Tudor vs Rolex – Quality Runs in the Family

Sep 21, 2023 | Rolex, Tudor, Watches

Is Tudor owned by Rolex?

Swiss watch brand, Rolex, may be the self-titles ‘King of Watches’, but its position at the zenith of Swiss watchmaking brands is undisputed. With long wait times for Rolex releases, watch buyers have to face a choice between going to another Swiss brand, like Omega, or heading to the Rolex sister company, Tudor. The Tudor Rolex links are an open secret which can still come as a surprise to some new to investing in watches. However, while the connection is apparent, the details are less clear. Who owns Rolex? Is it Tudor – or does Rolex own Tudor? When analysing these sister brands and looking more closely at Tudor vs Rolex, questions like, ‘Is Tudor as good as Rolex?’, Is Tudor made by Rolex?’ and the slightly existential ‘Is Tudor Rolex?’ pop up frequently. There are facts to base judgment on, but we’ll explore the details of Rolex vs Tudor more closely to see how the watches stack up against each other.

The first fact is that Tudor is owned by the Rolex brand. The Tudor brand is also based within Rolex headquarters in Geneva. But how did this partnership emerge, especially from a brand like Rolex that sets itself over and above other Swiss watch brands. Just what is the Tudor Rolex history?

Rolex and Tudor’s Shared History

Tudor watches’ history sees a brand that has been around almost as long as the Rolex brand, with its trademark registered in 1926. However, it took Hans Wilsdorf a decade to take complete ownership of the Tudor brand and start production of a more affordable, yet just as reliable, version of a Rolex.

Initially, Rolex and Tudor both used many different Rolex parts in production. Tudor watches often featured an Oyster case or a bracelet. Tudor also produced more easily accessible versions of Rolex’s models, such as the Tudor Submariner. The Rolex Tudor links remained tight until 2010, when Tudor launched new models of the Tudor Black Bay and the Pelagos, which charted a new path for the brand, slipping away from the Tudor and Rolex relationship and easing into Tudor vs Rolex.

Tudor’s History

Taken from the Tudor English Royal Family, the logo featured the Tudor Rose. Many models may still feature the rose motif on the crown, Tudor moved to a shield as a show of strength by the brand.

Differences between Rolex and Tudor

Who makes Tudor watches? Is it actually Rolex? There’s a more nuanced answer that goes right to the heart of the differences between the brands. Rolex, both Geneva-based and Swiss-made, use in-house movements, using the perpetual movement exclusively produced by Aegler. Rolex now owns Aegler, and so all Rolex’s are made entirely in-house. Tudor watches are also entirely ‘Swiss Made’, although they are assembled at the Tudor headquarters, using movements made exclusively by Kenissi, in Le Locle, Switzerland.

Quality is just as important to the Tudor brand. In addition to assembly, rigorous testing and development take place in its Geneva cleanrooms. Perhaps the automatic assumption is that Rolex is the better watch on every front, all Tudor watches – including the dress models – are water-resistant to a depth of 100m. Some Rolex models, like the Cellini Rolex, are only water resistant to 50m.

Rolex and Tudor Model Comparison

It’s clear to see that there are many benefits to the Tudor buyer from the brand’s Rolex roots, Tudor has accelerated its own, different, pathway over the last decade Tudor and Rolex have established their own brand identities. Positioned at the younger, bolder brand Tudor leverages the brand’s heritage but it experiments with designs and materials, such as titanium and nylon. This is reinforced by the brand’s marketing; David Beckham is a Tudor watch ambassador, alongside Lady Gaga. Both are known for not following the crowd when it comes to challenging boundaries.

Tudor Ranger vs Rolex Explorer

Produced in 1953 to commemorate Everest’s conquest, the expedition crew had been supplied with Oyster Perpetual, and Rolex leveraged the opportunity with the launch of the Explorer later that year.

2000367-1-A_1 - tudor ranger

Both watches are uncomplicated three-handed models with similar dials, the Tudor Ranger takes its inspiration from vintage watch tools, whereas the Rolex Explorer plugs into modern sports watch credentials. Larger and with better water resistance, the Ranger also brings with it a choice of strap choices, while the Explorer is hardwired to Rolex’s Oyster bracelet.

Tudor Black Bay vs Rolex Submariner

While the Rolex Submariner is one of the best-known watches in the world, paying attention to a Tudor Black Bay review shows that you can get almost as much bang for your buck with a Black Bay as with a Submariner. More importantly, you’ll be able to pick up a Tudor Heritage Black Bay, which is so very close to a no-date Submariner for a fraction of the price. With in-house movements from Tudor since 2016, what is the real difference between the Black Bay and the Submariner?

The Tudor Black Bay black eschews the Submariner’s silver steel and is – generally – a millimetre and two millimetres higher. While the Submariner feels tied into its own design, the Black Bay feels effortlessly cooler and more fun. Studded by details that Rolex would never have allowed, Tudor Black Bay steel can be true to its design roots, but also bringing splashes of colour to the bezel or the crown.

While the Submariner’s movement offers the perfection that you might demand from a Rolex, Tudor’s in-house calibre MT5602may look more industrial but it brings with it an additional day of power reserve, resulting in a generous 70 hours.

Rolex Datejust vs Tudor Royal

Called ‘sport-chic’ by Tudor, the Tudor Royal comes in four case sizes — 28, 34, 38, and 41mm – making its mark in Tudor ladies’ watches. Reminiscent of the Datejust design, it’s important to recall that Tudor and Rolex are sister brands, rather than out-and-out competitors. The Tudor Royal is a great Rolex alternative for a Datejust, at a much more affordable price point.

Rolex GMT Master vs Tudor GMT

When it comes to Rolex GMT Pepsi vs Tudor GMT Pepsi, what really sets these watches apart from each other is the difference between the space between the Tudor and Rolex watch value. The more expensive option but also the trailblazer, there’d simply be no Tudor GMT without its Rolex sibling.

Rolex became the more accurate and reliable watchmaker by getting older and more experienced companies to build its watches and then ensuring that they were used – by aviators, divers and sportsmen. While Rolex triumphs over Tudor when it comes to the opulence of its detail – white gold hands, expertly engineered clasps – within the substance of the watch, there are differences. But, they’re not thousands of pounds worth of differences. Is Tudor a good watch? Tudor is a great watch, and it’s the closest that you’ll get to the Rolex brand without buying Rolex.

Is a Tudor watch a good investment?

From the Tudor watch history to its position in the market place, its familial relationship with Rolex is both its saving and its curse. While Tudor watches stack up well alongside Breitling, Tag Heuer and Omega, with the Tudor brand based in the home of superlative Swiss watchmaking, some people simply overlook Tudor because of its ties to Rolex. But write off Tudor at your peril. The Tudor Black Bay Pro, the Tudor Pelagos and the Tudor Oyster Prince are superb watches and solid investments, with the brand quietly backed by Rolex’s brand status. With its eye on a younger and fresher demographic, Tudor is one to watch.

If you would like to release the investment in your Tudor watch, please contact our watch experts for a free valuation. Ready to invest in watchmaking excellence with a strong heritage-based innovation and reliability – browse our authenticated pre-owned Tudor watch range now.

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