Tudor, Rolex´s little sister, is making efforts to get more and more attractive. The plans of the brand are ambitious.

Tudor Heritage Chrono blue

Please let me know your opinion and tell me if you see it the same way as I do. You have for sure already seen the new watches; they are part of Tudor´s new effort to gain market shares.

Tudor is an interesting brand with a rich history. Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex, was a brilliant strategist with a clear vision for the future …

In 1946 Hans Wilsdorf said: “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 standards of dependability for which Rolex are 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.” Hans Wilsdorf who, having created Rolex in the first decade of the 20th century, was already a leading figure in the upmarket Swiss watchmaking world made this announcement on March 6th 1946. It marked the birth of both the Tudor brand and of its production and communications strategy.

If we look even a bit closer, early traces of Tudor and its creations can be found as far back as 1926. The Swiss watchmaking company, “Veuve de Philippe Hüther”, on behalf of Hans Wilsdorf, registered the brand. In 1936, Wilsdorf took it over himself, and went on to found the company Montres Tudor SA in 1946

Hans Wilsdorf’s intuition was as simple as it was ingenious. At that time, the development of wristwatches was in full swing and today’s widespread drive to optimize resources, which is currently behind so many major financial and brand mergers, was still in the far-distant future. The public was ready to recognize and appreciate a product whose technical, aesthetic and functional qualities, as well as its distribution, were guaranteed not by a newcomer on the market, but by the Rolex brand, which had already earned worldwide renown for the high quality of its timepieces.

The year 1952, in particular, saw the launch of the Tudor Oyster Prince, accompanied by a press campaign that was very intense, strong and original for the period. The advertisements not only showed and described the watches, as was customary at the time; they also underlined the qualities of resistance, reliability and precision, complete with both detailed text and illustrations. The latter depicted men at work wearing a Tudor in extreme conditions such as doing strenuous work on a road or in a mine; and not strictly in sports set-tings such as motorcycling, playing golf or horse-riding, which were also effective test situations but far more conventional. These images, together with the by then widely recognized soundness of the product, helped give Tudor watches a style and personality associated with concepts of modernity and reliability, and launched it well beyond the particular context in which it was being shown. It is significant that 30 Tudor Oyster Prince watches were included in the British scientific expedition to Greenland organized by the Royal Navy in 1952. In the wake of its technological triumphs and the success of its image, brought about by its participation in the polar explorations, the Tudor brand in the 1960s became involved in a project to develop a professional underwater watch that could become a piece of official military equipment.

Tudor Montecarlo Ref. 7169 from 1973

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A Tudor Prince Submariner was produced for the US Navy from 1964 to 1966, followed in the early 1970s, and until 1984, by the Marine Nationale model, which was officially adopted by the French Navy. Also in 1970 a model was introduced that stood out for its style and technology: the Tudor Oysterdate Chronograph. And so for Tudor began the era of stylish watches of a more technical design, inspired by professions regarded as dangerous. They were therefore endowed with particular functional features – for example, divers’ models with date or chronograph function – and a style that radiated strength, security and reliability. The people selected for the Tudor Prince Submariner and Tudor Prince Date-Day advertising campaign at the time were not well-known personalities, which made it easier for the public to identify with them. They included rescue divers, mining engineers or rally drivers whose full names 1968 ere given, and who were photographed with their equipment, conveying perfect mastery of their professions. This role is reflected in the Tudor Grantour product line, first introduced at Baselworld 2009, the year that saw a complete rethinking of the Tudor brand, resulting in the new series of watches and the advertising campaign: “Designed for Performance. Engineered for Elegance.” Tudor´s communication thereby displayed a definite shift from the advertising campaigns of the 1980s, which had featured distinctive details from knightly armor in order to express resistance and to emphasize the change in logo from rose to shield. This repositioning of the brand, yet again emphasizing the marriage of performance and style, continues to be evident in the new designs for 2013.

