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Rolex vs Patek Phillipe

Both Rolex and Patek Philippe are incredibly iconic watchmakers known all throughout the world. These two companies are innovators and creators of their own original designs and have been leading the pack in the world of watchmaking.

Although these two are comparable, there are several big differences that make up each respective brand’s distinctive identity.

In this article, we will be looking at the similarities and differences between the two companies, and the pros and cons that come with each one. Though, there are more differences than similarities between the brands that we will discuss.

To begin this conversation, we have to talk about a sort of elephant in the room:

Why would you buy a Rolex over a Patek Philippe?

3 Rolex watches on display

The main reason one might consider a Rolex watch over a Patek Philippe one comes down to a unique factor that this brand holds true over every single other watchmaker out there: popularity and recognition.

For many decades, Rolex has expertly marketed itself better than any other brand in the game and has become synonymous with concepts such as wealth, fashion, success, style, and more. The company has overall become the epitome of a “luxury wristwatch” to the general public. The golden standard.

Simply think, if you asked someone right now about Rolex, who is generally not in touch with knowledge regarding wristwatches, they will very likely be guaranteed to be familiar with the brand and those concepts stated earlier. It is a company that has remained in pop culture for decades similar to Apple, Nike, Coke, etc.

On the other hand, if you ask that same person about Patek Philippe, there is a slight chance that they might not know anything about their company; as Patek is targeted towards people of very high wealth, more so than Rolex, and their niche market are already aware of their existence, reputation, and offerings.

From this one very unique factor from Rolex, there come other unique advantages as well. One of these being that there will always be a very high demand for their watches from people all over the world. What this means for Rolex owners is that if you purchase one of their watches, you are almost certainly guaranteed to be able to resell that watch–likely for an even higher price than what you bought it for. This is one extremely appealing advantage to any sort of investor looking into the brand.

Pricing

Rolex vs Patek Philippe pricing is another big differentiating factor between the companies. As alluded to earlier, Rolex watches generally retail for much less than Patek Philippe’s offerings; and this could either be a good or bad thing depending on what kind of value you are seeking.

Patek Philippe watches of course hold their value and appreciate similarly to Rolex, but the number of people who are able to afford the high cost of a $100,000 Patek Philippe watch is diminished as opposed to the amount of people who won’t have to sell their car after buying a $10,000 Rolex. From this standpoint, it really does depend on an individual’s personal preferences and lifestyle. 

To put this in perspective, at those prices listed earlier you could buy ten whole Rolex watches at the cost of that one Patek Philippe watch (if taxes didn’t exist).

To explore an example of this idea, let’s compare two of the most popular and iconic watches of each brand and ask a bit of a subjective question–Which is better, Rolex Submariner or Patek Philippe Aquanaut?

In this comparison, we find that the Submariner, as the name suggests, is designed for deep diving, having a high water resistance of 300m, and retails at around $10,000 – $40,000 usd. It is essentially built to withstand robust activities, has an outer timing bezel to time your dives or any other situation, and can be dressed up or down quite a bit.

The Patek Philippe Aquanaut on the other hand is also a type of “dive” watch withstanding 120m of water resistance, which is suitable for swimming but a bit riskier when diving,

Still, the Aquanaut is arguably more versatile than the Submariner. The reason for this is that it can be worn naturally with the highest end suit, but at the same time it can be rocked with jeans and a tee shirt. However this watch has a much wider range of price at approx. $30,000 – $130,000 usd.

So based on that, we once again find that this argument depends on an individual’s preferences and lifestyles. And speaking of lifestyles, that is another thing to consider when deciding between Rolex or Patek Philippe.

Types of Watches

Throughout the previous century, Rolex designed watches like the Submariner and their GMT to be robust and reliable in order to be used by personnel in the United States military. Doing so, they have created their catalog to consist of professional sport watches that have been tried and tested in true critical applications.

Additionally, their Explorer model was the primary watch provided by Rolex to be utilized by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in their expedition to become the first people to ever climb the top of the tallest mountain on Earth, Mount Everest.

