When celebrities wear the same outfits, we are tempted to compare and see who wore it best. Even twins who wear similar clothes always have one of them looking more fashionable than the other despite similarities in everything else. Such comparisons have led to similar products also being compared: Lamborghini vs. Bugatti, Louis Vuitton vs. Gucci and many more. In the watch industry, the question has always been, which is better between Tudor and Rolex. Tudor has been presumed to be a much lesser brand because even when Hans Wilsdorf created the company, he said that he was after offering watches of the same standard as the Rolex, but at a much affordable price. Does it mean that Rolex will always be a superior brand to the Tudor? Let's take a look at Tudor vs. Rolex and see who wins this battle.
The thing about Rolex watches is that they are marketed as a crown for every achievement meaning that people view it as the epitome of prosperity. With prosperity comes a high price tag because then you can afford to reward yourself with whatever you please regardless of how deep you will have to dig in your pockets. Consequently, Rolex watches are very expensive, and the lowest priced model is the Oyster Perpetual that goes for around $5,000, which is still quite high for the average Joe.
Such high prices have seen to it that only the crème de la crème afford it. Currently, Cristiano Ronaldo boasts of being the owner of the most expensive Rolex watch that he bought for £371,000; the amount is pocket change for someone who became the first-ever billionaire in the football industry.
Since Hans Wilsdorf aimed at providing customers with affordable timepieces, the average price of Tudor watches pales in comparison to Rolex watches. While the cheapest Rolex goes for $5,000, that is the highest price of the Tudor watch. You might be aware that the most expensive Tudor sold at $351,264.57 at Only Watch charity auction in 2017, but you should know that the actual value of that Black Bay Bronze was estimated at $4516.26. That being said if you want a Rolex but your bank account does not allow you that luxury, settling for the much affordable Tudor will still give you a bit of a luxurious feel.
The crown on the Rolex logo is associated with prestige. Hence since they were introduced, these watches have attracted those with status. For instance, Ronald Reagan and Eisenhower were loyal customers of the brand, and when Winston Churchill was gifted a Rolex watch, he proudly showed it off. Therefore even when the company looks for ambassadors, only celebrities are privileged to endorse the product.
Roger Federer, one of the greatest tennis players in the world, wore the Datejust41 mm during the Wimbledon Final and it reminds him of that special moment he beat Marin Cilic, cementing the slogan "a crown for every achievement." When Paul Newman's wife bought him the Cosmograph Daytona auctioned for $17,752,500, it was to serve as a reminder that he should be careful during motor racing. Hence she engraved "DRIVE ME CAREFULLY" on it. Such are the uses of the Rolex watches- as gifts and memorabilia.
However, that does not mean that Rolex watches cannot be used elsewhere. Divers have used them, and the first Submariner was introduced in 1953; later the Sea-Dweller and Deep Sea watches were produced. However, even Tudor produced diver watches, and according to Millenary Watches, the company has a great reputation in this area, compared to the Rolex. The article explains that although the timepieces were far much cheaper than Rolexes, they could hold their own in a harsh climate. Besides, the professional divers became research partners enabling Tudor to keep improving the watches, and it is, therefore, no surprise that when the Tudor Pelagos and Rolex Submariner went head to head, the Tudor Pelagos won the battle.
High-end products attract a certain class of customers, and Hans already established that clientele with the Rolex watches. He, therefore, knew that to maintain them, he would have to ensure that the quality remained the same, or better with time. That being said, Rolex watches have forever held their place as among the top quality watches ever produced by avoiding unnecessary features such as alarms and tourbillons. Instead, it keeps improving in the most useful features like movements.
Business Insider explains that Rolex is more about evolution than revolution. Therefore, even the diamonds you find on the watches undergo rigorous testing by gemologists to ensure the stones are real. The 904L steel utilized in production is resistant to rust and corrosion, which adds to the quality of the watch. Finally, since almost everything is produced in-house, overseeing that quality is at its best is easy. As for Tudor watches, you also cannot go wrong with them because the very fact that they are associated with Rolex means that the failure of one brand can affect the other. Tudors are praised as high-quality watches among similar timepieces that fall within the same price range. They may not be as luxurious as Rolexes, but they offer nearly the same quality since even Rolex is involved in its production sometimes.
In the mid-1930s, Rolex exclusive movement supplier was Aegler S.A, but in 2004, the watchmaking company acquired the movement production facility. By 2009, it expanded the facility allowing the company to unveil its state of the art in-house movement production building in 2012. The first in-house movement had less moving parts than other modern chronographs, and the COSC regarded Rolex as the largest mechanical movement producer of chronometers. They employ movements that are not only highly reliable and precise but also those that are easy to maintain and are efficiently self-winding.
