About Tudor Watches
Established in Geneva in 1926, the Tudor trademark was created on behalf of Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex watches. His dream was to create watches with a similarly high standard of quality as Rolex but at a more attainable price. In relationship with the established company, Tudor watches started out with the guarantee of Rolex until the brand could earn its own wings.
With watches for both women and men, standard Tudor models were rectangle-shaped with side bevels, leather bands and somewhat basic amenities. On these first timepieces, the original Tudor signature was on the dial with the top bar of the T extended over the rest of the word. In some rare cases, the Rolex brand could still be found on these early models as well.
Tudor Rose Logo
1936 was the year that the signature Tudor rose and shield inscription began to appear on the watch dials. Symbolizing strength and grace, the logo featured the company name below a rose within a shield. Eventually, the shield was dropped but the rose remained, signifying not only beauty but also acting as a nod to the founder’s English background.
Releasing itself from the Rolex name, the company finally became established on its own in 1946, when Montres Tudor SA was established by Wilsdorf. As the company began to grow into its own reputation, instead of living in the shadow of Rolex, Tudor watches released its first models: Oyster and Oyster Prince, and eventually the Oyster Prince Submariner. This launch broadened the use of the waterproof Oyster case, previously exclusive to Rolex. Later, in the 1950s, the Tudor Prince received Rolex’s self-winding rotor, continuing in use for many years.
Breaking free from the elite Rolex brand, Tudor was able to free itself from constraints and expectations in its look. Going for a broader range of color and materials, the company would experiment with unique chronographs as well as pared-down tool watches.
Military and Sports
Leaning into its functional identity, Tudor watches developed in a number of different sporting and military contexts—where a luxury Rolex would never do. Starting in the mid-1950s, the US Navy, Canadian Navy and Jamaican Defense Force all chose the Tudor Submariner based on its quality and durability under pressure. Pushed to the limits, the Submariner collection performed beyond expectations for decades, particularly for divers and sports enthusiasts.
Tudor Logo Reborn
In a move toward favoring strength over beauty, the Tudor logo was once again transformed in 1969. This time, the signature logo featured only a shield as a representative of its robust solidity.
Tudor Moving Forward
In partnership with the famous motorcycle manufacturer, Ducati, Tudor branched out into a more modern style with the Fastrider Black Shield in 2011. A refocus on divers’ watches in 2012 brought about the Heritage Black Bay as well as the Pelagos, which was waterproof to depths of more than 1600 feet. And in 2019, the newest models revealed at Baselworld continue to make their mark as a new look pays tribute to vintage inspiration from decades past—with a modern twist, of course.
Although the brand recognition for Tudor does not necessarily meet with its big brother, Rolex, the company has certainly made its own way in the industry over the past 90+ years. With more affordable offerings along with functional precision, Tudor is a watchmaker that is expected to perform far into the future.