Editor’s Note: Derek Dier ain’t afraid of no ghosts. So when a Tudor Submariner with a ghost bezel walked into his shop recently he knew exactly what to do…
Recently, a gentleman walked into my store with his Tudor Submariner 9411/0 he had purchased in the mid-70s and my eyes widened. I had to have it. The watch had been in storage for a number of years, and it was distinguished by the mysterious and beautiful “ghost bezel”.
Being able to speak to the original owner , and learning he used to dive frequently, I felt comfortable that the faded bezel was genuine and not concocted with chemicals in his basement washing machine – artificially aged components being passed off as the real deal is becoming more common as demand for vintage watches increases.
I felt comfortable that the faded bezel was genuine and not concocted with chemicals in his basement washing machine – artificially aged components being passed off as the real deal is becoming more common as demand for vintage watches increases.
Salt water and sun will create this un-mottled ghosting effect over the years, adding a sublime visual contrast coveted by collectors. Tudor’s Snowflake dial is really quite charismatic when compared to its rich uncle, the Rolex Submariner.
The combination of the angular hour hand, diamond seconds, square and rectangle markers all against a deep blue sea dial is to me a bit of cubism infused design. Collectors have elevated the snowflake’s status almost to the level of a decent Rolex 5513 for a clean, original version. This example is even more pleasing because the aged luminous material on the hands perfectly match the dial – an important consideration when paying top dollar.
The luminous dot on the bezel likely popped out at some time and a newer was inserted. This isn’t the end of the world; however, a matching dot would widen your smile. The ETA 2784 movements in these watches are reliable and easy to service. This case has been polished over the years. Sharp, chamfered lug edges-unpolished, would add further value, but you can’t always have it all.
The caseback features a personal inscription. I find collectors don’t seem to have a problem accepting inscribed cases, as they lend a nostalgic appeal and degree of authenticity. These Tudor Subs came on the Rolex Oyster bracelet, but I prefer the NATO look for these functional timepieces. In reality, the Tudor Snowflake is less common than the Rolex Submariner, so don’t expect their prices to be slowing down anytime soon.
Whoever ends up with this ghostly Snowflake, I’m pretty confident that it will have pride of place on their wrist for many years to come.