It was not just Rolex that produced Submariner dive watches, but its brother brand, Tudor did too. Today, we are diving into the history of the Tudor Submariner with an emphasis on a model from the 1990s. Join us as we spotlight the Tudor Prince Date Submariner 79190.
The Birth of the Tudor Submariner
The first Tudor Submariner made its debut in 1954 in the form of the Oyster Prince Submariner ref. 7922. The Tudor Sub was conceived as a moderately priced alternative to the Rolex Submariner, complete with excellent durability, precision, and water resistance. While early versions of the Tudor Submariner had a water depth rating of 100 meters, the introduction of the ref. 7924 in 1958 increased it to 200 meters. Other notable design details changed over the years too, such as the addition of crown guards with the Tudor Submariner ref. 6928 in 1959.
In 1969 the no-date Submariner ref. 7016 and for the first time, a Tudor Sub with a date window–the Prince Oysterdate Submariner ref. 7021. This generation of Submariners saw the birth of the now iconic Tudor “snowflake hands,” characterized by square hour markers and square tipped hands. Tudor opted for these shapes to accommodate more lume on the dial for better legibility underwater. The Snowflake style dial is part of the modern-day Tudor design language, as seen on current Tudor Black Bay models and current Tudor Pelagos models.
In 1989, the Tudor Oysterdate Submariner welcomed the return of the Mercedes-style hands to the dial with the release of the ref. 79090. Tudor also offered the Submariner 79090 with either a black dial and bezel combination or a blue dial and bezel colorway.
Finally, in the mid-1990s, the very last Tudor Submariner joined the company catalog: the Tudor Prince Date Submariner ref. 79190
Tudor Prince Date Submariner ref. 79190
Tudor unveiled the Tudor Prince Date Submariner ref. 79190 in 1995, which included fundamental designs of its predecessors yet with modern updates. The Tudor ref. 79190 sports a 39 mm stainless steel case, stainless steel three-link Oyster-style bracelet, and a unidirectional rotating bezel (in either blue or black). Two years after the debut of the Prince Date Submariner ref. 79190, Tudor added a steel bezel option to the mix.
On top of the dial–available in blue or black–sits a modern scratch resistant sapphire crystal. Similar to the Rolex Submariner, the Tudor Sub also features the protruding Cyclops lens on the crystal to magnify the date window at 3 o’clock. The dial houses the familiar Mercedes-style hands that sweep around the dial to point to round and triangular lume-filled hour markers. Also, note the “T Swiss Made T” markings on the bottom portion of the dial of this particular Tudor Prince Date Submariner ref. 79190 circa 1997 to indicate the use of tritium for luminescence.
The Tudor Prince Date Submariner ref. 79190 is water resistant to 200 meters thanks in part to the structure of the Rolex Oyster case. In fact, flip the Tudor dive watch over and you will spot the “ORIGINAL OYSTER CASE BY ROLEX GENEVA” inscription on the fluted steel caseback. Beneath that caseback sits an automatic ETA 2824-2 movement.
Tudor eventually discontinued its Submariner range in 1999. However, there are Tudor enthusiasts hoping for a comeback of the famed dive watch in the near future. But until that happens, if you are looking for a discontinued Tudor Submariner that looks almost identical to a classic Rolex Submariner, the Tudor Prince Date Submariner ref. 79190 is a fantastic option.