It seemed like yesterday when Tudor rebirthed in North America in 2013. There was the original ETA Black Bay and soon they announced their first in-house movement in the North Flag. It was an exciting time for the brand, which has since exploded in success commercially, and, for the most part, critically.
Photo by Hodinkee
The original Black Bay ETA in black, which had a relatively short production run, is an example of a Tudor model that has increased in value and desirability. The two-liner Pelagos, with an ETA movement and slightly thinner case and lume market next to the date window at 3 o’clock is currently selling at prices near or above the newer in-house version. The North Flag lags behind other models that were part of the early years on the rebirth. And the Tudor Heritage Chrono hasn’t soared in price on the secondhand market.
With the furious pace of new release announcements from Tudor, is it time to speculate and purchase some of these O.G. models while the prices are still relatively affordable? It’s a curious brand that seems to be going upmarket (the new METAS-certified carbon Black Bay) and at the same time staying true to its more affordable roots (the Royal line).
Photo by Tudor
With its giant marketing machine, fueled by David Beckham and Lady Gaga, Tudor is going to be well-regarded by the new generation of watch collectors as well as for general audiences. With popular Rolex models being so scarce, Tudor is bound to rise in the ranks due to its association with Rolex. The salesman at the authorized dealer can now pivot to sell a Tudor model to Rolex seeker on the merits of being made to Rolex quality standards at more affordable price. It’s a strategy that has worked for ages.
Photo by Time and Tide
For years, J.Crew, the mall clothing retailer, carried shoes made by Alden, which have a devoted following but can cost around $800. J.Crew smartly carried its own line of shoes that looked similar to the Alden shoes but cost closer to $250. But having both options in the playing field increased the value perception of the less expensive models. While the J.Crew shoes aren’t a sister brand to Alden, the consumer did see more value in the shoes that were marketed as having a quality level close to the more esteemed brand.
Now anyone who has handled a modern Rolex sport watch next to say a Black Bay knows the actual quality of the Rolex watch is far superior. I owned a first generation Pelagos and quickly sold it to fund a purchase of 114060 Submariner and the difference in fit and finish was obvious. I know those two exact watches were designed with different intentions, but I’ve had enough experience handling a range of sport watches from both brands to discern a major difference. But the Rolex watches cost a lot more than the Tudor counterparts.
Tudor watches, on the other hand, have outstanding qualities that would cause me to purchase one of the original models in the early years that appeals to me. I’ve been eyeing the market to reacquire a two-liner Pelagos that I sold years ago. At the rate the company is growing and competing well in the mid-range luxury market, I am certain that one day we will see the early models become highly sought after as keepsakes from the rebirth of the brand.
Shop for straps for your Black Bay here.