With some watches, the high quality may not be the first thing to cross your mind when you hear the brand name. Tudor from Switzerland is one of those – still largely unknown, but the well informed are perfectly aware of what they stand for and how much of a beating they can take.
by Britta Rossander
Hans Wilsdorf, who founded Rolex in 1905, registered one more brand in 1926: Montres Tudor SA. The introduction of the first watches took place in 1946 when the Rolex “daugher brand” was finally presented to the world.
Wilsdorf wanted to give the new company an impressive name, inspired by the Tudor dynasty, the legendary Welsh royal family that ruled England from 1485 to 1603. The Tudors had a rose in their family crest, the Tudor Rose, which Wilsdorf used for a logotype. The rose was abandoned by the end of the 1960’s and was replaced with the shield that ever since is the emblem of the Tudor watches. Today the rose is used for some of the more advanced models, inside the movements and on the crowns.
So why a second brand? Simply because Wilsdorf wanted to offer customers high quality watches at reasonable prices without undermining Rolex’s position in the market. All the experience and technology from Rolex would be available to Tudor, but the movements would be produced by ETA, the gigantic movement supplier founded in 1793 and today owned by Swatch Group. All movements were modified by Tudor/Rolex to insure a high quality standard.
The Tudor watches are sold through the Rolex chain of retailers, and it goes without saying that choosing a Tudor gives you a whole lot of watch for your money. Most of the customers are men who want something on their wrist that not many others have. Tudor definitely offers a fantastic quality that is hard to beat in this price range.
The French navy realized the watches’ strong points already in the late 60’s and became an early customer. The chosen model was the Tudor Submariner, also used by the US Navy for their UDT (Underwater Demolition Team) as well as the Navy Seals.
Tudor has a perfect “retro chic style” and won the 2013 Grand Prix d’ Horlogerie de Genève prize for “Best Revival” with their Heritage Black Bay diver’s watch, an upgrade of their iconic 1954 model. One clue to Tudor watches is the textile wristband that can be fitted to some models. The band sometimes goes by the nickname “NATO band” – a name that Tudor is very careful to point out as being incorrect.
The people at Tudor loves auto racing and the brand has recently joined forces with the IMSA (International Motor Sport Association) Sportscar Championship. This is not the first time that Tudor enters a joint venture in the motoring business. From 2009 to 2011 they co-operated with Porsche Motorsport as their official timekeeper. To further develop the motorsports connection they also co-operate with Italian motorcycle producer Ducati. The Fastrider Black Shield model is the latest addition to the range from this contract.