Tudor is seen as a relatively new and modern brand, and is an established name under watch enthusiasts.
Yet, even though their reputation is relatively young, the brand is almost one hundred years old.
Tudor Is Owned By Rolex And Was Founded By Rolex’s Founder
This might not be a surprise for many, but it’s important to not forget how and why it happened.
‘What’s the big deal, brands buy and own other brands all the time?’
Well, this case is different, and definitely worth mentioning. Many brands and groups indeed buy other watchbands, but they stay separate brands. Omega is owned by the Swatch group, but the Swatch Group (and especially the Swatch brand) has limited to no influence in Omega’s way of doing business. Bulgari is owned by LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy), but I don’t think the guys from Louis Vuitton or Hennessy are invited to Bulgari’s brainstorm sessions.
With Tudor, it’s different. Tudor is Rolex’s sister company, and was founded in 1926 by the same guy who founded Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf. Wilsdorf founded Tudor to complement the Rolex line up. Tudor was supposed to offer a more ‘affordable’ line. This way, Wilsdorf could offer lower priced watches to a broader audience without affecting the quality and reputation of Rolex.
Today, both brands are still owned by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation.
Tudor Made Watches For Military Units All Over The World
The biggest seal of approval a tool watch can get is being tested, approved and used by the military.
The Tudor Submariner was for example used by the US Navy elite Seal’s and the French Marine Nationale since the mid-sixties.
This was great for Tudor’s reputation. In their early days, Tudor struggled with their reputation. Since many of the early models had very similar designs as Rolex and sometimes even the same name (Submariner, Day-Date), they were considered the ‘poor man’s Rolex’.
Being selected for various militaries sixties was exactly what their reputation needed. Many Tudor Submariners were used and worn in the Vietnam War. This helped to get rid of their ‘poor man’s Rolex’ name.
Tudor Re-Launched Itself In 2009
Tudor went under the radar for a few years. In the first few decades, Tudor watches and Rolex watches were very similar. Tudor had of course key features, like their signature Snowflake hands, but there were a lot of similarities. Tudor even used Rolex cases and bracelets for their first watches. Tudor wanted to start over fresh with a complete new line up and fresh reputation.
Today, Tudor is a completely separate and strong brand. They have their own designs that look completely different than the current Rolex line-up. They really managed to give the Black Bay and Pelagos line up an incredibly strong reputation in less than 10 years. Something many brands can’t even manage to do in fifty years.