Inside the Archives: Tudor Watch Prices

Left: Stainless steel Tudor chronograph, c. 1971, Phillips (May 2016);
Right: Tudor Oyster Prince Ranger, Ref. 9050, c. 1972, Auctionata Paddle8 AG (February 2015)

By: Tom Mulraney

It’s tough being relegated to the sidelines while your elder, more popular sibling steals the spotlight – just ask any of the Baldwin brothers whose names don’t start with an ‘A’. For a long time this was also the fate of Swiss watch brand Tudor, the (slightly) younger, less well-known relative of industry superstar and perennial favorite, Rolex. So much so in fact that many people still don’t know that the two brands are related in any way. Ironically, for first-time buyers and collectors alike, this is actually quite a good thing as it means you can get a great watch for a really good price. If you know what you’re looking for, of course.

Although they may not appreciate in value as much as Rolex over time, Tudor watches can still very much hold their own at auction, selling for less than a $1,000 all the way up to $30,000-40,000 for particularly significant models.

One notable exception is the one-of-a-kind Tudor Black Bay One that sold for a jaw-dropping $373,000 at the Only Watch 2015 charity auction in Monaco, more than a 100 times its low estimate. Admittedly this was something of an anomaly, but it is indicative of the renewed interest the brand has been enjoying since its re-launch in North America back in 2012, with a whole new generation of watch lovers discovering that Tudor has a lot to offer for very reasonable prices. So don’t wait too long as the prices for vintage models will only go one way – and that’s up.

Tudor’s Beginnings

Tudor made its official debut all the way back in 1946, several decades after Rolex had already established its popularity in the Swiss watch market. The underlying idea was a simple one; Hans Wilsdorf, creator of Rolex, wanted to launch a new watch brand that would offer the precision and reliability of a Rolex timepiece but at a much more accessible price point.

The idea was a hit. The association with Rolex gave Tudor watches instant credibility, whilst at the same time the company invested heavily in technical developments such as the waterproof Oyster case and the adoption of a self-winding movement that would allow it to carve out its own niche as a standalone brand. Unlike Rolex watches though, which mostly used mechanical movements that were exclusively developed and manufactured in-house by the company, Tudor watches were powered by 3rd party movements bought from companies such as ETA – owned by the Swatch Group – to enable them to be offered at a lower price point.

Here are a few of our favorites to get you started, with examples from Invaluable’s price archive.

The Oyster Prince Submariner

Notable Ref. Numbers: 7922, 7923, 7924, 7928

Price Range: $8,000-20,000 depending on model and condition

If the Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner looks familiar you’re not alone. Based on the now iconic Rolex Submariner, the Tudor variant was first launched in 1954, one year after Rolex debuted the ref. 6402. In continuous production until 1999, the Submariner is one of the pillars of the Tudor collection. A number of variants are available in the second-hand market with varying degrees of desirability. Older models such as the Ref. 7922 and 7924, which featured Rolex cases and crowns, had shorter production runs and therefore are generally considered rarer and thus more collectible. The Ref. 7923 in particular is considered extremely rare as it is the only known Submariner – from either Rolex or Tudor – to feature a manually-wound movement, making it the thinnest Submariner ever.

1: Oyster-Prince Submariner

Ref. 7924, c. 1958
Christie’s (May 2014)
Estimated Price: CHF7,000-9,000 ($6,946-8,931)

2: Oyster-Prince Big Crown Submariner

Ref. 7924, c. 1960
Auctionata Paddle8 AG (September 2014)
Estimated Price: €19,200-24,000
Realized Price: €22,000 ($23,228)

3: Oyster-Prince Submariner

Ref. 7928, c. 1965
Auctionata Paddle8 AG (September 2014)
Estimated Price: €14,400-18,000
Realized Price: €13,000 ($13,726)

4: Oyster-Prince Submariner

Ref. 7928, c. 1966
Auctionata US (September 2015)
Estimated Price: $2,600 – $3,380
Realized Price: $5,000

5: Oyster-Prince Submariner

Ref. 9728, c. 1965
Watches of Knightsbridge (November 2014)
Estimated Price: £2,500-3,000
Realized Price: £2,700 ($3,364)

The Chronograph

Notable Ref. Numbers: 7149/0, 7159/0, 7169/0

Price Range: $10,000-30,000 depending on model and condition

It’s fair to say that Tudor came somewhat late to the world of the mechanical sports watches, particularly in the area of racing chronographs. Although brands like Rolex and Omega had been producing sports chronographs since at least the late 1950’s, Tudor didn’t debut its first model until the early 1970’s and it really shows in the design. Influenced by the prevailing aesthetics of the time, these models were characterized by pentagonal hour markers, bright colours and trapezoidal sub-dials. To say they were distinctive on the wrist is somewhat of an understatement. Coupled with high quality production it is not surprising that they have also become some of the most collectible of all Tudor watches out there. Competition for these watches is fierce when they do come up at auction, so expect to pay a premium.