 

>>> To see my pictures of the Tudor baselworld 2013 novelties please click HERE

 

After a hard time where Tudor was almost no longer active on the international markets, the today’s plans are again very ambitious. During Baselworld CEO Philippe-E. Peverelli told me that he plans to sell 250.000 watches in the next years. All Tudor watches are equipped with ETA movements. Today reliable sources tell me that Tudor is actual delivered by ETA somewhat 120.000 movements and 2013 Tudor should get somewhat 140.000 Eta movements. So I doubt that Tudor will be able to grow as quickly as CEO Peverelli wants.

The next question to ask is: Is it the right strategy to build the new Tudor brand on ETA calibers? Or, would it not be much more attractive to have Tudor in-house movements? Rolex could easily design, create and then produce specific Tudor-movements. The R&D department at Rolex is so strong and big, that it would be no problem to take care of the theory; the expertise of the Rolex people to build calibers is so huge that it would be an easy thing to do for them and the financial resources of Rolex are sufficient to finance such a project.

Of course Rolex/Tudor cannot fabricate calibers for the same price as ETA can, but still these Tudor-calibers would give the brand an additional USP. With an ETA caliber the brand is in direct competition with Longines, Tissot, Maurice Lacroix, Oris, TAG Heuer and some others.

So my next question is: What are the real intentions of Tudor? As already mentioned I doubt Swatch Group will ever deliver 250.000 ETA calibers to Tudor. So how can the brand ever achieve the CEO´s goal?

What we all probably don´t doubt is that the Tudor design team has a good taste. The watches are cool they really look good. Also there is no need to doubt the quality of the Tudor watches. You get a very good Swiss made watch for still little money.

What do you think? Please guys write me, I want to get your feedback.

These are pictures of Tudor watches presented in the last years. I like mostly all of them and I would wear the as well. Still with a Tudor in-house caliber they would even be much more attractive 🙂

Tudor Heritage Advisor
Tudor Heritage Advisor
Tudor Heritage Chrono
Tudor Heritage Chrono
Tudor Heritage Black Bay
Tudor Heritage Black Bay
Tudor Heritage Black Bay
Tudor Heritage Black Bay
Tudor Pelagos
Tudor Pelagos
Tudor Heritage Chrono blue
Tudor Heritage Chrono blue
Tudor Fastrider Chronograph
Tudor Fastrider Chronograph
Tudor Fastrider Black Shield
Tudor Fastrider Black Shield
Tudor Fastrider Black Shield
Tudor Fastrider Black Shield

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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30 Comments

  • Guys,

    Tudor’s 2014 models speaks for themselves…..I’m happy to get one of their Black Shield….it’s stunning!

  • I own two Rolex, one being a 2012 presidential and a 2000 two tone date just which was my daily wear until now. I recently fell in love with, and purchased a heritage classic Monte Carlo, and my wife who never really had a love affair with Rolex, fell in love with a black bay heritage. We are both proud owners of Tudor watches to add to our other collection of watches, and actually enjoy being under the radar. Quality time pieces that I can’t stop looking at on my wrist.

  • Isn’t this ETA vs in-house movement debate out of Tudor’s hands? Meaning ETA’s intentions of stopping supply to outside companies has already been decided (although implementation modified and delayed). So it’s my understanding that no watchmaker outside the Swatch group should count on ETA movements lasting forever.

    • Absolute correct Steve, this is how non-Swatch-Group companies should see the situation and react in time. But, not everyone in the industry sees the things as clear even we two see them …

      • I guess that Rolex prepares for a new generation of movements with new features to keep up with Omega (e.g. antimagnetic) and then the “old” movements can be introduced in the Tudors. All that would work step by step and not from one day to the other of course.

  • I can afford a Rolex, but I felt like they where charging way too much for stainless steel, so I never bought! where I am from too many people have them, real or fake! Last Sunday, I did get to try the Tudors out (@ Tourneu), the fit and cases are awesome! And the movement, sorry it does’nt matter to me, because neither brand uses see thru case backs! So I find the movement squabble quite trivial 🙂

    regards, Beasley

  • For what i think , pepoles really need to know what is the ETA of COSC standard. the ETA of the COSC standrad actyally even better than some in-house movement.. and tudor’s case are as well as the rolex.

