THE TUDOR DIVING WATCHES HISTORYtudor watches placeholder

The TUDOR diving watches history

The emergence of waterproof wristwatches dates back to the 1920s. In 1926, water resistance in timepieces took a leap forward when Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf patented the Oyster case, featuring screwed-down crown and caseback which are prerequisites for dive watches today. The date coincides with the creation of the TUDOR brand, which continued the vision of Hans Wilsdorf in parallel to Rolex to offer the same standard of dependency “at a more modest price”, as Wilsdorf explained himself.

TUDOR, a pioneer in the field of men’s dive watches, began offering a new time keeping solution for the growing community of professional scuba divers in the 1950s, when the activity was gaining momentum and a new form underwater exploration was emerging. In 1954, TUDOR set out on a path which would contribute to forging its legend. It was in that year that its first automatic dive watch, the TUDOR Oyster Prince Submariner reference 7922, saw the light of day. Designed from its origin to fulfill exceptional criteria of durability, reliability, precision and waterproofness at a moderate price, it quickly positioned itself as an instrument of choice for professionals. Over the next 45 years this original tool-watch continuously evolved to meet the specific requirements of divers. During this period, multiple experiments were conducted to determine which characteristics were indispensable to the ideal divers’ watch.

TUDOR and French Navy

TUDOR's special relationship with the French Navy dates back to the beginning of 1956 when the Toulon-based Underwater Study and Research Group or Groupement d’Étude et de Recherches Sous-Marines (G.E.R.S.) in French received Oyster Prince Submariner watches for evaluation. The water resistance of these watches was deemed "perfect" and the functioning "completely correct" in a letter by the Commander of the G.E.R.S. of the time.

Convinced of the potential of the watches offered by the Geneva brand, he placed a new order for watches that were water-resistant to 200 meters. TUDOR diving watches created in conjunction with the French Navy remained in production until the 1980s, but the watches’ use extended into the 2000s, especially at the French Navy diving school and amongst combat swimmers.

Historically, the French Navy had TUDOR watches delivered without bracelets and then fitted them with their own straps, handmade or otherwise. Two types of dive watch straps appear to have been particularly used over the years: black straps made from a single piece of braided nylon, and, less commonly, handmade straps made from parachute elastic, which could be recognised by their green colour and yellow or red central thread. It is to the latter, ultra-functional relics inextricably linked to French military divers, that the fabric strap of the latest Pelagos FXD pays tribute.