View Full Version : Review of TUDOR "MBW" Military Submariner + crown guard mod guide

07-16-2007, 03:02 AM

A Tudor Submariner rep? Yes, finally. I always wanted one and I almost became obsessed with it. Why rep and not genuine, because genuines can be purchased for reasonable prices? But just like Ubi says: "Where's the fun in that?" And besides... who would want to read a review of a genuine Tudor? Reps and frankenwatches are much more fascinating.

Still, does a Tudor rep make sense, especially when the MBW watches are more expensive than any average Rolex reps... in the $400 range?

I think it's a matter of opinion, really. Does ANYTHING we do here make sense? If I like how something looks and I really like the watch I'll just get it, and seeing a rep like this available doesn't happen every day.

And since I traded my MBW 1680 (http://www.rwg.cc/members/index.php?showtopic=927) I've been without a Sub for quite a while. And for some strange reason I can't stomach wearing a Rolex Submariner rep anymore, it's just so obvious and "run-of-the-mill". I really like the classic design of the Sub, especially the no-date model... and this particular "Snowflake hands Tudor" happened to be my "dream Sub". Perhaps buying a Tudor Sub has something to do with the Panerai craze? People don't know what it is and thus don't suspect a replica. With Tudor you get complete Rolex design without the Rolex prestige/potential fake factor. This is probably not the first choice for the average Joe or Bubba who comes here and buys his quick Sub... just to impress his workmates with a fake Rolex. Tudor (gens and reps) are for real watch nuts like us.


Ok, I probably need my head examined because I paid $400 for a Tudor rep. But I get some perverse satisfaction from the forger's art. And I can tell you that this particular model, "Tudor Military Sub" with "snowflake hands" can't be purchased for cheap. According to my research all 100% genuine Military Subs have been priced around $1700 and up... and are constantly climbing up. And yes, mine is a MBW watch with extra parts.

The gen uses the case construction of Rolex caliber 5513, with just different hands and hour markers (and basic ETA movement of course).


It was advertised on TRC by Watchmaster. From a quick look it looks genuine, but eagle eyed Tudor/Rolex vintage WIS will quickly spot the differences. Winding crown and hands aren't 100% identical, especially the minute hand, which is too thick. First I thought the movement was genuine, but the RWG gang quickly found out that it's actually a ETA 2842 (21.600 beats per hour) movement (http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i243/BT2112/2842.jpg) with just "TUDOR" engraved on the rotor. This particular movement is rough, but according to this Walt Odet's TimeZone article (http://www.timezone.com/library/horologium/horologium631673144417823408) it should be very good and reliable. It's used in genuine Oris, Raymond Weil and Swatch watches. The slower beat is barely recognizable, and what makes it interesting is that there's variation among the genuines. For example THIS "French Navy" version (http://www.scubawatch.org/tudor_sub_94010_MN.html) has ETA 2776 movement with BPH of 19.600.

The crown guards were off as well, but I modified them myself to look like genuine. More about this later on this review.

This is how the ETA 2842 looks inside my watch (rep on the left, genuine movement on the right):

The clasp is a non-fliplock Rolex clasp without diver's extension. I'm not sure what kind of bracelet the genuine Military Sub uses, but many owners have put it on a NATO strap. See this site (http://www.scubawatch.org/tudorsub7016.html) to check some different variations.


Here's the caseback.

What is the rep and where does it come from?

Another good question. The only Tudor Submariner rep we've seen was the Ubiquitous' great FrankenTudor. (http://www.rwg.cc/members/index.php?showtopic=1216) My rep apparently uses the standard MBW 1680 case, thick bezel and domed crystal from a MBW vintage SeaDweller, which looks pretty much spot on for this no-date model. I seriously doubt this rep is in production anywhere. Someone has changed the dial, hands and movement and created a nice one-of-a-kind watch.

Since this review is indeed about one-of-a-kind watch it doesn't have much practical value for anyone. So I decided to do something special this time.

I had never, ever done any mods and I used to think the guards are impossible to modify properly. And if guys like RedBigJoe and Palpatine can't make them look like genuine then how could anyone else? Then I found these pictures by Sherrington. (http://www.rwg.cc/members/index.php?showtopic=9461) Those pics inspired me to attempt the modificiations myself. Of course I was hesitant at first... and was afraid that I could ruin my watch. But then I decided to do it anyway. What the hell...no guts no glory!

