Hans Wildorf's Intuition
Hans Wilsdorf’s intuition was both simple and brilliant: at the time, the market for wristwatches was growing rapidly.
The public was completely open to recognising and appreciating a product of which the technical and functional characteristics, as well as the distribution, were guaranteed by a watch brand that was established and well-known all over the world for the quality of its production.
Initially accompanied by Rolex, TUDOR swiftly made a name for itself, to the point where it soon completely separated from the brand with a crown.
Birth of the brand
In February 1926, the house of “Veuve de Philippe Hüther”, a watch dealer and maker, registered the trademark “The Tudor” for Hans Wilsdorf. Established in Geneva, he acquired the exclusive usage rights from the dealer.
First TUDOR watches in Australia
The first watches simply carried TUDOR on the dial with the horizontal bar of the T lengthened above the other letters. In rare instances the name Rolex also appeared. This would help guarantee the quality of the TUDOR watches, before the brand could attain its own autonomy. These models were mainly rectangular in shape with barrel or cut corners. In 1932, certain TUDOR watches were delivered for the Australian market exclusively to the Willis company, which was entrusted with selling them to the best jewellery shops.
CREATION OF “MONTRES TUDOR S.A.”
Just after the Second World War, Hans Wilsdorf knew that the time had come to expand and give the brand a proper identity of its own. Thus, on 6 March 1946, he created the “Montres TUDOR S.A.” company, specialising in models for both men and women. Rolex would guarantee the technical, aesthetic and functional characteristics, along with the distribution and after-sales service.
BIRTH OF THE TUDOR OYSTER PRINCE
In 1952 the TUDOR Oyster Prince was launched, accompanied by an original advertising campaign emphasizing strength and quality through illustrations showing men at work in extreme conditions wearing a TUDOR on their wrist. These strong images, associated with the product’s credibility, contributed to giving TUDOR watches a style and personality reflecting the ideas of modernity and reliability – greatly surpassing the individual contexts in which they were shown.
OYSTER PRINCE “TUXEDO THE BLACK PRINCE” 7950
TUDOR “Tuxedo” is the name given by collectors to the Oyster Prince watches sporting a two-colour dial with large hour markers like the type that equips the reference 7950 illustrated here. Its central decoration in enamelled paint is divided into four sectors. It is surrounded by a metal insert with guilloche decorations. This black and white design recalls the characteristic colours of a tuxedo, hence the name.
TUDOR ADVISOR, THE FIRST ALARM WATCH
The TUDOR Advisor alarm watch is one of the brand’s most atypical models, the only one in its history to offer an alarm function. From 1957 to 1977 three different versions of the TUDOR Advisor were produced, two with an Oyster-type case, and a last one with a new dedicated case. In 2011, this legendary alarm watch was entirely redesigned and with a 42 mm diameter, larger than previous 34 mm editions.
TUDOR OYSTER PRINCE RANGER TUDOR OYSTER PRINCE RANGER
The TUDOR Oyster Prince Ranger model was introduced in the 1960s and was first listed in the catalogue in 1969.
The screw-down case back is engraved “MONTRES TUDOR S.A. GENEVA SWITZERLAND PATENTED” on the inside and it bears the signature “ORIGINAL OYSTER CASE BY ROLEX GENEVA” on the outside.
The steel Oyster-type bracelet (7835) has folding links and a Rolex signed clasp.
TUDOR: The Origins
Montres Tudor SA was founded by one of the most important figures in horology’s history, Mr Hans Wilsdorf; the gentleman who was also responsible for founding another goliath of the watch-making world: Rolex.
Tudor is considered one of the most innovative of all modern wristwatch brands with new uses of materials (the all ceramic Black Shield) and interesting movement complications (the Heritage Advisor). As the backdrop to all of this is a rich history of which Tudor is rightly proud, celebrated through the hugely successful Heritage watches. The Tudor Heritage releases have been an annual highlight at Baselworld since the Heritage Chronograph (based on the legendary Tudor ‘Homeplate’ Chronograph from 1971) was launched in 2010.
TUDOR Advisor: Anonymity Alarming Uncovered
Launched in 1957 and produced in three different versions, the Advisor is the only watch in the Wilsdorf era to offer an alarm function.
I often talk about Tudor being the innovative and experimental branch of ‘Wilsdorf’s World’ - Tudor had the first automatic chronograph and their Submariner was rated to 200m depth ahead of Rolex’s Submariner. There was another watch however that really was a technical achievement for its time and added another string to Tudor’s ‘technical bow’ - the Advisor.