The price of the Tudor Black Bay P01 is $4,100.
Tudor Black Bay GMT
The Tudor Black Bay GMT features an in-house manufacture calibre MT5652 (COSC) movement with a second time zone.
This watch has a water resistance of 200m, making it suitable for swimming and diving.
Case Diameter and Price
The case diameter of the Tudor Black Bay GMT is 41mm, and the price ranges from $3,850 to $5,550 depending on the choice of strap or bracelet.
Tudor Black Bay Chrono
The Tudor Black Bay Chrono is another popular watch from Tudor.
Tudor Black Bay Chrono
Tudor Black Bay 32/36/39/41
The Tudor Black Bay Chrono is a great value chronograph watch that features a snowflake hands design, two sub-dials, a date window at 6 o’clock, and round markers. These features set it apart from its big brother, the Rolex Daytona. The watch is powered by an in-house manufacture calibre MT5813 (COSC) movement and has a water resistance of 200m. The case diameter is 41mm and the price ranges from $5,000 to $7,250 depending on materials and strap/bracelet choice. The Tudor Black Bay Chrono is also available in a steel and gold version on a bund strap.
Tudor Black Bay 32/36/41
The Tudor Black Bay 32/36/41 is a time-only timepiece with bold legibility, snowflake hands, and robust construction. Tudor doesn’t call them field watches, but they offer a daily wear option somewhere between its Black Bay dive watches and Ranger field watch. Available with blue, silver, or black dials, it comes in four different sizes, one for any wrist. The Tudor Ranger is a versatile timepiece that is perfect for outdoor activities. Its rugged design and water resistance of up to 150m make it an ideal companion for any adventure.
The Tudor Pelagos is a popular field/adventure watch that was temporarily removed from the Tudor catalog but later returned with all the features that fans had been asking for. It boasts a 39mm case diameter and a water resistance of 100m. The watch is equipped with a manufacture calibre MT5402 movement and is priced between $2,725 and $3,050. The Tudor Pelagos is a stripped-down tool watch with no date display, but it still maintains the brand’s renowned build quality and finish. If you’re in the market for a reliable and durable field watch, the Tudor Pelagos is definitely worth considering.
Tudor Pelagos 39
If you’re looking for a serious diving watch, the Tudor Pelagos 39 is a great option. It has a 42mm case diameter and is made from durable titanium. The watch is water-resistant up to 500m and features a scratch-proof ceramic bezel insert. The blocky markers and signature snowflake hour hand make for easy readability. The LHD model is perfect for left-handed wearers, but many righties have also opted for this unique model. The crown position even adds a bit of comfort for active use. It’s available with a black or blue dial. The price for the Tudor Pelagos 39 is $4,575.
Tudor Pelagos 39
Tudor Pelagos FXD Chrono
The Tudor Pelagos 39 is a smaller version of the Pelagos, offering increased wearability without sacrificing quality. It has a case diameter of 39mm and is rated to 200m of water resistance, making it suitable for most water activities. Unlike its larger counterpart, it lacks a helium escape valve, but this won’t affect most people’s experience with the watch. The Pelagos FXD Chrono is another variation of the Pelagos, featuring a chronograph function for those who need to time events. With the same water resistance and durability as the Pelagos 39, the FXD Chrono offers added functionality. The Pelagos 39 is priced at $4,400.
Tudor Pelagos FXD Chrono
The Tudor Pelagos FXD Chrono is a watch collection that was introduced in 2023. It is the first Pelagos collection to feature a chronograph, and it is also the first Tudor watch to have a case made of carbon fiber. The FXD Chrono and the Pelagos FXD dive watch were both designed with a sailing theme in collaboration with the Alinghi Red Bull yacht racing team. The FXD in the name stands for “fixed,” which means that the lugs do not feature a spring bar that can be removed. This design feature allows the watch to be worn on single-pass straps like NATOs, just like military submariners used to wear.
The Tudor Royal collection is another collection of watches from Tudor. However, it is not related to the Pelagos FXD Chrono.
The Tudor 1926 is a collection of sport chic watches that come in various configurations and sizes. The watches are available in 28mm, 34mm, 38mm, and 41mm cases made of 316L stainless steel or steel and yellow gold. The collection offers nine dials and four sizes to choose from. The watches have sunray satin-finished dials with applied Roman numerals or diamond indices, and Super-LumiNova-coated baton hands. The Royal name, which first appeared on Tudor watches in the 1950s, is now used on the Tudor 1926 collection. The watches are equipped with self-winding mechanical movements, calibre 2671 for 28mm watches and calibre 2824-2 for 34mm, 38mm, and 41mm watches. The Tudor 1926 watches have a water resistance of 100m and are priced between $2,200 to $3,925.
The Tudor Glamour is part of the modular system of the 1926 Series. You can choose between four different sizes, ranging from 28mm to 41mm in diameter. The watch is water-resistant up to 100m and features a self-winding mechanical movement calibre 2824 with date. The Tudor Glamour is available in a variety of combinations, including all steel or two-tone, with or without diamonds, and silver, black, or opaline dials. The price range for the Tudor Glamour is $1,750–$3,525. Whether you prefer a sporty 41mm field watch or a 28mm steel and gold diamond-studded dressy piece, the Tudor Glamour has a style for everyone.
