There may be no more recognizable vintage Tudor Sub than what you’re looking at. The ref. 7016 may have introduced snowflake hands to the Tudor Submariner, but the 94110 and 94010 were the references (date and no date, respectively) that made snowflake hands and dial plots famous, introduced 1976. Moreover, this was the last generation of Tudor dive watches to feature the design before Tudor brought it back in Black Bay circa 2012. Interestingly, and unlike the no date 94010, 94110s were never available with triangle hour markers and a lollipop hour hand. The 94110 was snowflake only, which is why it earned the nickname first. And if you wanted the most Tudor expression possible, it has to be the marine blue dial.
The snowflake shape provided a greater real estate for tritium, that was the entire idea; simple as pie. It’s very likely that this change was a request from the Marine Nationale after an order of 7016 Subs, though Tudor themselves seem strangely keen to say it was a design-led decision. Whatever the history exactly, snowflake handsets are a design bastion for Tudor today that came from practical origins. Where Rolex rarely alter the recipe more than mil or two, Tudor was free to be Skunk Works.
The 94110 featured an ETA calibre 2784, with hacking seconds. The 94110 came in two dial types, known by collectors as a ‘Type A’ and ‘Type B’. This earlier Type A dial is generally 1981 and earlier, correct for this 1981 example. Post-1981 production featured a taller shield as well as bolded ‘m’ and ‘ft’ in the depth signature. Interestingly, and for no apparent reason, Tudor introduced this reference with a dash and around 1976 removed the ‘/’ from the second to last digit in the reference number, this 1981 comes from after dash removal.
If there were a more recognizably Tudor design, I’m not aware of it. Snowflake hands are also a marker of Tudor being proudly differentiated from Rolex for the first time, right around the era when they also beat Rolex to their first automatic chronograph. You really get the sense that in the late 70s, Tudor must’ve felt as optimistic and full of energy as Tudor of today do. The Snowflake isn’t just an alternative to Rolex, it’s an objectively more legible layout, true improvement. And blue dial? Well that’s about as carefree as we saw vintage Wilsdorf ever get. This cerulean contrasted a huge cream tritium plots looks better today than it ever has.