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Thread: Has Tudor failed (again) in the UK?

  1. #1
    Master Alansmithee's Avatar
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    Has Tudor failed (again) in the UK?

    Last week, I had a interesting conversation with someone fairly senior from an well known AD who carries Tudor. After a few drinks, he happened to let slip that Tudor has been (for them at least) a bit of a commercial failure.

    So has anyone heard anything about how they are getting on in the UK?

  2. #2
    Master
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    I'm surprised they've got a number of really good models personally thought the 36mm Blackbay? Is a beauty and very well priced. Blackbay divers lovely as well. Will be interesting to find out. Perhaps general public would rather stick to Tag and Breitling?

  3. #3
    Master Alansmithee's Avatar
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    The impression I got was that it falls into an odd spot in terms of price and what the public see as brand value especially with some of the more expense models.

  4. #4
    Is it still a bit too early to say?

  5. #5
    Craftsman smalleyboy1's Avatar
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    I was speaking to a Tudor AD last month and asked how Tudor were selling. They said, not as well as expected as few people know about the brand meaning established names sold better. I wear a Pelagos and I'm impressed with it and others in the range.

  6. #6
    I think they were delusional if they thought it was going to enter the market and capture it in a couple of years.
    It will take a while for it to settle down and it will have to learn the lessons it gets in terms of pricing and brand positioning.
    Black bay and Pelagos have been sturdy sellers even if price retention on secondary market is disappointing.

  7. #7
    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alansmithee View Post
    Last week, I had a interesting conversation with someone fairly senior from an well known AD who carries Tudor. After a few drinks, he happened to let slip that Tudor has been (for them at least) a bit of a commercial failure.

    So has anyone heard anything about how they are getting on in the UK?
    They haven't been re-introduced into the UK market for all that long. Consolidating the position of a 'new' watch brand (an AD-sold brand no less, which is likely imo to be harder work than selling direct at Tudor's price point nowadays) into the ultra-conservative UK market is going to take years of hard work. Perhaps it will take longer than many ADs can wait but, from what little I can see, things seem to be progressing as I'd expect (but then again I am very patient and tend to take a very long term view, longer than UK industry has become used to taking).
    Last edited by markrlondon; 11th September 2016 at 18:38.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by markrlondon View Post
    They haven't be re-introduced into the UK market for all that long. Consolidating the position of a 'new' watch brand (an AD-sold brand no less, which is likely imo to be harder work than selling direct at Tudor's price point nowadays) into the ultra-conservative UK market is going to take years of hard work. Perhaps it will take longer than many ADs can wait but, from what little I can see, things seem to be progressing as I'd expect (but then again I am very patient and tend to take a very long term view, longer than UK industry has become used to taking).
    Good post, if they do fail it would be shame.

    They are (IMHO!) significantly better watches - at a generally lower price, especially the chronographs - than Tag Heuer or Oris, but they just don't have the brand association and recognition of Tag in the UK high street. Also, they are little stuck I think on the Rolex association. I think it is fine to stress it (I mean, they go back to Rolex for service), but obviously to stress it too hard they may think it would undermine Rolex. I was told that they are sold at Beaverbrooks in Manchester Arndale and not the branch in the Trafford Centre because Goldsmiths is directly opposite has Rolex (this, I was told, was a decision of Rolex). In my opinion,instead they should ramp up Tudor as a 'different' more 'sporty/edgy' Rolex at a lower pice (it's here where I think the WEC and Ducati association is good). I doubt someone thinking of buying a Rolex would buy Tudor instead, and I think it might grab some sales from Tag/Oris etc. Indeed, to some extent I am surprised Rolex don't use Tudor with Formula 1 rather than Rolex (would it not benefit the company overall to sell Tudor with F1, rather than Rolex?). One of the things that got Tag in the British high street as 'cool was it's association with F1 (and Senna) for so long. No doubt I am totally wrong on all this, but it just seems to me that a Rolex buyer will be a Rolex buyer, but a Tudor buyer is looking at Tag/Oris/and cheaper Breitling and at that end of the market marketing is everything.

    Anyway, as I said I probably don't know what I am on about. What I do know is I think they have some cool watches, and if someone gave me 3-4k for a watch, I would buy a Tudor or high end Seiko (now I have my grail!). I am a particular fan of the Pelagos and chronographs.

