Tudor has been a commercial tear. It’s a more affordable (and obtainable) brand that still holds the prestige of being associated with Rolex. It churns out hits with more versions of its Black Bay line, which is a derivative of the Rolex Submariner.
Photo by Millenary Watches
But when Tudor first reemerged in the North American market, it led the way with watches that looked more like Tudors of the past or stood as entirely new designs, most notably the Pelagos and the now discontinued North Flag. Yes, it still tries to tap into its heritage with recent releases such as the PO1 and the FXD. But this year’s Watches & Wonders releases still went deeper into the Black Bay line with the Pro (resembling a Rolex Explorer II 1655) and more color/material variations on its Black Bay Chronograph series.
Photo by Bulang & Sons
Where are the new designs that show Tudor’s innovation capabilities. The Pelagos is a 500-meter diver on titanium with a clasp that no other watch has. And… the dial and hands use square markers that are distinctly Tudor. Yes, there have been past Tudor Submariners, but let’s appreciate the Pelagos as a modern take on an older Tudor watch. There is plenty to distinguish it from Rolex.
Photo by The Watch Gecko
Meanwhile, the North Flag with its integrated bracelet and bright yellow accents also played with Tudor’s but it was an entirely new creation for the most part. After all, most watches are an iteration of something that came before it, but there was nothing like the North Flag in the marketplace. The power reserve indicator (using a cool rotating disc) is by itself a new feature the watch world had not seen before.
Photo by Tudor
The FXD was a nice counterpoint to all the Black Bay releases. As a business owner I get that Tudor wants to make a ton of money by releasing more takes on its most popular model. But I feel the brand could experience a similar level of success if it created more unique designs. The market might take longer to embrace the unfamiliar, but the greatest brands in the world succeed in setting themselves apart.
For example, Oris’ motto “Go Your Own Way” is true. The independent company makes watch designs that are, for the most part, very unique to their design heritage. Now with its own in-house caliber, Oris is poised to go deeper into its own way. Whereas Tudor’s slogan “Born to Dare,” the daring aspect has softened a bit with its success with the Black Bay. The reality is that Black Bay fever is not going anywhere soon, so I’ll take what I can get from the company. That said, I’ll personally go for alternatives to Rolex and Tudor these days, but I do have a few words to criticize Omega’s choice just to go with colorful dials on its Aqua Terra line. Well, that’s an entirely different article…