The subject of today’s lens work is a very rare (and also well-worn with lovely patina) Tudor Submariner model 7016/0; the serial number dates it from the early 1970s.

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However, I was told that this particular watch was actually purchased as part of a bulk lot by the French navy for their divers – hence the ‘Marine Nationale MN’ stamp on the case back. Unlike other military forces, the French bought off the shelf watches instead of commissioning a special batch – presumably to keep the costs down.

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The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that this is not the original dial. Instead it’s a replacement ‘snowflake’ – and there’s a good reason for this, too. Once again, to save costs, the MN employed their own in-house watchmakers whose objective was to keep the watches useable and running, not pretty; they simply swapped out whatever spare parts they had to hand to make a working piece and rotate it back into service as fast as possible. This has created a number of very interesting and unique pieces for the collector, especially an example like this – which has full decommissioning papers and accompanying photographs to authenticate that this was the exact condition it left the Navy in.

Enjoy the photos! As usual, a click on any one takes you to a larger version. MT

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