In 1905 Wilsdorf set up his own company in England and began producing high quality watches. It was in 1908 that he began the Rolex brand. He ran the business in England for about fifteen years and then moved to Geneva in 1920.
Hans Wilsdorf first opened Tudor watches in 1946. The brand name Tudor was chosen because Wilsdorf wanted to pay tribute to the Tudor period of England.
The most important difference between Rolex and Tudor was already inherent in the 1940's when the first Tudor Oyster reached the market: Inside the screwed-in Oyster case, there was not a Rolex manufactured movement, but a movement supplied by Ebauches SA, ETA. The Rolex company still places value today on the fact that the modified automatic calibers by ETA are "especially made for Tudor."
The best sales argument for Tudor was always their direct connection to Rolex. Conceived right from the beginning as the "second" brand, Tudor is more moderately priced than its bigger, more famous brother. Genuine Tudor watches are sold through official Rolex retailers but are currently not available in the United States. It continues to be sold in Europe, Asia and Canada.
Tudor watches were used by the French Navy for its divers, with the first Tudor Submariners being purchased in the late 1960’s. Additionally the same model was used by the US Navy for its UDT and Navy Seals.
The most well known celebrity used by Tudor for advertising their Hydronaut is Tiger Woods. The ad features an image of Tiger teeing off and implies that the Hydronaut is as tough as a tiger.
Even with an aristocratic name of its own, a Tudor is still a Rolex.