Tudor vs Rolex: What’s The Difference?

When searching for the differences between Tudor and Rolex watches, you will come across the phrases ‘Tudor is Rolex’s sister’ and ‘Rolex and Tudor are siblings.’ Yet what is the back story? 

Both Tudor and Rolex are loved around the world for their extraordinary timepieces and expensive design. While Rolex is considered a luxurious and ‘hard-to-get your hands-on watch, Tudor offers budget-friendly luxury with well-made and in-house movement timepieces. 

In this article, we will talk about the difference between Rolex and Tudor watches. We will also talk about their history, watch features, and what makes each of them unique.

Difference Between Tudor and Rolex

1. History

What is Rolex

Rolex was founded by Alfred Davis and Hans Wilsdorf in 1905 in the UK. In 1919, the company moved its base to Geneva, Switzerland due to unfavorable market conditions back in the UK. 

You may adorn your wrist with the best dive watches with excellent waterproofing capability, but it is Rolex which brought out the first waterproof watch, Oyster Perpetual

To address the issue of watch movement damage due to dust and moisture infiltration, Rolex produced the Oyster in 1926.

First Rolex Oyster Perpetual

During the 1920s, this screwed-together system was so novel that several customers, who were used to shielding their timepieces from rainfall, were doubtful. It would take some marketing genius to persuade the wider populace that the Oyster case was, in fact, watertight.

What is Tudor

Tudor was founded by Rolex owner Hans Wilsdorf as a more economical brand, first housing third-party mechanisms inside Rolex cases. Tudor’s association with Rolex has always given the sub-brand substantial prestige, but it has also kept Tudor in Rolex’s shadow. 

The brand was virtually non-existent in the United States from 1996 to 2013, which further pushed it into darkness. 

However, Tudor delighted mechanical watch aficionados with the unveiling of the Black Bay in 2012, a new incarnation of the now very valuable Tudor Submariner, which was manufactured from 1954 through the 1990s. The Black Bay was an enormous hit, allowing Tudor to come out from beneath Rolex’s shadow and more brazenly project its own character.

Tudor has remade itself as a more modern and style-focused company since 2017, enlisting sponsors such as David Beckham, Lady Gaga, and the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team. This method is diametrically opposed to Rolex’s advertising emphasis.

While Tudor puts its ambassadors at the forefront of its present promotions, Rolex likes to focus on the timepieces themselves, with their renowned roster of “testimonies” remaining in the backdrop.

2. Movement

Until now, the primary distinction between Rolex and Tudor was their movements. Rolex has used in-house mechanisms since 2004 when they acquired the production facility that produces their calibers altogether. Similar to Ball watches, Rolex is a fully automatic watch which means it needs hand wounding instead of batteries to work.

Tudor, on the other hand, used movements made by famous Swiss manufacturers ETA SA or Valjoux.

This distinction was lost when Tudor introduced their first in-house mechanism, the Cal. MT5621, in 2015. The caliber first emerged in their North Flag line, but it has since been extended to the remainder of their catalog.

3. Design

From the traditional Rolex Datejust to the sturdy gorgeous Rolex Submariner, Rolex boasts readily recognizable styles.

The present Rolex watch collection features styles that have been available since the 1940s – 1950s and have evolved relatively little. Rolex timepieces, as they claim, only pave the path for technological improvements, and their eternal designs go through “evolutions” rather than revolutions.

Tudor, on the other hand, has been the company’s conduit for innovation, resulting in watch designs that are noticeably distinct from Rolex.

While some models, such as the Tudor Submariner, are clearly influenced by their Rolex counterparts, Tudor timepiece has been more daring, employing materials such as Titanium and fabric.

4. Price

The earlier Tudor variants, which are driven by less premium ETA or Valjoux mechanisms, have a lower price tag. However, Tudor currently manufactures their own in-house movements that are chronometer-certified, which raises their price on both the fresh and used wristwatch markets. 

Tudor timepieces feature the same casing, dial, strap, and crown as Rolex watches, earning them a popular reputation among athletes and members of the armed services. The Tudor line’s price is one of its main selling points. Their timepieces often start around $5,000.

The most costly Tudor timepieces are from their (now vintage) Submariner series, which range in price from 33,000 to 110,000 USD. Heritage Black Bay models fall in the mid-range, starting about $4000, but also include the more cheap Tudor North Flag versions, which start as low as $2,500.

The Oyster Perpetual is the cheapest Rolex by 2022 price list. The Oyster Perpetual is a time-only model that costs $5,700 and comes in a variety of dial colors to suit any taste. This model also gets bonus points since, unlike many other stainless steel Rolex models, you can buy one from an authorized Rolex shop without having to queue on a waiting list.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual

While a standard antique Paul Newman will cost you at least $220,000, they can resell for up to $700,000 according to the state and whether they come with the packaging and documentation. These values, meanwhile, pale into insignificance to the sum paid at sale for Paul Newman’s personal Paul Newman Rolex Daytona in 2017. It was the second most expensive wristwatch at the time, selling for a stunning $17,752,500. This is, without a doubt, the most costly Rolex ever sold.

Which one to Choose?

When contrasting Tudor and Rolex, the key distinctions to note are their contrasting price tags and mechanisms. Rolex timepieces have always been more expensive, but Tudor is no less particularly with famous models like the unique and well-known Black Bay and Pelagos, which now feature their own in-house motors. In their aesthetics, Rolex watches exemplify the brand’s tradition. 

While both companies specialize in excellent watchmaking, Tudor watches are more appropriate for a first-time buyer with limited funds, whilst Rolex watches are the pinnacle emblem of prosperity.

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