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On March 6, 1946, Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf announced his intention to create "a watch that our agents could sell at a more modest price than our Rolex watches, and yet one that would attain the standards of dependability for which Rolex is famous." Thus, the Tudor Watch Company was born.
Originally produced by Rolex to respond to a growing base of sports watch consumers, Tudor was conceived as a more economic way to sell a quality tool watch to a growing consumer base. This was achieved by utilizing generic Swiss movements and housing them in Rolex Oyster cases, adding in genuine Rolex-signed crowns and bracelets.
In 1952, Tudor launched the Oyster Prince, and it was a resounding success. From the very first Tudor Oyster Princes that rolled off the assembly line in 1952, the model featured two technical innovations that were theretofore exclusive to Rolex: automatic movements and the trademark waterproof Rolex "Oyster" case. The advertising campaign that announced the Oyster Prince's introduction featured men working in harsh, forbidding conditions, such as miners or construction workers, all with a Tudor Oyster Prince strapped to their wrists.
The Tudor Oyster Prince's reputation for sturdiness and dependability was tested almost immediately. In 1952, the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom organized a scientific expedition to the northernmost reaches of Greenland. Contrary to popular belief, it was not the Longines Greenlander (Reference 23088) that accompanied this expedition, but the Tudor Oyster Prince, one for each of the thirty crew members.
Captain J.D. Walker of the Expedition was so taken with the performance of his Tudor Oyster Prince that he wrote a letter to Rolex commending them for their superlative product:
Having recently returned to England after thirteen months with the British North Greenland Expedition, I should like to express my extreme admiration for the Rolex Tudor Oyster Prince which I wore on my wrist throughout my tour with the Expedition... Temperatures varied from 70 degrees Fahrenheit to -50 degrees Fahrenheit, and on many occasions during the thaw period the watch was unavoidably immersed in water... Despite these trials, occasional time signals broadcast from England proved that my Rolex Tudor Prince watch was maintaining a remarkable accuracy. On no occasion did it require to be wound by hand...
Our Prince, Reference. 74000, was released in the 1990s, and contains a robust and reliable ETA 2824-2 movement. Movements from ETA are simple and robust, making them easier to service and locate parts for today than the Rolex equivalents, making the cost of entry lesser for aspiring collectors. At roughly 35mm, it's on the larger side for Tudor Princes, and distinguished by an absolutely delicious blue dial that is as unusual as it is beautiful!
Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 34.5mm (excluding crown). Tudor Reference 74000. Calibre ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. Circa 1990s.
Overall Condition: Case is in excellent condition with sharp lugs and no signs of over-polishing. Blue dial is in excellent condition with light even patina and no signs of discoloration or hand drag. Luminescent elements on the hour markers and hands have aged with an even patina. Signed crown.
Includes one 19mm Oyster bracelet (7835/361 ) with Tudor signed clasp.