Are Tudor Watches as Good as Rolex Watches?

Are Tudor Watches as Good as Rolex Watches?

Are Tudor watches as good as Rolex watches? Obviously, this is the simplified version of a complicated question; there are many factors that make a watch “good”, and the importance of those factors varies amongst different buyers. To simplify this complex discussion, I’d like to argue both sides of the debate. First, I’ll explain the case for Tudor being “not as good” as Rolex.

Tudor Watches Are Not as Good as Rolex Watches

Tudor Watches vs. Rolex Watches

Image Source: Chrono24

In 1926, Hans Wilsdorf registered the “Tudor” trademark with express intent to make it an affordable alternative to Rolex. For decades to come, Tudor watches would be identical to Rolex aside from housing cheaper (but still serviceable) off-the-shelf movements. This mechanical sacrifice allowed buyers to experience the fit and build quality of a Rolex at a much lower price point. During Wilsdorf’s time (and some time after), the delta between Rolex and Tudor was crystal clear. Today, Tudor shares no models with Rolex, no parts with Rolex, and their mechanics are entirely in-house. That said, there’s a reason that Tudor watches still cost a fraction of what a Rolex costs. 

First of all, Rolex goes the extra mile in terms of refinement and quality control. Each and every surface on a Rolex watch – from the bezel to the underside of the lugs – is meticulously considered, resulting in a near-perfect wearing experience. Don’t get me wrong, Tudor cases and bracelets are nice, but they’re not on the same level as modern Rolex. Anecdotally, I’ve seen online threads of people who polish the edges of their Pelagos 39 bracelet clasps because they are too sharp. You don’t see that kind of thing with Rolex watches.

Tudor Black Bay Chrono vs. Rolex Daytona Thickness

Image Sources: aBlogtoWatch

Proportionality is a subjective measure, but complicated Rolex watches are generally more svelte than their Tudor counterparts. Take a look at the Tudor Black Bay Chrono vs. the Rolex Daytona pictured above. The Tudor Chrono on the left is 42mm across and 14.6mm thick. The Rolex Daytona on the right is 40mm across (wears like a 38mm) and just 11.9mm thick. It wears like a perfectly polished pebble made for your wrist. Proportionality is a major selling point for Rolex, and when paired with excellent finishing, the experience is impossible to rival at a fraction of the cost.

Another big difference between Rolex and Tudor is materials technology. Rolex develops their own proprietary materials such as Cerachrom and Parachrom. While Tudor is a sister brand of Rolex, they cannot use these materials for their watches. Instead of Cerachrom bezel inserts, you’ll find aluminum inserts on Tudors. Instead of a Parachrom hairspring, you’ll find a silicon one. Instead of 904L Oystersteel, you’ll find industry standard 316L. If you value bleeding edge materials sciences, Rolex is the way to go.

Rolex Daytona Dial Text

Image Source: Time & Tide

While the delta between Rolex and Tudor movements has narrowed over the years, Rolex still takes the cake. The Crown conducts their own Superlative Chronometer certification in-house, guaranteeing -2/+2 seconds per day alongside strong anti-magnetism, water resistance, and other metrics. This could be its own article entirely, but Rolex movements edge out Tudor’s in their materials, finishing, and of course, decades of R&D.

Finally, brand cachet has to be considered. Whether or not this is a factor that you care about is up to you, but it’s a real thing. Some people buy a Tudor instead of splurging for a Rolex, and without fail, some of those people are disappointed to see a shield rather than a crown when they check the time. If this rings true for you, Tudor is effectively not “as good” as a Rolex in terms of wearing experience.

Tudor Watches Are as Good as Rolex Watches

Tudor Pelagos FXD Chrono Cycling Edition

You may have heard people say that “Tudor is the new Rolex”, meaning that Tudor now poses a similar value proposition as pre-2000s Rolex (or whatever date cutoff you prefer). Modern Tudor has established its own strong identity with core model families like the Black Bay and Pelagos. Additionally, they’ve launched their own movement manufacturing facility in Kenissi. It’s hard to say that Tudor isn’t similar to Rolex, and it’s certainly ahead of where Rolex was just a few decades ago.

Think about it: you can buy a Tudor Black Bay Monochrome for less than half of the price of a Rolex Submariner and get similar build quality, historic design, and an in-house Master Chronometer movement with a silicon hairspring and free-sprung balance. This is a ridiculously strong value proposition. If you don’t care about the differences mentioned in the last section, or you don’t think they’re warranted by the price gap, Tudor is effectively “as good” as Rolex. It’s as simple as that.

Where I Land on the Matter

I understand both sides here, but I strongly feel that Tudor is closer-than-ever to Rolex by most metrics that really matter. To me, Tudor’s design, history, and build quality (inside and out) are unrivaled at their price point, and depending on what you value in a watch, Tudor might beat out more expensive options. There are obviously tangible reasons behind Rolex’s higher price point, but whether or not those reasons matter to you will determine whether or not Tudor is just as good.

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