When I received my watch it had too fat crown guards like all MBW watches. Luckily someone had already modified the guards on my watch from the top, and made the surface around the crown flatter. This was good news since I only had to make the guards thinner and reshape the outer surface now. Because of this I didn't need to remove the crown and stem, either.

The key to make good looking guards IS TO MODIFY THEM ALL OVER. The top and outside surface are much more important than just drilling the guards thinner from the inside. If the guard shape is way off from the beginning then drilling the insides is not going to help much. Go overboard and you end up having ridiculous looking gaps around the crown... and still have wrongly shaped guards. Whatever you do...don't pay a dime for bastardized "guard shaping mods" like this to anyone.

Like I said: Making them flat from the top is the first step. On the MBW watches the guards start to "curve down" right away which makes the appearance dead wrong. Unmodded MBW 1680 is on the left, genuine on the right. See the wrong curve and difference in thickness as well. As you can see the guard length is almost ok and doesn't need to be touched much.


The genuine guards curve down very moderately, and more from the "tip" of the guard. From the front view the guards look straight and spiky on all Subs I've seen. Vintage Submariner guards look like "chops". See THIS (http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i243/BT2112/RetiredDvrs.jpg) reference picture to see what I mean.

Here's a quick "tutorial pic" of the basics:

So what complicated devices I used to modify the guards?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just a hand file and some sandpaper. Then I repolished the case with stainless steel polishing paste. Just like Sherrington I looked at the genuine pictures and learned how the gen guards are shaped. Then I just removed the bezel and started shaping up the case with sandpaper. It took a few hours from start to finish. It was surprisingly easy, you just need a lot of patience. My thumb was a bit sore after the treatment though.

Using sandpaper is (imho) the best option because it's quite slow, you can move it smoothly across the case and guards... and thus you can easily control even the smallest details of the reshaping process. I don't think it's even possible to "ruin" the watch with this method providing you know exactly what shape you're aiming for. I'd advice inexperienced modders (like me) to stay away from Dremels because making one little mistake can create irreversible damage to the case.

I'm not particularly "handy" person and I had never done any watch mods...and yet I got the guards look good on my first try. I'm not saying this because I'm bragging about it, I'm just telling you it's definitely not any rocket science. Anyone could do it... and I really encourage everyone to try the cg mods themselves. Why would you pay someone hundreds of dollars for something so easy and simple?

Here's the finished product:

Modifying your own watch and getting satisfactory results is extremely rewarding. I think I'd eventually try to source a gen pearl and crown for this watch. Perhaps gen hands too? I'm very happy how the crown guards turned out... and needless to say I'm very happy with my Dream Sub.

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to ask them in this thread. Thanks for looking (again). Special thanks to Randy for helping me out and answering my questions when I was in the verge of purchasing this watch. I'm really glad I bought it.


11-24-2007, 11:25 PM
Great review By-Tor.

This is a watch that i have been looking to buy for some time. Any idea of where i can get one with ETA movement?

11-25-2007, 04:05 AM
Thanks Doc.

This review is very old as well. Early 2006 I think. My Tudor was bought from Watchmaster. He was a German-based dealer who sold MBW's.

I have absolutely no idea if this watch can be found anymore. I seriously doubt it. Perhaps TTK or Paso could source it somehow? I traded mine long, long time ago. Nice watch, but I wasn't too crazy about the hour markers.

Happy hunting and good luck.

11-25-2007, 04:43 AM
Great review By-Tor.

This is a watch that i have been looking to buy for some time. Any idea of where i can get one with ETA movement?

I agree Dr Funk, this is a handsome piece. I've even looked into purchasing a gen after this review. They are modestly priced if you look around for a vintaged gen model.

11-25-2007, 04:47 AM
Actually the snowflake Tudors are getting more and more expensive. I doubt you can get one in decent condition for less than $1,5K these days.

I could be wrong though.

11-25-2007, 04:54 AM
Ah well... still one thing about gen Tudor Subs.

'There are three sizes: Full size, Large size and Midsize (Tudor Mini Sub).

