Just before Watches and Wonders, Tudor invited a select few on an unprecedented trip to Le Locle, the idyllic Swiss town chosen for the brand's new manufacture. Join DG as we count down our top ten highlights of Tudor's new HQ:
1. The Location of Le Locle
Having already owned the land, the location of Tudor's new manufacturer was as logical as the new 37mm Black Bay 54. Close to the suppliers and affiliates (in terms of raw materials), the new HQ is ideally located to position Tudor as the watchmaking powerhouse they've always been. The construction began in 2018 and just five short years later, the facility is fully operational and the brand's new home base.
2. Tudor's Own Two Feet
As Taylor Swift famously sang, "You're On Your Own Kid", and though that applies to many dramatic twenty-year-olds, it also fits Tudor. The past few years have seen incredible expansion and success for what was always thought of as Rolex's "Prince" and though they will always be in they will always share a crown, Tudor moving out from its shared Geneva HQ, after almost 100 years, undeniably creates distance and further emphasizes the brand's ability to stand and develop on its own.
3. Tudor's Tech
It goes without saying, every watch manufacturer is technologically advanced, but Tudor takes that to a whole new level. The manufacturer boasts 46 metric tons of high tech machinery from GPS-synchronized devices to robotics. To answer the question, no...Tudor would not let me take one of the robots home.
4. A Dedicated METAS Testing Floor
Having had the pleasure of seeing the METAS testing process on a visit to the former Geneva headquarters, it was amazing to see how much the brand has grown their capabilities in two short years. Now with an entire dedicated floor to the mechanical certification process, the dedicated METAS and TPC floor only further cements Tudor as a fundamental player in the sports watch market.
5. The Infrastructure
Having been on several manufacturer tours, I can confidently say I was never taken to any facility's basement. Which that tells me one of two things: Tudor is incredibly confident in every inch of the facility or my tour guide was incredibly annoyed with me, odds are it was both. Nonetheless, it comes as no surprise that every square inch of a watch manufacturer was considered: from the 440 solar panels to the temperature and air regulated systems or the 330 drilled foundational pillars, no detail was spared to optimize the building's watchmaking potential.
6. Kenissi's Quarters
For those non-watch nerds, Kenissi is Tudor's movement manufacturer that started in 2010, Kenissi not only makes Tudor's movements but has developed elements for Chanel, Norqain, and Breitling to name a few. Taking substantial square footage at Tudor's new residence, the brand's watchmaking is on the forefront; emphasizing a clear delineation between companies who build for themselves and brands who supply the industry.
7. Team Work Make's The Tudor Work
On the assembly floor, each watchmaker is trained and capable of assembling every Tudor reference: working in autonomous cells that check quality each step of the highly standardized manufacturing process, from bracelet fitting to custom engraving.
8. The Stock System: Silicon Valley or Switzerland?
One of the most impressive elements of the manufacturer was its automated stock system, made to assist the watchmaker in the assembly logistics. With photography completely off limits, it was truly a technological marvel, even for those who like myself who have never seen The Matrix or The Terminator. The state of the art system involves a conveyor belt of trays, monitored by robotic hands, that flawlessly assist watchmakers in ordering needed components thus making the process that much more efficient.
9. One Key Mission
When touring the manufacturer, it is evident that synergy is key. A Tudor's spokesperson notes, ‘We’re not a rustic workshop doing every bevel by hand’, Chevalier adds, ‘We’re producing a high quality, robust traditional Swiss watch that is also very well priced. Everything you see here is geared towards fulfilling that mission.’
10. Tudor's Next 100 Years
If I could take one thing away from visiting Le Locle it would be as follows: having been a quiet yet strong player for the brand's entire history, Tudor's new manufacturer is the boldest step taken in establishing their independence and spot and if its any indication, this is just the beginning for the brand that is "born to dare".