When you think of Swiss watches, it’s likely Rolex is the first name to come to mind. But with a steady rise in popularity partnered with a smart marketing strategy (including the appointment of David Beckham as Brand Ambassador), Tudor have slowly certified their spot as a luxury watch contender since first emerging in 1926. When you add pristine engineering and excellent value for money to the mix, it’s not hard to see why investors, collectors and enthusiasts are making a lot of noise about one of the most diverse watch ranges available on the market.
Buying a Tudor watch
Rolex has a reputation for stringent quality control and exceptional reliability. Back in 1926 Rolex founded a sister company called Tudor. Their aim was for Tudor to make more affordable watches which nevertheless were subject to the same rigorous standards as Rolex. Today, Tudor’s flagship Black Bay range starts at around £3,000 new, whilst the Tudor 1926 (which commemorates the year in which the Tudor trademark was registered) starts at around £1,500.
Initially, Tudor watches were equipped with off-the-shelf movements (basic time telling mechanisms) paired with Rolex cases and bracelets. The marketing focus was on “tool” watches, designed specifically for ultimate reliability in extreme harsh and rugged conditions. The Tudor Oyster, featuring a Rolex waterproof case and a Rolex self-winding mechanism, was used in the British North Greenland expedition of 1952 to 1954. During the same period, Tudor’s first diving watch, the Oyster Prince Submariner, was launched and from the 60’s to the 80’s was supplied in bulk to both the French Navy and US Navy.
Tudor watches in the 21st century
As the years passed, Tudor’s range of watches has incorporated more and more “complications” (features other than the basic time telling mechanism). It now also designs and manufactures “movements” for most of its ranges. In effect these “movements” are slightly simplified versions of Rolex “movements” – and therefore offer added assurance of quality and reliability.
In 2009, Tudor set out to enter the sport, leisure and lifestyle markets with a new campaign headed by the slogan ‘Designed for performance. Engineered for elegance’. At its core, the shift in perception emphasised style as well as strength and durability, whilst combining a conscious nod to its past heritage. The strategy was a success and by 2013 the Heritage Black Bay won the Revival prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève and the Pelagos won the ‘Sports Watch’ prize in 2015.
The Tudor marketing strategy in recent years has also developed a high profile, with celebrities such as David Beckham and Lady Gaga endorsing the brand. So much so that in 2018, Tudor was appointed official timekeeper at the Rugby World Cup Sevens, followed by the Rugby World Cup in 2019.
Tudor watch model range
Tudor currently offer four categories of watches with many different sub-models:
–Tudor Black Bay Line (heritage-inspired dive watch with available GMT, Bronze, Silver, Two-Tone, and Chrono complications)
–Sports watches (Tudor Ranger, Tudor Royal, and Pelagos FXD)
–Classic watches (Tudor Glamour series, as well as 1926 and Clair de Rose)
–Diving watches (Tudor Pelagos line)
Is a Tudor watch a wise investment?
Despite somewhat living in the shadow of its big brother Rolex, Tudor watches are still regarded as a sought-after timepiece for collectors, investors and enthusiasts. Not only is this down to its range of timeless styles – namely its popular Heritage line which draws inspiration from its most emblematic models – but also because of its scarcity and rise in demand.
As with any luxury watch brand, if the scarcity principle is in full swing and has a high demand, people will be willing to pay top prices for your Tudor watch. As long as the supply and demand stay healthy, the value of your watch will be protected for years to come.
With that said, the Tudor watch reputation has yet to reach the dizzy heights of Rolex, Cartier and Patek Phillippe which means, if you were to invest in the wrong model, you could see its value spiral faster than expected. For that reason, it’s always best to do your research before investing in a Tudor, as well as seeking advice from a luxury watch expert.