Last week, Tudor released a 1,908-piece limited run of Black Bay 58 watches with a special dial to celebrate Inter Milan winning the Italian Serie A football league. Other recent Tudor specials were two Pelagos FXD “Alinghi Red Bull Racing Edition” timepieces. And there’s also the Pelagos FXD Chrono “Cycling Edition” made for the Tudor Pro Cycling Team. Oh, let’s not forget the pink-dial Black Bay Chrono linked to Inter Miami FC through the club’s co-owner and Tudor brand ambassador David Beckham. And with Tudor sponsoring the Red Bull-owned Visa Cash App RB F1 Team, billions of people also get to see a lot of special Tudor watches. What’s this surge in specials good for? Is this another push by Tudor to forge a path of its own? Is Tudor forcing its hand with too many special watches too often?

The days of Tudor operating in the shadow of its mother brand Rolex are over. It all started with the quiet rise of the Black Bay in 2012. And now, 12 years later, Tudor has raised its voice significantly. Who would have guessed a decade ago that inconspicuous Tudor — for a long time, a brand making timepieces people called “airport watches” — would now create a black ceramic watch with a chameleon dial for the Visa Cash App RB drivers to match the Formula 1 car’s special livery for the Miami race?

Tudor has gone from shy to outspoken. Is the brand forcing its hand with a string of special watches? Is it, in the process, losing the crowd that helped it to become the strong brand it is today? Or is this a strategy necessary to take the next step in the phase of a watch brand, to be appealing to a way bigger and more lucrative audience than dedicated watch fans?

Tudor special editions

Is Tudor forcing its hand with too many special editions too often?

Allow me to present you with a few numbers. Formula 1’s cumulative TV audience for 2022 was 1.55 billion. Miami FC star player Lionel Messi has 503 million followers on Instagram, while the club’s co-owner and Tudor ambassador David Beckham can claim 88 million. The 37th America’s Cup, in which Tudor-sponsored sailing team Alinghi Red Bull participates, is aiming to attract an audience of one billion global viewers later this year. The numbers are dazzling. As a brand, if you want the masses to notice you, associating with events/teams/people seen by millions of people is a proven strategy. This is not rocket science. Many watch brands do it. Rolex sponsors the most prestigious sporting events (apart from the Olympics, where Omega is omnipresent). Meanwhile, other brands like TAG Heuer, IWC, and Hublot also have a noticeable presence in popular sports.

But Tudor is a relative newcomer in this regard. Yes, the brand has been a partner of the All Blacks, the famous New Zealand rugby team, since 2017 and later also became the Official Timekeeper of the Rugby World Cup. However, the scale-up to football, Formula 1, America’s Cup sailing, and cycling is a recent affair, and it seems to be happening all at once at blistering speed.

Tudor Forcing Its Hand

1,908 Tudor Black Bay 58 “Nerazzurri” championship watches

Recently, FC Internazionale Milano won its 20th scudetto. For every 10 titles a club wins, it earns a star to be permanently affixed on the jersey. The 2023/2024 Serie A championship not only gave Inter a second star but also meant Tudor made a special version of the Black Bay 58. The 39mm watch, reference M79030N-0025, comes in the “Nerazzurri’s” signature blue and black. The ombré blue and black dial shows the club’s logo at 6 o’clock along with two stars printed in gold. The watch also has a matching strap and a commemorative engraving on the case back to celebrate the 20th title.

Argentine striker Lautaro Martínez and his new Black Bay with two stars on the dial — Image: FC Internazionale Milano

The €4,350 watch is a limited edition of 1,908 units, matching the year of Inter’s founding. And it’s available in Tudor’s boutiques in Milan and Rome as well as retailers throughout Italy. In case you’re an Inter fan living outside of Italy, an email to Tudor will help you acquire one as well. The watch is also a numbered edition, and with all the Inter players having received watches to match their shirt numbers, the low numbers are all gone.


Inter pink

The Black Bay 58 “Nerazzurri” was the first-ever collaboration with Inter Milan, but there already was another “Inter” Tudor. The brand recently partnered with Inter Miami CF, the dressed-in-pink team co-owned by Tudor ambassador David Beckham, who has appeared wearing a Tudor Pelagos emblazoned with the team logo. The Black Bay Chrono “Pink” is not a Miami FC watch, though. Yes, there’s the color link, but Tudor states that it chose pink because it’s a standout, daring color. And the brand and its ambassadors are “born to dare,” remember?

Tudor brand ambassador and Inter Miami FC co-owner David Beckham

The watch was a collaboration with and for the singer-songwriter, brand ambassador, and pink lover Jay Chou, but the chronograph is now available to the public. It’s not a limited edition per se but more of a special edition. Nevertheless, it’s very hard to get since Tudor already stated that “few of them will ever be made.”