6: Stainless Steel Chronograph

c. 1971
Phillips (May 2016)
Estimated Price: HKD120,000-180,000
Realized Price: HKD200,000 ($25,769)

7: Monte Carlo Chronograph

Ref. 9421/0, c. 1970
Artcurial (December 2008)
Estimated Price: €9,000-13,000
Realized Price: €16,576 ($17,508)

8: Monte Carlo Chronograph

Ref. 7169, c. 1976
Auctionata Paddle8 AG (April 2016)
Estimated Price: €5,000-6,500
Realized Price: €10,625 ($11,222)

9: Oysterdate Chronograph

Ref. 7032/0, c. 1971
Auctionata Paddle8 AG (September 2015)
Estimated Price: €2,000-2,600
Realized Price: €4,931 ($5,208)

10: Oysterdate Panda Dial Chronograph

Ref. 79160, c. 1992
Auctionata Paddle8 AG (March 2016)
Estimated Price: €1,200-1,560
Realized Price: €3,250 ($3,433)

The Ranger

Notable Ref. Numbers: 7991/0, 7996/0, 90020

Price Range: $2,500-5,000 depending on model and condition

The Ranger is one of the most understated tool watches in the Tudor arsenal and has a very similar design aesthetic to the Rolex Explorer. Eagle-eyed enthusiasts however will note that the Ranger features a “3-6-9-12” Arabic dial lay-out, whilst Rolex Explorers from around the same time feature a triangle at 12 o’clock instead. Presented in a 34mm steel Rolex Oyster case the Ranger was powered by an ETA calibre 2483, a solid workhorse with no date function. The focus here was all about legibility, meaning a black dial with contrasting Arabic numerals and large baton indexes filled with luminous material.

11: Ranger Prince Oysterdate

Ref. 7835, c. 1966
Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers (July 2016)
Estimated Price: £200-300
Realized Price: £2,200 ($2,733)

12: Heritage Ranger

Ref. 79910, c. 2014
Auctionata Paddle8 AG (December 2014)
Estimated Price: €1,920-2,400
Realized Price: €1,659 ($1,758)

13: Oyster Prince Ranger

Ref. 9050, 1972
Auctionata Paddle8 AG (February 2015)
Estimated Price: €800-1,000
Realized Price: €1,486 ($1,574)

14: Oyster Prince Ranger

Ref. 9050, 1975
Auctionata Paddle8 AG (January 2015)
Estimated Price: €1,440-1,800
Realized Price: €1,320 ($1,398)

15: Oyster Prince Ranger

Ref. 9050, 1972
Auctionata Paddle8 AG (December 2016)
Estimated Price: €1,440-1,800
Realized Price: €1,125 ($1,191)

The “Big Block” Chronograph

Notable Ref. Numbers: 9430/0

Price Range: $5,000-8,000 depending on model and condition

Although the Rolex Daytona is arguably one of the best known mechanical chronograph watches ever, it might surprise you to learn that of the two brands, it was actually Tudor that launched the first automatic chronograph in 1976 – a full 12 years before Rolex would debut the Daytona automatic using a Zenith’s El Primero caliber in 1988.Produced into the early 1980’s under the ref. 9430, the Big Block got its name thanks to the extra thick case, which was thicker than previous chronographs to allow for the automatic rotor. Featuring a three-register chronograph, the watches were offered with three bezel variations – steel tachymeter, plastic tachymeter and rotating bezel with hour markers.

16: Oyster Date Big Block Chronograph

Ref. 79160, c. 1994
Auctionata Paddle8 AG (October 2015)
Estimated Price: €2,000-2,600
Realized Price: €3,500 ($3,707)

17: Oyster Date Panda Dial Big Block Chronogaph

Ref. 7160, c. 1992
Auctionata Paddle8 AG (March 2016)
Estimated Price: €1,200-1,560
Realized Price: €3,250 ($3,442)

18: Oyster Date Chrono Time Big Block

Ref. 94200, c. 1980s
Watches of Knightsbridge (September 2015)
Estimated Price: £2,500-3,000
Realized Price: £2,500 ($3,112)

Find Tudor watches and more in upcoming auctions including:

Best of Jewelry, Watches & Diamonds | Auktionshaus Eppli | March 4

Fine Jewellery, Watches & Silver | Dreweatts & Bloomsbury | March 15

Montres – Bijoux | Hôtel des Ventes de Genève | March 16

Modern & Vintage Time Pieces | Watches of Knightsbridge | March 18

Modern, Classic & Collectible Timekeeper | Henry’s Auktionshaus AG | March 25

About Tom Mulraney
Tom Mulraney is the Founder and Editor of The Watch Lounge, a popular online luxury watch publication dedicated to enthusiasts and collectors alike.