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HISTORY

1935-1960

  • 1949
  • 1950
  • 1955

HANS WILSDORF’S INTUITION

For some years now I have been considering the idea of making a watch that our agents could sell at a more modest price than our Rolex watches, and yet one that would attain the standards of dependability for which Rolex is famous. I decided to form a separate company, with the object of making and marketing this new watch. It is called the Tudor Watch Company.

This announcement was made on 6 March 1946 by Hans Wilsdorf who, having created Rolex in the first decade of the 20th century, was already a leading figure in the upmarket Swiss watchmaking world. It marked the birth of both the TUDOR brand and its production and communications strategy.

Hans Wilsdorf’s intuition was as simple as it was ingenious. At that time, the development of wristwatches was in full swing and today’s widespread drive to optimize resources, which is currently behind so many major financial and brand mergers, was still in the far-distant future. The public was ready to recognize and appreciate a moderately priced product whose technical, aesthetic and functional qualities, as well as its distribution, were guaranteed not by a newcomer on the market but by the Rolex brand,which had already earned worldwide renown for its high-quality production.

This announcement was not merely words said for effect. It was Wilsdorf’s genuine commitment to a programme. Between 1947 and 1952, therefore, TUDOR devoted itself to launching first the TUDOR Oyster model, followed by the TUDOR Oyster Prince collection, reflecting the successful marriage of precision and reliability, style and technique and high-quality production.

That period also saw the emergence of the first advertisements devoted exclusively to TUDOR, in which Wilsdorf expressed pride and satisfaction regarding his personal involvement in creating this new brand.

This certainly was a privileged and auspicious start for the brand, originally represented by a decorative rose, the famous symbol of a once long-reigning dynasty in England, the Tudors, who inspired Hans Wilsdorf to give their name to his new company. This famous name, however, never led the company to rest on its laurels. From the very beginning, this is a story of technical developments, like the waterproof Oyster case and the adoption of a self-winding movement, which were not relegated to mere functionality, but turned into stylish features of watches designed in both performance and appearance for modern, dynamic men.

With Rolex to usher it into the world and accompany its first steps, the TUDOR brand very quickly carved out a niche for itself, quite independently of the brand with the five-prong crown.

If we look closely, early traces of TUDOR and its creations can be found as far back as 1926, the year the brand was registered by the Swiss watchmaking company, “Veuve de Philippe Hüther”, on behalf of Hans Wilsdorf. In 1936, Wilsdorf took it over himself, and went on to found the company Montres Tudor SA in 1946.

It was, however, the products and advertising campaigns of the 1950s that really gave the brand its definitive strength and distinctive personality.

THE TUDOR OYSTER PRINCE

The year 1952, in particular, saw the launch of the TUDOR Oyster Prince, accompanied by a press campaign that was very intense, strong and original for the period. The advertisements not only showed and described the watches, as was customary at the time, they also underlined the qualities of resistance, reliability and precision, with both detailed text and illustrations. These illustrations depicted men at work wearing a TUDOR in extreme conditions, doing strenuous work on a road or in a mine, for instance, and not strictly in sports settings, such as motorcycling, playing golf or riding horses, which were also eff ective test situations but far more conventional. The images, together with the, by then, widely recognized soundness of the product, helped give TUDOR watches a style and personality associated with concepts of modernity and reliability, and launched it well beyond the particular context in which it was being shown.

It is significant that 26 TUDOR Oyster Prince watches were included in the British scientific expedition to Greenland organized by the Royal Navy in 1952.

1960-2013

In the wake of its technological triumphs and the success of its image, brought about by its participation in the Polar explorations, the TUDOR brand in the 1960s became involved in a project to develop a professional underwater watch that could become a piece of official military equipment. A TUDOR Prince Submariner was produced for the US Navy from 1964 to 1966, followed in the early 1970s (and until 1984) by the “Marine Nationale” model, which was officially adopted by the French Navy.

And so for TUDOR began the era of stylish watches of a more technical design, inspired by professions regarded as dangerous. They were therefore endowed with particular functional features – for example, divers’ models with date or chronograph function – and a style that radiated strength, security and reliability. The people selected for the TUDOR Submariner and TUDOR Prince Date-Day advertising campaign at the time were not well-known personalities, which made it easier for the public to identify with them. They included rescue divers, mining engineers or rally drivers whose full names were given, and who were photographed with their equipment, conveying perfect mastery of their professions.

