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Tudor vs. Rolex Watches: Key Differences

Discover what sets Tudor and Rolex apart in our detailed comparison. From heritage to craftsmanship, find out which luxury watch brand best aligns with your taste.


Team Bezel

March 19, 2024


9 min read

Even if they’ve never bought a timepiece in their lives, people from all walks of life from around the world recognize the brand name Rolex as the archetypical high-end wristwatch. However, even relative newcomers to the world of fine watches have likely heard that collectors commonly regard many Tudor models as suitable alternatives to their often cost-prohibitive Rolex counterparts.

In truth, Tudor watches, and Rolex watches share a great deal in common in terms of heritage, prestige, technology, features, and design. As you learn more about both brands and the ways in which they both resemble and differ from each other, you are likely to encounter a few surprises and shatter some of your preconceived notions.

Tudor and Rolex have solicited pointed comparisons for roughly a century, and serious timepiece collectors continue to debate the relative value of these sister brands with heated passion. Want to cut through the noise to get the heart of the Tudor vs. Rolex debate? Read on for a highly straightforward and objective examination of Tudor, Rolex, and their various pros and cons.

By better understanding these two iconic brands, you can begin to ascertain the right watch model for you…whether it happens to be a Tudor, a Rolex, or another respected brand. Combining the vast and varied Bezel catalog, the trusted experts at Bezel are eager to suggest pre-owned watches that meet your specific wants and needs.

Tudor and Rolex – A Shared History and Legacy

There is a very good reason that the names “Tudor” and “Rolex” are often said in the same breath. As mentioned above, Tudor is a sibling brand to Rolex and shares many historic similarities. In fact, both brands were the brainchild of the same legendary horological leader: Hans Wilsdorf.

Wilsdorf founded Rolex in 1905 with the firm belief that wristwatches could be both extremely elegant and highly precise. However, this elegance and precision came at a significant financial cost for consumers. So after operating Rolex successfully for well over a decade, Wilsdorf began “considering the idea of making a watch that our agents could sell at a more modest price than his Rolex watches, and yet one that would attain the standard of dependability for which Rolex is famous.”

This was the seed of the idea that would ultimately blossom into the Tudor brand. Rolex’s parent company, the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, established this new company in 1926 with an expressed emphasis on keeping product selling prices lower than those of Rolex. While Tudor followed in Rolex’s footsteps by stressing reliable Swiss movements in its watches, the specific movements used were not the same.

Stylistically, early Tudor watches were very similar to the Rolex watches of the day. At first, Tudor sold its products with assurances that Rolex would essentially guarantee both its technical and aesthetic quality. In fact, some early Tudor products bear the Rolex brand name in addition to a Tudor signature on their dials. Tudor and Rolex shared a similarly clean and elegant design approach that is now regarded as classic in the horological world and beyond.

 While both brands have been careful to retain these timeless design qualities in their releases over the years, Tudor has certainly evolved beyond its early years as a Rolex imitator to innovate with bold styles and looks that are all its own. Furthermore, Tudor has continued to mirror Rolex in terms of its firm emphasis on craftsmanship and commitment to developing beautiful, high-end products that are both highly accurate and highly durable.

Tudor vs. Rolex - The Many Similarities

 From the very beginning and repeatedly over the years, Tudor has partnered with Rolex to share research, equipment, and manufacturing methods in common. Even today, the general engineering and build quality of Tudor and Rolex watches are essentially equal, even though their specific technologies and structural design might differ.

While this wasn’t true for the majority of the companies’ histories, both Tudor and Rolex now use in-house calibres originally developed by ETA - the largest and most influential movement manufacturer in the timepiece mecca of Switzerland. Tudor launched the Calibre MT5621 ETA movement in its North Flag line in 2015. After that introduction, it began to gradually apply this movement to the rest of its product portfolio. All Tudor and Rolex watches are mechanical, but most watches from each brand feature automatic (or “self-winding”) movement.

In terms of style, Tudor and Rolex have grown to embrace significantly different aesthetic frameworks over the years. However, they retain many of the iconic characteristics that they shared in their earliest models. In short, both brands continue to balance the vintage-inspired design qualities that have made them classics with the bolder choices that have kept them relevant and extended their tradition of innovation into the modern era.

Although their more elegant dress models might appear otherwise, Tudor and Rolex also share a firm commitment to rugged durability. Tudor may not have quite the same reputation for toughness as Rolex, but all Tudor watches are resistant up to 100 meters or more. In fact, both Tudor and Rolex have a long tradition of dive watch manufacturing that dates back to the late 1950s, when people around the world began to recreationally scuba dive on a widespread basis. The companies were among the very first to design watches specifically for use deep underwater.

While no wristwatch brand enjoys the level of brand name recognition or the sheer international popularity that Rolex enjoys, many Tudor models rival Rolex models in terms of general demand and market availability. In general, the pre-owned sales sector for both Tudor and Rolex is very strong.

Tudor vs. Rolex - The Key Differences

Price Point

While Tudor’s longstanding reputation as a less-costly alternative to Rolex is something of an oversimplification, Tudor watches remain extremely popular among buyers who want a high-end luxury timepiece but find the price point on most Rolex watches a bit out of their price range. Make no mistake, the exceptional quality of the materials and manufacturing of a Tudor watch doesn’t come cheap. But because Rolex’s prestige goes hand in hand with its high-end prices, it isn’t uncommon for a Rolex watch to sell for twice the cost of a similar Tudor watch. So, if you are buying your first luxury timepiece or if you simply can’t justify the expense of a Rolex on your current salary, a Tudor just might be the best option for you.


