Tudor Submariner Marine Nationale
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Tudor Submariner Marine Nationale

Why We Love It

You should know it by now, we LOVE our military issued watches.

There is arguably no segment of vintage watch collecting with the most history and romanticism behind them. We may never know whether they ever saw a battlefield or only the inside of a homefront HQ. Regardless, we know that military-issued wristwatches were purpose-built, tough as nails, and provided to the servicemen and women who put their lives on the line in the name of patriotism and honor.

This particular timepiece, a Tudor Submariner issued to the Marine Nationale, comes with a little more provenance than normal. Decommissioning paperwork confirms it was originally issued to a crewman of the French Submarine SM. Foudroyant, most likely a clearance diver. Furthermore, this watch is accompanied by a set of period photographs of the submarine, and the French version of a challenge coin, whatever they call it. Le Challenge Coin?

A Reference 7016/0, civilian versions of this watch are most commonly known as Snowflakes, so-called for their stylized indices and hands. Featuring a pristine matte black dial, the luminous material on this example has been refinished, quite possibly while under contract by Tudor with the French Marine Nationale. As is typical with military-issued timepieces, this sort of contract service is par for the course, and only adds to its already-impressive story.

If you're jonesing for a Mil-Sub with some legitimate provenance that won't cost you your wife and marriage, you just found it!

The Story

Military wristwatches hold an endless fascination for the collectors who love them. With their spartan, tough exteriors, they have epitomized rugged utility since the First World War. But there are certain military watches that hold more allure than others for modern-day collectors.

We mean, of course, Mil-Subs.

Rolex and Tudor were by no means the exclusive purveyors of dive watches to the world’s navies—that honor also went to Blancpain, whose mil-spec Fifty Fathoms hold their own appeal. However, while mil-spec Fifty Fathoms are also relatively scarce, far fewer Rolex Mil-Subs were produced. For example, only 1200 Rolex Mil-Subs were issued between 1971 and 1979, and prices for survivors today are, well, considerable.

Fortunately, for those who desire a military Submariner but lack the means (or the resources) to procure a Rolex version, there’s Tudor.

Starting in the 1950s, Tudor secured contracts to furnish watches to the divers of the world’s navies. The first and perhaps best-known was with the French Marine Nationale, whose work with early Tudor Subs in the 1950s led to considerable growth and development of the model. However, other countries received Tudor Submariners as well, including South Africa and Argentina.

And some made their way the Marine Nationale…

Details

SKU: AS02996

Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown). Reference 7016/0. Circa 1974.

Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition overall, showing moderate signs of use and wear in keeping with its age and military service.Black bezel insert is in very good condition with light signs of wear. Luminous matte black dial is in good condition showing signs refinishing to the luminescent elements, possibly while under contract. Signed crown. Case back engraved ‘M.N. 74’.

Includes one 20mm Black NATO-style strap

Also includes a set of photographs of the French Submarine SM. Foudroyant, Challenge Coin, and decommissioning papers dated 1999.

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We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.

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