Tudor Clair de Rose
If you’re looking for a timepiece that exudes elegance and sophistication, the Tudor Clair de Rose is a great option. This series features a self-winding mechanical movement with day-date, depending on the size and function. The water resistance of 100m ensures that you can wear it while swimming or snorkeling without worrying about water damage. The case diameter ranges from 28mm to 41mm, so you can choose the size that fits your wrist best. The price point for the Tudor Clair de Rose is between $2,225 and $5,250, making it an affordable alternative to some of Rolex’s most iconic watches. The 42mm Double Date model features a dual-aperture “big date” complication, while the 39mm Date+Day and the 28mm/31mm/36mm Date models resemble watches straight out of the Rolex catalogue.
Tudor Clair de Rose
If you’re in the market for a women’s watch, the Tudor Clair de Rose is a great option to consider. With three different case diameters to choose from (26mm, 30mm, and 34mm), you can find the perfect fit for your wrist. The watch is powered by either the self-winding mechanical movement calibre 2824-2 (34mm) or calibre 2671 (26mm and 30mm). The watch is water-resistant up to 100m and comes in steel with opaline dial variants with or without diamonds. Prices range from $2,225 to $2,950.
Tudor Watches: A Timeless Classic for Watch Enthusiasts
Are you interested in learning about the history of Tudor watches? Tudor is a Swiss watchmaker that was registered in 1926 by Hans Wilsdorf, founder of Rolex. Tudor is a sister company to Rolex and both companies are owned by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation. Tudor was initially known for producing watches for the military and professional divers, and from the 1960s to 1980s, several navies issued Tudor Submariners to their divers, including the US Navy SEALs and the French Marine Nationale.
Today, Tudor continues to produce high-quality watches that are known for their durability and precision. With a production output of approximately 200,000 watches in 2015 and 194 employees in 2016, Tudor is a significant player in the watchmaking industry. Keep reading to learn more about the history of Tudor watches and the impact they have had on the world of watchmaking.
Tudor watches were founded in 1926 by Swiss watchmaking company Veuve de Philippe Hüther on behalf of Hans Wilsdorf, founder of Rolex watches. In 1936, Wilsdorf took over the Tudor trademark and went on to establish the company Montres Tudor SA in 1946. Tudor’s original purpose was to offer a more affordable watch than Rolex while maintaining Rolex-like quality. Tudor watches were initially equipped with off-the-shelf movements paired with Rolex cases and bracelets, which allowed Tudor to provide reliability and quality while achieving its price goals.
In the mid-forties, Tudor debuted its Oyster collection, featuring a waterproof Oyster case previously exclusive to Rolex. In 1952, Tudor released its first self-winding model, the Prince, which used a Rolex self-winding mechanism. The adoption of the Oyster case and self-winding rotor facilitated Tudor’s move into the production of tool watches.
Recent Tudor models
In 2009, Tudor launched a significant brand relaunch with new product lines, including the Tudor Grantour Chronograph and Tudor Glamour collection of classic watches, followed in 2010 by the Heritage Chrono, inspired by the Tudor “Montecarlo” from the 1970s. 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.
In 2011, Tudor released the Tudor Heritage Advisor alarm watch, the Fastrider Chronograph, and the Clair de Rose collection for women. In 2012, the focus was on diver watches, with the Heritage Black Bay, a reinterpretation of early Tudor Submariner models, and the Pelagos diver watch. The Pelagos has a 42 mm titanium case, the first titanium watch from the Rolex group, and is waterproof to 500 metres. In 2013, the Heritage Black Bay won the Revival prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève and the Pelagos won the “Sports Watch” prize in 2015. In 2014, Tudor expanded the Heritage collection with the Ranger, a military-style watch similar to a 1967 model. The year also saw the launch of the Tudor Style line of men’s and women’s dress watches.
In 2015, Tudor launched the North Flag, named for a key moment in Tudor’s history, the British North Greenland Expedition. The North Flag was the first Tudor model to be fitted with an in-house movement, calibre MT5621. 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. Also launched at Baselworld 2018 were the 1926 and Black Bay 58, two heritage-inspired lines named after the year Tudor was trademarked and the year the first 200 meter water-resistant Tudor Submariner was released, respectively.
Tudor currently offers five categories of watches with many different sub-models:
- Tudor Black Bay Line: heritage-inspired dive watch with available GMT, Bronze, Silver, Two-Tone, and Chrono complications
- Sports Watches: Tudor Ranger, Tudor Royal, and Pelagos FXD
- Classic Watches: Tudor Glamour series, as well as 1926 and Clair de Rose
- Diving Watches: Tudor Pelagos line
- Women’s Watches
Tudor’s current models include a wide range of watches that cater to different tastes and preferences, from classic dress watches to rugged tool watches. The brand’s commitment to quality and affordability has made it a popular choice among watch enthusiasts around the world.
