At Craft & Tailored we love a watch with a good story as much as we love a rare reference. This Tudor Submariner Ref. 7928 definitely checks both boxes! The piece is interesting as a standalone timepiece but it also comes packed full of history as it was gifted to a man who was clearly well deserving of a watch with such uniqueness and character.
This Tudor Submariner 7928 was once owned by Charles L. "Chuck" Smith and was gifted to him by the U.S.N Salvage divers aka the "Diving Gang" that was aboard the USS Chickasaw (TF-83) while Chuck Smith was the captain from January 1963 - November 1964.
So who was Charles L. Smith? Definitely the type of guy we like to immortalize here at Craft and Tailored. Chuck was born in Georgia on October 27th, 1920 and at the age of seventeen was awarded a scholarship to Georgia Tech University. That same year in 1937 Chuck was also made an Eagle Scout by none other than President Franklin D Roosevelt himself during the first Boy Scout jamboree held in Washington D.C. Without his parents knowledge, Chuck enlisted in the U.S. Navy and worked his way through a 34-year Navy career starting as a Seaman and finishing as a Lieutenant Commander. Throughout Chuck’s Naval career he saw action in WW2, Korea, and Vietnam. He survived a Kamikaze attack during WW2 while aboard the USS Wickes (DD-578) and carried shrapnel for the rest of his life. Chuck earned over 16 medals for his U.S. Navy service. His adventures did not end with his naval career. Chuck being an avid lover of the outdoors took up sky diving in his late 60's, even surviving a fall when his main parachute didn't open. At the age of 75, Chuck climbed the Great Wall of China. Chuck was the real deal.
The Tudor Submariner Ref. 7928 was first introduced in 1960. The ref. 7928 is like the little brother to the Rolex 5513/5512 references as they share many of the same exact parts and similar design elements. Interestingly, the Rolex Submariner and the Tudor Submariner were actually developed at the same time and launched just a few months apart from each other. The Tudor Submariner Ref 7928 is just as handsome as the big brother Rolex 5512/5513 references but possess a unique charm and feeling that is distinctly Tudor!
A few key details make this Ref. 7928 particularly rare. The watch possesses both transitional pointed crown guards and a gilt chapter ring dial. Additionally, the dial features an underline. (Read more about the importance of Rolex underline dials on the C+T Blog.)
Glossy Gilt "Chapter Ring Underline"
Antique Calfskin Watch Strap
CASE & BRACELET
The pointed crown guard case remains thick and even with the original case geometry intact with slight lug bevels present. The "kissing 40" bezel insert has taken on a stunning blue-gray fade and the pearl remains slightly intact. The case retains it's original Rolex signed twin lock crown. The case back is stamped II.63. The caseback has an engraving that reads "To Capt– Smith USS Chickasaw (ATF-83) Jan 1963 Nov 1964 from Diving Gang"
DIAL & HANDS
The beautiful gilt chapter ring "underline" dial shows even and consistent patina throughout the dial The original and early tritium on the dial and within the gilt hands has taken on a custard-like coloration. The lume remains intact on the dial, showing some degradation. under U.V. light inspection both the hands and the dial light brightly and fade off quickly. The lume within the stunning gilt minute, hour, and lollipop sweep seconds hands remain fully intact and have darkened with age.
The watch comes with a fair amount of provenance as can be seen in the listing. Included with the watch are 3 photos of the USS Chickasaw (TF-83). The USN service record of LCDR Smith, as well as other artifacts from the estate of the original owner.