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Old 29 December 2012, 10:55 AM   #1
dplynch
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Tudor Hydronaut Review

Review of my Tudor Prince Date Hydronaut




Case: Excellent



The mix of brushed and polished surfaces on this 41mm case is very pleasing to the eye. At 11mm thick, it will easily fit under a shirt cuff. The unique Hydronaut case design makes it look like the crown and bezel sink into the case. The triplock crown with the visible first gasket and the holes case are a reminder of Tudor’s Rolex heritage while being more that a Rolex homage. Unlike Rolex, Tudor uses 316L steel in the case construction.



The oyster case back again reminds us that this is a baby Rolex.

Dial: Excellent



This dial is simple, symmetrical and not busy. The semi-skeletonized hands are easy to read and well lumed. Both the minute and second hand reach all the way to the second markers on the dial. Markers are applied adding depth to the dial and are in proportion with the rest of the dial. The red “Tiger” adds a splash of color to the otherwise black and silver dial. The white background on the date works esthetically with the silver dial in a way it does not with a black dial.

Tudor used a flat sapphire crystal with no anti-reflective coating and a date magnifier.

Bezel: Excellent



The feel of a bezel’s movement is one clear indicator of quality in a dive watch. The Hydronaut’s uni-directional bezel moves with smooth, clearly audible clicks. The edge of the bezel has classy alternating polished and brushed cuts that are easy to grip. The lumed zero triangle aligns perfectly with the 12 o’clock marker. At first, it is difficult to tell that the bezel has an aluminum insert and is not cut from a single piece of steel. Good job Tudor.

Bracelet: Good



The Hydronaut bracelet tapers from 20mm at the lugs to 16mm at the clasp. This is out of fashion but does add to the comfort of the bracelet. The end links are solid as all of the bracelet sections with the exception of two ,which had hollow center links. I removed the two sections when sizing the watch. I’m not sure why Tudor did this. I don’t like to see shortcuts of this kind in a watch at this price point.




Clasp: Poor




What can I say? This is a disaster. It has all been said before. This is an unacceptable clasp for a $2000 watch. I will say it is comfortable and easy to adjust with micro adjustment holes. Regardless, this is an issue that should have been addressed 20 years ago.

Movement: Fair

The engine inside the case is the very common ETA 2824-2. It is a reliable and easy to maintain movement. Over the last two days it has been running at a very acceptable +3 sec. Tudor claims to modify the movement. However, I suspect that modify means little more than engrave “Tudor” on the rotor.


Value: Fair

I purchased this watch for $1500 from someone I know well. The original owner purchased the watch for just under $2000 in 2001. The watch was last serviced 4 years ago. I estimate the current value of a Tudor Hydronaut, in good condition, to be from $1200 to $2000. It has minor scratches and wear which you should see in the photos. All of these blemishes should polish out. The watch will also need a service. I expect to invest another $400 to get it into top condition. This will bring my total to around $1900.


Conclusion:






The Tudor Prince Date Hydronaut. Is a solid diver that can be easily acquired on the secondary market for under $2000. It is hard to talk about the Hydronaut without referring to its big brother, the Rolex Submariner. The Trip-lock crown, oyster case, holes case, date magnifier, and even the date font , all reference the most iconic of dive watches. Admittedly, that is part of the appeal. Nevertheless, the Hydronaut is not a Submariner with an ETA movement. The case design, bezel, dial, and bracelet take tudor in a different and appealing direction.

I do have a few minor complaints. The cheap stamped clasp does bother me. I also wish they would have simply written Hydronaut in red on the dial and not felt the need to give marketing dollars to an ambassador. I find the whole idea of a paid ambassador somewhat insulting.

Overall, I am thrilled with my Tudor Prince Date Hydronaut and hope to wear it for years to come.

Best wishes,

David Lynch
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Old 29 December 2012, 11:00 PM   #2
mjclark32
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Nice review, first I've ever read on this piece, thanks
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Old 30 December 2012, 01:34 AM   #3
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Cool review, Thanks for sharing.
Also, welcome to the forum
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Old 30 December 2012, 01:37 AM   #4
dysondiver
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love the way the case protects the bezel ,, great read , great pics too , many thanks.
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Old 30 December 2012, 01:54 AM   #5
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Thanks for the review.

A couple of things though:
-Each of the [very] center links is hollow, not just the ones you removed. What you describe as a "short cut" is actually Tudor adding more solid links [and SELs] to their SS bracelets than Rolex did at the time.

-The stamped clasp, while light in weight, has stood the test of time over 50 years of use and is still preferred by many today [like me]. A disaster? Add the micro adjustment feature and the 20mm to 16mm taper and you have the most comfortable bracelet made, imho.

-You rate a chronometer grade ETA 2824-4 running well within chronometer specs as "fair"? Not sure what that movement would have to do to rate excellent.

