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In 1952, Tudor launched the Oyster Prince. The model featured two technical innovations that until then had only been used by Rolex: automatic movements and the trademark waterproof Rolex "Oyster" case. Tudor introduced the Oyster Prince with an ad campaign featuring men working in harsh, forbidding conditions (for example, miners or construction workers) with Tudor Oyster Princes strapped to their wrists.
In creating Tudor, Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf intended 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." He achieved this by using generic ETA Swiss movements and housing them in Rolex Oyster cases with Rolex-signed crowns and Rolex crystals. Yet despite Tudor’s humble roots, the brand’s sturdy and dependable watches have attained a cult following all their own, with a fervent and appreciative audience.
The earliest Oyster Prince (a Reference 7909) was launched in 1952 and was produced until 1957. This reference takes for inspiration the "Hillary" Pre-Explorer (Reference 6350) that accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary to the summit of Mt. Everest. It also, most notably, saw action in the punishing Arctic environs of Greenland in the British North Greenland Expedition of 1952.
In these early references, Tudor experimented with a variety of dial textures. The most commonly-found dials on these early Oyster Princes are the “honeycomb” dials, like the one featured here. Whether linen, sunburst, or honeycomb, a textured dial (holdover from the days of hand-machining) gives a watch an extra touch of whimsy that’s undeniably attractive; also, given how difficult it is to refinish a textured dial, it’s often a mark of a dial’s authenticity.
Aside from the beautiful dial, this Oyster Prince (a Reference 7929) boasts an oversized (35 to the standard 34mm) case with 20mm lugs, making it all the more attractive to the modern collector.
Available exclusively at Marshall Pierce
Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 35mm (excluding crown). Tudor Reference 7929. ETA Self-Winding Movement. Circa 1950s.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel Oyster case is in very good condition with signs of light but careful polishing and minimal signs of wear. Honeycomb dial is in good condition with some darkening on the outer edge. Rolex crown. Rolex case back has some faint signs of wear but is in otherwise very good condition.
Includes one 20mm tan leather strap and two 20mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle