Tudor Submariner
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Tudor Submariner

With the growing popularity of Tudor’s Heritage collection, particularly the Black Bay, now is perhaps the best time to consider the vintage watches that inspired them—like the Tudor Submariner.

From Tudor’s start in the 1940s as Rolex’s gateway brand, for every Rolex model there was a Tudor-branded variant: an Oyster Prince for every Datejust, a Big Block for every Daytona, and a Submariner for every… Submariner.

And yet, with the Tudor Submariner, Rolex experimented with dial designs and colors, resulting in a watch that—far from being a pale facsimile of the original—was as unique as it was dependable.

Tudor first began offering the Submariner in the 1950s. In its earliest iterations, the Tudor Submariner was nearly identical to its Rolex compatriot, with black dials, Mercedes hands, and hour markers that alternated between long triangles at the poles and round plots everywhere else. However, it wasn’t long before the look of the Tudor Submariner began to shift and change.

In fact, though blue Rolex Submariners can now be spied in jewelry stores, it was the Tudor Submariner that first featured a blue dial, as early as the 1960s—almost 20 years before the Rolex Submariner.

The late 1960s saw the birth of a Tudor Sub that would go on to define the model for many collectors. The Reference 7016, introduced in 1968, featured hour markers and hands with an unusual triangular shape, which gave rise to the nickname “snowflake” among collectors. This look would be carried on through the early 1980s with the Reference 9401 and 94110.

For nearly two decades, the Tudor “Snowflake” was the model that defined the Tudor Submariner, and when Rolex decided to reintroduce the Tudor brand after a period of dormancy, it was the Snowflake that would go on to inform the Black Bay.

But the Snowflake was not the last of the Submariners—that honor goes to this watch, the Reference 79090.

With the 79090, Tudor returned the Submariner to its roots. The Mercedes hands returned, along with the triangular hour markers at the Poles. But the dial colors continued to be as vibrant as ever, with deep blue and even burgundy being offered.

Despite being from the early 1990's, this particular 79090 ticks all the vintage boxes - a strong Rolex-signed case, lightly patinated tritium lume, a folded link bracelet, and a distinctive touch - a domed crystal in place of the usual cyclops. All in all, this watch presents a perfect opportunity to get into an eye-catching Submariner without breaking the bank.

Details

SKU: AS02412

Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown). Reference 79090. Circa 1992.

Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition overall with moderate signs of use and wear. Bezel is missing lume pip but is in otherwise very good condition. Dial is in very good condition with slight patina to the luminescent (tritium) elements of the dial. Signed crown.

Includes one 20mm 9315/380B folded link Oyster bracelet with Tudor signed clasp.

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