Tudor special editions

A cycling special

Another watch specially made for people with an established connection to the brand is the Pelagos FXD Chrono “Cycling Edition” (M25827KN-0001). It was engineered for the Tudor Pro Cycling Team. However, unlike the first chronograph that showed up on the riders’ wrists, this watch is actually for sale. And it’s not even limited. You just have to be willing to pay €5,390 for a chronograph with a special 43mm case in black carbon composite. The cycling-oriented tachymeter scale is a neat feature too. Maybe it’s not as practical as the lightweight case matched with a fabric strap, but still.

Tudor special editions

There’s no co-branding since Tudor already gave its name to the cycling team, which makes the watch attractive to non-cyclists as well. The watch is a part of a marketing strategy, though. Tudor has invested heavily in the development of a professional cycling team. Besides that, the brand became the official timekeeper of several important bike races. The Tour of Flanders is one of them, as is the Giro d’Italia, a three-week stage race in which the team participates this year for the first time. Starting in 2025, the Tour de France, the biggest bike race in the world that is watched by more than 3.5 billion people, will be the next goal.

Tudor special editions

The Red Bull connection

The Pelagos FXD already proved to be a great platform for sponsors. The 2023 Pelagos FXD “Alinghi Red Bull Racing Editions” are linked to the Alinghi Red Bull Racing team competing in this year’s America’s Cup. The team already won the America’s Cup twice and is now planning to win it a third time with a high-tech AC75 boat. These two carbon-cased watches made us predict Tudor would step into Formula 1 sooner than later, and that’s exactly what happened. Rolex sponsors the biggest car “show” on Earth. And Tudor backs one of the “actors” on stage, the Red Bull-owned Visa Cash App RB F1 Team.

Tudor special editions

Tudor’s sponsorship of the team didn’t lead to a watch that’s for sale. But we did see Visa Cash App RB F1 Team drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda wear a Black Bay Ceramic with a very blue dial when the sponsorship deal with the Red Bull-owned team was announced. And during the Miami Grand Prix a little while ago, both drivers wore another Black Bay Ceramic. This time, it was one with a “chameleon” dial matching the car decked out in the colorful tones from the Cash App card. Again, this ceramic watch with a METAS Master Chronometer-certified caliber inside was a drivers-only deal.

Tudor special editions

Building on the foundation

The string of new thematic models that are either just for show or for sale are not primarily aimed at the “Tudoristi.” These often very fanatical Tudor fans who embraced the Black Bay 12 years ago started spreading the word. They started preaching the gospel of Tudor and helped the brand acquire an image of quality, coolness, and common sense. But the age of laying a solid foundation has ended, it seems. The next step is to reach a far larger audience than the Tudoristi or even watch enthusiasts. By becoming visible in major sporting events that attract billions of people, Tudor wants to become attractive to the masses. The immense investments Tudor has made over the last couple of years have to be earned back. Only growing bigger by becoming a well-known brand outside the world of watch enthusiasts can make that happen.

Tudor Forcing Its Hand

The Cinderella Tudor story

In a way, it’s sad to see a Tudor you can’t buy at the boutique on the wrist of a larger-than-life F1 driver. It somehow clashes with the image of Tudor. But that’s an old-fashioned image. The brand was founded to shield The Crown and provide good quality at a fair price. It did so and flew under the radar for a long while. And then, quite suddenly, it came out with a watch that tickled the imagination of watch fans.

Tudor grew big because of quality products that were and are in line with the zeitgeist. In addition, the unavailability of Rolex steel sports watches helped the brand become more prominent. This makes Tudor unique. It truly is a Cinderella story. Tudor got rewarded for its authentic behavior and staying true to itself. But now “Cinderella” hangs out with F1 drivers, football players, and celebrities. “She” does so to sell watches to the masses, the billions of people who look up to superstars and the world of glitz and glamour.

Different watches, same strategies

Tudor is now acting like almost every other watch brand out there. Big sports sponsorship deals and being present in mass media and on the wrists of famous people are common practices in the world of luxury watches. But a watch with a wild chameleon dial on the wrists of your sponsored drivers is not much different than a revamped 1980s watch on the wrists of a competing team — different watch, same strategy.

There is a serious chance the die-hard Tudoristi will lose interest in the brand with the launch of more and more thematic special/limited editions. But that’s probably okay. Tudor did the calculations thoroughly and concluded that the brand could grow by reaching out to a new and much larger audience.


That doesn’t necessarily mean Tudor will start to make bad watches. Quality is part of the brand’s history, and this forms the core of Tudor. And although I don’t care much for thematic watches, I can’t wait to get my hands on the Pelagos FXD Chrono “Cycling Edition” I see every day on Eurosport during the commercial breaks of the live broadcast of the Giro d’Italia. Maybe Tudor can somehow manage to keep its fans from 2012 (or even 2010, the year the Heritage Chronograph came out) happy while serving a much larger audience as well. But this might be a classic case of “you can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

What do you think? Is the constant stream of Tudor special editions changing your perception of the brand? Let me know in the comments.