  9. #9
    Master sweets's Avatar
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    I personally think the problem is the breadth of the range.
    They re-launched here with a very large range, covering many bases (dive, chrono, dress, glamour, ladies, alarms etc etc) which necessarily demand a high stock level and a lot of window space (meaning lots of dealer cost).
    They have some successful models, which they have also marketed heavily, specifically the heritage chronos, Pelagos, Black Bay and North Flag. I suspect these have sold well, but these models (which are all the ones we know) are only 1/3 of the range, and the others not only missed out on the marketing budget, but also have some oddness to the designs (let's face it, fastrider colouring is not for everyone, the Style, in all 4 sizes is very derivative etc etc).
    I think they will have to work harder to hone down the range and bump the appeal of all of that range in order to be a success.
    D

  10. #10
    Restricting sales to AD only and not online may hurt sales also.


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  11. #11
    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timetotalk View Post
    Restricting sales to AD only and not online may hurt sales also.
    Indeed. But of course if the ADs had to compete with online sales, they'd complain like mad.

  12. #12
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    The problem is definitely brand recognition. Their watches are beautiful. They are dearer than tag which has v high brand recognition. They are approaching omega (which has amazing brand recognition) prices. I think the previous post about Rolex sacrificing some sponsorship to Tudor could be a clever call. I doubt Rolex would suffer at all. Its all about mass awareness and confidence in the brand; not about watch geeks who appreciate their designs and build quality.

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  13. #13
    They are not really entering the UK watch market at a good time economically either, how are they going to advertise themselves to the British public and by that I mean your average Joe public buying a watch? The old "They are like a sub brand of Rolex, same quality but with an ETA movement" Doesn't really ring true and when Mr Smith buying his first "decent" watch can just pick up an Omega Seamaster for the same price as a black bay or the like, a watch he has probably seen about for years and probably knows a few people who own one why would he go for a Tudor?

  14. #14
    If you're not really into watches, a couple of thousand pounds is a lot to spend on a watch brand you've never heard of. I'm also unconvinced how popular the retro diver look is outside of wis circles - Sub 14060M's were always easily available in every AD window so I'm not sure how the Black Bay can be any different? Would be a shame to discount the brand after only a couple of years though - I'd say they need at least 5 years back in the market before any real conclusions can be drawn

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  15. #15
    Master
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    I might be wrong but another point is most AD who carries Tudor also carries Rolex. So many customers will probably not go for a Tudor, willing to pay a bit more for a Rolex.

  16. #16
    Master
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    It will be interesting how quickly Tudor become impatient if AD sales targets for the brand fall short. I am aware of one AD that no longer has its Tudor dealership.

    Neil

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    They're marketing like crazy. I see good things coming!

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    Personally I prefer the Tudor model choice over Rolex,I like the watches a lot.

    Maybe it just needs a good marketing stratagey, the French one at wheels and waves was classy and superb.

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    Craftsman bagman's Avatar
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    Burrells in Tunbridge Wells tried to tell me how the ETA movement versions were going to become rare now they were using in house ones, whatever!!!

  21. #21
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by soapy View Post
    Personally I prefer the Tudor model choice over Rolex,I like the watches a lot.

    Maybe it just needs a good marketing stratagey, the French one at wheels and waves was classy and superb.
    Yep, got to agree. Not criticizing Rolex who clearly have many design classics, nearly the whole current Tudor range appeals to me.

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  22. #22
    Surely it takes more than the year or two they have been officially in AD's to build brand recognition? They need to play the long game.

    Personally I prefer the Tudor designs over anything Rolex produces. There are perhaps 4 or 5 models easily in their range I have considered buying and only a lack of funds have got in the way. Also despite appreciating Rolex from a watch nerd standpoint the fact is they have a certain image in the public's eye that doesn't appeal to me so I would always go for the Tudor for that alone.

  23. #23
    Craftsman Go Big's Avatar
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    I'd agree, it's perhaps a little early to tell.

    FWIW, I bought a Heritage Chrono this year as I had lusted after one since they were re-launched.

    It is the watch that gets the most wrist time, even over my 16600.

    Most of the range appeals too.

  24. #24
    Craftsman silly's Avatar
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    From my personal experience (although it might not be very relevant) I absolutely fell in love with the Tudor Black Bay (red bezel) way before ADs started to stock it in the UK. I always thought it was something rather special and unique.

    I was going to pick one up for a special occasion next time I go to NYC and keep it forever... but then Tudor came to the UK.

    Suddenly, something that was in my eyes rather special was quickly becoming available on every street corner and bullishley advertised in magazines.

    It put me off, so at the end I didn't want it anymore. The magic was gone. I think their aggressive advertising cheapened the brand proposition.

