Tudor originally introduced the Prince Oysterdate as an affordable alternative to the Rolex Datejust and Daytona. Since then, these watches have developed their own personality separate from Rolex. Some have even become collector's items.
- Use of Rolex components, such as Oyster cases and bands
- Some are popular collector's items: e.g. the Prince Oysterdate "Homeplate", "Monte Carlo", and "Big Block"
- Alternatives to Rolex models like the Datejust and Daytona
- ETA and Valjoux movements
Tudor Prince Oysterdate – from Economic Model to Collector's Item
Tudor introduced the Prince Oysterdate in the mid-1950s and gave it a name indicative of its date function and Rolex Oyster case. A Cyclops lens and a three-piece link Oyster band were also featured in most of these models.
The relationship to Rolex
was unmistakable, especially considering the crown, clasp on the band, and case back were all outfitted with the parent company's logo. The biggest differences were in the materials and movements used, with most of the movements coming from ETA or Valjoux.
The First Tudor Prince Oysterdate
The first Prince Oysterdate models were affordable versions of the Rolex Datejust
. Thanks to the use of stainless steel for the 34-mm case, plexiglass, and an affordable base caliber, the Prince Oysterdate cost only a fraction of its Rolex counterpart. Over the years, Tudor has remained true to the fundamental design, though their dials have shown a willingness to experiment that is uncommon in Rolex models.
You can get one of these classics in good condition starting at 990 euros.
The Prince Oysterdate with a Chronograph
In 1970, Tudor decided to add a chronograph version of the Prince Oysterdate
to their catalog. This watch featured a gray-black dial with splashes of bright orange. Collectors quickly gave this watch the nickname " Homeplate
" because the pentagonal indices coated in luminous material looked like the home plate on a baseball field.
The stopwatch function is operated via two screw-down pushers at 2 and 4 o'clock. It displays the elapsed seconds using a central hand and has an additional 45-minute counter subdial at 3 o'clock. The small seconds dial sits at 9 o'clock, and the date is located at 6. This watch is powered by a hand-wound Valjoux caliber 7734 with a 39-hour power reserve. All of this is packed into a 39-mm stainless steel Oyster case with a screw-down case back and protected by plexiglass with a Cyclops lens. The words "Original Oyster Case By Rolex Geneva" are engraved on the case back.
This watch is available in two versions: Watches with the reference number 7031/0 have a bezel made of black plexiglass, while those with the reference number 7032/0 have a satin-brushed stainless steel bezel. Both include a tachymeter scale that goes from 60 to 500. Be sure to have around 18,500 euros ready to buy a Prince Oysterdate Chronograph "Homeplate" in good condition.
The Prince Oysterdate "Montecarlo"
released an updated version of the "Homeplate" only one year later. While the packaging remained largely untouched, Tudor opted for a new dial design. Its resemblance to a roulette wheel earned it the nickname " Montecarlo"
. Moreover, it was driven by the hand-wound Valjoux caliber 234, which was markedly more accurate.
Tudor offered this watch in five different designs. The watch with reference number 7149/0 had the same plexiglass bezel with a tachymeter scale as its predecessor and came in two color schemes: one with a black bezel and gray-black dial and the other with a blue bezel and gray-blue dial. The Oysterdate "Montecarlo" with the reference number 7159/0, on the other hand, had a stainless steel bezel and a gray-black dial design.
Watches with the reference number 7169/0 differentiate themselves from their sister models via a unidirectional bezel with a 12-hour scale that could be used to track a second time zone. These watches are available in the same gray-blue and gray-black color schemes. If you would like to purchase a Prince Oysterdate Chronograph "Montecarlo", be prepared to spend between 12,000 and 14,500 euros.
Big Brother – the Oysterdate "Big Block"
The next stage of development followed in 1976. For the first time, Tudor equipped a chronograph with an automatic movement, namely the Valjoux 7750. Since it was almost 1.5 mm thicker than the previous caliber, the case was also notably thicker, hence the nickname "Big Block".
The Valjoux movement also brought a few changes to the dial, including the presence of three subdials: a 30-minute counter at 12 o'clock, a small seconds dial at 9 o'clock, and a 12-hour counter at 6 o'clock. The date was displayed beneath a Cyclops lens at 3 o'clock. In addition, the "Prince Oysterdate" inscription was replaced by the words "Automatic-Chrono Time".
Tudor offered this watch in the same familiar color schemes. The reference number 9420/0 was gray-blue with a plexiglass bezel, and the reference number 9430/0 was gray-black with a stainless steel bezel. The latter was also available in a less colorful version with white subdials on a dark or silver background. Depending on the model, you can purchase a watch from this collection for between 5,500 and 17,500 euros.
Released in 1989, the watch with the reference number 79100 was technically almost identical to the previous models. Tudor decided to stick exclusively to the simpler dial design and brought back the "Oysterdate" inscription. You can find this more affordable "Big Block" model starting for as little as 3,950 euros.
The Last Prince Oysterdate
Tudor issued a final version of the Prince Oysterdate with the reference number 79200 in 1995. Its case had a much softer look thanks to its rounded edges and contained a significantly improved version of the Valjoux 7750. Its dial shone in silver with black or cream-colored subdials, among other designs. The plexiglass was replaced by sapphire glass with a Cyclops lens, and the plexiglass bezel was switched out for a version made of black anodized aluminum.
The use of Rolex bands, crowns, and cases also began to gradually vanish. After Tudor introduced their own band for this watch in 1997, the word "Oyster" disappeared from its name. Since then it has been marketed simply as the Prince Date. Plan to spend between 4,000 and 6,000 euros for models that still have the "Oysterdate" inscription on the dial.