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Dive In With The Tudor Submariner Snowflake

August 3, 2016

BY Paul Altieri

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Throughout its history, the Tudor Submariner has always been compared to the Rolex Submariner, which is only natural, yet somewhat unfair. Aesthetically they are similar and Tudor was positioned as a less expensive alternative than its Rolex counterpart. However, interest in vintage Tudor watches has increased over the past few years, with watch collectors appreciating the brand and models for what they are, rather than the “cheap Rolex”.

Tudor Submariner Snowflake

A Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner ref. 94010 with a “Snowflake” dial.

 

Tudor Submariner Snowflake

A very interesting piece from Tudor’s archives is the vintage Tudor Submariner “Snowflake”. The Tudor Submariner was actually launched just a year after the Rolex Sub, in 1954. Being a robust and reliable diver’s watch, the Tudor Subs were eventually used by the French Navy and US Navy. The Tudor Submariners used by the military were not customized to their specs, they were purchased as is. The only differentiation between a civilian Tudor Submariner and a military issue one was an engraving on the caseback. The French Navy issued Tudor Submariners, for instance, were engraved with M.N (Marine National Français) plus the year they were bought.

Tudor Submariner Snowflake

Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner ref. 94010 “Snowflake” Dial makes it a unique piece.

 

To increase the legibility of the Submariner underwater, Tudor introduced the “Snowflake” dial. It is speculated this was a special request of the French Navy, although this hasn’t been officially confirmed by the brand. Characterized by the square hour markers and angular shaped hour hand, the Snowflake design was produced by Tudor from 1969 until 1981. The first Tudor Submariners with the Snowflake dial were the ref. 7021 with a date function and the ref. 7016 without the date, powered by the self-winding ETA caliber 2484 and ETA 2483 movements, respectively.

Tudor-Oyster-Prince-Submariner-94010-Snowflake

Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner ref. 94010 “Snowflake” with a creamy patina.

 

This particular vintage Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner ref. 9401/0 with the Snowflake dial dates back to 1980. Its 39mm stainless steel Oyster case is waterproof to 660 feet (200 meters) thanks to the Rolex Triplock screw-down winding crown and screw-down fluted caseback. The unidirectional knurled rotating diver’s bezel in black secures the domed acrylic crystal protecting the face of the watch. Capping off the tool watch’s sturdiness is the matching stainless steel Oyster bracelet.

Tudor Submariner Snowflake

Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner ref. 94010 “Snowflake” has a unidirectional bezel.

 

On the black dial we see the distinct Snowflake style hands and hour markers sought after by Tudor collectors. Because of its age, the lume on the hands and indexes has turned into an attractive creamy yellow patina — a detail that is also prized by collectors.

Snowflake-Tudor-Oyster-Prince Submariner-94010

Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner ref. 94010 “Snowflake” with aged hour markers.

 

A fantastic example of a Tudor Submariner, the ref. 9401/0 Snowflake highlights why more people are diving into vintage Tudor sports watches. With its great design, reliable movement, and usage by some of the most powerful militaries in the world, the Tudor Submariner is a watch that deserves its growing respect.

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