If you weren’t privy to the fact that Tudor is a sister brand to Rolex, would you think the same of the brand’s luxury timepieces?
Yet, many of their timepieces, particularly their latest releases, are outstanding wristwatches in their own right. On this page, we will be comparing a model from each brand in various categories:
- The Adventurer Watch
- The GMT Sports Watch
- The Essential Diver
- The Luxurious Dive Watch
- The Complication
There’s a lot that ties the two brands together as well as various aspects that set them apart, even within the same style category. Let’s take a closer look into what these are.
Tudor vs. Rolex
- Heritage Ranger Ref. M79910 vs. Explorer Ref. 214270
- Black Bay GMT Ref. M79830RB vs. GMT-Master II “Pepsi” Ref. 126710BLRO
- Black Bay Fifty-Eight Ref. M79030N vs. Submariner Ref. 114060LN
- Black Bay S&G Ref. M79733N vs. Sea-Dweller Ref. 126603
- Heritage Advisor Ref. M79620TN vs. Yacht-Master II Ref. 116680
It should not come as a sudden surprise that many of Tudor’s propositions form part of the Black Bay line. The model has been popular since the start, and every subsequent variation has shared in the success as well.
The above links will allow you to jump down to a specific “versus”, though going through the whole lineup will give you a great overview of Tudor’s versatile watch lines and how they stand up to its sibling’s most established offerings.
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Tudor Heritage Ranger M79910 vs. Rolex Explorer 214270 [The Adventurer Watch]
When considering timepieces from each brand that are intended for extensive outdoor wear, there’s no better options than the Tudor Ranger and the Rolex Explorer I. At first glance, both can appear very similar but there’s some key distinctions that set them apart.
First and foremost, the case size. The Ranger is 41mm while the Explorer I is 39mm. Although admittedly not a big difference on paper, the 2mm can make a very big difference on the wrist, particularly considering the different case styles.
The faces of both watches are similar in their markings, though Rolex shines here with their 18K white gold applied indices. On the other hand, the Tudor’s indices are “painted” directly onto the dial, making for a bit less elegance in execution.
Internally, the tudor is powered by an ETA 2824-based caliber, a reliable Swiss caliber widely regarded as a workhorse. The Explorer I movement is Rolex’s in-house 3132 caliber, boasting a COSC-chronometer certification and the brand’s latest technology, like an anti-magnetic hairspring and shock absorbers.
While both models are sold on full steel bracelets, innate to an “adventurer’s watch” is the need to change the bracelet for a strap. In this department, the Ranger definitely triumphs as it has drilled lugs that make switching out the band a breeze. With regards to the quality of the bracelets themselves, indeed Tudor’s will be of an exceptional build, but Rolex’s Oyster bracelets are arguably the best in the industry.
Lastly, we consider the ever-important aesthetics. The Heritage Ranger appears more rugged than the Explorer I as a whole, with the latter being executed in a more elegant and premium way.
This last point of contention will come down to the buyer’s preference as some may prefer the subdued look of the Ranger over the flash of the Explorer I. The price difference, about $3,500, will surely come into play as well.
Tudor Black Bay GMT M79830RB Vs. GMT-Master II “Pepsi” 126710BLRO [The GMT Sports Watch]
At Baselworld 2018, Rolex and Tudor simultaneously introduced “Pepsi” style GMT watches. These were the Black Bay GMT M79830RB and the much-awaited GMT-Master II 126710 BLRO.
The move was initially seen as a controversial one from the two Swiss watchmakers, namely due to the similarity of the timepieces. But with a keen eye, one can see that though the complication and bezel are analogous, these watches fulfill two different niches.
Looking at the Black Bay GMT, it boasts a much more utilitarian style. Its a larger watch in just about every dimension, with a dial in matte black, darker tones of red and blue on the bezel, and a full riveted bracelet.
On the other hand, the new Pepsi GMT-Master has taken a step into the realm of dress watches with the intro of the Jubilee bracelet. The watch also touts the flawless and shiny Cerachrom bezel, a glossy black dial with Chromalight indices, all in the smaller and sleeker 40mm Oyster case.
When comparing movements, it’s a bit of a tough choice. Yes, the Rolex probably has the more technologically advanced components, but Tudor is not far behind in performance. Both possess a GMT function with date, both are COSC-certified chronometers, and both have 70 hour power reserves.
Ultimately, the styles of the watches target two different customers: the one searching for the “tool watch” look, and another for a more sophisticated aesthetic. As a result, it’s not obscene to think of both of these fulfilling roles in the same collection.
