Hands-On With The Chocolate-Dial Tudor Royal In Steel And Gold
One of my first serious watches was a two-tone Rolex Oysterquartz Datejust ref. 17013. At the time, it was a bit of a misunderstood watch, and perhaps it still is today. Upon seeing the Tudor Royal collection introduced in 2020, I was intrigued by the watches with their Oysterquartz-like shape. And now this steel and gold version makes me think of that Rolex 17013 even more. In addition, it has a beautiful chocolate-brown dial. The 38mm version only features a date, but the 41mm version has both a day and a date indicator. And that’s the one I have here now.
Do I like the Tudor Royal because it reminds me of the Oysterquartz, or is there more to it? Tudor sent me the Royal ref. M28603-0007 to find out.
Tudor Royal Chocolate
I already wrote an article on the all-steel Tudor Royal model when it came out, but this steel and gold model with its chocolate-brown dial is an all-new reference introduced in 2023. Tudor classifies it as a sports watch, and the specifications allow it to be one, but the use of gold and the sunburst brown dial also makes it very suitable for more formal occasions.
The Tudor Royal 41mm version raised some eyebrows in the Fratello office, but I have large (18cm) wrists and am very comfortable wearing watches in this size. Not every wrist is the same, so I get the demand for smaller cases, but there’s no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to watches. Cleverly, Tudor created several sizes for each Royal model. That means this two-tone Royal with a chocolate dial is available in 28mm, 34mm, 38mm, and 41mm sizes. I also could have picked the 38mm version as that would fit me well, but the 41mm is the only one featuring a date and day complication.
Date and Day
Now, I don’t need both date and day apertures on a watch, but I do like how they look together. The iconic Rolex Day-Date also has the weekday at 12 and the date at 3 o’clock, and I think it looks well balanced that way. It’s more about the style or visual component than needing a reminder of what day it is every time you look at your watch (I feel the same about the date). Tudor did it well on this 41mm Royal, and I prefer it even over the looks of the 38mm version.
Inside this Tudor Royal is the caliber T603, a Sellita-based self-winding movement with a 38-hour power reserve and, as we’ve established, both day and date complications. The movement isn’t visible to the wearer of this watch since it sits underneath a solid steel screw-in case back. And unlike many other calibers in Tudor’s sports collections, this one is not a COSC-certified chronometer. In the future, I think it would be nice for Tudor to have all of the movements across its lineup certified by COSC.
Steel and gold
But what makes this watch special is not the day/date feature. Rather, it’s the shape of the watch and its integrated bracelet. It’s a little different from the Rolex Oysterquartz, but it also shows a resemblance. Due to this tonneau shape, the watch also tends to wear a little bit bigger than its official size. So I suggest trying several versions if possible before deciding which size Tudor Royal fits you best. On this Royal, we find a bezel that looks similar to the steel engine-turned bezels from Rolex. Tudor, however, has executed it in 18K yellow gold.
It matches the gold bracelet links and the gold winding crown perfectly. Importantly, the crown and bracelet links are gold-capped (0.1mm for the crown and 0.2mm for the links), so there’s no solid gold there. In my opinion, this is also reflected in the €3,720 price.
The gold-plated hands and Roman numerals complement the chocolate brown of the sunburst dial. On it, you will find all of the printing in a gold tone as well. The only thing I would have changed is the color of the day and date discs. It would have looked nice to have them in a gold tone with black printing.
Some afterthoughts on the Tudor Royal
The Tudor Royal is somewhat underrated compared to its fellow sports watches in the Black Bay and Pelagos collections. I experienced that sentiment here in the office as we also received some of those other models, and they got much more attention. The Royal is not for everyone, just like the Rolex Oysterquartz, and I believe this is good. It’s a positive thing for the watch landscape to see more variation on people’s wrists. I applaud Tudor for doing a great job with its watches and marketing, and I’m also starting to see them in the “wild” more often on the wrists of non-collectors who just want a nice, high-quality watch.
Not too long ago, in a restaurant, I noticed a couple (probably in their mid-30s) wearing Rolex Oysterquartz watches. It made me wonder what kind of story was behind them as the Oysterquartz is not a very typical pick. I say this because, in the same restaurant, I also spotted some other, more obvious Rolex watches that didn’t make me wonder about their backstory. I was more intrigued by the Oysterquartz watches than the sports models I saw. And I would have the same thoughts if I saw someone wearing this Tudor Royal among Tudor sports models like the Pelagos and Black Bay. Those are great watches, yes, but they’re more obvious choices.
On the wrist, this Tudor Royal in two-tone worked very well for me. It matched both casual and formal attire, so depending on your lifestyle, it could be your only good watch. The integrated bracelet is very comfortable, and the clasp has a safety lock to always keep it in place.
Price and availability
In general, the build quality of the 41mm Tudor Royal is just great, and if it’s your type of watch, you get a lot of value for €3,720 (or less if you go for the 38mm or smaller versions). One point of criticism, however, would be that the bracelet has no micro-adjustment capability, so it will be a matter of sizing it correctly with the links. You may find yourself adding or removing a link during the year when the temperature changes, for example.
This watch is available through Tudor authorized dealers and boutiques. For more information on the Tudor Royal collection, visit the brand’s website here.