A Rolex in rewind


Rolex is relaunching its Tudor brand in the U.S. after a 17-year absence, an event that feels a bit like encountering your thrill-seeking first cousin after his long boarding school stint.

Priced from $2,500 to $5,000, Tudor timepieces are produced alongside Rolex watches in Switzerland, but they’re assembled with more affordable ETA Swiss watch movements rather than the movements made in-house at Rolex.

Unveiled in 1946 by Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf, the Tudor collection was originally branded with a shield that contained a decorative rose, a symbol of the English Tudor dynasty. The first models, the Tudor Oyster and Oyster Prince, boasted waterproof cases and self-winding movements, and the line was cast as the more rough-and-tumble member of the Rolex family, with advertisements showing men in extreme sport or work scenarios.


The rose emblem would eventually be eliminated as the Tudor timepieces were positioned to be ever-more masculine — the kind of watch that not only the British Royal Navy would take on expedition, as it did in 1952, but that the navies of other nations would rely on as well (as both the U.S. and French forces did).

Introduced at the Baselworld Watch Fair this spring, the four models that make up the Tudor reboot tap into that sporty vibe. The Heritage Chrono Blue — on a steel bracelet with an interchangeable striped fabric strap — reinterprets a 1973 chronograph watch that was produced by the company for only a few years and is coveted by collectors.

A 1957 model with an alarm clock function, renamed the Heritage Advisor, also gets a face-lift with a two-tone dial.

Surprisingly, the Glamour Date was influenced by the art of the tango, a step away from Tudor’s macho vibe. The design is elegant, the face is embellished with 10 diamonds and there’s an option of a sleek patent strap.

A fourth new style, the Fastrider Black Shield chronograph — a nod to Tudor’s official timing partnership with Ducati — was inspired by the brand’s Diavel Carbon motorcycle and features a scratch-resistant matte black ceramic case with red accents.

With Tudor 2.0, Rolex has brought back a loyal foot soldier that looks to be ready for the field of battle.