Again, thanks for taking the time to review. Hope you don't mind a critique of your critique.
dP
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Old 30 December 2012, 03:26 AM   #6
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Hardly ever see those. Really great watch. I prefer the non-tiger models though
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Old 31 December 2012, 05:06 AM   #7
dplynch000
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Hello dp

Thanks for the feedback. This is my first review and it is great to see someone reading with a critical eye.

I looks again at my links and I see you are correct. Each and every center link is hollow. I prefer to see solid links throughout. However, given the ends are solid, the bracelet stretch you see with some rolexes should not occur. I feel the same about the clasp. I like the solid heavy feel of milled steel. Although I must admit this bracelet is the most comfortable of all the watches I have owned.

My "fair" rating of the movement of the movement is poorly explained in my review. There is nothing wrong with the performance of ETA 2824 -2. What bothers me is the fact that my Hydronaut is sharing a movement with $300 Steinharts, Victorinoxes etc. It is one of the things I had to get past to buy the watch and I'm glad I did as the overall feel and craftsmanship is fantastic.

Take care,

DL
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Old 1 January 2013, 01:15 AM   #8
adzman808
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dplynch000 View Post
Hello dp

Thanks for the feedback. This is my first review and it is great to see someone reading with a critical eye.

I looks again at my links and I see you are correct. Each and every center link is hollow. I prefer to see solid links throughout. However, given the ends are solid, the bracelet stretch you see with some rolexes should not occur. I feel the same about the clasp. I like the solid heavy feel of milled steel. Although I must admit this bracelet is the most comfortable of all the watches I have owned.

My "fair" rating of the movement of the movement is poorly explained in my review. There is nothing wrong with the performance of ETA 2824 -2. What bothers me is the fact that my Hydronaut is sharing a movement with $300 Steinharts, Victorinoxes etc. It is one of the things I had to get past to buy the watch and I'm glad I did as the overall feel and craftsmanship is fantastic.

Take care,

DL
hi,

i'm new here... but wanted to post, very nice review

I have one of these, but it's a (later??) non-tiger version

the 2824 is actually quite a bit different than the one found in a Steinhart (etc) my understanding is that there are modifications by rolex to hairspring & shock protection, also the tudor uses the higher grade and plated version of this movement

my tudor runs at +2 a day and seems unaffected by positional variance (seems to be anyway)

by contrast my brand new 114060 is +4spd and will drop about a second being crown down overnight

the hydronaut clasp is (again as I understand it) pretty comparable to subs of similar vintage, and feels flimsy, but does the job just fine & imho the bracelet is extremely comfortable

I don't seem to be able to post pix yet (too new here, not enough posts? anyone know why?) but i'll post a pic of the tudor movement when I can

I LOVE my rolex, but for cost I think tudor are amazing....

cheers
Adam
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Old 1 January 2013, 08:36 AM   #9
adzman808
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ok, excuse the bad photos, the hydronaut pic was taken on my phone while my watch maker took some lint out from under the crystal, he was understandably hesitant to have the watch out of his workshop with no back on (because of the dust risk) but I insisted on a photo..

tudor movement looks like this



the Steinhart movement will look like this



cheers
Adam
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Old 1 January 2013, 08:43 AM   #10
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forgot to add



my tudor hasn't been serviced in 6-8 yrs & runs at +2spd, the std eta2824 needed regulation from brand new... don't let the 2824 designation fool you - the difference between top grade and standard is tangible...
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Old 1 January 2013, 08:44 AM   #11
adzman808
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and here's my tudor ;)


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Old 2 January 2013, 03:04 AM   #12
dplynch000
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Hi Adam,

Thanks for the photos. I have never seen the movement before. It looks like two totally different levels of finish. That certainly makes me feel better. Perhaps the movement deserves a "Good".

P.S. Love the blue dial.

Take care,
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Old 4 February 2013, 09:12 PM   #13
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Nice review, thanks!
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Old 5 June 2013, 02:22 AM   #14
safetypro79
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Icon5 Bezel insert etched?

Are the numbers in the bezel insert etched?

My best,

John
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Old 28 June 2017, 10:20 PM   #15
Tkacik
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I have this very same Hydronaut model arriving today. This will be my first Tudor, and I am excited for the experience. Mine has the "Opaline" cream colored dial. I'll post some pictures when I take a few good ones.

Cheers!
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Old 29 June 2017, 02:06 AM   #16
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Very cool review.
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Old 24 January 2019, 07:09 PM   #17
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Thank for sharing very nice review,
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Old 13 January 2020, 08:14 PM   #18
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Amazing watches, massively underrated.
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Old 22 January 2020, 07:38 PM   #19
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Just picked one up, always loved the Hydro. Pics to follow.
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Old 1 February 2020, 04:59 AM   #20
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89190

Mk1 dial.
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Old 5 February 2021, 09:45 AM   #21
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Love the vintage feel
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Old 29 May 2021, 11:34 PM   #22
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Thanks for the review
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Old 30 May 2021, 02:26 AM   #23
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Always loved that watch, sorry I never bought one.
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