The the L (39mm version) isn't the full size, and those are cheaper than the full size (the full size is much more desirable among the collectors). I don't know if the "Snowflake" is available in L version though.

11-25-2007, 05:21 AM
Very cool stuff!

I am getting ready to mod the cg's on my MBW 16610 but I am very scared to screw the watch up. You mentioned that you used sand paper....could you give me any more details as to the type of paper you used, grit, brand, etc... I am assuming you wrapped the paper around something flat??? Any more details at all?


11-25-2007, 12:36 PM
Was very surprised to see the given the age of the review and quality of both the watch and review that there had been no replies.

Have been looking to buy a gen; they are the best Rollie reps that you can buy! Was very close to buying the mini sub which was priced at £650/$1300 but the watch looked a bit too gruby for that kinda money. I will be PMing some dealers but as the demand isn’t there i bet a rep wont be cheap and quality will probably be questionable.

Will let you know if i have any success.

11-25-2007, 02:19 PM
Sorry for the photo condition

11-26-2007, 12:30 AM
Pammo, that's very small picture. Any chance of uploading it in full size?

I don't remember who I traded my Tudor Sub to... was it you? :D

11-26-2007, 07:25 PM

would like to get a good look at those puppies!

any chance of a closer look?

02-24-2008, 05:56 AM
nice watches. def. on my list, as dr funk said. large pictures, please

02-24-2008, 12:19 PM
quite a bit of Tudor rep discussion going on now in the forum - thought I would give this stellar review a bump to offer some additional insight.

many thanks again to BT for the review(s).

Hopefully we will see a few more vintage/older model Tudor reps soon.

03-08-2008, 08:07 PM
BT stuff is awesome and I read all this info and I am inspired. It seems the cg on my mbw deserve the most attention.

12-22-2008, 12:54 AM
are these still available? where can i get one from?

12-22-2008, 08:32 AM
Great review and a fantastic watch someone please take note and rep this again so i don't have to buy a sub.

Ps more Tudor reps please.

BT as usual stellar review..Thanks very much, if theirs a brand that needs more praise and spotlight its Tudor

01-14-2009, 07:03 PM
$400, but looks cool.

01-20-2009, 11:21 PM
$400 where?

03-08-2009, 02:39 AM
Man this is a great watch! The only out of box Tutor rep I've found is the Hydronaut II, I'd love to source a vintage Tutor Sub 9401/0

12-15-2009, 08:00 PM
i really love this watch, do u have a email address where i can buy one? thanks

01-28-2010, 07:47 AM
awesome i see those in bkk! nice version

11-02-2010, 10:08 PM
I looking for the gen, but the rep is pretty nice I saw the rep only by yuki never saw another place

11-06-2010, 05:46 PM
i really love this watch, do u have a email address where i can buy one? thanks
Try this site.......

01-27-2011, 05:49 PM

06-14-2011, 06:23 AM
this was an awesome review

07-10-2011, 03:37 PM
Amen to that. However said website's charges aren't very friendly in my opinion. I was so disenchanted by how much a badass franken tudor 7928 sub would cost, i went and bought a gen vintage beat-up 7928!

02-09-2012, 04:11 AM
i remember seeing this review ages ago and just came across it again... i've always preferred the tudor sub over the rolex... this just made me fall in love with it all over again... perhaps i will have to attempt to build one....hmmmm

02-28-2012, 07:03 PM

12-22-2012, 01:49 PM
Thank you for your review of the Tudor snowflake.

03-24-2013, 09:18 AM
Excellent review, very helpful

05-20-2013, 04:52 AM
Very nice.

05-26-2013, 05:42 PM
Very nice watch!

06-11-2013, 02:47 PM
Nice looking watch

06-18-2013, 11:02 PM

06-29-2013, 06:04 PM
Will be doing this pretty soon :)

10-23-2013, 11:21 AM
yes, this really nice :)

12-26-2013, 08:37 PM
Nice review

02-21-2019, 12:06 AM
Good BB have come down quite a bit Spence the writing of this review.

Quality quite good to, NWBIG

- - - Updated - - -

Good BB have come down quite a bit Since the writing of this review.

Quality quite good to, NWBIG