A watch a month

The reference 7928, a milestone in the Tudor Submariner Legacy

In 1954, Tudor presented its first diving watch, the Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner reference 7922. Like the Rolex Submariner produced during the same period, this watch was intended for professional divers who needed a functional, accurate and reliable instrument for timing their dives and the duration of decompression.

The reference 7922 was a revolutionary watch for Tudor, which had never made anything with these features before. Coming with a water resistance of 100 meters, a black dial with highly legible “Mercedes” hands, a rotating bezel with 5-minute intervals, an automatic movement with Ebauche Fleurier, a solid 39 mm case with screw-down caseback and a steel bracelet, it was undoubtedly an absolute novelty for the time.

The first Tudor Submariner reference 7922 (Courtesy Ch24)

In 1955, Tudor presented another diver’s watch, the reference 7923, which, unlike the 7922, featured a hand-wound caliber ETA 1182 and “Baton” hands instead of “Mercedes” hands. The use of a hand-wound movement also allowed Tudor to adopt a thinner and more elongated case than the reference 7923.

An extraordinary example of reference 7923 (Courtesy Hq Milton and Hodinkee)

Both reference 7922 and 7923 were 100 meters water resistant, equipped with a 6 mm thick Rolex crown and they didn’t feature crown guards.

The small 6mm Brevet + crown (Courtesy of Hq Milton and Hodinkee)

A turning point in the history of Tudor diving watches was the year 1958, when made its appearance in Tudor catalogue the Tudor Oyster Prince Date Submariner Ref. 7924 with a water resistance of 200 meters, twice that of previous models. It is called “Coroncione” by collectors because of the large 8-mm winding crown, which together with the new doomed glass allowed this new model to reach the 200-meter mark in water resistance. The reference 7924, like its predecessors, was not yet equipped with the crown guards.

A superb example of a reference Tudor Submariner 7924 “Coroncione” (Courtesy of Corrado Mattarelli)

Reference 7928 was the first Tudor Submariner with crown guards. The introduction of crown guards was suggested by diving professionals who first tested these new diving watches. During underwater activities, the crown could collide with debris or underwater materials, shifting the time and affecting the measurement of underwater times as well as the water resistance of the watch. With reference 7928 this issue was solved with the addition to the watch case of small protrusions that allowed a greater protection of the crown.

An early Tudor Submariner ref.7928 with a charming brown changed color dial (Courtesy Phillips)

For the reference 7928, Tudor opted for a smaller winding crown than for the 7924 “Coroncione”, but in general, the aesthetic and mechanical features of the Tudor Submariner were maintained, including the 200-meter water resistance and the calibre 390 with ebauche Fleurier. Reference 7928 production ceased in 1968 and was replaced by the new Tudor Submariner reference 7016.

A Tudor Submariner ref.7016 from mid 70’s (Courtesy Phillips)

Rolex Submariner ref. 7928 was produced in several versions between 1959 and 1968, differing in some details such as the graphics of the dial and the shape of the case crown guards. Getting technical we can divide reference 7928 dials and case shapes that changed over time into a few categories.

Case types :

  • “Square” Crown Guards
  • “Eagle Beak” Crown Guards
  • “Pointed” Crown Guards
  • “Round” crown guards

The first examples of the Tudor Submariner 7928 were equipped with square-shaped crown protectors. To allow a better grip on the crown with the sub suit and gloves, they were modified over the years to a semi-circular shape.

Dial types :

  • Gilt writing and Gilt outer track
  • Printed writing and Gilt outer track
  • Printed writing and printed outer track

The dials where the combination of printed graphics and gilt outer track can be found are called “Mixed Graphic Dial”.

Some of the dial types that appeared on reference 7928 over the years of production (courtesy of Phillips, Christie’s, Sotheby’s)

The most collectible Tudor Submariner reference 7928 are certainly the earliest ones, like the following example. Manufactured around 1963 this specimen is an excellent example of a pointed crown Tudor Submariner reference 7928 with mixed graphic dial. Those early Tudor are every day harder and harder to find in great collectible condition. Excellently preserved, most likely never polished and completely correct for the year of manufacture it would be a great addition to a vintage Tudor collection.