  • Sirs, first is the bezel on the heritage ceramic or steel, I have read both and it is not clear in the watch time review, lastly, do you feel this watch is a good value at approx.$ 3500. Thanks, Rod

  • Hi guys,

    I have had a careful look at the Tudor range and only 2pieces have in my humble opinion and heritage and classic style the rest being like the run of the mill automatic watches in the average range og automatic watches out there.The first one is the Black Bay Heritage which is a beautiful piece albeit that it has an inexpensive movement but the finish is superb and let’s not forget that it is still serviced by the Rolex service centre which is a plus as those guys are so with it and secondly the Heritage Chrono which is also a great looking piece but whose engine is of average quality BUT I would rather have these pieces in my collection compared to having some of the other Swiss brands as they still carry prestige being the baby brother of a brand like Rolex as when servicing the timepiece you still get the same treatment as if it was a Rolex and the big advantage is that the service centre in our country deal with a single brand instead of certain brands that have up to 8 or 10 brands to deal with causing heavy delays in servicing or top notch knowledge in all the brands that they deal with.So compliments to the Rolex and Tudor family who can now compete in 2 types of markets.

  • I am a proud owner of a Pelagos. The size is perfect, the design simple and functional. From afar you might mistake it for a submariner, but it really has it’s own personnality…and I like that.

    I think Tudor should continue to distance itself from Rolex design wise, but still use it’s vast experience and knowhow to make a very good watch.

    Being in the Rolex family gives the buyer an added insurance of quality…and also a garanty of excelent after-sales services.

    I don’t see the problem with Tudor making in house movements. Nomos, Frederic Constant and others do it while keeping the prices relatively low…it would add a huge incentive for buying Tudors.

  • It is interesting to note that Tudor is the only brand from the Rolex group to use “exotic” materials (titanium, ceramic) for its cases. It may be important to attract younger customers.

  • Hi Alexander
    I posted a comment last night and am not sure if it got lost in the system.Could you please check for me

    Regards

    Stephen

    • Stephen, I just double checked and I could not find your comment. I do read every single comment before putting it online, but I did not get yours …

      Sorry, that I have no better news for you!

      Alexander

  • In my opinion, going for an in-house movement wouldn’t make a lot of sense, because it would become a lot harder to differentiate both brands from each other. Not only because some of the models look rather similar to each other (I am looking at you, Pelagos) – at least to the average person – but also because I, personally, wouldn’t see a reason to pay a few thousand bucks more for a Rolex with a Rolex movement vs. a Tudor with a Rolex movement, unless the difference in quality justifies the price difference.

    Then again, the automotive industry (especially the Volkswagen Group) has shown on numerous occasions, that customers do not really care whether the more expensive car shares most of the important parts with the cheaper car(s) (Audi A1 vs. VW Polo vs. Seat Ibiza vs. Skoda Fabia for example), since brand image and looks play a very important role in decision making too.

    If they think that a Tudor with in-house movement wouldn’t cannibalize Rolex sales, they will probably go for it to reach their ambitious goals, as I highly doubt that Swatch will sell 250’000 movements a year to them. I am, however, not sure whether there is a market for 250’000 Tudors/year. I guess time will tell 🙂

  • Although the Tudor Design does not appeal to me, I can somehow follow the argumentation of using non-in-house calibers.
    Just imagine Tudor would not be an independent Brand but the watches would be marketed under Rolex (and, consequently, have the Rolex printing on the dial). Would that be so much different from other watch brands that do the same? There are numerous brands that sell watches with both in-house and ETA/Sellita calibers. And for most of these brands, the cheaper watches with ETA (or other) calibers sell in much larger amounts than the watches with in-house calibers. I do not agree that the price of a watch is not an issue – the sold numbers of the brands that sell both types of watches tell the opposite. Especially in the entry-level (< CHF 5000) price is an issue.
    So, only the fact that Tudor is a different brand than Rolex, does – in my eyes – not make a difference and therefore it makes sense to me that they use industrialized calibers.

