Tudor has been a leader in the production of both men’s and ladies’ watches since the beginning. Although the brand was not officially established until 1946, its origins trace back two decades prior. In 1926, a Genevan watchmaker and dealer called the house of “Veuve de Philippe Hüther” registered the Tudor trademark for Hans Wilsdorf, the brand’s founder.
The first Tudor watches appeared in Australia six years later in 1932. These models are distinguished by a simple Tudor signature on the dial with the horizontal bar of the “T” extending above the other letters. The watches consisted of men’s and ladies’ styles, featuring an Art Deco aesthetic. Ladies’ models showcased elements like delicate engraving on the case, gem-set winding crowns, and, of course, the reliability Wilsdorf established with Tudor’s parent brand, Rolex. These very first Tudor timepieces also aligned with Wilsdorf’s philosophy for the brand: affordable luxury.
By 1936, the house of “Veuve de Philippe Hüther” had transferred the Tudor brand to Wilsdorf. At that time, the company adopted a new logo: a rose within a shield. The juxtaposition of these two elements symbolized the union of strength and beauty in Tudor’s creations.
The onset of WWII briefly stifled the expansion of the Tudor brand. However, following the war, Wilsdorf knew it was time to make the company official, and he founded Montres Tudor S.A. in 1946. A year later, the Tudor logo shed its shield, leaving only the rose, the symbol of the royal dynasty with the same name. The rose itself further emphasized the brand’s commitment to elegance and style. However, this was not at the expense of the robustness and technical prowess backed by the Wilsdorf name.
In the post-war era, Tudor also launched their first watches with water-resistant cases in both men’s and ladies’ variations. The ladies’ models were aimed at modern women who led sophisticated yet active lifestyles. A 1954 advertisement for the Tudor “Oyster Princess” featured an equestrian, a sport that epitomizes of grace and fortitude, much like the watch itself.
In addition to these more cutting-edge models, Tudor offered other more traditional watches. These masterpieces showcased the splendour of the fine art of watchmaking. They echoed some of the early Tudor ladies’ models of the 1930s, with dainty engravings and jewels. In a 1956 “Tweeds or Taffetas” ad, Tudor showcased their range of ladies’ offerings with the opening tagline, “whatever kind of watch you may want, for an active life or for evening elegance, Tudor, by Rolex, has the best of both worlds.”
This marriage of strength and beauty has continued to be a guiding principle for Tudor and their approach to ladies’ timepieces. This principle has been apparent from that initial 1930’s logo and the brand’s first official offerings to the watches they have produced in the past 50 years. The 1970s marked the era of the sport watch. This decade saw a Tudor advertisement with champion water skier Leigh Hansen wearing the Tudor Princess Oyster Date. It also marked the birth of Tudor’s first dive watch for women, the Princess Date Submariner.
Today, Tudor carries on the tradition of combining tasteful styling with advanced technology in their ladies’ timepieces. Their current offerings consist of five core collections, each with a specific focus. The most delicate family of watches, the Clair de Rose, pays homage to the brand’s earliest ladies’ watches. Like models past, this collection features delicately decorated dials and gem-set crowns among an array of other style options. Also honouring the brand’s heritage is the refined 1926 collection.
The line showcases vintage-inspired domed dials and intricate embossing on the dials in addition to other features to suit any unique taste. In contrast, Tudor’s Glamour line embodies the spirit of today’s modern women. The collection is defined by the brand’s interpretation of contemporary elegance, offering a range of both style and functional options. For a timeless model that transcends trends of past and present, look to the Style collection. These watches are simple, classic, and ideal for any occasion. Last but not least is Tudor’s Black Bay 32. As a nod to the brand’s original 1970s diver, the Black Bay 32 draws from their heritage and the famous Black Bay line.
Though Leigh Hansen predated the era of brand ambassadors, I like to think strong women have always represented Tudor. As of 2017, Lady Gaga has done just that. She joined the company as a brand ambassador and one of the faces of their “Born to Dare” campaign. Her bold, commanding presence in pop-culture exudes strength. Yet, her striking looks and femininity are undeniable. Like the Tudor watches she wears, Gaga personifies Tudor’s mission and legacy.