94110 Tudor ‘Snowflake’ Submariner
It’s often said that the 5513 is the prototypical dive watch. It’s a panacea, sitting on top of modern dive watch genealogy like Gengis Khan in Mongolia. But what I find very interesting about that time in watch design is that it didn’t have to be that way. People tried other things. Gruen went with an inverse bezel. Cornavin used a jump hour. ZRC put the crown at 6. Omega used a monobloc case. Seemingly, all the world’s dive watch manufactures had attended woodstock and came away with some new thinking. Even Rolex, as the Snowflake proves, saw that the 5513 could be altered to great success.
What do you really need in a dive watch? Legibility, ability to time intervals, and unwavering reliability. Probably some water resistance as well. 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 Subs, though Tudor themselves seem strangely keen to say otherwise. Whatever the history exactly, snowflake handsets are a design bastion for Tudor today that came from practical origins in the 7016 and 7021. I have to wonder why the handset, if more legible, wasn’t moved ‘up’ the food chain to big brother Wilsdorf. Perhaps the Mercedes was already too imprinted in the zeitgeist. Rolex rarely changes, well, anything.
Experimentation was left to the great shield, but that means they are today objects for real watch people. For the most part, having a Snowflake Sub means you understand that value ETA presents, the history of Tudor, like design, and aren’t fussed with what other people think. These are people you would invite out for a drink. I like Snowflake Sub people.
This ref. 94110 is not rare. But it is purposeful, eccentric, inconspicuous, and a value still today. This is really the birth of the experimental sibling vibe we love Tudor for today. Interestingly, this reference was available with both a snowcone and snowflake handset at various dates in either black or blue. There are slight dial changes where the ‘m’ and ‘ft’ were bolded but they basically all look similar. Early examples had a paint defect which caused bubbling in age, it is believed that Tudor correct this fault in the mid 70s. It is often said that no two snowy-type snowflakes are the same, they’re irreplicable. Thanks to patina, it’s getting that way with the vintage ones as well. And that’s where all the fun of vintage truly lies. Most importantly, though, this is a diver to be worn every damn day without worry . . .and isn’t that as things should be for a steel dive watch?
This example has a full case, great dial (no bubbling), faded bezel, cream tritium, all the good stuff. On top of all that, it comes with full links and a full set. That’s not terribly common in 2023. It comes from a well-regarded London retailer.
Find this 94110 here from The Vintage Watch Lad for 14000 GBP.