  • As nice as the watches might like – if I buy a luxury watch, I want to go for the “real” thing. Tudor has the advantage to profit from Rolex’ experience and know how, but this is also – at least in my opinion – the problem: It is widely looked at the “cheap variant” of a Rolex for those who can’t afford a Rolex (which by the way is hilarious, since we are talking about the luxury watch segment, where price should not be the main decision critria). This is even more a problem when you see that some design elements strongly remind of Rolex. Maybe the story would be different if they completely would step back from Rolex design and use proprietary technology.

    • if I would go for an ETA movement I would consider Mühle Glashütte.
      Very nice finish, great service and very honest prices; besides, their watches also look better than Tudor and cost a fraction, being even more accurate.

  • None of the styles appeals to me – they all look like cheap Rolex homages.

    As a couple of others have said, it does not appeal to me to buy a watch with an ETA movement that is more expensive than a great range of SWATCH group companies that have access to ETA with their own in-house tweaks.

    If Rolex were to manufacture a less expensive movement, it would only push the price up higher, towards territory Rolex already has.

    Zero appeal to this collector either way

    • Totally agree with Reg on this. I would look at cheaper offerings from Longines and Hamilton (to name just a few Swatch brands) OR step up to Rolex– but would probably skip Tudor in the process.

    • there were many “Rolex design” brands that disappeared in all this time; at the moment there are a few new niche ones.
      Let us be clear; Rolex has the same sales strategy as Apple; distinctive design and mysterious quality grade.
      It has followers and believers.

      As far as design goes, Rolex is an adorned metallic band, not a watch.

      Now imagine having to explain a Tudor on your wrist; what would you say? “I did not have enough money , so I bought this scaled down replica.”
      “Oh great, but it has the reliable Rolex mechanism that goes on forever.”
      “Well, not actually. It has a mainstream ETA movement from Swatch industrial group.”

      I leave to you here to write the reply.

      • Dear Nick,

        As a young man from Switzerland, I see Tudor as a young and sporty brand that’s less flashy than Rolex and stands out with its new collection which targets the younger generation. Some of these watches look better than Rolexes and don’t even look like theme anymore.

        To me, the Black Bay (which is not cheap at all) looks grate and has nothing to see with any model Rolex has ever made (by the way, the burgundy color is historically the color of Tudor watches). It is thicker, warmer and very trendy on the aged leather strap and should be seen as being more modern and more audacious than the old Rolex submariner for instance.

        To me, Rolex tend to become a wannabe watch for those who don’t really have money but want one in order to pretend being rich (I’m talking about watches under 8’000 USD). It seem to be your case as you want to buy a watch because of what uninitiated people will say about it. I find your way of thinking immature; you don’t like a brand because it use to be cheaper rolexes (especially for military purposes in the 50’s) and don’t admit the reborn of the Brand and it’s stunning new collection. People like you would rather buy an Omega speed master rather than a Black Bay even they have the same price just because it is Omega. I know many people with lots of money who would buy anything except Rolexes because of this.

        By the way, I definitely will get a Black Bay not because I couldn’t afford a Rolex, but because it is the nicest watch in its price category. Stop comparing the two brands. It doesn’t make sense anymore.

        Best Regards,

        Max

    • Basically, ETA have 3 or 4 grades of movements: (Standard), Elaborated, Top and Chronometer. They have different qualities of main springs, pallet stones, balance wheels and hairsprings. They have different prices therefore.
      For example, Standard grade movements are only adjusted in 2 positions but Top grade movements are adjusted in 5 positions and even meet the standards prescribed by COSC.

      Some IWC used ETA 2892 and people were willing to buy them. Some Longines use 2892 as well, but they are not in the same grade as IWC and they have different prices. A common movement isn’t a drawback of a good watch!

