I strive to feature wholly original watches at all times where possible, though in the world of vintage that is an increasingly grey line. Is a watch that has been serviced with a replacement crystal still original? What about a mainspring, as they pose huge risk to the entire movement if aged too far? Or, in this case, what if a watch were serviced in period and given a ‘upgraded’ dial by the manufacture, say five years after initial production? That is the question I pose to you today. This beautiful Tudor Sub cropped up on my alerts yesterday and, the lover of a good discussion I am, it seems apropos.
Tudor’s Submariner line began in 1954 with the 7922. This 7928 came into the picture in 1959 with several upgrades. The depth rating doubled, crown guards were added, and new more legible dial was designed. Its Fleurier 390 is a simple but robust powerhouse. There’s no mistaking the tool-appeal on offer here. This watch has all the ethos of modern Sinn, half a century earlier. The purposeful design has carried through today in Tudor’s lineup, perhaps most so in the Pelagos.
The 7928 is most commonly seen with a rose and gilt dial to die for. Most of these dials also featured a ‘smiling’ lowest line of text, reading self-winding. That was the cue Tudor copied for what is now referred to as the ‘smiley’ series of initial Black Bays. However, period service replacements updated the logo to the shield and straightened that lowest line of text. The tritium plots remained, flanked by an extended white pint minute track. Some might say this is more legible. Others may argue its less sexy. Whatever the case, Tudor themselves made and installed these dials. They just didn’t do it the first time around. So what does that make this watch? One which was cared for in its day. Or (and let’s pray not) a possible frankenwatch.
This is the danger where unoriginality in any guise enters the picture, and it’s where many modern collectors jump-scare easily. If anything is out of place, the watch has been tampered with. Maybe it was by Tudor, but also perhaps not. But collectors need to allow room for nuance in this discussion. It also allows for a deeper understanding of each model, as one must delve deep to understand originality in a component-by-component basis.
Otherwise, this thing checks out. But before purchasing please inspect the movement thoroughly. I wouldn’t purchase without an eye on it, caseback too. The bezel is ghosted thoroughly with a golden pip. The case is relatively strong, with correct coronet crown. Back needs to be pictured also. Buy with diligence, but it could be an excellent dive addition for your box. It comes from a private collector.
Find this 7928 here on eBay for 11430 USD or offer (drive a hard bargain my friends).