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight M79030N Vs. Rolex Submariner 114060LN [The Essential Diver]
Tudor and Rolex have decades of experience making professional diver’s watches. In fact, for a long time, the separately-branded Submariners sold by Tudor and Rolex were both made by Rolex.
In the modern day, the two brands are much more distanced. Rolex has continued on their path, but Tudor has taken profound steps to blaze their own trail.
The Heritage Black Bay line was Tudor’s professional diver offering, but not until 2018 did it really become a closer competitor to the Sub. This change came with the premiere of the Black Bay Fifty-Eight M79030N.
The BB58 boasts a reduced case profile, from 41 to 39mm, which significantly alters how the watch wears. The normal Black Bay case borders on bulky. Even on large wrists, its case height can only be disguised so much. The smaller size makes for a much more wearable Black Bay while keeping the essence of the popular style.
Both possess in-house chronometer calibers, though the Sub has not yet been upgraded with a new generation movement. Therefore, the Tudor wins out with its 70 hour power reserve.
Between the two, the choice will most likely come down to style. The Rolex Submariner is an absolute icon, and if you truly want a Sub, then nothing will fill its shoes. But those with broader horizons, and potentially a smaller budget, can look to the Black Bay Fifty-Eight to fulfil the exact same role at less than half the price.
Tudor Black Bay S&G M79733N vs. Rolex Sea-Dweller 126603 [The Luxurious Diver]
Originally designed for professionals who braved extreme depths in their regular work, the dive watch has had more than a couple of decades to evolve into a luxurious accessory.
It can be argued that the standard Sea-Dweller model is already luxurious, if only by its price tag. Nevertheless, this has not stopped Rolex from elevating the model even further.
The 126603 is Rolex’s brand new Sea-Dweller release, coming one year after the 43mm stainless steel Sea-Dweller (126600) was introduced. Although initially controversial due to its differences from the original models, namely the cyclops and case size, the 43mm version evidently proved successful.
Accordingly, Rolex forged ahead. With the 126603, the extreme diving functionality of the watch is retained and further upgraded with yellow gold elements in its bezel, bracelet, and dial.
The Black Bay S&G, the two-tone variety of the brand’s top-selling Black Bay diver, was released in 2017. It also proved successful, and leaves us wondering if Rolex may have taken notice and consequently devised their future release, the two-tone Sea-Dweller. We may never know.
Both watches offer a similar style, that of the gold-accented dive watch, at two completely different price points. Of course, Tudor remains the value proposition here, with its gold-capped bracelet links and $5,000 retail. The entire piece also boasts a more traditional “tool watch” essence that’s amiss in the Rolex.
Nevertheless, the Sea-Dweller is still a Rolex, one of the newest models, and it’s hard to deny that they’ve done a great job.
Once more, it’ll come down to budget and preference. Either way, whichever you chose, you’re certain to be satisfied by the remarkable timepiece on your wrist.
Tudor Heritage Advisor M79650TN vs. Rolex Yacht-Master II 116680 [The Complication Watch]
In this head-to-head, we compare the models that possess the most complicated function from each. The two selected are the Heritage Advisor, an alarm watch, and the Yacht-Master II, a regatta chronograph with a programmable countdown timer.
In this instance, the styles of the watches are completely different. One is crafted from titanium, while the other is full steel with a contrasting blue ceramic bezel. The dials are equally opposite in color, with the former in black and the latter in glossy white.
The complications are equally diverse. The Tudor’s alarm function can serve as a useful function in daily life, perhaps even for waking up every day. Alternatively, the Rolex is more fitting if you’re waking up on a yacht, a completely different thing.
Jokes aside, the programmable countdown with a mechanical “memory” is a very compelling complication. It may only reach 10 minutes, but if you’re wearing this $18,750 Yacht-Master II, then you probably want to keep close tabs on your time.
These are two complicated watches executed completely differently. The Yacht-Master II is Rolex’s attempt at a more expressive oversized watch and has proven successful. The Advisor, although not nearly as popular, serves as proof that the “younger sibling” has grown up.
More Guides & Articles
Let us know in the comments what you thought of our page, and which watch is your favorite from each category. If you’re interested in more watch guides and on the wrist reviews, make sure to check out some of our most popular pages below:
- Rolex Brand Guide: History, FAQs, & Modern Catalog
- The Most Iconic Rolex Watch Styles
- The Colors And Styles Of The Most Notorious Rolex Watches
- American Watchmaking: Which Brands Have Survived Until Today?
- Bespoke Unit Watch Reviews Repository
"Rolex is probably my favorite watch brand, and I have owned many throughout the years. But if Tudor keeps making watches like that S&G, I may just have to give them a try!"Rating: 5.0★★★★★