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New Tudor Manufacture in Le Locle Blends Legacy with Brilliance

Written by Rubi BG for Cooke & Kelvey
Tudor Manufacture facility in Le Locle, Switzerland
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Tudor watches, known for their adventurous spirit and vintage charm, added an important chapter to its century-long saga in 2021. Nestled near the Swiss-French border in Le Locle, Switzerland, arose the “Tudor Manufacture” – the brand’s first-ever dedicated industrial facility This landmark achievement marks a pivotal moment for the brand’s manufacturing legacy.
To understand the significance of this modern marvel, we must rewind to the very beginnings of Tudor’s story. Hans Wilsdorf, the visionary founder of Rolex, established Tudor in 1946 with a clear mission: to offer high-quality, accessible timepieces inspired by his flagship brand. While initially sharing production space with Rolex, Tudor carved its own identity, embracing a sportier, more adventurous aesthetic. From the legendary Black Bay Diver to the versatile Prince Date-Day, Tudor timepieces became companions for explorers, athletes, and everyday adventurers, earning a loyal following for their robust quality and timeless design.
The dream of a dedicated Tudor manufacturing facility remained distant until 2016 when Le Locle, a watchmaking haven steeped in horological history, was chosen as the ideal location. This town resonated with Tudor’s spirit of innovation while offering proximity to crucial suppliers and the expertise of Kenissi, the movement manufacturer co-owned by Rolex and Tudor.
The Manufacture is divided into two distinct parts
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Divided into two distinct sections, one part is for Tudor’s operations, which include assembly, testing, and quality control. The other part is for Kenissi, Tudor’s movement manufacturing. The Tudor facility features a northern half painted in Tudor red, while the southern Kenissi half has a subtler grey tone.
From ergonomic workstations to rigorous quality control, the new factory embodies an unwavering pursuit of excellence. A marvel of modern engineering, the building features specialised HVAC systems for maintaining precise temperature and humidity control, along with self-tinting electrochromic windows. Its commitment to sustainable energy is evident in the 442 solar panels covering the roof.
Tudor Le Locle manufacture
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Skilled watchmakers assemble movements by hand in an environment where the dust control mechanism is meticulous, with air renewed 3.5 times per hour. Robots work with precision to save time on repetitive tasks like lubrication clearance measurement and chronometry testing. Tudor incorporates RFID tags for watch traceability. After COSC certification, the parts return for final assembly.
On the assembly floor, watchmakers serve specific purposes, organised in cells for improved team spirit and efficiency. The second-level testing floor witnesses a fully automated system rigorously checking watches against METAS and PTC protocols. Robots transport watches for tests like water resistance, magnetic influence, and precision, leaving no room for error.
Watchmakers assemble movements by hand
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Incoming components undergo deep scrutiny, and only the approved ones are stored in an automated stock for watchmakers. On this floor, the final touches are added – the manual fitting of straps and bracelets, and the custom laser engraving. These are the final steps in a watch’s journey before it graces the wrists of adventurers all over the world.
Watchmakers assemble
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While the brand-new facility marks a milestone in Tudor’s journey toward independence, it also reinforces its connection to its Rolex roots. The shared knowledge ensures the highest quality standards are maintained, while Tudor’s creative freedom allows it to explore its distinctive path. This symbiosis is best exemplified by the introduction of the Black Bay 31 and 39 watches , featuring in-house Tudor calibres, testaments to the brand’s growing watchmaking prowess.
Black Bay 39 Model
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Looking ahead, the Tudor Manufacture promises to be much more than just a production facility. It is a bustling centre of innovation, showcasing the brand’s dedication to its heritage and serving as a platform for shaping the future of the brand.
The next time you strap on a Tudor watch, just remember – it is not just a timepiece, it is an embodiment of rich history, a spirit of adventure, and Swiss excellence forged in the heart of the Jura Mountains.