In the mid-20th century, Rolex founder Hans Wildorf wanted to start producing inexpensive watches that were as reliable as any Rolex
. Therefore, in 1946, he founded Montres Tudor SA, named for the ruling family of England from 1485 to 1603, the royal House of Tudor. The brand's logo was initially a Tudor rose framed by a shield to symbolize beauty and strength, respectively. The pairing of the rose and shield represented Tudor's combination of aesthetics and sturdiness in their timepieces.
The company's current collections still possess these classic Tudor characteristics. Their product palette includes nine series encompassing both men's and women's watches: Heritage, Grantour, Fastrider, North Flag, Pelagos
, Style, Clair de Rose, Glamour, and Classic. The manufacturer has something for every taste: sporty diving watches, chronographs with stopwatches, retro watches, and classic, elegant timepieces. Since 2015, the North Flag and Pelagos models have featured the first Tudor calibers produced in-house. This allowed the company to move towards more independence; they previously relied on movements from the manufacturer ETA, a part of the Swatch Group.
The Heritage Models: From Diving Watches to Alarm Functions
The Heritage series features watches with designs inspired by the past. These vintage timepieces each look back towards various prototypes from the 20th century. The diving watch Black Bay, for example, was modeled after the 1954 Tudor Submariner. Modern features were added, such as a domed dial and large crown without a protector. The watch has a unidirectional bezel and comes in either black, burgundy, or blue, nicknamed "Midnight Blue" by enthusiasts. It features either a rivet steel bracelet, a fabric strap, or an aged leather strap and is waterproof to 200 m. ETA's caliber 2824 powers the watch and vibrates at 28,800 alternations an hour (A/h). It features a 38-hour power reserve.
The chronographs in the Heritage series are closely tied to the manufacturer's passion for car racing. Tudor presented their first chronograph, the Oysterdate, in 1970. At this time, other manufacturers had already introduced their chronographs, such as Omega
and TAG Heuer
with the Speedmaster and the Carrera, respectively. With the Heritage Chrono, Tudor reinterprets a vintage design within a modern framework. The stopwatch's orange second hand, together with the orange minute markers on the rehaut, creates a striking visual effect. The ETA caliber 2892 ticks away inside the case and thanks to an additional movement complication, the watch has a small seconds at the three o'clock position and a 45-minute counter at nine o'clock. The buckle of the multi-color fabric strap resembles a seat belt and a stainless steel bracelet is also available. The chronograph is also available in a version featuring a blue bezel, rehaut, and subdials.
The Heritage Ranger pays homage to the Tudor Oyster Prince Ranger from 1967. The newer version honors the efforts of polar explorers. In 1952, 26 copies of the Tudor Oyster Prince accompanied researchers from the British Royal Navy on an expedition to Greenland. The new version of the three-hand model is easy to read and features luminescent indices, hour markers, and hands. Its stainless steel case is completely satin-finished and measures 41 mm in diameter. The matte black dial features the word "Tudor" alongside the rose logo and is domed, as is the sapphire crystal. The large, satin-finished, screw-down winding crown also features the historical rose logo and guarantees waterproofness to 150 m. The caliber 2824 from ETA powers the watch. There are four options for the band: a leather or stainless steel band, a camouflage-style fabric strap, or a light brown bund leather strap. The bund leather strap has a satin-finished folding clasp and rivets, which underline the watch's sturdy look. It is a favorite of adventurers and explorers.
Another model in the Heritage collection is the Tudor Heritage Advisor. This watch with an alarm function is modeled after the first models of the Advisor from 1957. A unique characteristic of this watch is its two crowns on the right side of the case which allow the wearer to set the time and the alarm. A pusher on the left side of the case activates the alarm function and the display window at nine o'clock indicates if the alarm is on or off. The power reserve display window for the alarm is at the three o'clock position and the date display is at six o'clock. The band is available in stainless steel, alligator leather, or as a fabric strap. The automatic movement 2892 powers the watch and features the additional alarm mechanism.
Modern Tudor Sports Watches with In-House Calibers
Two sport-centered collections, the Pelagos and North Flag, are also powered by Tudor's own calibers. Tudor describes the North Flag as a scientific instrument which functions perfectly even in the coldest regions of the planet. The caliber of this three-hand chronometer is unique as it's the first in-house caliber made by Tudor, the MT5621. The automatic movement has a certificate from the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute. It also features a balance stop allowing the time to be set to the exact second. It's simple to set the date, which is visible in a window at the three o'clock position. The balance spring is made of silicon, which ensures magnetic fields can't influence the oscillation system, and the balance wheel vibrates at 28,800 A/h, or 4 Hz. The movement has a diameter of 33.8 mm and is 6.5 mm thick. It has an impressive power reserve lasting 70 hours with a power reserve display window at nine o'clock. A sapphire crystal back provides a look at the matte surfaces of the caliber's individual parts.
Overall, the North Flag is a watch with a sharp design. The case has a satin finish, giving it a high-tech look. The bezel is also satin finished and composed of two parts, a stainless steel bezel and a matte black ceramic frame around its edges. The black dial is clean and orderly and brightly displays the time at night with its luminous hands, numerals, and indices.
