Tudor vs. Rolex: Finding the Watch that is Right for You

Tudor vs. Rolex: Finding the One that is Right for You

Watch industry pioneer Hans Wilsdorf is the mastermind behind both the Rolex and Tudor brands. He started with a modest watch distribution operation in London. Soon, it grew into not one but two of the most iconic and highly coveted watch brands in the world. Today, Rolex and Tudor both share the same high standards and dependability backed by the Wilsdorf name. However, a few key differences set the two brands apart. So here it is, Tudor vs. Rolex.


An image of a Rolex Daytona on a man's wrist

Featured: Rolex Daytona

Wilsdorf and his brother-in-law, Alfred Davis, founded the brand in 1905. However, it didn’t officially take on the name Rolex until three years later in 1908. That year, the duo relocated from England to Switzerland and made the shift from distributing watches to designing their own. When they began to develop their own timepieces, their initial focus was on creating the most superb movements. Those efforts quickly paid off.

Just two years later in 1910, Rolex made watchmaking history. They produced the first wristwatch in the world to receive chronometer certification. That moment established Rolex as a pioneer in the industry. In the years to follow, the brand would go on to set the standard. For example, they created the first waterproof wristwatch and patented the world’s first perpetual self-winding mechanism. Over the past century, Rolex has introduced countless other innovations into the watch industry. To this day, the iconic Rolex crown serves as a symbol of superior quality, invention, and prestige.


An image of a Tudor Heritage on a man's wrist

Featured: Tudor Heritage

Wilsdorf established Tudor in 1946 with the mission of manufacturing watches with the same integrity and principles as Rolex. However, he wanted to offer a more modest price. With the brand’s first models, he did just that. The Oyster and Oyster Prince reflected certain aspects of the Rolex style and quality. Yet, they came at a price that was more affordable and consequently accessible to a new set of customers. Into the 1950s, Tudor started to take on a life of its own.

Then, in 1954, the brand introduced one of its most notable models: the Oyster Prince Submariner. In the years to follow, Tudor would continue to develop its own signature style. However, throughout the 1970s and 80s, Tudor, like many watch brands, was impacted by the quartz crisis. They continued with the production of mechanical watches but dialed back their designs. In 2010, the brand rebounded with the introduction of one of their most groundbreaking models: the Heritage Chronograph. Today, Tudor has built a reputation of producing minimalistic tool watches and spectacular chronographs.

How to Choose Between Tudor and Rolex Watches: The Differences

For decades, there was one key difference between Rolex and Tudor: their watch movements. Rolex uses in-house movements exclusively – a principle on which the brand was founded. On the other hand, Tudor used the more affordable Swiss ETA movements for many years. This served Tudor well in sticking with its own guiding principle of creating more accessible timepieces. However, in 2015, Tudor developed its first in-house movement. It debuted in a model called the North Flag. Soon after, Tudor added it to updated versions of the Pelagos and Heritage Black Bay models.


Still, despite Tudor’s development of their own in-house movements, the brands remain distinct in their own right. Rolex has established a reputation as one of the most well known and sought after watch brands in the world by steadfastly committing to a specific style. Their designs are timeless, classic, and a bit more conservative. On the other hand, Tudor has distinguished itself as more unique, experimental, and daring with its designs. This is evident from developments like their integrated cases to risks like using bold color schemes on their dials.

Bottom line: Rolex and Tudor are two of the best watch brands on the market. Whether you’re looking for a modest price point, a more avant-garde design, an iconic logo, or a certain timeless elegance, you can find a Tudor or Rolex that will serve as the perfect watch for you.

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Caitlyn is the founder of Grey Ghost, a New York City-based boutique content marketing agency with a passion for artists, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and startups. She believes in quality over quantity, creative thinking, and, above all, using language as powerful tool to build lasting connections.

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