Tudor Predictions 2024: Submariner Revival?

Tudor Predictions 2024: Submariner Revival?

In 1954, Tudor released their first dive watch under the ‘Oyster Prince Submariner’ name (ref. 7922), utilizing Rolex parts and a Fleurier caliber 390. This affordable Submariner alternative proved successful, as Tudor went on to produce 20+ more references over 45 years. As decades passed, Tudor Subs became more and more distinct from their Rolex counterparts, introducing snowflake hour hands, blocky square indices, and blue dials/bezels. The Tudor Submariner’s discontinuation in 1999 – which we’ll dive into momentarily – further added to the watch’s allure amongst collectors. These are some seriously beloved divers, touting the build quality of a Rolex and the serviceability of a mass-produced movement. This year, 2024, is the 70th anniversary of Tudor’s Oyster Prince Submariner. With the brand’s modern Black Bay and Pelagos collections in mind, would it make sense for Tudor to bring back the ‘Submariner’ name? Might we see an Oyster Prince Submariner reissue in 2024? Before making any predictions, allow me to provide some context: Tudor’s relationship with Rolex, the brand’s modern history, and their current collection of divers.

Some Necessary Historical Context

Tudor Submariner with Rolex Crown

Image Source: hodinkee.com

Until the late 1990s, Tudor’s value lay in pairing Rolex parts – cases, bracelets, crowns (pictured above), crystals, etc. – with ETA movements: widely-available “off-the-shelf” timekeeping mechanics. However, when Rolex made the switch to 904L stainless steel in 1985, the transition of removing Rolex parts from Tudor watches began. You’ll notice that later Tudor Sub references (e.g. the ref. 79090) have Tudor-signed bracelets rather than Rolex-signed ones. By 1999, the brand had stopped using Rolex parts altogether, and the Tudor Submariner was discontinued. 

Around this time, Tudor also withdrew from US and UK markets. There are plenty of rumors and conspiracies as to why this happened. I think the reason is quite simple. Hodinkee’s Stephen Pulvirent said it best: “[Tudor] was sold mostly through Rolex dealers. . . Two watches that look similar, but one was $1,000 and the other was $6,000. People didn’t understand why”. In short, Tudor was cannibalizing Rolex’s market share. The solution? Rethink Tudor’s value proposition: staying in the same price tier, create watches that distinguish themselves from Rolex while celebrating Tudor’s unique designs and history.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay

Image Source: thenewsmarket.com

After a strange limbo period in the 2000s (that probably deserves its own article), Tudor’s revival began in the 2010s under CEO Philippe Peverelli and Design/Marketing Chief Davide Cerrato (who’s now taking on a similar task at Bremont). Watches like the 2010 Heritage Chrono celebrated Tudor’s rich history, one inextricably tangled with Rolex, while emphasizing their individuality. This balance was struck perfectly in 2012 with the Black Bay: an amalgam of design characteristics from the Tudor Submariner that would eventually become the brand’s primary canvas for years to come. Also released in 2012 was the Pelagos: Tudor’s take on the ultimate modern dive watch, and yet another canvas for numerous collections.

Will We See A Tudor Submariner Reissue in 2024?

Tudor Submariner 7922 and Black Bay 54

So, now that we’ve covered the necessary history, it’s time to answer the big question: will we see a Tudor Submariner reissue in 2024? My guess is. . . kind of. Given the history we just covered – Tudor’s winding path that eventually led to the Black Bay – I predict that the Tudor will celebrate the Sub’s anniversary under the Black Bay umbrella. Tim Mosso predicts that we’ll see a limited variation of the Black Bay 54 (above, right): a watch whose design is largely based on the first ever Tudor Submariner ref. 7922 (above, left). I quite like this prediction. A 70th anniversary edition could lean fully into the 7922 inspiration, featuring the infamous Tudor Rose rather than the Shield, “smiling” text at 6 o’clock, and maybe even a Mercedes hour hand.

It’s only a matter of time before the Black Bay 58 and 54 receive METAS-certified Master Chronometer movements. If one or both of these watches receives an anniversary edition, it might be a good opportunity to usher in this upgrade. That said, I’m doubtful that the BB54 will see an update of that caliber (pun intended) so short into its lifespan. It’s more likely that we see a separate refresh of the Black Bay 58 fit with a new movement and a T-fit clasp. Of course, only time will tell what we see at Watches and Wonders 2024. What I do know for certain is that we will be there, covering every last release from Tudor, Rolex, Patek, and a number of other brands. Do you think that we’ll see a Tudor Submariner in 2024? Let us know in the comments below!

Header Image Source: analogshift.com

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