Rolex Submariner vs. Tudor Submariner: A Comparison of Similar Models
Since Hans Wilsdorf created Tudor in 1946, people have compared the brand to their parent company, Rolex. For decades, many watch aficionados and collectors believed Rolex to be the superior manufacturer. Wilsdorf’s original intention behind creating Tudor was to develop a brand with more attainable offerings. Plus, it wasn’t until recently that Tudor began producing their first watches with in-house movements. In over 70 years, Tudor has come a long way. They’ve come into their own and exerted their own unique presence in the industry. Yet, Rolex has remained steady as one of the most prominent watchmakers in the industry.
One of the most iconic and instantly recognizable models created by either of the brands is arguably the Submariner. The model has a perfect balance of fashion and function. With the Submariner, Rolex secured their place as a producer of superior tool watches and watches with style. Just a year after Rolex introduced their first Submariner at the famous Basel Fair in 1953, Tudor followed suit. They debuted their own Submariner in 1954.
Transformation of the Tudor Submariner
Tudor’s Submariner was the brand’s first dive watch. Its official name was the Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner. Early references of the Tudor Submariner closely borrowed from an early variation of the Rolex Submariner, the Reference 6538. Still, the primary difference was that the Tudor model lacked an in-house movement.
Unlike Rolex’s Submariner, whose design has only seen minor adjustments since its release, Tudor’s Submariner has undergone a few updates. The Tudor Submariner has increased its depth rating and size. Some variations have featured a large onion crown while others have the addition of crown guards. Early versions of the Tudor Submariner came equipped with a domed crystal. However, the brand replaced it with a standard flat crystal in 1968. That same year, Tudor added its iconic snowflake hands to the model and ETA movements replaced the original Fleurier calibers.
Endurance of the Rolex and Tudor Submariners
The 1960s brought about one significant change for both the Rolex and Tudor Submariners. The added option for a date window with Cyclops magnifying lens helped to give each Submariner model more mass appeal. For the next several decades, both Submariners continued to coexist and flourish.
However, just before the new millennium, there were changes for the Tudor Submariner. The 79000 series was the third and last generation of Tudor’s classic Submariner collection. These models were a bit of a departure from the previous Tudor Submariners. The most notable change was the replacement of the trademark snowflake hands for Mercedes hands, like the Rolex counterpart. The brand first introduced the line in the 1980’s and officially discontinued the production in 1999.
Elements of Tudor’s Past in the Black Bay Heritage
Still, the spirit of the Tudor Submariner lives on today in the brand’s Black Bay Heritage collection. These models draw many elements from the Tudor Submariners. For example, a prominent winding crown from the 1958 Submariner Reference 7924 dubbed the Big Crown and trademark snowflake hands.
More so than the classic line of Tudor Submariners, the Black Bay Heritage models are comparable to the Rolex Submariner. Both feature oversized cases, unidirectional rotatable bezels, and in-house movements. However, the models still have a few differences. For instance, the Rolex Submariner has a higher depth rating but lower power reserve and fewer strap options.
Appeal of the Vintage Tudor Submariner Today
Today, vintage Tudor Submariners are nearly as in demand as their Rolex counterparts. Still, there’s no denying that the Rolex Submariner has withstood the test of time. Remember, Rolex has only modified its design slightly in over 60 years. Yet, there’s an undeniable charm to the Tudor Submariner. With it no longer in production, it’s become increasingly popular among collectors in recent years, as Tudor’s reputation has grown. It’s hard to choose between these two distinctive variations of the iconic Submariner.