Today, these models are still in production, updated every year, and are in very high demand. Models like these can be easily worn every day for any situation at 100m – 300m of water resistance with shock resistant movements.

On the other side of the spectrum, Patek Philippe’s highest water resistance timepieces come at 120m, which is not bad either, for the very popular Nautilus and Aquanaut. Extremely versatile and beautiful watches that are swimmable but are not able to be worn without precaution in deep diving or in heavy water sports as stated before.

These two watches are actually more so comparable to the Rolex Explorer in all of those regards.

Another very popular watch known from Patek is their Perpetual Calendar. This beautiful timepiece is a staple when it comes to dress watches with complex movements. On the dial, it features a day, date, month, even a leap year indicator, and most iconically, its moonphase.

It is important to note that the moon phase design was first introduced by Patek Philippe themselves, and now lives on in this iconic model of theirs.

This leads our conversation into the opposite standpoint previously taken:

Why would you buy a Patek Philippe over a Rolex?

Patek Philippe Store

Although Patek does not offer any sort of 200m – 300m water resistant dive watch, as they are not primarily a tool watch kind of company, what they instill instead are some the highest end works of art–and that is how one should look at Patek Philippe as a whole. 

When you think of it this way, those high prices are much more justified.

Think of a painting from a renowned artist. Now, that is simply colors being placed in specific areas of a canvas to make a work of art. Let’s say that painting sells for $100,000 like a Patek Philippe might. As a whole, the artist will likely have spent very little to create that art, as the real value comes from their name, talent, and work.

So although you might not know exactly who created your Patek Philippe watch, there is no denying that these are clearly artworks inside and out made by masters at their craft, consisting of precious metals, and house extremely advanced mechanical technologies inside the watches themselves. 

What’s more, these ‘art pieces’ can of course be used in real life applications of primarily telling time, as part of an outfit or ensemble, and can carry the stories of the people who have worn them in the past.

It is also important to emphasize the incredible complexity in the watches that Patek Philippe make. They strive to really push the boundaries in terms of what is possible to function inside a watch, using only mechanical features.

They can go from a simple date-only complication in a Nautilus, to their Grandmaster Chime, which boasts twenty (yes, twenty) separate complications. Patek truly have no limits, and I doubt that they will stop at that twenty.

While both companies create their own in-house caliber movements, Rolex mostly focus on perfecting their original designs in order to provide the most efficient and reliable movements possible, while Patek focus more on creating those complex designs with many complications added onto it.

Nevertheless, we cannot forget to mention this simple powerful fact: Patek Philippe was the company that started it all and created the very first wristwatch in the late 1800s. That could be all the information you need if you are looking for the winner between these two companies.

Design

In terms of exterior design, Rolex has created some of the most recognizable layouts that have become blueprints for all other watches designed today–which could either be a pro or a con depending on how you look at it.

Let’s start with the most obvious: the Submariner. The design of this watch with its geometric circles, rectangles, and triangle indexes, as well as the outer bezel’s timing layout, have been a standard in dive watch design for its form and functionality.

There is not much that can be improved in this and that is why it has rarely changed since its inception, and continues to thrive today. However, like stated before, this could be a con for some people as these designs are very often similarly seen in many other companies.

Because the design has somewhat reached a peak in simplicity and functionality, many others will struggle to come up with anything different, which leaves many of the same-looking watches all over the place.

However, that is what does make Rolex so sought after–they are THE original. But again, although some companies have managed to slightly break the mold, it is extremely difficult to change what is not already broken.

Now moving on to Patek Philippe, their outer designs are generally much more unique to their respective brand.  If you look around, you do not find many similar watch layouts like the Nautilus, Aquanaut, Perpetual Calendar, and especially not the Grandmaster Chime (I’d actually be shocked to see that). That can be a huge draw for someone looking for something very iconic, luxurious, but unique all at once.

Furthermore, Rolex cases and bracelets are very similar from model to model, such as their famous Oyster designs; whereas Patek Philippe seemingly strive to create differentiating and original cases for each one of their timepieces. So let’s summarize some of these points as they are commonly asked:

Frequently Asked Questions

Why would you buy a Rolex over a Patek Philippe?