Watchmaking and features
When it comes to Tudor watches, some of the movements used are produced by Swiss companies, ETA or Valjoux. However, Tudor launched its first in-house movement for its Pelagos and North Flag watches in 2015. In 2017, Tudor entered into an agreement with Breitling, allowing the MT5612 movement from the Tudor Pelagos to be used for Breitling’s Superocean Heritage watch. In return, Breitling produces the Tudor Calibre MT5813 movement for use in the new Tudor Heritage Chronograph, based on the Breitling B01.
Tudor produces variants of its 2015 “Manufacture Calibre”. The MT 5601 was developed specifically for the Black Bay Bronze model and is slightly larger in diameter and displays hours, minutes and seconds functions. The MT5602 was developed for the Black Bay and the Black Bay Dark models, and also displays hours, minutes, and seconds. Additionally, Caliber MT5402 is a smaller and thinner version of the 5602, developed for the Black Bay 58 line. As of 2021, it also exists as MT5400, a slightly modified size version for the Black Bay 58 models with open case back to 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 the company’s first METAS-certified master chromometer timepiece, able to function within a tolerance range of 0/+5 seconds per day.
Fabric straps were initially used by NATO forces in the mid-twentieth century as a functional and hardwearing alternative to leather and metal watch straps. 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. They were also used by many professional divers, since leather straps do not suit 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. Over time, military men began to customize their watch straps, taking on the colors of the regiments they were in, creating the colorful stripes NATO straps are now often known for.
In the early 2000s, sports watches with fabric straps became popular. Tudor’s fabric straps are woven by a passementerie manufacturer near St.-Etienne, the center of French silk weaving since the 15th century. The same firm also makes ribbons for Vatican medals as well as decorative trimmings for haute couture houses, including Chanel. At the 2010 launch of the Heritage Chrono watch, Tudor supplied both a metal bracelet and a fabric strap with the watch.
Tudor watches have a rich history of branding. The first Tudor watches produced in the 1920s and 1930s had 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. In 1936, the logo changed to the name in Gothic characters accompanied by a shield bearing the Tudor rose, the emblem of the English Tudor dynasty. One year after the official launch of Tudor Montres SA in 1947, the shield was removed and the rose appeared alone with the brand name. From 1969 only the shield was used, and the shield logo remains on all Tudor watches, while the rose is now used on the winding crowns.
Marketing and distribution
Tudor has a rich history of advertising campaigns that showcase the durability and functionality of their watches. In 1953, Tudor launched a campaign that featured robustness tests of the Oyster Prince and its endurance in difficult conditions. The campaign showcased the 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.
As time went by, Tudor began narrowing its focus on watches with a more technical design inspired by dangerous professions. These watches had particular functional features, like diver models with date or chronograph function. The individuals selected for the Tudor Prince Submariner and Tudor Prince Date-Day advertising campaigns were not well-known celebrities but rather everyday people chosen due to their profession. They included rescue divers, mining engineers, and rally drivers, all photographed with their equipment.
In 2009, Tudor underwent a major brand relaunch, introducing a new product line, Tudor Grantour, featuring a new advertising campaign “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, Tudor launched the “Born To Dare” campaign, featuring David Beckham, Lady Gaga, and Jay Chou, and a partnership with the New Zealand rugby team All Blacks and their player Beauden Barrett.
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 in the US and UK in the early 2000s, resuming in the US in 2013 and the UK in 2014.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who wears Tudor watches?
Tudor watches are popular among watch enthusiasts and collectors. They are known for their high-quality craftsmanship, durability, and timeless designs. Tudor watches are worn by people who appreciate the art of watchmaking and want a reliable timepiece that can last for many years.
What are the differences between Tudor and Rolex?
Tudor is a sister brand of Rolex and is often considered a more affordable alternative. While Tudor watches share some similarities with Rolex watches, they have unique designs, movements, and features. Tudor watches are often more accessible in terms of price, making them a great option for those who want a high-quality watch without breaking the bank.
What are the features of Tudor Black Bay Pro?
The Tudor Black Bay Pro is a dive watch that is designed for professional use. It has a water resistance of up to 300 meters and features a unidirectional bezel for measuring dive times. The watch is powered by the Tudor MT5602 movement, which has a power reserve of up to 70 hours. The Black Bay Pro also has a sapphire crystal and a stainless steel bracelet.
What are the unique characteristics of Tudor 1926?
The Tudor 1926 is a classic dress watch that is known for its elegant design and attention to detail. It features a polished steel case, a fluted bezel, and a date function. The watch is available in a range of sizes and dial colors, making it a versatile option for any occasion.
What are the best Tudor watches of 2023?
The best Tudor watches of 2023 are subjective and depend on personal preference. However, some popular models include the Black Bay Fifty-Eight, the Pelagos, and the Glamour Double Date. These watches are known for their high-quality craftsmanship, unique designs, and reliable movements.
Are Tudor watches a good investment?
Tudor watches can be a good investment for those who appreciate the brand’s history and craftsmanship. While they may not have the same resale value as Rolex watches, Tudor watches are still highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts. Additionally, Tudor watches are known for their durability and reliability, making them a great long-term investment.