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    Grand Master number2's Avatar
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    No, its early days,

  26. #26
    Grand Master Der Amf's Avatar
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    Given how often we see Black Bays and Pelagoi, it's a shock when you browse through the Tudor catalogue and see how many of their watches there are which never get mentioned, basically the entirety of the Glamour, Style and Classic ranges







    And then it's not often you see mention of the Fastrider, Advisor or even North Flag

  27. #27
    I very nearly bought a Pelagos a few weeks ago (blue dial). I thought it was fabulous build quality but the design and finish needs a bit of tweaking. To incorporate the Tudor shield at every opportunity was a bit much. The gaping chasm on the clasp not appealing and the indices and hands could do with a little brightwork on them. I also found the case a bit sharp in areas.

    Strange thing is, I still fancy one.

  28. #28
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    I think Jo Public would spend 4K on a Rolex Air King or Explorer as they recognise the brand, I doubt most would understand Tudor's historic relationship. Also, many people I work with, who only have a casual association with watches,really rate Tag as a brand commensurate with Rolex. Our hobby knowledge gives us a massively different perspective to the populous- just look at the proliferation of Michael Kors watches with young females. Personally, I hope Tudor stick with the market and develop their own identity as choice is important to ensure competitiveness and innovation.


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    I don't think there is a better watch for just telling the time than the Ranger

    Spot on with size,clarity and 150m wr.



  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by bagman View Post
    Burrells in Tunbridge Wells tried to tell me how the ETA movement versions were going to become rare now they were using in house ones, whatever!!!
    The ETA black bay with a black bezel is pretty "rare" as far as modern Rolex watches go. It was only sold for a year or so.

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    Clearly they need to increase their prices hugely to make their watches more desirable and exclusive. It might also be a good idea to ask some famous actors to gallivant around wearing the watches.

  32. #32
    Master Alansmithee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Der Amf View Post
    Given how often we see Black Bays and Pelagoi, it's a shock when you browse through the Tudor catalogue and see how many of their watches there are which never get mentioned, basically the entirety of the Glamour, Style and Classic ranges

    When I came across the Glamour range, I was a little surprised to find it covers both men's and women's watch given the name.

  33. #33
    Grand Master gray's Avatar
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    Not yet it hasn't.
    Gray

  34. #34
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by soapy View Post
    I don't think there is a better watch for just telling the time than the Ranger

    Spot on with size,clarity and 150m wr.


    Very nice looking watch that.
    Would never have considered Tudor previously but beginning to appreciate them more now.Good luck to them.

  35. #35
    Master W124's Avatar
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    I was keen to pick up a Black Bay Red, and followed with interest when they came up on SC.
    It was surprising how quickly the new owners were flipping, and the SC prices fell quickly.

    Like many owners, I found the BB Red to be initially very appealing, but it wasn't a piece I could build any serious affection for ?

    I also have a Tudor 79280, which I absolutely adore - it has so much style and class.

    Would a modern rendition of the 792x0 family be seen as direct competition for the Daytona range, at sensible money ?

  36. #36
    Grand Master snowman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hood View Post
    Very nice looking watch that.
    Would never have considered Tudor previously but beginning to appreciate them more now.Good luck to them.
    I agree, these caught my eye amongst some Tudors recently, but they do look a BIT like a 150 Seiko or even, dare I say it, a Pulsar or two, which must hurt sales...

    M.

  37. #37
    Craftsman AKM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrandS View Post
    Clearly they need to increase their prices hugely to make their watches more desirable and exclusive. It might also be a good idea to ask some famous actors to gallivant around wearing the watches.
    One of the guys in the office where I work is 28, interested in buying a 'decent watch' and he wants an IWC as he's heard that they make pilots watches. It doesn't matter to him that the model he'll probably buy has a Sellita movement inside it.

    Conversely, he's never heard of Tudor as he doesn't spend hours on forums or Hodinkee being told that a black bay will make him 'a watch guy'.

    Actors gallivanting around, inflated prices and lots of full page ads in glossy magazines seems to do the trick.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowman View Post
    I agree, these caught my eye amongst some Tudors recently, but they do look a BIT like a 150 Seiko or even, dare I say it, a Pulsar or two, which must hurt sales...

    M.
    Some of the Timex Waterbury models are about the closest I've seen to the heritage Ranger. There's nothing from any of the cheaper brands which quite gets the blend of retro and field quite as right as this watch (all in my opinion of course). So many have that explorer style face then mess it up with silver details or hands off a dress watch or the case is too polished or the size just isn't right. I've looked long and hard for something at a cheaper price point that hits the same blend but can't find it.

