I’ve always had a thing for Tudor Submariners. When I bought my first mechanical watch, it was a vintage Tudor Submariner. I wanted a Submariner for all that it stood for – reliability, historically great design, perfect proportions – but I didn’t want to be “that guy” with a Rolex. I wanted to be different. I wanted people to have to ask what a Tudor was if they wanted to know about the watch. And I think those are still things that resonate with me, despite my eventual begrudging respect for most variations of vintage Rolex Subs.
While honeymooning in Asia, my wife and I spent a day on Cat Street, a section of Hong Kong known for its flea markets. Each shop seemed to have piles of old (unremarkable) watches, and I dug through each and every one of them in hopes of finding something exciting. Eventually, I did. In one of the smaller shops, there was a 76100 Tudor Submariner “lollipop” sitting underneath the glass, and while I was generally well-read when it came to Tudors, the individual nuances of the lollipop escaped me. After trying on the watch and being shown a slip of paper that said “$300” on it, I thanked him and said I’d be back in an hour.
We turned the corner and walked straight into a coffee shop with wi-fi connectivity in order for me to take a crash course on the 76100 reference. It all checked out, from the serial to the design differences, and after a quick stop by the ATM, we were back at the shop. As I handed over the cash to buy the watch, the store owner furrowed his brow a bit. A broken conversation ensued, where I learned that the $300 I’d seen was the amount previously paid for a servicing. The actual cost of the watch was two thousand and three hundred dollars. Admittedly still a great price, but not one I was willing or able to pay in cash on that day.
Fast forward about four months. A nightly WatchRecon run turned up a 76100 with box and papers in Hong Kong, and I decided to reach out, as the price was competitive. A picture of the accompanying papers provided the motivation that got me over the hump: the watch was sold in Hong Kong in January 1987 – just one month before I was born. It may not have been the one from Cat Street, but it was about as close as I could get, with provenance to boot. The decision was an easy one, and one that I haven’t looked back from. This Tudor is often found on my wrist during weekends, as there’s no better watch for any situation that life can throw at you.
The Nitty Gritty
The original bevels were polished off of this example, unfortunately, but the rest of the watch is in terrific shape. Interestingly, 76100 and 79090 Tudor Submariners often tend to exhibit pure white lume indices, rather than the creamy lume that’s often seen in earlier references. The result, however, is a super clean matte dial Sub that will look great for years to come. Special nuance that only OCD collectors will appreciate – this is the only Tudor Sub to feature a metal date wheel. All others (7021/0, 9411/0, 79090) have white date wheels.