The Tudor Submariner was used by the French Navy - especially by the Groupe de Plongeurs Démineurs founded in 1955 - from the late 1950's to the quartz age.
Most probably, this watch was chosen of course because of its quality, but also because of its cost, which was much lower than the Rolex equivalent.
The most famous Submariner version delivered to the French Navy is the reference 94010, with blue dials and snowflake hands. It was first delivered in 1974 with serial numbers in the low 800,000’s.
Here’s an article I wrote some years ago about the history of the Tudor “Marine Nationale”:
Recently, I was lucky enough to be able to examine an example that was purchased directly “from the source” with a full documentation. As you will see on the following pictures, the watch comes with some documents and stuff I had personally never seen before.
The timepiece ended its career on the Vetiver, a ship posted at the military harbour of Port des Galets; it is located on La Reunion, a French island of the Indian Ocean . The 15 meter ship was built in 1987 and used by the Brigade de Gendarmerie Maritime de la Réunion for surveillance and rescue missions.
First, here are a couple of books that came with the watch; they describe some of the diving material used by the French Navy divers: mask, re-breather, knife, glove, wetsuit, etc…every item is fully described and its use is explained. These documents are fascinating from an historical point of view and they really put the watch in perspective.
This little notebook was attached to the watch: “Montre Etanche Lumineuse” meaning “Luminous Waterproof watch”. It describes all the events of the watch’s life until its decommissioning – “Reforme”. It is interesting to note that the watch was assigned to several different ships from the mid 1970’s to the late 1990’s, the last change occurred in 1995.
This envelope followed the watch whenever it had to go for service; in the past it probably contained the service receipts, now it hosts the decommissioning papers, stamped in November 2003.
The watch itself is in great condition: the dial and hands are perfect, with a very nice creamy color of the tritium. The bezel has faded to a very nice blue, probably because of the exposure to sun and salted water.
The watch comes in a little wooden box with a plastic top that bears an anchor logo: ultra cool !! I have never seen this before and it was really a surprise for me to discover the original packaging of this kinf of watch.
The caseback engraving is in great condition, still very sharp. It's really a part of the Tudor MN DNA !
In conclusion, I was really ecstatic to study this watch and present it to you, as it is definitely the most complete example I have ever examined.
This message has been edited by DrStrong on 2012-12-13 05:41:53 This message has been edited by DrStrong on 2012-12-13 05:44:44 This message has been edited by DrStrong on 2012-12-17 00:20:30