TUDOR Watches: History You Should KnowBack to News & Exhibitions
Luxury fashion brands often have a more accessible fashion line available to the masses. It’s called a diffusion line. Think Ralph Lauren’s Polo, Donna Karan’s DKNY, Hugo’s Boss, or Dolce & Gabana’s D&G to name a few. Though diffusion lines in high-fashion clothing lines are on the decline, they still work well for watchmakers like Rolex’s TUDOR Watches.
Though diffusion lines peaked in the 1990s and early 2000s, TUDOR Watches, owned by Rolex SA, was one of the first brands to have a diffusion model. In 1926, watchmaker and dealer Veuve de Philippe Hüther registered the TUDOR trademark for Hans Wilsdorf. Then Wilsdorf established TUDOR Watches in Geneva, negotiating a deal for exclusive usage rights from the dealer. From the very beginning, Rolex founder, Hans Wilsdorf, knew exactly what he wanted Tudor Watches to be.
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 separate company, with the object of making and marketing this new watch. It is called the TUDOR watch company.
In 1932, the first TUDOR watches sent to Australia were delivered exclusively to the Willis Company. The Rolex name appeared on some of the rare pieces to ensure the TUDOR was associated with Rolex.
These watches were “rectangular with bevelled sides in chromium-plated metal, with 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 caliber was barrel‑shaped, recognizable by its three red rubies visible on the top plate.”
With the success of TUDOR watches, Wilsdorf made a deal and Veuve de Philippe Hüther transferred over the brand name TUDOR. The Tudor Rose began to appear on TUDOR watches during this same time.
Wilsdorf expanded TUDOR watches in 1946 with the creation of the Montres TUDOR S.A. Company after World War II. Though TUDOR needed its own identity, Rolex would provide the “technical, aesthetic, and functional characteristics.”
The mid-20th century saw Montres TUDOR grow immensely, thanks to an updated rose logo and TUDOR watch branded marketing. In 1952 Montres TUDOR debuted the waterproof and automatic TUDOR Oyster Prince and in 1955, the TUDOR Oyster Prince Submariner dive watch was inducted into the catalog, followed by the TUDOR Advisor alarm watch and the ultra slim TUDOR Oysterthin in 1957 with more designs being introduced through to the 1970s.
TUDOR watches stopped being sold in the U.S. in the 1990s and early 2000s due to low sales and brand equity. Today, however, there has been a resurgence of TUDOR watches in high-fashion and sports. Lady Gaga and David Beckham are the latest celebrity ambassadors of TUDOR watches latest collection TUDOR Black Bay Watches, with their chic yet sporty, two-toned designs.
Not sure where to buy TUDOR watches to fit your style? Visit the luxury timepiece experts at Swiss Fine Timing in Chicago.