  • Tudor maintains style of bold hands and indexes.
    Watches are really easy for time reading

  • If we assume Alexander’s thoughts on Tudor going in-house to be accurate (and I think they are), the next question becomes how does Tudor market themselves vis-a-vis Rolex. Younger? Sportier? Vintage-inspired? In the grand scheme of things, we are seeing one of the symptoms of Swatch group no longer shipping ETAs: it is forcing a lot of companies to go in-house. This is great for us as consumers, but it may be tough on certain watch manufacturers. When everyone is doing an in-house movement, they no longer have the mystique that the few boutique brands had; therefore companies are forced to sell products on different merits. I’m not entirely sold that Tudor can prove to a fickle public there is anything remarkable about them. And to echo some previous comments– there are a lot of offerings at the price points of these Tudors. They are too expensive to be a value prospect, and not exclusive enough to be a luxury item. However– Rolex does have a large enough marketing budget to overcome the “negatives” we perceive on this forum.

  • the shop window saturation could be the only logical explanation
    (market is full of brands in this range that are far better positioned than Tudor).

    • Correct! As long as Tudor and Rolex do not do the next step. I personally like most of the new chronographs and diving watches they make, but they would be much sexier with a lower cost ABB or BAA Rolex movement 🙂

  • I am reluctant to bet against Rolex with the huge success it has had over the years but why should I buy a Tudor (the prices I have seen show them not to be inexpensive for an ETA movement) when I can buy a Longines or various other Swiss brands for less money. On the other hand a Rolex manufacture movement might cannibilize sales from Rolex so …

    • Thank to all of you for giving me your feedback. I see the things a little different then some of you and I am convinced that Rolex could easily build an in-house movement even for a low price.

      An email from a person from the trade I know just reached me and the the person told me that Rolex had shown him ten years ago already a working sample of an automatic caliber for women’s Tudor watches. When the person asked Tudor/Rolex why a ladies version first Tudor/Rolex answered him: It is much more difficult to build and produce a smaller and thinner movement. Once this is done the men’ s version is just peanuts to do.”

      So why did they not follow that project?

      And I can tell you that Tudor has filed some patents to protect an own escapement for mechanical watches. Look for it in the Swiss patent servers and you will find it …

      So when I see and read all this let me be a little cynical: Could it be that the step to “reinvent” Tudor for the moment is only done to gain more precious space in the shop windows of the Rolex retailers? Every Rolex retailer will be forced now to decorate Tudor beside Rolex and no longer present Tudor in the second row. The place beside Rolex gives Rolex in the end more visibility, since the few Tudor watches are neither disturbing nor stealing Rolex the show. But the much bigger space occupied by Rolex in the best location in the shop window is gone for the various AAA competitors. They will have live with what’s left. Guys believe me I know that there is real battle going on for each centimetre in the shop windows.

      It’s just a theory, but it could be …

      Anyhow the ambitious goal to sell 250.000 watches with ETA movements must fail, since I am sure ETA will not deliver so many calibers, and among them a lot of the in the industry so looked after chronograph movements from Valjoux and Valgrange, to Tudor …

  • Hi Alex,
    In my very personal view, building Tudor’s in-house movements might not be a good strategy.
    (At least in China) Most customers and potential customers are not attracted by the movements but aesthetically beautiful design of Tudor (especially the design based on vintage watches). What’s more, the robust ETA movement have an excellent cost-benefit ratio and those ETA movements in Tudor have a reliable high qualities!
    Basically, there’s no doubt that developing a so-called in-house movement certainly will result in a higher price but will not 100% boost the quality!
    Cheers,
    Logan

  • I see no point in buying ETA calibers as a sub-Rolex brand for the price of an Omega.
    Rolex is already way overpriced if compared to Omega.
    Now imagine giving out money for a generic mass market caliber that belongs to the Swatch group for the price of a high-end caliber of the same industrial group only because it was packed by a competitor (Rolex).

    Tudor Heritage Advisor looks nice, the rest looks cheap.

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