    It's all personal taste but for me Tudor just seem to get so much of their styling right a lot of the time.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKM View Post
    One of the guys in the office where I work is 28, interested in buying a 'decent watch' and he wants an IWC as he's heard that they make pilots watches. It doesn't matter to him that the model he'll probably buy has a Sellita movement inside it.

    Conversely, he's never heard of Tudor as he doesn't spend hours on forums or Hodinkee being told that a black bay will make him 'a watch guy'.

    Actors gallivanting around, inflated prices and lots of full page ads in glossy magazines seems to do the trick.
    Very similar situation in our studio. Several people have bought "expensive" watches in the last few years for significant birthdays and nearly all of them have bought some sort of Tag despite at least 2 of them wanting a Rolex (one guy had the good sense to buy a Seamaster). None of these people are WIS and the thinking behind most has been Rolex prices are just too much for a watch, Omega isn't far off, Tag Heuer is just that sweet spot of right price and everyone in the world knowing what it is/cost due to the sheer amount of advertising and sponsorship they do.

    As WIS we mostly have an understanding of what and who Tudor are but the vast majority of people don't have a clue and therefor are highly unlikely to spend 2k+ on a completely unknown brand no matter how much they like the watch. They'll look for something similar at that price from a well known brand such as Tag. Hanging off the coat tails of Rolex possibly isn't the greatest strategy but they need to be more effective in building awareness of this relationship. In this regard they could learn a lot from the likes of the Volkswagen Group. Their brand hierarchy and the model structure within deserves a Nobel peace prize.

  40. #40
    Journeyman Brucy's Avatar
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    Has Tudor failed (again) in the UK?

    Shame the Waterbury models are Quartz! Ditto on some of the comments, you really have to have a little knowledge on watches or be after the brand association (actors racing etc) to go out as Joe public and say I want a Tudor as opposed to Rolex, Omega, Tag et al

  41. #41
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    My favourite AD who sells Rolex and Tudor was telling me they were concerned about disappointing Tudor sales however Rolex "flying out the door".

    I wear Rolex but love the Tudor black bay especially in red, I really like the leather strap and the NATO style strap with it. Rolex doesn't do that although they sell themselves I suppose.

    I hope Tudor stays in uk they are beautiful watches although I will admit the sports types look great ie black bay, the chrono's, ranger and pelagos. The dress ones just don't do it for me and I think they may be the weak link. I'm not wishing to offend people who own them however, they are fine watches but I think the sports models are just a stronger line for pushing the brand.

    Maybe they are too expensive however they don't want to make themselves look cheap, a difficult position for them.




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  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by mowflow View Post
    Some of the Timex Waterbury models are about the closest I've seen to the heritage Ranger. There's nothing from any of the cheaper brands which quite gets the blend of retro and field quite as right as this watch (all in my opinion of course). So many have that explorer style face then mess it up with silver details or hands off a dress watch or the case is too polished or the size just isn't right. I've looked long and hard for something at a cheaper price point that hits the same blend but can't find it.
    I too find this style most appealing and agree wholeheartedly with your observation.
    But why, oh why is that watch 41mm?

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by 329gav View Post
    Maybe they are too expensive however they don't want to make themselves look cheap, a difficult position for them.
    Part of that difficult position is that they do have to intentionally make them look cheaper than Rolex, and that the whole brand proposition includes the thought 'made by Rolex, but cheaper'. This may not be the message people want to convey when they choose a luxury watch. Apple had the same issue with the iPhone 6c, which was basically the same phone, but with a plastic back, and cheaper. Give or take the fingerprint sensor it had identical functionality and actually looked really good, but people overwhelmingly chose the more expensive version because they considered the iPhone to be a premium product and they didn't like the image of having the cheaper version, even if it was just as good. Omega also found out to their cost in the 70s-90s that competing on price is the wrong strategy in the luxury game and only serves to devalue the brand in the eyes of the customer.