The diving watch Pelagos is Tudor's second watch powered by an in-house caliber. This three-hand watch, available in either black or blue, is waterproof to 500 m and has a helium escape valve on the left side of its case. The valve allows helium molecules to escape the watch when resurfacing from deep depths, thereby avoiding a build-up of excess pressure in the case. The in-house caliber MT5612 powers the watch. Unlike the MT5621, it has no power reserve display. The watch's satin-finished case is made of titanium, making it lightweight and scratch resistant. One special characteristic of this watch is its unidirectional bezel with luminous markers and numerals. Normally, only the zero marking on the bezel lights up in the dark. The watch is easy to read even in the dark thanks to its square-shaped indices and three blue, luminous hands. A further highlight of this watch is its titanium bracelet with a stainless steel folding clasp. This clasp was developed by Tudor and features a bracelet extension system that adjusts the band while diving. As the pressure level rises during the descent, the neoprene wetsuit shrinks, reducing in volume. The clasp reacts to this by shortening the length of the band. When the pressure decreases during surfacing, the wetsuit's volume increases again, and the band again adjusts to fit the suit. An additional rubber strap with an extension piece is also available.
Fastrider and Grantour: Modern Tudor Chronographs
The Fastrider chronographs resulted from a collaboration between the Italian motorcycle company Ducati and Tudor. The legendary Ducati Scrambler motorcycle inspired the Fastrider's design, resulting in watches with a youthful, fresh feel and either a bright yellow, red, or olive green dial. The inside of the watch is well-engineered, powered by the reliable Valjoux 7753 caliber. This movement has a power reserve of 46 hours. The subdials are at nine o'clock (subsidiary seconds), six o'clock (12-hour totalizer), and three o'clock (30-minute totalizer). The date is displayed between four and five o'clock. The satin-finished monobloc case has a large diameter of 42 mm with a screw-down crown and case back. The watch is waterproof to 150 m and its bezel features a tachymetric scale. It comes with either a black leather, or rubber, band with a folding clasp and safety catch.
The Fastrider Black Shield model truly lives up to its name. The chronograph is almost completely matte black. The Swiss manufacturer used high-tech ceramic for the monobloc middle case, making the watch especially lightweight and simultaneously scratch resistant. The Fastrider Black Shield is available in three versions with either white, red, or beige hands and indices. The beige version comes with a beige suede band with black stitching or a pure black rubber strap. The other versions include either a rubber or leather strap with white or red contrast stitching. All of these design elements lend the chronograph a powerful, distinctive look. The Valjoux 7753 powers the Fastrider Black Shield.
Watches with a stopwatch function are also available in the Grantour collection. These 42 mm watches have either a satin-finished stainless steel case or a bicolor case made of stainless steel and 18-karat pink gold. A particularly noteworthy watch from this collection is the Grantour Fly-Back. The pusher at four o'clock sets the second hand to zero without stopping the time. The ETA caliber 2892 with a fly-back chronograph function powers the watch, and the version without a fly-back uses the Valjoux 7753. The automatic caliber 2824 powers the version with three hands. The strap is available as a stainless steel bracelet or a leather strap with large or micro-perforations and a folding clasp.
Classic Aesthetics and Glamour
The watches from the Style, Classic, Glamour, and Clair de Rose collections mix beauty and functionality. Reliable automatic calibers from ETA power these three-hand watches, ensuring they run dependably. The series' designs are classic, calling to mind famous Rolex timepieces. The Date + Day models from the Glamour and Classic collections could be mistaken for a Rolex Day-Date. Even the pillow-shaped case is similar to that of the Rolex Oyster. The Date + Day displays the date at three o'clock and the day of the week written out in full at the twelve o'clock position. Bicolor versions made of stainless steel and 18-karat yellow gold and featuring diamond index markers are particularly valuable.
The Clair de Rose line was designed with women in mind. The case has a polished finish and measures 26 mm in diameter, giving it a delicate and feminine look. The series is set apart by its cutout Tudor rose center seconds hand. The mother-of-pearl dial gives the watch an even more feminine touch. Bicolor versions with 18-karat yellow gold make some of these watches even more valuable.
The Style collection contains women's as well as men's watches. The stainless steel and bicolor models in this series impress with their timeless and elegant designs. The lacquered dials are clean and orderly and radiate in champagne sunray or silver sunray. Additionally, there is a glossy black version. The watch is available in four different diameters: 28, 34, 38, or 41 mm. Bicolor versions with stainless steel and yellow gold are also available, and their surfaces have a polished satin finish.
Combining Aesthetics and Precision
For over seven decades, the Rolex subsidiary company Tudor has been producing sturdy yet elegant wristwatches. Unlike almost every other manufacturer, this Geneva-based company combines reliable performance with stylish designs at moderate prices. They've been relying on unconventional marketing methods for a long time: In the 1950s, Tudor advertised their watches with posters of people doing hard manual labor. Tudor timepieces have traveled to the Arctic Circle, accompanied miners in underground mines, and kept road workers on time as they hammer away. From the beginning, the company has relied on Rolex's knowledge and experience. Tudor's Oyster Prince models used the perpetual rotor developed by Rolex, which in the 1950s was exclusively used by Rolex and Tudor. Today, both companies belong to the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation.