A brief history of Tudor – everything you need to know about the iconic watch brand

by | May 3, 2022 - 7:33AM | Watches

David Beckham sporting a Tudor watch

When David Beckham helped relaunch Tudor in 2017, people might have not known how long the watch brand has been around.

But Tudor has a fascinating past.

So let’s dive in.

READ MORE: 7 watches that cost more than a Bugatti Chiron

A silver and black Tudor Oyster watch.
Image: Tudor

Tudor was founded in 1946 by Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf, who wanted to create a more accessible version of his high-end watch brand.

The first model launched was the Tudor Oyster 4463, which as planned, was indeed a more accessible version of Rolex’s Oyster precision watches.

Over the years, Tudor continued to make a name for itself in the competitive world that is horology, and having Rolex by its side was a real bonus in achieving greatness. 

The watches that made Tudor

Into the late 1960s and 1970s, Tudor began to produce its version of the iconic Rolex Submariner appropriately named the Tudor Submariner – which wore the signature snowflake hands.

And these are the watches that really put the brand on the map.

From this, Tudor began supplying these watches to the French Royal Navy and even created a recent homage piece called the Pelagos FXD.

READ MORE: 5 watches to scratch the Patek Philippe ‘Tiffany blue’ itch (and aren’t $6.5m)

Tudor relaunch with David Beckham

After a long time of not much, Tudor relaunched in 2017 with David Beckham as the new face of the brand.

This is where things really took off. We saw the arrival of the Black Bay, a Submariner-like timepiece at a much more affordable price.

To put the Black Bay’s price into perspective, a brand-new Rolex Submariner (if you can get one) starts at US$9,000, whereas a brand-new standard Black Bay will set you back $3,700.

That’s a huge saving for something that is essentially a baby Rolex that will still get the attention of a Submariner.

In recent months and years, new Tudor releases have been some of the most highly anticipated watches to come out.

In fact, one of its most sought-after pieces is any from the Black Bay 58 line-up which is essentially a standard Black Bay but at a slightly smaller size – making it the perfect size for most wrists. 

But with love for these watches also comes hate and the main criticism from outsiders is that Tudor watches are just “a poor man’s Rolex”.

But we are here to tell you this is far from the case.

It’s a watchmaker with a storied history and some iconic designs.

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