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Vintage of the Week: Vintage Tudor Submariner Reference 7928

February 11, 2014

BY Paul Altieri


When it comes to vintage dive watches, it is hard to beat the sheer stability combined with elegance that is represented in the Tudor Submariner 7928.

History of the Submariner 7928

tudor stainless submariner black bezel

Tudor Stainless Submariner Black Bezel

Tudor is actually a separate company that manufactures Rolex watches.  The pieces themselves are manufactured by Montres Tudor SA.  Original Rolex founder Hans Wildorf wanted to create a company that would create a product that as reliable and of as high a quality as the original Rolex but at a more affordable price.  Therefore, Tudor watches have always symbolized affordable, quality, and long-lasting wear.

A vintage tudor clasp bracelet at Bob's Watches.

A vintage Tudor clasp and stainless steel bracelet.

The Submariner is a great example of the Tudor commitment to style mingled with practicality.  The Submariner was designed as a dive watch and could withstand pressure from being underwater without being damaged.  Here is where the true difference of the Tudor and Rolex watches becomes negligible:  Tudor watches were required to meet very strict standards of quality in order to be sold by Rolex.  In fact, the only real difference between Tudor and Rolex was the type of movements.  Tudor used a modified version of the Rolex movements but the Submariner was still required to be water-resistant to a particular depth.

vintage tudor submariner crown

Crown of a Tudor Submariner 7928

The 7928, unlike earlier Tudors, was fitted with the Rolex calibre 390 17-jewel movement.  This movement is based on the Valjoux 722 automatic. The 7928 also used an identical bezel to the Rolex 5513 Submariner.  This watch was produced from the late 1950’s until 1966 when it was replaced by newer Tudor models.

The Details of the Tudor Submariner 7928

The early examples of the Reference 7928 featured a “chapter dial.”  This means that the inner ring is printed on the dial close to the edge and connecting the minute markers.  There are actually four different dial versions known of the 7928.

back stainless steel vintage tudor submariner

Back of a Stainless Steel Vintage Tudor Submariner Watch

No matter which dial is present on a 7928, the lower half is fairly uniform.  You should find the words “200 m=660 feet,” indicating the depth to which the watch is rated to be water-resistant.  There were also be the word SUBMARINER in all capitals and the words “Rotor” and “Self-winding” printed in curved script.  Some of the dials will feature tracks while others do not.   The Submariner also features wing-shaped protection for the winding crown which is rounded.

vintage tudor close up

Vintage Tudor Stainless Steel with a beautiful patina.

The Tudor Submariner is one watch that could be “faked,” so be sure to visit Bob’s Watches to find genuine Rolex and Tudor products and see their history.



8 Responses to “Vintage of the Week: Vintage Tudor Submariner Reference 7928”

  1. George medzerian says:

    I bought a. 7928 in 1971 while in the navy stationed in Germany. I bought it from another sailor for $160. I have worn it since and only have had the crystal replaced twice. Never serviced. It looses about 1 minute a day but I don’t care .

    My problem is the watch band. About forgive years ago I took off the original and now have a $90 aftermarket band on it. It’s ok.

    I would love to have the original ban restored. It is the stretchy one, with spring loaded links. Some are just plain worn out so it doesn’t look or fit well.

    Please, can you advise me as to how to have the original band repaired. There is some shop in Hong Kong that people seem to like. Can you help me

    George medzerian

    • joe Walters says:

      Hello George-

      Very cool story! I bet it’s a beauty.

      Michael Young in Hong Kong is the bracelet magician and the man for the job. He can restore it back to new for about $300.

      Take care,

  2. John says:

    I have a 7928 that needs serious professional help.

    Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find anyone who can repair it.

    As I understand it, it is missing some of the parts that work as one way stops to make the auto winding mechanism work. The winding tube was changed out to a different Tudor model.

    The watch has HUGE sentimental value, I could care less about what it’s $ value is. I just want to be able to wear it.

    I was thinking about swapping out the internal movement for something that uses a battery.

    I’m sure someone, somewhere would consider this sacrilege, but I just care about the case and watch face. It was a gift to my grandfather, and I want to wear it.

    Any thoughts or suggestions?

    • Paul Altieri says:

      Our advice would be to NOT swap out the movement and try to find a qualified independent watchmaker who can source the correct replacement components. The fact that your watch is a Tudor rather than a Rolex is in your favor since parts are slightly easier to track down from this era compared to their Rolex counterparts. It will almost certainly not be a swift (or inexpensive) repair process and it may take quite some time to source all the necessary parts, but this will be the far superior solution, as it maintains the integrity of the watch and means that future repairs will be easier to perform since the watch is as it should be, rather than being a mix of a bunch of components that were not meant to go together.
      You may also want to consider purchasing a watch that you can use as a donor movement since it sounds like you may need a number of components, and sourcing a complete watch may be easier and less expensive than trying to source each component individually, but every effort should be made to repair the original movement, rather than taking the quick approach and potentially ruining the watch in the long term.

      • John Gallant says:

        Do you have anyone you would recommend to fix the watch? I have tried countless Rolex dealers, including Rolex themselves.

        • Paul Altieri says:

          Your best bet will likely be a qualified independent watchmaker, but as far as finding the right one up to the task, you may have some luck asking for references on the various forums.

  3. Jerry Neff says:

    I have a ’66 7928. I’m looking for a “rose” face vs. the “shield” face that I have. I replaced the face many years ago with one that has a “shield,” and would like to go back to an original type. I can’t seem to find one. Any suggestions?

    • Paul Altieri says:

      The style of dial you are after is a discontinued one, so your only option will be to try to source one on the open market. It also happens to be a rather rare and desirable one too, so there simply aren’t that many floating around that aren’t already inside a watch. All of that being said, you may have some luck asking around on the various forums or checking with some independent parts warehouses.

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