the origins: from 1926
"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 standard of dependability for which Rolex is famous. I decided to form a seperate company, with the object of making and marketing this new watch. It is called the Tudor watch company." - H. Wilsdorf
In February 1926, the house of “Veuve de Philippe Hüther”, a watch dealer and maker, registered the trademark “The Tudor” for Hans Wilsdorf. Established in Geneva, he acquired the exclusive usage rights from the dealer.
The first watches bear a simple 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. Rolex would effectively guarantee the technical and aesthetic quality of TUDOR watches until the brand attained autonomy in this field. The TUDOR-signed watches included models for both men and women; they were mainly rectangular, barrel-shaped or with bevelled sides. In 1932, TUDOR watches for the Australian market were delivered exclusively to the Willis company, which was entrusted with distributing them to the best jewellery shops in the country.
TUDOR "CATANACH’S"The rectangular watch with bevelled sides in chromium-plated metal presented here illustrates the type of product that TUDOR created in this initial period. It had a two-tone, two-sector cream dial with luminescent Arabic numerals, baton hands in blued steel with luminescent material, a minute track and a small seconds hand at 6 o’clock. Its calibre was barrel‑shaped, recognisable by its three red rubies visible on the top plate. Established in Melbourne since 1874, Catanach’s Jewellers is one of the oldest jeweller families in Australia.
On 15 October 1936, the house of “Veuve de Philippe Hüther” transferred the brand “The Tudor” to Hans Wilsdorf. In this same period, the rose of the Tudor dynasty appeared on the dials. Inscribed within a shield, this logo symbolised the invincible union of strength – the watch’s robustness – with grace – the beauty of its lines.
Just after the Second World War, Hans Wilsdorf knew that the time had come to expand and give the brand a proper identity of its own. Thus, on 6 March 1946, he created the “Montres TUDOR S.A.” company, specialising in models for both men and women. Rolex would guarantee the technical, aesthetic and functional characteristics, along with the distribution and after-sales service.
OF THE LOGO
From 1947 onwards, a year after the official launch of TUDOR, the shield gradually disappeared from the logo. Henceforth it would consist of only the company name and the rose – finely drawn or as an applique in relief – thus emphasising the brand’s elegance and style.
TUDOR OYSTER 4463The example of reference 4463 presented here has a 34 mm waterproof Oyster case. Its silver-coloured dial is punctuated with luminescent hour markers and Arabic numerals. The hour and minutes hands are also luminescent. Its seconds hand is painted red for better visibility. It has a screw-down case back signed “TUDOR”. Its movement is the mechanical calibre 59 with an anti-shock system and two positions. Its crown is the patented riveted Oyster-type crown
In 1948, the first advertisements dedicated to TUDOR were launched. The brand was clearly associated with Rolex, both in the text and in the logo. The models shown were for both men and women. The copy emphasised the aesthetics of the watches, their chronometric precision and their waterproofness.