Until recently, the principal mechanical difference between Tudor and Rolex had been their movements. Rolex began using in-house movements in 2004 after the company bought the Swiss manufacturing facility that was making their calibres. Tudor, however, continued to outsource its calibres to ETA until 2015 and still makes some watches with outsourced calibres. Collectors of pre-owned wristwatches must pay close attention to manufacturing dates and model numbers if they want optimum movements for accuracy and functionality.


When it comes to aesthetics, it is impossible to overlook the stripped-down power of Rolex’s classic Datejust or Submariner. Even people with little to no knowledge of luxury watches will often recognize these timeless designs. Knowing better than to trifle with a successful formula, Rolex has made little change to their most popular models over the decades. Horological experts are fond of saying that Rolex designers take their iconic designs through “evolutions” and not “revolutions.”

Shortly after its founding with Rolex as a parent company, Tudor began to inch away from the archetypal but somewhat conservative aesthetics of the Datejust to present itself as a far more independent, experimental, and “hip” brand while simultaneously drawing inspiration from vintage wristwatch models. So, compared with Rolexes rather staid approach, Tudor’s watch designs tend to be brasher, busier, and nervier in nature. However, Tudor generally balances its more avant-garde tendencies with an emphasis on classic luxury, playful sportiness, and down-to-earth practicality. Some traditional Tudor models, like the Tudor Submariner, are unequivocally inspired by a clear Rolex counterpart, while other Tudor models, like the Tudor Royal, have considerably more adventurous design qualities.


Over the years, Rolex has maintained a reputation for using only the finest materials in its watches, often going the extra mile to produce their own metals in their own foundry. In fact, the company has manufactured all the gold, platinum, and stainless steel alloys in its watches since 2005. Generally speaking, Rolex employs only traditional luxury timepiece materials like these in its various product lines. Some of Rolex’s alloy blends, such as its Everose gold and Oystersteel stainless steel, have caught the public's attention and become legendary.

Reflecting its bolder and more inventive design approach, Tudor is far more likely to incorporate bronze, titanium, and other less traditional materials into its watch cases, bezels, and dials. It is also more likely to pair its watches with straps made of nylon, cloth, and other materials that might seem out of place in the luxury timepiece world. When Tudor makes its watches out of stainless steel, it typically uses a standard 316L alloy rather than the superior Oystersteel 904L alloy.

Brand Identity

While Tudor’s lower price point gave founder Hans Wilsdorf the latitude to experiment with new materials and more expressive styles, early Tudor models tended to stick closely to the classic aesthetics of established Rolex models. This allowed Tudor to leverage Rolex’s existing consumer credibility and reputation for high luxury. However, Tudor rapidly established itself as a younger, more exciting, and “cooler” brand when compared with Rolex’s highly esteemed and prim brand identity. Overall, Rolex occupies a more luxury-oriented brand position than that of Tudor.

The brand images of these companies are also quite evident in their choice of official ambassadors as well as the famous people who happen to wear their products. Rolex stalwarts, from legendary tennis player Roger Federer to renowned filmmaker Martin Scorsese, are often prominent leaders in their respective fields. Tudor brand ambassadors, by contrast, are often iconoclasts and boundary pushers. Consider soccer star David Beckham with his revolutionary style and Lady Gaga with her stimulating and confrontational music.

What Tudor or Rolex Watch Is Right for You?

After taking a close look at their primary differences, it should be plain to see that the winner of the “Tudor vs. Rolex” battle will inevitably change from consumer to consumer. Tudor offers a more reasonable price point, sportier designs, and movements that are certified by the standard-bearing Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC). By contrast, you pay for Rolex’s outstanding brand name with a higher price point, but this company’s classic designs blend the sporty with the formal. Made entirely in-house, Rolex’s movements hold both COSC certification as well as the company’s own Superlative Chronometer certification.

To get a better idea about which luxury wristwatch might be right for you, take a close look at both the Tudor and Rolex collections at Bezel. These collections contain the most sought-after models in each manufacturer’s catalog. 

For more help, you should examine Bezel’s list of the best Tudor watches and professional advice on buying your first Rolex watch. Do you value Rolex’s prestigious reputation but aren’t sure if your pocketbook can accommodate the Rolex price tag? You will want to peruse our article on the least expensive Rolexes on the secondary market.

The Bezel Difference – Get the Most Out of Your Tudor or Rolex Purchase


Bezel’s collection of quality pre-owned Tudor and Rolex ranks among the most extensive available today. In fact, if you don’t see the watch of your dreams in any of our carefully curated collections, just notify a Bezel concierge, and we will track it down for you using our vast network of serious wristwatch collectors and industry insiders. All our beautiful luxury watches are available for sale online through our highly flexible and customizable e-commerce platform, which is formatted for all types of computers and mobile devices.

If you are looking for some guidance on your luxury watch consumer journey. Bezel’s skilled and knowledgeable concierges can work within your budgetary restrictions to help you find the very best options for you. Beyond Tutor and Rolex, we carry products from Cartier, Breitling Panerai, A. Lange & Söhne, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, and every other luxury timepiece brand worth considering.

No matter which watch you ultimately choose to buy, you can have absolute confidence in your purchase thanks to Bezel’s comprehensive in-house authentication procedures. Thanks to our longstanding affiliation with experts from Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and other venerable auction houses, we have become one of the most trusted names in the pre-owned luxury wristwatch sector.

Furthermore, Bezel guarantees absolute customer satisfaction with our thorough Buyer Protection Policy. Beyond ensuring that your proper and fully authenticated watch is delivered directly to your door, this policy protects you from items that are missing key features or do not match Bezel’s posted descriptions or images.

In short, if you are looking for a quality Tudor, Rolex, or any type of preowned luxury watch from any era, you need look no further than Bezel!


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