Tudor, on the other hand, has been using ETA movements. It is not until 2015 that the first Tudor watch with an in-house movement was produced. The timepiece under the caliber MT5621 was developed with the help of Rolex. The great thing about in-house production is that manufacturers have a better oversight on quality. Not all models have in-house movements, but maybe with time, Tudor will stop outsourcing and rely on its own movement production facility. However, that step alone means spending resources which the watchmaker does not currently have because according to GQ Magazine if the demand for in-house movements surges the work will have to be outsourced to outside workshops.
Anything that has a warranty gives the customer peace of mind that the product can be replaced as per the terms and conditions. Besides, a company that stands behind its products shows that it has confidence in them, therefore, the longer the warranty period, the more you can rest assured that you have nothing to worry about regarding the quality of what you are buying. Just like most watch manufacturers, Rolex offered a two-year warranty but in 2015 decided to increase it to five years. The announcement was that all watches sold from authorized dealers would have a five-year warranty beginning from July 1, 2015; watches sold between July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2015, were added an extra year of warranty free of charge.
Its sister company, Tudor, also had a two-year warranty that did not cater to deterioration, damage, addition in non-Tudor parts or any other intervention by a non-Tudor authorized dealer. Borrowing a leaf from Rolex, Tudor also extended its warranty to five years and announced the good news in December 2019. According to the new warranty terms, all of their watches sold from January 1, 2020, will have a five-year warranty whereas those that were sold between July 1, 2018, and December 31, 2019, would get a free 18-month extension. The best thing about it is that the warranty is international.
If you come across the Oyster Rolex watches, you will notice that they have the words "superlative chronometer officially certified" on the casing. That superlative term means that they have gone far and beyond what is expected of them for the watches to be certified. According to A Blog To Watch, Rolex sends all its movement to COSC to have each movement individually tested for 15 days at three different temperatures and in five different locations. The rigorous testing is to ensure that the watches are accurate since the maximum deviation allowed is -4/+6 seconds per day. Rolex goes a step further to test for accuracy in-house by simulating the conditions in which it is worn since user habits affect a watch's precision. They set the maximum deviation at -2/+2 seconds per day which is much stricter than what the COSC expects.
On the other hand, all of Tudor's watches are COSC chronometer-certified, but they still flaunt that their movements are more accurate than the standards. Tudor boasts that their timepieces are 40% more accurate than the minimum accuracy necessary for the certification, which is true. The company has a +4/-2 accuracy against the set standard of +6/-4 seconds variation per day. You should note that the COSC standard accuracy results in watches having a 99.994% precision. Therefore comparing the deviation between Tudor and Rolex, Rolex watches are far much more precise.
Rolexes are usually expensive when they are new, but you can still get a pre-owned watch at a much lower cost. Jaztime explains that going for a second-hand watch is still a good decision because Rolexes hold their value for a long time, meaning that even a second-hand watch will be quite valuable after use.
The reasoning is that brand new Rolexes immediately depreciate upon a single scratch, unlike second-hand timepieces. Consequently, even after you buy a pre-owned one, the depreciation will be significantly less so even if you decide to sell it later, you will get almost the same amount as what you had spent buying it. Of course, if you are going for a discontinued model, you will have to cough up more money because they are hardly in existence and market forces imply that the when the supply is low, the price will be high.
Tudor, unfortunately, despite being related to Rolex does not afford you that advantage. Only those Tudors that were popular will hold their value. You should know that any model that was produced before the relaunch in 2009 was not appealing to the market at the time; thus buying one is not a good investment decision. This is quite the opposite for those who have steel Rolex sports watch because not only do they retain their value, sometimes, they appreciate making them a worthy investment. However, some like the Heritage Black Bay that was updated with a mechanical movement in 2016 are growing in popularity, so they are expected to increase in value.
Which one would you prefer?
They may come from the same founder, but over the years, each one of them has tried to remain autonomous, but they have never been completely separated. That is why when Rolex increased the warranty years, so did Tudor, and when Tudor is stuck, Rolex steps in to save the day. The two watches even share similar designs and structures, but at the end of the day, you have to choose one that serves you well.
If your pockets run deep and you need a display of luxury, then Rolex fits the bill either as a gift to your loved one or to remind yourself of significant achievements. On the other hand, if you are interested in a high-quality watch that will not dent your budget, Tudor continues to offer great timepieces. However, we cannot ignore that Tudor only came in existence as a consolation prize to those who cannot get their hands on a Rolex. Therefore, Rolex still holds the crown, but maybe not for long because Tudor is determined to stop living in Rolex's shadow.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker