Tudor Diving watches, diving into the legend

Throughout their history, TUDOR watches have been chosen by the boldest adventurers and seasoned professionals. TUDOR has a long history of making cutting-edge and robust, luxury diving watches widely used by amateur and professional divers.

Tudor Pelagos

The culmination of years of developing watches for diving professionals resulted in the TUDOR Pelagos – the ultimate diver’s watch. A magnificent example of a tool watch, the Pelagos is one of the most complete traditional mechanical divers’ watches available today. Waterproof to 500 metres (1,640 feet), it is available in both left- and right-handed versions with a 42 mm diameter titanium and steel case. In Fall 2015, Pelagos was awarded the “Sports Watch” prize at the prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, reinforcing the Pelagos’s position as one of the most complete traditional mechanical divers’ watches available today. The most recent addition to the Pelagos family is the Pelagos FXD model with a 42 mm satin-brushed titanium case. It was developed to a set of unique specifications created in collaboration with a specialist unit of the French Navy, the Pelagos FXD model is designed for underwater navigation and optimised for professional use.

Tudor Black Bay

Another truly iconic watch in the collection is the Black Bay, waterproof to a depth of 200 metres (660 feet). The Black Bay line includes the Black Bay Ceramic with its 41 mm matt black ceramic case (available with a hybrid leather and rubber dive watch strap and a complimentary black fabric strap), Black Bay Bronze with a 43 mm bronze case and Black Bay 58 with a 39 mm bronze, gold, silver or steel case, are all models which feature dials inspired by the TUDOR divers’ watches produced during the 1950s. The Black Bay line is the result of subtle combinations of historical aesthetic codes and contemporary watchmaking. Far from simply being an identical re-release of a classic, it brings together over 60 years of TUDOR divers' watches at the same time as being resolutely anchored in the present.

The TUDOR diving watches history

The emergence of waterproof wristwatches dates back to the 1920s. In 1926, water resistance in timepieces took a leap forward when Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf patented the Oyster case, featuring screwed-down crown and caseback which are prerequisites for dive watches today. The date coincides with the creation of the TUDOR brand, which continued the vision of Hans Wilsdorf in parallel to Rolex to offer the same standard of dependency “at a more modest price”, as Wilsdorf explained himself.

TUDOR, a pioneer in the field of men’s dive watches, began offering a new time keeping solution for the growing community of professional scuba divers in the 1950s, when the activity was gaining momentum and a new form underwater exploration was emerging. In 1954, TUDOR set out on a path which would contribute to forging its legend. It was in that year that its first automatic dive watch, the TUDOR Oyster Prince Submariner reference 7922, saw the light of day. Designed from its origin to fulfill exceptional criteria of 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 meet the specific requirements of divers. During this period, multiple experiments were conducted to determine which characteristics were indispensable to the ideal divers’ watch.

The sum of experience acquired over many years of experimentation in diving watches allowed TUDOR to define significant innovations with the introduction of highly resistant sapphire crystals, directional bezels with notching, as well as dial and bezel design variations. In parallel with its civilian marketing and sales, the TUDOR Submariner served the members of important armed forces. Its successive adoption by the Marine nationale française (MN), the US Navy (USN) and other military organisations spoke volumes about the watches’ robustness and reliability.

TUDOR and French Navy

TUDOR's special relationship with the French Navy dates back to the beginning of 1956 when the Toulon-based Underwater Study and Research Group or Groupement d’Étude et de Recherches Sous-Marines (G.E.R.S.) in French received Oyster Prince Submariner watches for evaluation. The water resistance of these watches was deemed "perfect" and the functioning "completely correct" in a letter by the Commander of the G.E.R.S. of the time.

Convinced of the potential of the watches offered by the Geneva brand, he placed a new order for watches that were water-resistant to 200 meters. TUDOR diving watches created in conjunction with the French Navy remained in production until the 1980s, but the watches’ use extended into the 2000s, especially at the French Navy diving school and amongst combat swimmers.

Historically, the French Navy had TUDOR watches delivered without bracelets and then fitted them with their own straps, handmade or otherwise. Two types of dive watch straps appear to have been particularly used over the years: black straps made from a single piece of braided nylon, and, less commonly, handmade straps made from parachute elastic, which could be recognised by their green colour and yellow or red central thread. It is to the latter, ultra-functional relics inextricably linked to French military divers, that the fabric strap of the latest Pelagos FXD pays tribute.

TUDOR divers' watches continued to be developed and the French Navy would use many of the brand's timepieces over the following decades. Today, the watches TUDOR collection perpetuates this heritage through its lines of Swiss dive watches, Black Bay and Pelagos. The latest addition is the Pelagos FXD model. For seven decades, TUDOR has left its mark on the history of watchmaking offering products with a strong identity, exacting technical specifications, unique style and uncompromising quality. By constantly improving its watches and by offering models belonging to their era but retaining their own distinct identity, TUDOR has earned a place apart in the field of diving watches, embodied in the development of a successive line of iconic models.

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