In a recent holiday with the family in Hualien (a beach side town on the east coast of Taiwan), I chance upon a small shop selling some high-end watch brands. Looking thru their collection of watches, I spotted a watch that looked interesting. It was a Tudor, model no. 76200, a date-day model from the Prince & Princess series. What was interesting? It spotted a California dial. I thought, could this be real? Sadly I did not have the time to really look at it.
Coming back to Taipei, I thought about the watch. I tried looking it up in the internet, magazines and books. Sadly, there were very little information on Tudor and its watches. I wonder why? Was Tudor the forgotten brother of Rolex?
First of all, why California dial? Well, from what I know (and that is very little), only a few brands have issued watches with the california dial. Rolex was the first in the 1930s. The other brands being Tudor, Panerai and Movado (1940s).
"...a California dial refers to a clock face that consists of half Arabic (usually 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock) and half Roman numerals (usually 8 o'clock to 4 o'clock). Sometimes the hours of 3, 6, and 9 are replaced with a dash instead of a numeral and an inverted triangle in place of the 12. The use of this dial style dates back to the 1930s, for example in early Rolexes, Marina Militare and Kampfschwimmer diver's watches. A number of Rolexes were refurbished by a company based in California using this style of dial, and resulting in the name "California dial". "
A little more searching, and I found out the company that did the refurbishment was the Kirk Rich Company.
What ever little information I could find showed that there was a Tudor issued with the California dial, but it had both the Rolex and Tudor brands on the dial. This watch was suppose to be from the 1940s.
Moving forward a little, I was still interested to find out more about Tudor (I had a Tudor once, a long time ago. At that time, I was not really interested in the brand or the models. It was a Tudor Ranger. I sold it to a good friend, so no regrets). So far I can only find out the following:
Tudor is a sister brand (emmm maybe a title change might be due...) of Rolex and it is been very quiet.
Founder: Hans Wilsdof
It was registered in 1926
Its first watch appeared in the 1930s
Montres Tudor SA was established in Geneva in 1946
It launched its first Oyster in 1947
The Tudor Oyster Prince and Princess came out in the 1950s
The Tudor Prince Submariner was issued in the 1960s (I wonder if my uncle still has his...)
The Tudor Oyster Date Chronograph was launched in 1971
It uses ETA movement but built to Rolex/ Tudor specifications
It current collection:
Prince and Princess
In Basel/ SIHH, Tudor announced a co-operation with Porsche Racing and issued a line of watches called the Grantour series.
I am begining to gain interest in this brand and will continue to look up for more information on the brand and its watches. Oh, before I forget, here is a picture of the Tudor I was talking about, well not really the Model 76200, but the date model, no. 74000-62470. This model is 34mm in size, the 76200 is 36mm.
Photo: Formosa Watch