BlogThe Story of the Submariner and the Black Bay

The Story of the Submariner and the Black Bay

The Story of the Submariner and the Black Bay


“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 standard of dependability for which Rolex is 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.” - H. Wilsdorf

Hans Wilsdorf was a German watchmaker, born in Kulmbach and orphaned as a child, he worked for a Swiss watch manufacturer. In 1905, he moved to London and set up his own business, with the aim of providing quality timepieces at affordable prices.

The brand he created was Rolex and the name was chosen because it is easily pronounceable in many languages and was also short enough to fit on the face of the watches.

Several years later, in 1926, “The Tudor” trademark was first registered and eventually, just after the Second World War, Wilsdorf knew that the time had come to expand and give the brand a proper identity of its own. On 6th March 1946, he created the “Montres TUDOR S.A.” company, specialising in models for both men and women. It’s illustrious elder sibling Rolex would guarantee the technical, aesthetic and functional characteristics, along with the distribution and after-sales service.

The Tudor legend was born, and in 1954, the brand set out on a new path which would contribute to it immeasurably. That year saw the launch of its first divers’ watch; the Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner. Designed for exceptional durability, reliability, precision and waterproofness at a moderate price, it quickly positioned itself as an instrument of choice for professionals. Over the next 45 years this original tool-watch continuously evolved to ever better meet the specific requirements of the many types of divers who were clients of the brand.

The first generation of Tudor Submariners saw numerous versions, and through them, a notable advance in terms of performance.
Gradually the Submariner’s characteristics were honed. Each new reference in the series featured subtle specificities, and by the first half of the 1960s the general lines and technical specifications of the Tudor Submariner were established.

Today, Tudor celebrates 60 years of diving watches with its iconic Heritage Black Bay model. First introduced in 2012, the Black Bay won the Revival Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie in Geneva the following year, and this inimitable family of watches has since grown to incorporate bronze and black case versions.

The Tudor Black Bay derives its overall lines and its domed crystal from the first Tudor Submariner. It also owes to its ancestor its domed dial, a feature shared by the first Tudor Submariner models, but which had since vanished. Its imposing winding crown is a nod to a model presented in 1958 and its characteristic angular hands, known by connoisseurs as “snowflakes”, were seen from 1969 to the early 1980s.

The watch is powered by Tudor’s own MT5602 movement, in which “MT” stands for “Manufacture TUDOR”. Developed especially for the Heritage Black Bay, the MT5602 is one of the first mechanical movements to have been developed, manufactured and assembled by the brand in their own manufacture.

This high-performance caliber of excellent precision and proven robustness, is certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) and offers a 70-hour power reserve meaning that its wearer can, for example, take off the watch on Friday evening and put it on again on Monday morning without having to wind it.


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