In 1970 a model was introduced that stood out for its style and technology: the TUDOR Oysterdate Chronograph.

This role is reflected in the Grantour collection, shown for the first time at Baselworld 2009, the year that saw a complete rethinking of the TUDOR brand, resulting in the new series of watches and the advertising campaign: “Designed for Performance. Engineered for Elegance.” TUDOR’s communication has evolved since the advertising campaigns of the 1980s featuring distinctive details from knightly armour to communicate resistance, also achieved in the change of logo from rose to shield. This repositioning of the brand, yet again emphasizing the marriage of performance and style, continues to be evident in the new designs for 2010.

SAVOIR FAIRE

HIGH-TECH CERAMIC

The Fastrider Black Shield is the first TUDOR model to feature a new matt black scratch-proof ceramic monobloc case. It is fashioned using nothing but high-tech injected ceramic - not ceramic applied to another material as a coating - and is made entirely in one process. The whole case is produced as a single piece. The extremely complex procedure adopted for its manufacture ensures that both the middle case and bezel are exceptionally reliable and resistant.

THE FABRIC STRAP

TUDOR is innovating in an unexpected way by equipping its watches with fabric straps meticulously fashioned by a company that perpetuates an over century-old artistic craft. They bring an additional touch of style that reinforces the resolutely modern and sophisticated TUDOR identity. Thanks to a production process including unique hand-made skills, the straps developed for TUDOR endow the watch with a unique dimension expressing cutting-edge style and ensuring peerless comfort on the wrist.

ATELIERS

A TUDOR watch lives. Pulsates. It will take you into the world of micro-precision. The high technology in all components relentlessly tested to the smallest detail… to the point of obsession. Examine the movement. Aesthetics and performance fit for the most demanding of products, designed for endurance as much as pleasure. Pleasing to the eye and exciting to the mind, this precision mechanism will withstand the rigours of time. Exceptional materials, durability and strength of design make each watch a unique object.

ASSEMBLY

A Tudor watch means reliability. Rediscover the traditional art of hand craftsmanship with a love of detail and perfection. Quality materials. Rigorous quality control. Meticulous craftsmanship builds each watch and brings it to life. With a calm patience and an appreciation of precision built on the skill of years.

QUALITY CONTROL

Beyond the demands of perfection. Every single component of the watch commands admiration. Every phase of the assembly, every technical solution is focussed on one thing alone: your total satisfaction in an object of absolute precision. Throughout the design and production phases, every Tudor watch is meticulously checked to ensure perfection. Every single watch - not just random examples - is submitted to strict waterproofness tests. The eyes of dozens of skilled experts make sure that the watch that will finally adorn your wrist - under your own watchful scrutiny - will give you complete aesthetic pleasure.

MOVEMENT

2671

Self-winding mechanical movement

Total diameter 17.50 mm
Height 4.80 mm
Jewels 25
Frequency 28,800 beats/hour
Power reserve ~38 hours

MOVEMENT

2824

Self-winding mechanical movement

Total diameter 26 mm
Height 4.60 mm
Jewels 25
Frequency 28,800 vibrations/hour
Power reserve ~38 hours

MOVEMENT

2834

Self-winding mechanical movement

Total diameter 29.40 mm
Height 5.05 mm
Jewels 25
Frequency 28,800 beats/hour
Power reserve ~38 hours

MOVEMENT

2892

Self-winding mechanical movement with additional mechanism for specific complications:

Frequency 28,800 beats/hour
Power reserve ~42 hours

For a double date display and a small seconds counter

Total diameter 30 mm
Height 5.20 mm
Jewels 21

For chronograph and chronograph Fly-Back functions

Total diameter 30 mm
Height 6.90 mm
Jewels 55

For a mechanical alarm clock

Total diameter 30.40 mm
Height 6.30 mm
Jewels 31

MOVEMENT

7753

Self-winding mechanical chronograph movement

Total diameter 30.40 mm
Height 7.90 mm
Jewels 27
Frequency 28,800 beats/hour
Power reserve ~46 hours