Feature: 5 Hot Rolexes Tudor Will Copy
We’re not sure if the head designers of Rolex and Tudor ever meet for an occasional chinwag over a cup of coffee and a slice of traditional Swiss nusstorte, but we’d love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation.
Picture the scene: the Rolex designer wearing smart business attire and polished shoes, sitting stiff-backed while sipping an espresso, while their Tudor counterpart—clad in jeans and a designer hoodie—blows on the froth of their flat-white as they casually roll up their sleeves to reveal some Yakuza-style body art.
The Rolex designer might be the top dog—nicer office, bigger pay cheque—but they’d have to listen enviously as their Tudor colleague reveals plans for expanding collections, groovy new chronograph dials and dynamic new advertising campaigns with Lady Gaga…
There’s a level of aesthetic freedom that’s out of bounds when working for Rolex, a brand that famously recoils from anything resembling dramatic change. Not only that, but Rolex only ever looks resolutely forward, shunning the Longines approach of reviving vintage models.
Tudor, in contrast, is given a longer leash; current market trends are acknowledged, nods to classic models encouraged.
Not only that, but the unveiling at Watches & Wonders of Tudor’s Black Bay Pro—almost a dead ringer for Rolex’s uber-cool 1970s-era Explorer II—suggests that Tudor has carte blanche to dip into its older sibling’s extensive back catalogue and, well, blatantly steal its designs!
Tudor's recently launched Black Bay 58 Pro copied this vintage Rolex. So what's next?
The Black Bay Pro has rightly been garlanded with universal praise, while the Heritage Black Bay series has also borrowed extensively from vintage Rolex watches. So what, we wonder, will the brand pick next from the Rolex archives?
We’ve dusted off five models from the vaults that we think Tudor’s design team should take a long, hard look at…
Rolex's problem child, the Turn-O-Graph. Is it time to let Tudor adopt it? Image courtesy of Bonhams
Rolex has never been able to decide what to do with the pesky Turn-O-Graph. What is the quintessential Turn-O-Graph anyway? First-generation versions from the early 1950s look like a no-date Submariner—complete with red triangle on the bezel. Then it had a make-over and got a fluted, numbered bezel and Cyclops date window. After disappearing for a few years, the Turn-O-Graph returned as part of the Datejust collection around 15 years ago before slipping off the radar again in 2011. We think Tudor should bring a version of it back, with some vibrant colour schemes.
Oyster Perpetual 6062 Moonphase
Rolex no longer makes what is arguably its most beautiful watch. But Tudor could! Image courtesy of Phillips
One of the most beautiful Rolex watches ever made, the 6062 is an extremely rare beast from the early 1950s—truly a golden era for watch design. Around 350 pieces in red gold were produced and even fewer in steel. It features a moonphase display—which Rolex now only uses in its Cellini line—and a complete calendar, but gives off a sporty demeanour with its Oyster Perpetual case and bracelet. If Tudor were to do a contemporary version, perhaps on a leather strap, they might have a big hit on their hands.
California dials like this are no longer used on Rolex watches. Image courtesy of Bonhams
Back in the 1940s some Oyster Perpetual models featured what later became known as a ‘California’ dial, comprising Roman numerals (on the top half), Arabic numerals (on the bottom half) and baton indices at 3 and 9 o’clock. The look is more associated with Panerai now, who carry this design on some Radiomir models. But if Rolex has no plans to bring the California dial back, Tudor could step in and claim it instead. Go for a big, bold font in faux-aged lume and team it with the Snowflake hour hand. Maybe.
Rolex Tru Beat 6556
Is Tudor ready to step in and produce its own dead-beat seconds model? Image courtesy of Bonhams
Forget all about looks for a minute and concentrate on technical show-boating. We know Tudor has no qualms about bringing out complications that aren’t in Rolex’s repertoire—its Heritage Advisor watch, for example, features an alarm. So Tudor should look at making a Tru Beat model. This watch, launched in the 1950s, didn’t have a sweeping seconds hand, despite being a mechanical watch. Instead it jumped, one beat per second, just like a standard quartz model, making it ideal for medical professionals to calculate a patient’s pulse rate. Tudor's allowed to be quirky, so why the hell not!
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 6239
For many, contemporary Daytonas are no match for the discontinued old-style models like this 6239. Image courtesy of Phillips
Yes, we know that Rolex is still producing the Daytona, but the contemporary model has moved on considerably from the watch that Paul Newman made famous. The case proportions, shifting subdials and a protective crown guard has made it too pumped-up for some slender-wristed wearers. Let the good folks at Tudor make a tri-compax chronograph that recalls that lovely exotic dial of the reference 6239, perhaps in funkier colour combinations. The industry would go absolutely barmy!
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