Chance of Snow Flurries: The Arrival of Tudor’s Snowflake Hands
Tudor’s iconic snowflake hands first landed on the second iteration of the Tudor Submariner. At the time, Tudor was positioned as a Rolex-owned alternative to Rolex’s line of reference. To some extent, that’s still the case, but the brand has developed past its identity as a subsidiary and cultivated its own circle of Tudor fans. Part of Tudor’s development as an individualized brand had to do with some of the unique design elements that differentiate Tudor from Rolex references. The snowflake hands are a great example of one of those design elements.
Although the appeal of the snowflake hand is largely aesthetic, it was originally designed for clarity. Like Rolex’s “Mercedes” hand, the snowflake hand provides a way of distinguishing the hour hand from other hands in low-light situations. With a larger surface for lume to be applied, it was easier to read the time instantaneously: a requirement for any diving watch. The first Tudor Submariners were originally equipped with a Mercedes hand, but the second reference showcased the first appearance of the new diamond-shaped hand.
On the 1968 Tudor Submariner references 7021 and 7016, the larger square indices on the dial were echoed in the design of the diamond-shaped hand. This distinctive shape was also featured on references 9104 and 9411 until 1975 and popped up on a few references in the 1980s. However, enthusiasm for Tudor’s snowflake hands didn’t really explode until about a decade ago when it became the preferred hand for many of Tudor’s watches.
Tudor Revisits the Snowflake Hands in 2012
When Tudor began revisiting older designs and debuting new references, snowflake hands made a big comeback. In 2012, snowflake hands adorned the dial of the first Tudor Pelagos, again with square indices. In 2013, they were seen on the Tudor Heritage Black Bay. Once those watches appeared, it seemed like Tudor was doubling down on the hand style. Some enthusiasts appreciated the bolder look of the snowflake hands while others wished it were limited to select references. Even though they’re a small part of the design, Tudor’s snowflake hands are divisive among collectors. Although they were initially paired with square indices on a dial, they’ve now made appearances on watches with round indices, noticeably the Black Bay 58. It’s a matter of personal preference, but the mixed-shape style of round indices with a square hand doesn’t appeal to everyone. Love them or hate them, Tudor’s snowflake hands aren’t going anywhere. If you’re a fan of the bold hand design, try putting your Tudor on a bright orange rubber strap to highlight the shape of these distinctive hands.
Written by Meghan Clark
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