Rolex has the unique advantage of popularity and recognition throughout the world; which Patek Philippe does as well, but Rolex is generally more known and accessible. Their average rough estimate price for one of their watches is somewhere around $15,000 usd, which is much less expensive than that of Patek Philippe’s. 

Furthermore, Rolex has its rich history in professional sport watches, which they continue to manufacture today, and that is what primarily makes up their catalog if that is what you are looking for. Lastly, the value of their watches become investable, as they often appreciate over time.

Why would you buy a Patek Philippe over a Rolex?

Now, Patek Philippe can be quite a bit more expensive than Rolex depending on the model and make, but they must be thought of more as functional works of art than watches, really. 
Moreover, their catalog consists of very unique designs that are not easily duplicated by other companies like the ones from Rolex are.  Like stated before, Patek Philippe are some of the most expensive timepieces out there, but they are also the most reputable and recognized from best of the best when it comes to that arena

Patek Philippe, Rolex, or Omega?

Another common debate being thrown around is that of Patek Philippe vs Rolex vs Omega. If we analyze these companies altogether, it is quickly evident that Patek Philippe is much more of a high end luxury and dressy brand, rather than a luxury sport watch one as both Rolex and Omega are.
Both Rolex and Omega have many more similarities than Patek Philippe in this regard, and they are real rivals when it comes to this.

Both have their own defining dive watches (Submariner vs Seamaster), ‘adventure’ type watches (Explorer vs Railmaster), chronographs (Daytona vs Speedmaster), and dress watches (Datejust vs Constellation)–just to name some of the more prominent categories. Both are also very highly marketed and recognized. Although Rolex definitely wins above all brands when it comes to that, Omega still holds its own against Rolex in that regard.

Nonetheless, their true differences lie in their price ranges, as Omega is a sort of entry-level in the world of luxury sport watches, ranging anywhere between approx. $3,000 – $15,000 usd. Whereas Rolex can range a bit higher in price as previously discussed. So this debate mostly depends on an individual’s preference in brand and their budget

Do Rolex or Patek Philippe keep more accurate time?

Interestingly, both companies likely average around the same time of accuracy. This is due to Patek’s incredibly complex movements with many different complications, and more complications mean more things that can vary an accuracy.

Meanwhile, Rolex have mostly focused on perfecting their movements with maybe one or two simple complications. After decades of testing, and thousands of people wearing their watches, Rolex have come a very long way in terms of functionality in their movements. And in doing so, they compete with Patek Philippe in the topic of accuracy.

Who was created first, Rolex or Patek Philippe?

Patek Philippe was founded in 1839, and Rolex in 1905. As previously discussed, Patek Philippe was also the company that first introduced the world to watches, but Rolex still has a lot of “firsts.”
For instance, they created the famous GMT movement for United States aviators in the 50s, which became one of their crowning (no pun intended) achievements. Patek, however, invented other features now commonly known such as the moon phase complication; which they still use in the Perpetual Calendar as one of their main lineups.

Conclusion

In summary, both Rolex and Patek Philippe are giants in the watchmaking industry. They pioneered many of the designs we see today, but they are not all that similar to one another overall. Rolex built their reputation based on creating professional sport watches to be tested in real life situations, and at the same time marketed those watches towards the average citizen. 

Whereas, Patek Philippe built their own brand based on perfecting the concept of a mechanical wristwatch, and pushing the boundaries in terms of materials, movements, complications, and designs overall.

Rolex is more affordable than Patek Philippe, but both are creators with distinct identities, rich histories, and iconic catalogs to choose from. So as stated before, choosing between these two comes down to an individual’s personal preferences, how they live their life, their budget, and the kind of value they seek. Or just get both, why not?

Panerai vs Rolex

If you’re still confused between Panerai and Rolex, then you’ve come to the right place! We’ll take a deep dive into the differences, similarities, and pros & cons of both the brands. Let’s begin with their origins and see how they came to be what they are today!

