Tudor

Tudor

Novelties

1926-1960 HANS WILSDORF’S INTUITION “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.” The date was 6 March 1946 and the writer of these words was none other than Hans Wilsdorf, a key figure in high-end Swiss watchmaking who had created Rolex in the first decade of the 20th century. With this statement, he officially announced a new brand, TUDOR, and the distinctive positioning and communication strategy he had in mind for it. Hans Wilsdorf’s intuition was both simple and brilliant. At the time, the market for wristwatches was growing rapidly. The public was open to recognizing and appreciating a product whose technical and functional characteristics, as well as its distribution, were guaranteed by a well-established brand respected worldwide for the quality of its products. Initially under the aegis of Rolex, TUDOR swiftly made a name for itself and separated from the brand with the crown. In fact, traces of TUDOR and its creations were evident as of 1926, the year in which the brand was registered by the Swiss watch manufacturer “Veuve de Philippe Hüther” on behalf of Hans Wilsdorf, who purchased it and registered it in his own name in 1936, and then launched Montres TUDOR SA in 1946. However, it was with the products and advertising campaigns of the 1950s that the brand acquired its strength and personality. Between 1947 and 1952, TUDOR initially launched the TUDOR Oyster, then the Tudor Oyster Prince line and finally the TUDOR Advisor, which embodied the successful combination of precision, reliability, technical refinement and production quality at moderate prices. 1952 THE TUDOR OYSTER PRINCE In 1952, the TUDOR Oyster Prince was launched, accompanied by a particularly striking and original communication campaign for the time. Far from confining itself to merely picturing and describing the product, as was the prevailing trend, this campaign emphasized the strength, reliability and precision of the watches. It did so not only with highly detailed text, but also through illustrations of men with a TUDOR on their wrist working in extreme conditions in professions, such as road construction and mining. These images, associated with proven product credibility, contributed to giving TUDOR watches a personality imbued with modernity and reliability, extending well beyond the context in which they were presented. The participation of 26 TUDOR Oyster Prince watches in the British scientific expedition to Greenland organized by the Royal Navy in 1952 was another significant chapter. 1960 to 2000 THE TRIUMPH OF THE TOOL-WATCH In the 1950s, riding the wave of success resulting from these Arctic expeditions, the TUDOR brand initiated a project to perfect a professional divers’ watch that would meet exceptional durability, reliability, precision and water-resistance criteria at a moderate price. The first TUDOR Oyster Prince Submariner was born in 1954 and many developments followed, including the famous “snowflakes”, the name given by collectors to models with square hands and hour-markers. In the 1960s, TUDOR equipped the US Navy with its Submariners. During the same period and until the mid-1980s, successive models were officially used by the Marine nationale française (French Navy). The TUDOR Oyster Prince Submariner was featured in the brand’s catalogue until 1999 and remains one of its most emblematic models. In parallel, TUDOR made its mark on the history of the chronograph, the emblematic motorsports instrument, by producing watches with a strong identity, unique style and uncompromising quality. Its first model, distinguished by an easily recognizable style, was launched in 1970. A hand-wound chronograph with a 45-minute counter and a date display, it was called the TUDOR Oysterdate. It was followed as of 1971 by a second-generation version produced until the mid-1970s, nicknamed “Montecarlo” by watch collectors. Popularized by these pioneers, TUDOR chronographs evolved; they became self-winding as of 1976 and have been constantly updated ever since. During the 1960s, the Tudor rose logo that appeared on the brand’s dials in 1936 was merged with a shield and then replaced by the latter alone – the emblem still used today, which alludes to the robustness of TUDOR products. As technical timepieces, inspired by particularly demanding professions and equipped with diving, calendar or chronograph functions, TUDOR watches found their place in the public imagination as watches worthy of the utmost confidence. In this spirit, the advertising campaigns of the era for the TUDOR Oyster Prince Submariner and the TUDOR Prince Date-Day showed anonymous professionals, including rescue-divers, mining engineers or rally drivers, photographed with their equipment. 2010-2015 THE FUTURE The Heritage line whose first model, the Chronograph, was launched at Baselworld in 2010, consolidates the revival process of a brand that has opted to base its development on a two-pillar strategy: Heritage and Technology. While seeking to reinterpret its heritage with contemporary models featuring a retro chic spirit such as Advisor, Black Bay, Chrono Blue or Ranger, the brand has also introduced products incorporating state-of-the-art technologies, ideas or innovative materials: Pelagos, Fastrider Black Shield and Grantour. It was during this period that TUDOR reconnected with its past ties to motorsports, through partnerships with Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati and the World Endurance Championship, which respectively inspired the Fastrider and Grantour lines. In 2013, competing for the first time in the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, TUDOR won the “Revival” prize for its Heritage Black Bay divers’ watch, a reinterpretation of an iconic 1954 model – thereby adding to a long list of international awards demonstrating the brand’s success in recent years. The year 2015 is an important turning point for Tudor as the brand presents the first Manufacture movements in its history fitted in its North Flag and Pelagos models.