Having long outgrown its origins as Rolex’s sporty kid brother, Tudor has come into its own as a distinguished brand for the practical adventurer. Born in the 1920s as the brainchild of Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf, Tudor had a mission to bring the exceptional quality of Rolex wristwatches—the wristwatch itself being at the very nascency of widespread adoption—to a broader audience, but with a tenacity all its own.
This is a brand imbued with romance—the kind of romance associated with great adventures, thrilling speed, rough terrains, and boundless discovery. From Arctic heights to ocean depths, Tudor has unique timepieces for the intrepid explorers who go there, and those instruments are steeped in the tales of their adventures.
Montres Tudor SA discontinued sales of Tudor watches in the United States in 2004, but 2013 marked the triumphant return of the brand to the U.S. market (announced to great fanfare during that year’s Baselworld, naturally), and we’re delighted to bring these fine pieces to our Members here at Eleven James.
Tudor distinguished itself as an ace maker of tool watches when it launched the Submariner diving watch in the 1950s. We’re proud to boast one of its most celebrated deep sea models, the Heritage Black Bay, which represents the culmination of Tudor’s decades of perfecting timekeeping instruments for underwater professionals. This elegant, modernist diver looks as stately in a scuba suit as it does in the Saville Row variety and is part of our Enthusiast Collection.
The speed demons among you will enjoy eyeballing the sexy ceramic Fastrider Black Shield, a racing chronograph that makes you feel virile and free just looking at it. The Fastrider line’s ferocious dedication to speed and performance is formidably evident in the design—as is its widely lauded partnership with Italian motorcycle maker Ducati.
Another maker of “professional instruments for extreme professions,” Bell & Ross enters the Eleven James family with a fierce passion for military reliability, functionality, and lore. If you love aviation-inspired timepieces, hoo boy is Bell & Ross your brand!
Founded in 1992 by Swiss designer Bruno Belamich and businessman Carlos A. Rosillo, Bell & Ross is not only an ode to the spirit of military instruments—it walks the walk, too. B&R models have been adopted by the U.S. Air Force, NATO, the French Security Service, and an international variety of elite military squads, for whom new models are regularly developed to perform unit-specific functions.
The Bell & Ross aesthetic is ruggedly handsome and unapologetically utilitarian. With aeronautical instrumentation a primary source of design inspiration, these watches pay tribute to the fighting men of land, sea, and air. They boast fast legibility in high-pressure situations, optimal water resistance, and highly accurate Swiss movements.
Personally, we can’t stop looking at the mission-ready BR 01 and BR 03 models—some of the most distinctive watches we’ve ever seen. Once exclusively reserved for pilots, the signature square casing and bold, clear faces replicates the appearance of cockpit instrument panels in real aircraft—and include a GMT model for the long-haul flyers among you.
For those who don’t want to be repeatedly mistaken for professional pilots, our dashing models from their “Vintage Collection” display the same military-inspired simplicity with a more traditional sport profile, plus chronograph and GMT features.
We’ve always believed that one of the greatest thrills (among many) of fine horology is the ability to enjoy the very same tools as the most legendary professionals in fields we only daydream about. These two fine brands bring that experience even closer with their deep-sea, high-altitude, and top-speed instruments. So go ahead and live your Cousteau or Lindbergh dream! Go off into the wild blue yonder with one of these puppies—it’s merely a wind away.