Tudor is the sister company of Rolex, a pretty well known Swiss luxury watch brand. It was founded in 1926 on behalf of Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf, who then went on to take direct control of Tudor about ten years later.
At first, Tudor was supposed to be a cheaper alternative to Rolex, using the same incredible cases and bracelets with somewhat less amazing off-the-shelf movements. The watches were positioned as a way to enjoy the luxury of Rolex without having to, you know, own a bank or whatever people did back then to have a lot of money.
However, then something interesting happened. In the 40s, Tudor launched the Oyster collection, using the waterproof Oyster case that had, until then, been exclusive to Rolex watches. Then, in 1952, the company released The Prince, which featured a Rolex self-winding mechanism. Suddenly, Tudor was emerging as a luxury powerhouse of its own.
Shortly after that, the French Navy began commissioning these “tool watches” in bulk for everyday use in potentially harsh and demanding conditions. And, in 1964, the US Navy got their own specifically produced Oyster Prince Submariner line of watches.
Tudor’s reputation for making incredible luxury watches that were also fully capable of everyday utility grew exponentially.
Today, the brand stands proudly as a world renowned name that means quality and class. While still a sister company to Rolex, Tudor watches carry a prestige all of their own, and any collector is proud to have one on their wrist.
We’ve always wondered where the Tudor brand got its name, so, like any modern knowledge seeker, we Googled it.
It turns out that a Tudor is “A monarch of the British royal family during the sixteenth century.” Well, we didn’t need any more information than that to fill in the rest of the story with stuff that we, admittedly, completely made up.
We imagine the Tudors were known for their impressive taste in luxury watches, and their ruling legacy left Britain with an abundance of time pieces that were issued to the people. We like to think of this as the golden age of watches in the United Kingdom, a period during which every man, woman and child had a beautifully crafted timepiece of their very own.
Because of their love for watches, the Tudors were known to also be extremely punctual. They never showed up late to an appointment, and they always showed up exactly 40 minutes late to a party. Some say they were actually the creators of that particular social power move.
At the end of the 16th century, the head Tudor, King Hank, decided it was time for a change of scenery. He promptly gave his crown to his tennis partner, sold the castle (using part of the asking price to pay off his mortgage), and moved his family to Switzerland. There, he took part in the founding of the Swiss luxury watch industry.
Or something like that. Hey, we’re not the History Channel.
Now we’re going to take a little dive into Tudor’s offerings. We’re lucky enough to have a pretty good spread of Tudor watches for men, and we always appreciate an opportunity to show them off.
What you’re about to see is a display of Swiss luxury watches that we consider to be some of the best out there, both in looks and function. While we certainly wouldn’t say they’re cheap, it can’t be denied that they’re punching way above their price tags, as Tudors are all expertly crafted masterpieces with incredible internals.
Even better, every watch on this list has gotten the special WatchMaxx treatment, which is basically just us knocking numbers off the sale price.
Let’s start with the timeless classic, the Black Bay.
The Black Bay could be said to be the workhorse of the modern Tudor lineup. Based on the original Submariner dive watches, these are pieces that exemplify the philosophy of mixing great luxury design with utility.
This particular model does that in a black and silver aesthetic. The black dial is pristine, and the white oversized hour markers are easy to read and stand out in a way that catches the eye.
The hour hand is shaped like what we think is a scepter, possibly a nod to the definition of a Tudor as we discussed above. It’s fun, yes, but it’s also a great design that adds a splash of character.
The brushed steel case is built like a tank and features a respectable 200 meters of water resistance. The Manufacture Calibre MT5623 movement isn’t anything to sneeze at, either, and offers around 70 hours of power reserve.
Stats aside, this is a watch that has to be worn to be truly understood. It really feels like it was made with a king in mind. The feel on the wrist is comfortable but secure and carries a heft that gives it a truly premium presence. The beautiful black leather strap certainly doesn’t hurt either.
Whereas the Black Bays are large and imposing luxury tool watches, Styles are on the other end of the spectrum. These are sometimes considered unisex watches, but still lean towards the men’s watch aesthetic.
Measuring in at a comfortably slim 38mm, this burgundy dial Style is where it’s at if your primary goal is to light up your look a bit.
While burgundy is a fittingly royal kind of color, the way it’s presented here is nothing less than breathtaking. The reflective property of the dial gives it the impression of looking down into the top of a goblet of wine, a decidedly kingly drink of luxury.
The ridged bezel is an artist’s touch, and the slim profile of the bracelet makes admiring the beautiful presentation that much easier.
This is the kind of watch that you let people catch a glimpse of at an important meeting of dignitaries as you reach your hand out in greeting. In true Tudor fashion, It’s not a statement piece so much as it’s a confirmation that you’re somebody to be taken seriously.
If you recall, 1926 was a big year for Tudor. In fact, it’s the company’s date of birth. The 1926 watch is a vintage throwback celebration of that monumental year in all its resplendent glory.
The dial is a masterwork of detail with a seemingly endless crisscrossing texture covering its entirety, broken up only by the rose gold tone hands and markers and the signature nameplate and rotor designation.
Speaking of those rose gold tone hands, the way they play against the dial is incredibly smooth and elegant, belying a grace of manufacturing that was a landmark of the 1920s gentlemanly perspective on luxury. This is a watch that calls for a stiff glass of scotch after a tightly played game of tennis with the chaps.
The bracelet, while at first glance is a standard stainless steel affair, is deceptively intricate with its multitude of immaculately fit-together links that move in a much more fluid manner than we first expected. The result is maximum comfort and an impressively high-quality feel.
If you’re somebody who likes to take time away from your throne to cruise the fast lane, then this is probably the Tudor you’re looking for.
The Fastrider series was born from the partnership between the watchmaker and the legendary superbike manufacturer Ducati, which suddenly makes a lot of sense when you look at that dial. It’s like an instrument gauge from an action movie, and the MPH tops out at the sound barrier.
In all seriousness, we love the dial’s setup. The three sub dials are interesting and exciting, and the way they’ve been enlarged to push out the hour markers at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock is a bold design choice that’s certainly paying off. The skeletal hands are, well, just incredibly cool looking.
While we don’t expect many people are going to get a lot of function out of the midnight black tachymeter etched into the bezel, it’s certainly a feature that only adds to the overall mystique of the watch.
We imagine that Tudor has a lot of fun with their Ducati partnership. It gives them an outlet to flex their clearly powerful creative muscles and produce luxury pieces that break away from the more polite designs of their other watches. It also makes us want to get out there and put the pedal to the metal, as it were. Vroom vroom.