Who Owns Tudor Watches

By Patrick Fassler â€¢  Updated: 07/15/22 â€¢  7 min read

Tudor was originally trademarked in 1926 Verve de Philippe Hüther on behalf of Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex. Over the years, Tudor has shaped itself from being the little sister of Rolex into one of the most prestigious and sought-after brands around. However, many continue to question who owns Tudor today.

Let’s dive into Tudor, their parent company, and what makes Tudor watches significant today.

tudor watches box

What We’ll Cover

Tudor’s Founder

Tudor was originally trademarked in 1926 and was taken over by Hans Wilsdorf ten years after. Later, in 1946, he formed Mounters TUDOR SA. Today, Tudor is owned by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundationa Swiss non-profit which maintains ownership of Rolex and Tudor.

The Purpose of Tudor Watch Company

The goal of Tudor Watches was to create a more affordable alternative to Rolex. Wilsdorf had created a highly-regarded brand with Rolex, and he wanted to bring the same reliability and quality to a lower price point without tarnishing the Rolex name.

Rolex and Tudor Relationship

In the forming days of Tudor Watches, the company used off-the-shelf movements inside Rolex cases and on Rolex bracelets. Original Tudors are seen with Rolex logos on the cases, dial, and bracelets. The main difference between the 1920s to 1940s was the movement underneath.

Today, Tudor will play off of Rolex heritage with certain designs like the Heritage Black Bay GMT; however, they do not share movements, cases, or bracelets in modern models. They are merely an homage to the Pepsi design GMT Master II from Rolex.

Tudor’s Heritage

Oyster

In the 1940s, Tudor launched their Tudor Oyster collection. Before Tudor’s use of the Oyster name, it had been exclusively reserved for Rolex waterproof watches starting in 1926. The Oyster name refers to the waterproof case used by Rolex and Tudor, signifying their sealed cases.

Prince

Later, in 1952, Tudor released one of my favorite lines – the Tudor Prince. This was Tudor’s first self-winding model and was a significant part of their history. This was the Tudor Watch Company’s move into tool watches.

Oyster Prince

The move into the Prince line later created the Oyster Prince line. In 1952, 26 Tudor Oyster Princes were used in the scientific expedition of Greenland by the British.

Moving forward, the Tudor was the supplier of watches for the Marine Nationale (French Navy). The French Navy was a field researcher for the Tudor Dive Watch.

Oyster Prince Submariner

The Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner was launched in 1954. The original model was waterproof up to 100m. Four years later, we saw the Oyster Prince Submariner waterproofing increased to 200m.

In 1964, ten years after the OP Submariner launched, Tudor began supplying them for the United States Navy.

Original Tudor Chronograph

The original Tudor Chronograph was launched in 1970 with the name Oysterdate. The watch featured a manual wind Valjoux calibre 7734 with cam mechanism chrono function.

A year later, Tudor launched the second series of their Chronograph lineup, which received the nickname Montecarlo. The nickname comes from the roulette wheel-inspired design.

Following in 1976 was the third series of the Tudor Chronograph, called the Big Block. This was Tudor’s first self-winding movement in their Chronograph.

Modern Tudor Watches

Tudor Prince Date Day Gold with Diamonds

2009 Tudor Brand Relaunch

In 2009, ten years after the Tudor Hydronaut launched, the company underwent a major brand relaunch. During the relaunch, we saw the introduction of the Tudor Grantour Chronograph and the Tudor Glamour Collection. This is where we began to see models such as the Prince Date + Day under the Glamour line.

Following the 2009 relaunch, Tudor released the Heritage Chronograph in 2010 – a watch inspired by the Montecarlo.

In 2011, the company released the Heritage Advisor Alarm Watch, the Clair de Rose collection for ladies’ watches, and the Fastrider Chrono.

Moving forward to 2012, we saw the launch of one of the most popular Tudor models on the market today – the Tudor Heritage Black Bay (Heritage BB). Along with the Heritage BB, we also saw the Pelagos Diver’s Watch, which was the first titanium watch from Tudor or Rolex. The Pelagos features a 42 mm titanium case and is waterproof up to 500m.

Tudor In-House Movements

One of the reasons Tudor was previously seen as the “poor man’s Rolex” was due to their off-the-shelf movements. With its relaunch in 2009, Tudor aimed to distance itself from the title of “little sister” of Rolex. It has since become a company that enjoys experimenting with designs and movements, making it an arguably more interesting brand than Rolex.

In 2015, Tudor launched the North Flag model. This was a significant watch for two reasons. To start, the watch was a tribute to the original watch used for the North Greenland Expedition of 1952. More importantly, though, it was Tudor’s first in-house movement, featuring the Calibre MY5621.

Since the launch of the North Flag and the calibre MY5621, Tudor has moved in-house movements into their lineup. In 2016, the Heritage Black Bay GMT (Pepsi) featured a COSC Certified MT5652 movement from Tudor.

Moving to 2017, Tudor added in-house movements to all sport watches along with the broadening of the Black Bay line.

Will Rolex Dealers Service Tudor

Tudor and Rolex Relationship

The short answer is, possibly. Because Tudor and Rolex are both owned by The Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, it isn’t too uncommon to see a Rolex AD also sell Tudor. However, many Rolex dealers are also standalone now.

If a dealer sells both Tudor and Rolex, yes, they’ll have servicing resources. With that said, most Rolex-exclusive dealers will not provide service for Tudors, as they use different movements.

Our local Rolex dealer in Daytona Beach, for example, does not sell nor service Tudor, even though the parent company is the same.

Who Owns Tudor Watches is No Longer Relevant

Because Tudor transitioned to in-house movements, experimental designs, target customer, and availability, their relationship as the little sister of Rolex is separating. Although The Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, who owns Tudor and Rolex, still has control over the brands, it has been nice to see the two separate more over the years.

The last ten years for Tudor have shown us that the company can produce watches of the highest quality while separating itself from the Rolex name. I’m excited to see what the company launches moving forward, as their Heritage and Glamour line are some of the best in the industry.

Patrick Fassler

🚗 Unhealthy Car Obsession ⏱ Semi-Healthy Watch Obsession 📌 Daytona Beach, FL

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