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The Rolex Submariner is often considered the benchmark for a watch. In its 60 plus years in production its mechanical upgrades have made it a higher performing tool watch, however with increased demand, the evolution of Rolex as a brand, and the ever-changing market it now feels like less of a tool watch and more of a status symbol. Essentially, most owners of the Submariner aren’t diving with it anymore. It can be extremely difficult to find a brand-new Submariner, and your best option is probably a pre-owned market if you don’t want to wait, but if neither of those options work there is an alternative. In 2012 Tudor released the Pelagos. It has a similar design to the Submariner with an unapologetic return to the tool watch heritage the Sub left so long ago. So, let’s take a look at the Rolex Submariner and the Tudor Pelagos, starting with the Sub.

The Rolex Submariner 116610

Rolex Submariner on Marble

Now there’s nothing we can say about the Sub that hasn’t already been said a thousand times over, so we’ll be brief. It’s still a 40-millimeter case albeit a chunkier design, thanks to the updated lugs and crown guards from the 2010 Super Case update. It’s powered by the Rolex caliber 3135, and it has a 48-hour power reserve. The dial is a black gloss and the watch has a black ceramic bezel. It’s fitted with the oyster bracelet and a glide lock clasp. It’s tough and beautiful at the same time.

The Tudor Pelagos 25600

Tudor Pelagos on top of wood

The Tudor Pelagos on the other hand feels like the wild child. It’s a 42-millimeter titanium case with a helium escape valve. And up until 2014 a modified ETA movement powered the watch, but in 2015 the in-house Tudor caliber MT5612 replaced the ETA. Not a memorable name but with the silicon hairspring, a 70-hour power reserve, and a COSC certification you can see Tudor is not messing around. The watch has a matte black ceramic bezel and a matte black dial with stark white indices and hands.

The Comparison

Tudor Pelagos next to Rolex Submariner

Side-by-side you can see the resemblance, but clearly, they each stand alone. The Pelagos is bigger, more menacing, and it just feels like it’s meant to be worn. The use of titanium, a slightly duller metal and matte finishing speaks to the no-nonsense idea of the Pelagos, and when you compare it to the glossy ceramic bezel and the dial with the white gold indices and hands you really start to notice how polished the Submariner has become. And by no means is the Sub a phony. I mean it practically wrote the rules on what it means to be a dive watch. It just feels like somewhere along the way it lost its heritage and the Pelagos has taken up the torch.

Tudor Pelagos with lume glowing

We know Rolex purposefully takes their time with updates and we appreciate that slow steady changes often produce the best results, but then there’s the Tudor Pelagos, and only three years after its release it receives a COSC certified movement with the 70-hour power reserve. It feels like Tudor has become the testing ground for what Rolex may implement in the future, and it’s refreshing to see a company like Tudor release a truly modern tool watch.

Rolex Submariner reflecting on white surface

Prestige or Practicality?

Now the Submariner retails for nearly double that of the Pelagos so financially speaking you’re not in the same ballpark, but if you put that aside you’re faced with the decision. Do you want the classic? The dive watch that started it all and is probably the single most recognized watch in the world. Or do you want the new kid on the block? With rugged styling and high-tech performance. Let us know which you prefer and thanks for watching.

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