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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 buy a quality tool watch. This was achieved by using generic ETA Swiss movements and housing them in Rolex Oyster cases, utilizing Rolex-signed crowns and Rolex crystals. These ETA movements were simple and robust, making them easier to service and locate parts for today than the Rolex equivalents.
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--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 (Ref. 23088) that accompanied this expedition, but the Tudor Oyster Prince, one for each of the thirty crew members.
Following the success of the Oyster Prince, Tudor launched the Oyster Submariner in 1954, taking design cues from the Rolex Submariner but housing an ETA movement in the Oyster case. Aside from the movements and the brand name on the dial, Tudor Submariners remained virtually indistinguishable from their Rolex counterparts. That is, until the late 1960s, when the Tudor Submariner Ref. 7016 debuted with the design features that would set Tudor Submariners apart from their Rolex cousins.
For the first time, the dial of the ref. 7016 was offered in blue rather than just in the usual black. Instead of the Tudor rose that had adorned Tudor watches since the 1940s, the Tudor logo was now a shield. Also, the indices and hands attained a distinctive, triangular shape which earned this model the nickname "Snowflake."
Yet Tudor, despite the Snowflake hands, still took design cues from the Rolex Submariner. When Rolex added a date window to the Submariner ref. 1680 in 1966, the Tudor Submariner also featured a date wheel in alternating red and white, dubbed "roulette" by collectors. Along with the ref. 7016, the reference with the date wheel, ref. 7021, ran until the mid-1970s when it was replaced by ref. 94010 and 94110, respectively.
The ref. 94110 and 94010 Snowflakes are notable for their strong dials that retain their crisp colors after years of wear and use. This is because, with these references, Tudor used better-quality dials than with the ref. 7016 and ref. 7021, which were prone to dial rot that manifested itself as bubbles underneath the dial's surface. The blue dial of our ref. 94110 Snowflake is still crisp, and the only testament to its age is the yellowing of the tritium on the hands and indices.
As time wore on, collectors and enthusiasts began to appreciate the designs that were exclusive to Tudor's Submariner line. Though relatively modest in price when it was released, the Snowflake Submariner has become a grail for many, causing values to climb within spitting distance of Rolex subs of similar vintages. What many forget is that Tudor produced fewer Submariners than Rolex, making sharp Tudor subs rarer than the equivalent 5513 or 1680.
Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown). Tudor Reference 94110. ETA 2784 movement. Circa 1979.
Overall condition: The case is in exceptional condition, with no signs of over-polishing and only light signs of wear and use in keeping with its age. Lugs are sharp and show minimal wear marks, particularly on the bottoms and back. Dial is unblemished with crisp printing, and luminescent elements show signs of even patina. Luminescent elements on the hands likewise show matching patina. Original date wheel. Signed crown; signed case back shows some wear marks.
Includes tan 20mm nylon strap and one 20mm nylon strap from Crown & Buckle