Have you ever wondered what the main differences between Rolex and its sister company, Tudor are? If you’re considering investing in either a Rolex watch or a Tudor watch, it’s a question you will soon be asking yourself. Generally speaking, Rolex and Tudor watches are made from the same materials. Rolex services and distributes both watches, but there are differences in style and design that are worth noting, as well as the mechanics behind each watch that play a part in the price of the watch and its recognition. Here’s a comparison guide between Rolex and Tudor to help you decide which watch is for you.
Rolex was founded in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis in London. In 1926 the company launched its first-ever waterproof and dustproof watch made from the famous Oyster case. The first self-winding automatic mechanism with a perpetual rotor was created in 1931, followed by the Datejust model in 1945 and the iconic Submariner in 1953. Since then Rolex has been specializing in the development of world-leading, high-quality mechanical wristwatches, cementing a name for itself within the luxury watch industry.
Not long after creating Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf launched its sibling brand, Tudor. He wanted to create watches that were made in a similar way to Rolex, but sold at a more affordable. In the 1970’s Tudor made some exceptional chronograph watches, build with rugged cases and bold aesthetics. Tudor’s first diver’s watch was created in 1954, just a year after the Submariner. It would make its last appearance in 1999. Black Bay watches are now the most recognizable timepieces made by Tudor, characterized by a legible dial, snowflake hands and a superb in-house designed movement.
The Submariner is a highly coveted diver’s watch that is now a vintage collectible. It followed the launch of the Rolex Submariner just a year before but has now become discontinued. Models in mint condition are extremely rare, as are those from the first generation of timepieces, created between 1954 and 1968. The third generation was launched in 1989. These are the Tudor Submariners that remain affordable, since so many were created during this period, remaining easily accessible on the preowned market today.
The Tudor Pelagos is a functional diver’s watch with a robust design, boasting an impressive 500-meter water resistance. Perfect for scuba diving, snorkeling, deep-sea diving, sailing and a myriad of water sports, these diving watches are tools that can be worn for pretty much any situation. The ETA caliber 2824, which was widely used up until 2015, was replaced by an in-house made movement – the caliber MT5612 after this date. Combined with a helium escape valve, a patented fold-over clasp and a lightweight titanium case, the popular diver’s watch is a great all-round tool watch.
Tudor Black Bay
The Tudor Black Bay is the Swiss dive watch with a retro-inspired look. It belongs to Tudor’s larger Heritage collection. The vintage look of these wristwatches is inspired by the original Submariner collection. Tudor Black Bay models were first released in 2012 and the collection is still growing with new and innovative designs being launched, including cases crafted from bronze (like the Black Bay ref: M79250BA-0002), giving them a full-of-character look as their patina darkens with age. The models are distinguishable for their snowflake hands and a domed anti-reflective sapphire crystal glass lens. They also feature in-house movements developed with a 70-hour power reserve.
Tudor Black Bay
The Rolex Submariner was created in 1953. It combined exceptional water resistance with an in-house movement. It remains one of the most collectible diving watches today. Waterproof to 330 feet underwater and characterized by a black dial and Cerachrom ceramic bezel, models like the 116610 are equipped with luminous hour markers and hands, a monobloc case, a screw-down winding crown (with Triplock triple waterproofness technology), and an extendable bracelet clasp, making it one of the most reliable and functional watches on the planet.
One of the most expensive watches remains the Paul Newman Daytona watch, yet the Daytona line is also home to other models, characterized by their sporty chronograph dials and racing-inspired aesthetics. A reliable tachymeter scale will enable you to measure speed up to an astonishing 400 kilometers per hour.
Aside from other popular Rolex watches like the Yacht-Master and the President, the Datejust remains one of the most highly coveted watches of all time. It’s also one of the most expensive. The collection offers a variety of choices when it comes to style. The cases can be found in yellow gold, white gold, steel, and bi-color options. The dials are colorful – some of which are diamond-encrusted. These simple three-handed dials with the iconic date window poisoned under a cyclops lens create an elegant addition to any smart or professional attire.
The older Tudor models, powered by less expensive ETA or Valjoux movements reflect a less expensive price tag. But Tudor now creates their own in-house movements that have been chronometer-certified, increasing their price both on the new and used watch market. Tudor watches also use the same case, crystal, bracelet, and crown as Rolex watches, making them the go-to tool for sportsmen and the likes of the armed forces. One of the highlights of the Tudor range is its affordability. Their timepieces tend to start at around 5,000 dollars. Rare vintage Tudor watches can appreciate, plus collectors look to invest in a company that stands for values in quality, precision, and performance – values shared by Rolex. The most expensive Tudor watches belong to their (now vintage) Submariner collection, costing anywhere around 33,000 – 110,000 dollars. Heritage Black Bay models are priced mid-range, costing around $4000, followed by the more affordable Tudor North Flag, costing as little as $2,500. Rolex watches vary from the lower end of the price spectrum, like the Explorer, the Air-King and the Oyster perpetual 39, costing around 5-6000 USD, to mid-range watches like the Submariner costing around $8000. The most expensive watches from Rolex cost between 20, 000 to 30,000 USD, like the Rolex Day-Date and Daytona models.
The main differences to note when comparing Tudor with Rolex is their respective price tags and their movements. Rolex watches are status symbols that will always remain more expensive, yet Tudor can proudly look back on iconic models like the distinct and instantly recognizable Black Bay and Pelagos which now house their own in-house engines. Rolex watches embody the brand’s heritage in their designs. Whilst both manufacturers specialize in fine watchmaking, Tudor watches are more suitable for a first-time buyer with less cash to spend, whereas Rolex watches are the ultimate symbol of success.