Tudor Opens the Doors of its New Manufacture and We Got to Step Inside

Tudor’s recent road is a case study on how to properly revive, or reintroduce a brand to the world. Just in the last 10ish years, we’ve watched them go from a vintage fascination but a contemporary obscurity to one of the leading modern Swiss watch brands. A brand that went from unavailable in the US, to globally reinvigorating and dominating the $3-5k price point. And now, in 2023, they’ve marked another milestone, the opening of their new assembling and testing facility in Le Locle.

A massive structure, it houses in a split building with entrances on either side, Tudor and the movement manufacturer they created, Kenissi. Standing on 330, 30-meter tall concrete pillars to reach sturdy bedrock below, the building is 150-meters long, 30-meters high, and consists of 8,050 cubic meters of concrete and 960 tons of metal framing. State of the art in many ways, the project took five years from start to finish, including three for construction, with some transitions and new operations finishing in April of 2023.

Airey, with large, automatically tinting glass windows and an intentionally industrial interior veneer, the structure spoke to mid-century architecture, if completed and outfitted with the newest technologies one can expect in a watch-making facility. In many ways, the building suits the products that Tudor currently makes, watches with vintage aesthetic cues, but firmly up-to-date construction. Watches that despite certainly qualifying as luxury timepieces, avoid the trappings of snobbery and pretension.

Getting to visit a watch brand’s manufacture is always an exciting occasion. Getting to be one of the first outsiders to step into the facility of one of the currently most popular brands, well, that’s really something special. Over the course of an hour and a half with a group of other American journalists carved out of a larger group of global press, we got to participate in a tour of both the Tudor and Kenissi buildings. In this rapid-fire tour, which felt like 15 minutes despite being quite a bit longer, we stopped at several stations, seeing notable highlights from both the watch and movement-making processes, as well as features of the building.

Our group started on the Kenissi side with a quick talk about the company. Founded by Tudor in 2010, I was pleased to see the transparency around working with other brands. 20% of Kenissi is owned by Chanel, and they included all of the brands they currently supply movements to in their presentation, from Norqain to Fortis to Ultramarine, a relatively new independent.

The next stop was movement assembly. It’s worth noting that despite the scale of these buildings, no machining takes place within. Parts arrive from subsidiaries that are also owned by Tudor/Hans Wilsdorf Group and are put together to create finished movements and watches. A massive floor with dozens of watchmaking tables connected with conveyor belts, each is operated by a watchmaker diligently on task. In the center of the room stands a smokey glass box with a robotic arm rapidly in motion. A tireless watchmaker, it conducts chronometric analysis on movements as they are finished.

We are the robots

From there we went to arguably the most important floor of the tour, though it was relatively empty and quiet by comparison. This space was full of machines dedicated to testing. Specifically, testing for METAS or Master Chronometer certification. A 15,000 gauss magnet housed in a blue metal structure with a foreboding illustration of a heart connected to a pacemaker with a big line through it, sat on one side of the room. Each watch is subjected to its intense field. A 10-day process, it was suggested that this would be the new standard for all Tudor watches in the near future.

But, that’s not the only thing of interest in this room. Another was the free-roaming robots attending the floor. Given the lengthy testing process, this facility runs 24/7 and is managed by, or rather will be in the near future, a series of mechanized employees. Of course, there will still be people in the room as well to monitor and maintain the testing machines. Unlike the rapidly moving arms seen elsewhere, these robots were of a non-threatening design, acting as assistants moving watches/movements from one machine to the next in the course of their examination.

A big part of the facility is, well, the mechanics that keep it running. In our traversing of the building, Tudor wasn’t afraid of taking us through areas that aren’t “pretty” by typical standards. Industrial corridors for ventilation systems, lower levels where heating, and fire cessation systems lie. All are things they are proud of, as all are state-of-the-art and eco-focused. One interesting tidbit is that while there is a wet sprinkler system, for rooms with sensitive components, movements, and other things that could be ruined, there is a nitrogen replacement system, where the oxygen gets sucked out.

It was through one of these areas that we crossed from the Kenissi side into the Tudor side of the massive structure. Once in, we were met with the various assembly steps of a Tudor watch. Huge rooms with watchmaking tables and dozens of employees worked at various, but highly specified tasks per area. From attaching dials and hands, to a whole area dedicated just to attaching bracelets (which we all know is easier said than done, especially when a slip means a watch that won’t pass QC). Tudor’s goal is to put out a lot of watches. Whether or not the panda chronographs were being assembled to illustrate that they were catching up or not, however, is up for debate.


In the end, seeing inside of the Tudor/Kenissi manufacture in Le Locle was an informative experience. What I took away from it is this. Tudor is making watches in a sort of “attainable” luxury price point. They are made at scale and sold worldwide. They are meant to be everyday companions for those who own them, not occasional pieces or ones simply designed to impress. The movements within them echo this. At times decried for being thick, these same movements are capable of withstanding a new generation of standards, leading to more accurate watches that can easily withstand modern daily wear and tear, and beyond.

The facility they created speaks to this as well. It impresses not by being ornate, but by being practical and forward-thinking. The inside of the building is focused on the task at hand. It’s light, airy, and industrial. Glass, steel, concrete, robots, machines, and people work together to create tiny, miraculous designed objects that we wear to tell the time, which also happens to say a little about us as people. No matter how you perceive it, it’s clear that Tudor is set up for the future. A future where supply meets demand, or is at least closer to it. Tudor

Images from this post:
Related Posts
Zach is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Worn & Wound. Before diving headfirst into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
wornandwound zsw