Panerai History- Early Years

Panerai was founded in 1860 by Giovanni Panerai in Florence, Italy. From its inception, the shop was both a retail establishment and one of the first watchmaking schools in Italy. By 1916, Panerai was producing high-precision instruments at the request of the Italian Royal Navy. As a requirement, the Navy wanted dials that could easily be read in the dark and underwater. 

Hence, the patented process of a highly luminous compound (originally a radium paste) was created and patented and the original “Radomir” was produced. This luminescence became a key element of the Panerai collection.

In 1936, the Radiomir prototype was developed for the Italian Royal Navy. These pieces needed to meet the parameters of a high-strength diving timepiece. This was accomplished by modifying a watch case supplied by Rolex which was referred to as the 2533 prototype.

By the 1940s the “Radiomir” had evolved into the instrument that most are familiar with today (ref. 3646). The characteristics of this watch consist of the following:

  1. A large cushion-shaped steel case with a 47mm diameter
  2. Highly luminous dial and markers
  3. Wire lugs that are welded to the watch case
  4. High-quality manual mechanical movement (at that time a Cortebert/Rolex 618 caliber.)
  5. A tan, water-resistant strap long enough to be worn over any protective clothing.

An additional advancement was the addition of a modified dial using overlapping discs, known as sandwich dials. The upper part consisted of anodized aluminum with perforated indexes and numbers to make the radium paste more luminescent and legible.

The Luminor

Panerai The Luminor

In 1949, the “Luminor” name was issued a separate patent due to the luminescent properties of the dial. Instead of a radium paste (which carried various risks due to emissions), Panerai developed a tritium-based substance, a hydrogen isotope, that was safer and did not sacrifice luminosity. Because of these developments, the patent was acquired and became synonymous with the dial qualities.

Another significant engineering feat was achieved in 1956, when Panerai, in developing a diving watch for the Egyptian Navy, introduced the patented crown-protecting device which is structurally most identifiable within the Panerai collection today.

Throughout the 1960s the “Luminor” continued to evolve and was improved upon. The crown protection bridge was adapted to the watch case and advancements were also made in its movement.  The Swiss-made Angelus SF240 mechanical movement featured an 8-day power reserve. This power reserve feature would become part of the very DNA of the brand.

Another major innovation is that some of the solid and closed-back watches were replaced with a plexiglass window allowing one to view the movement. At this time, Panerai was one of the first watch houses to outfit a watch accordingly. Today, this is a common feature on high-end brands bearing either mechanical or automatic watch movements.

Panerai Tourbillon in the 21st Century

As Panerai entered the 21st century, the first of many in-house created movements were introduced. In 2005 the P2002, a hand-wound mechanical with GMT  function and an 8-day power reserve was unveiled. Then, in 2007, the P2003, P2004, and P2005 were introduced. What distinguishes the P2005 is its most elegant tourbillon complication.

A tourbillon is an addition to the mechanics of a watch escapement to increase accuracy. In a tourbillon, the escapement and balance wheel are mounted in a rotating cage aiming to eliminate errors of poise in the balance giving a uniform weight. It was initially developed by the watchmaker Abraham Louis Brequet in 1795.

The unique characteristic of the Panerai tourbillon is that the cage housing the balance wheel and the escapement rotate on an axis that is not parallel to the balance wheel axis but perpendicular to it. Unlike traditional tourbillons in which the cage completes one rotation per minute, the cage in the Panerai completes one rotation in thirty seconds. Very innovative.

 Panerai continued to develop and create more in-house movements and incorporated more and more complicated features into their collection. In 2010, a commemorative watch and clock were introduced to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first celestial observations. Incorporating a variety of complications, these models continued to build on the creative and innovative reputation of the brand.

2013 saw the launch of the P9100 caliber, an automatic movement with a chronograph flyback function, the  P9100/R with a regatta countdown feature, and the P5000 caliber hand-wound movement with an eight-hour power reserve. A pocket watch with both GMT and a tourbillon with a ceramic case was also introduced to the watch world.