    Tudor should benefit from the increasing prices of their vintage models, which is in part a halo effect from the price of vintage Rolex, but also includes some love for the original design elements. These are reprised in the BB and have some people seeing the BB as a thinking man's choice. But only the kind of people who frequent this forum would really get that or have ever swooned over a vintage snowflake. They will need many more than that to succeed in the mass market. Perhaps they can take more design risks that Rolex, who are terminally glued to the past, and succeeded that way. But Tudor can't completely escape their past either it seems. As you say, a difficult position.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itsguy View Post
    Part of that difficult position is that they do have to intentionally make them look cheaper than Rolex, and that the whole brand proposition includes the thought 'made by Rolex, but cheaper'. This may not be the message people want to convey when they choose a luxury watch. Apple had the same issue with the iPhone 6c, which was basically the same phone, but with a plastic back, and cheaper. Give or take the fingerprint sensor it had identical functionality and actually looked really good, but people overwhelmingly chose the more expensive version because they considered the iPhone to be a premium product and they didn't like the image of having the cheaper version, even if it was just as good. Omega also found out to their cost in the 70s-90s that competing on price is the wrong strategy in the luxury game and only serves to devalue the brand in the eyes of the customer.

    Tudor should benefit from the increasing prices of their vintage models, which is in part a halo effect from the price of vintage Rolex, but also includes some love for the original design elements. These are reprised in the BB and have some people seeing the BB as a thinking man's choice. But only the kind of people who frequent this forum would really get that or have ever swooned over a vintage snowflake. They will need many more than that to succeed in the mass market. Perhaps they can take more design risks that Rolex, who are terminally glued to the past, and succeeded that way. But Tudor can't completely escape their past either it seems. As you say, a difficult position.
    Yes indeed market position is such a fine balance and getting it wrong is a disaster, I didn't realise about omega but yes Tudor/Rolex will be conscious of that situation. Maybe with the backing of Rolex this will help them.


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  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony-GB View Post
    I very nearly bought a Pelagos a few weeks ago (blue dial). I thought it was fabulous build quality but the design and finish needs a bit of tweaking. To incorporate the Tudor shield at every opportunity was a bit much. The gaping chasm on the clasp not appealing and the indices and hands could do with a little brightwork on them. I also found the case a bit sharp in areas.

    Strange thing is, I still fancy one.
    The same thing put me off of a Heritage Black Bay when I tried one on. It felt a little unrefined...

    ...and then I tried on North Flag and it felt like it had been built to an entirely different set of quality criteria. The case was wonderfully finished and the build, solid.

  46. #46
    Craftsman bagman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JP Chestnut View Post
    The ETA black bay with a black bezel is pretty "rare" as far as modern Rolex watches go. It was only sold for a year or so.
    Possibly so but they were just trying to get a quick sale me thinks?

  47. #47
    I actually prefer the Black Bays to the Rolex Sub.

    Interestingly, I've seen very few Tudor in the wild.

  48. #48
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    Disagree about it being 'difficult', putting a man on the moon is my definition of difficult, but I agree it won`t be quite so straightforward as they hoped.

    This is all about advertising and marketing the Tudor brand in the correct way and (more importantly) getting the prices right. Provided the watches are appealing, not priced at a silly level, and given plenty of the right advertising, they'll do OK. Rolex and (to a growing extent) Omega prices are way beyond what many are prepared to pay for a watch, so buyers are bound to be looking for something more affordable but still having the Swiss brand/heritage kudos.

    I don`t do marketing/advertising-speak, it's an alien language to me; however, even I can see that it's a challenge to rebuild a brand once it's lapsed in the public perception. Other brands such as Longines and Tissot have fallen into that category; excellent heritage based on true quality back in the 50s and 60s, but not perceived in the same light thesedays.

    As I`ve said several times I think there are bigger problems facing the whole Swiss watch industry; persuading the younger generation (and some of the lapsed oldies) to even wear watches is the big challenge IMO. Possibly a well-marketed brand such as Tudor has a part to play?........who knows.

    Paul

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by HectorHughMunro View Post
    I actually prefer the Black Bays to the Rolex Sub.

    Interestingly, I've seen very few Tudor in the wild.
    What's funny is that much of the Tudor appeal comes from its classic retro styles and designs. The Rolex sub is older than most, if not all, of these designs but will never look retro because it's never gone away.

  50. #50
    I don't think much of the modern 'dressy' offerings. They seem a bit insubstantial, somehow, as well as rather old fashioned.

    But the sports and divers stuff? Different kettle of fish entirely. I'm going to sell my in house black Pelagos shortly, but only because I've caught flipping flipping disease, and I just can't think of a better newish watch for 2 grand. I love the design, it's a great timekeeper, and will be serviced by Rolex for decades. TBH even at list price it's too cheap at present. Sure these are WIS watches, but with the way prices are going - and also considering that so many young persons don't do watches at all - isn't everything going that way?

    Tudor gives Rolex an opportunity to make new stuff that it could never do in the main brand in terms of designs and materials - and they show every sign of taking that opportunity, I reckon. So I think they'll be here for keeps.

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