2014 saw Panerai open a brand new watchmaking facility in Neuchatel, Switzerland. The innovation continued with the P4000 caliber, an automatic movement distinguished by an off-centered oscillating weight.

Panerai Radiomir and Luminor Due

Over the past eight years, Panerai launched the Radiomir 1940-minute repeater carillon tourbillon and the new Luminor Due case. The Radiomir is the most complicated watch Panerai has ever produced. It incorporates the exclusive tourbillon regulator and the unique double repeater mechanism that chimes either local time or a second-time zone with the ability to sound every hour, every ten minutes, and every single minute using 3 hammers striking three different sounds.

A low sound for hours, an intermediate one for 10-minute periods, and a higher tone for minutes. The Luminor Due reflects the thinnest automatic movements ever created by Panerai and is faithfully inspired by the classic 1950s model.

Panerai Latest Innovations

Strides in using various materials such as carbon and the development of BMG-TECH which is a bulk metallic glass with a disordered atomic structure obtained through a high-pressure injection process at a high temperature further advanced the Panerai collection.

2018 was marked by the unveiling of two remarkable innovations, the first being the Lo Scienziato-Luminor tourbillon GMT with a 3D printed titanium case coupled with the P2005/T skeletonized movement with a tourbillon regulator. The second complication was the L’Astronomo-Luminor 1950 tourbillon moon phases equation of time GMT.

This is the first Panerai creation to have a moon phase indication and an innovative system using a polarized crystal to indicate the day. To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the patented Luminor name, the company created a brilliant innovative model with a greater luminosity that is guaranteed for seventy-plus years.

Rolex’s History

Rolex, surprisingly, has been around for a far shorter time than Jaeger LeCoultre and compared to most other luxury Swiss brands. For a brand that has been around for less than 115 years, is an even greater testimony to the success of the Rolex brand and the reputation the company enjoys today.

Much of this success is attributable to Hans Wilsdorf, the English entrepreneur responsible for the creation of the brand. Though conceived in England, Wildorf created the Rolex brand in 1908 and would ultimately move the entire operation to Geneva, Switzerland, where he would create the first water-proof self-winding wristwatch with a perpetual rotor.

A patent was issued to Rolex in 1926 for the world’s first waterproof watch, which today is the oyster case. Rolex has filed for more than 500 patents over the history of its existence. These patents showcase their innovations that range from internal movements to their exclusive Cerachrom bezels and bezel inserts.

Cerachrom is a ceramic material that is virtually impervious to scratches and its color is unaffected by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Rolex today is a completely vertically integrated company with every step of the watch’s conception to completion performed by the Rolex team.

To assure the continued success and commitment to producing the highest quality timepieces, Rolex has an exclusive training center that educates, trains, and acclimates every employee to their culture of excellence as well as one of the most rigorous testing labs to ensure the integrity of every watch.

There is even a department of tribology where the scientific study of friction, wear, lubrication, and how moving parts interact in every aspect of a watch’s movement and physical parts exists to continue Rolex’s constant perfection in watchmaking.

Another attribute of the Rolex collection is its commitment to precision and accuracy. In this aspect, every Rolex is not only a certified chronometer but a superlative chronometer as reflected by the certificate and green seal that accompanies each wristwatch. The parameters of accuracy exceed those required by the COSC. which are -4/+6 seconds per day. The superlative identification reflects a deviation of -2/+2 seconds daily.

Panerai Luminor Marina vs. Rolex Submariner

Pnaerai Luminor vs Rolex Submariner

The Luminor Marina is available in different sizes and ranges from $8100-$13,900 with a top-of-the-line model offered at approx. $24,300 (available in a Goldtech case which is made of gold, 24% copper, and titanium).

The basic 44mm case models range from the strap version for $8100.00 or the all-steel version for approx. $8900.00. These models have a Panerai caliber P9001 31 jewel automatic movement. A Glucydor balance and the incabloc anti-shock mechanism as well as two barrels and a total of 200 components and a power reserve of three days complete the movement.

There is also a carbotech model available which has a carbon ceramic case and bezel and brushed titanium back. These models are water-resistant to 300 meters. These 44mm models are available in either blue, olive green, or dark gray with complimenting straps.

There is also a limited edition Luminor Marina which has a 47mm case and retails for approximately$10,100.00. This model has a Panerai P3001 caliber movement and is available with a dark brown dial and a brown strap.

Lastly, within the Marina collection, there are the ESteel models. They retail for approximately $8700. And have polished steel bezels. What differentiates these watches is that the cases are constructed of recycled materials comprising 58.4% of the weight of the case.

The  Submariner is one of the Rolex collection’s most popular watches. For comparison, I will elaborate on the features of the base model which is available in stainless steel in either a date or non-date version. The dimensions of the case are 41mm. Wide and 48 mm. From lug to lug. The lug width is 20 mm. And the case is 12.5 mm. Thick.

The heartbeat of this watch is an automatic mechanical caliber 3130 in-house manufactured Rolex movement. The watch has a power reserve of two days. The timepiece is outfitted with a sapphire crystal and a cerachrom bezel with markings filled with platinum PVD coating.

To round out its appearance the dial has “Blue” chromalight lume markers for easy visibility in the dark or underwater. Water resistance is rated at 300 meters. The approximate retail for the non-date model is $8950.00 and the date model is $10,100.00.

Panerai Submersible vs. Rolex Submariner

In comparing these two watches against one another, I refer you to the previous paragraph for technical details of the Rolex Submariner.

The Panerai Submersible has a 42mm. 316L  brushed stainless steel case and is also water resistant to 300 meters. The mechanical automatic movement is an in-house Panerai P9010 caliber that vibrates at 28,800 A/h. It features an incabloc anti shock device, glucydur balance, 2 barrels, a total of 200 components, and a power reserve capacity of 3 days.

One distinguishing feature of both the Submersible and the Luminor Marina is the ease with which the wearer can change straps and bracelets. This process is easier with the Panerai models than with most other Swiss luxury brands. The approximate retail price of the Submersible is $9300.00 retail.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Panerai Submersible superior to the Rolex Submariner?

Given the comparison of both timepieces and their attributes, both are superior-quality dive watches. The Rolex is the more recognizable of the two, but Panerai has a devout following of watch enthusiasts and professionals that swear by the brand, and production often falls short of demand for their watches. Either is a brilliant choice for a high-end Swiss luxury watch /  professional instrument.

Is the Panerai Luminor Marina a Better Choice than a Rolex Submariner?

As in the comparison of the Panerai Submersible and the Rolex Submariner, the same side-by-side analysis pertains to the Luminor Marine and the Submariner. Both have similar attributes and are water-resistant to the same depth. Both have luminous treatments for easy visibility in the dark and underwater.

The greatest departure is in the overall appearance of the timepieces. The Panerai case is highly unique whereas the Submariner possesses the distinct oyster case that has made Rolex famous. Both are on equal footing in aspects of quality and materials. The ultimate decision of which to purchase lies with the wearer and which watch they prefer to wear on their wrist.

Are the Panerai Luminor Marina and Submersible comparable to the Rolex Submariner in price points?

The suggested retail prices for each model are as follows;
-Panerai Submersible: $9300.00
-Panerai Luminor Marina: $8900.00
-Rolex Submariner (Date): $10,100.00

Does Rolex own Panerai?

Rolex does not own Panerai. Since 1997, Panerai has been part of the Richemont Group. This is a luxury goods conglomerate that owns other fine Swiss luxury brands such as Cartier and IWC.

Rolex and Panerai did work in partnership together in the 1930s. Their collaboration was built around Panerai’s luminous technology and Rolex’s patented waterproofing technology. The ultimate result was a dive watch produced for military use named the Radiomir. The watch had superior legibility underwater and in the dark.

What is the difference between the Panerai and Rolex Warranty?

Rolex offers a five-year warranty. Panerai’s warranty is for two years but can be extended to eight years if the purchaser registers the watch with the company online during the initial warranty period.

Is Panerai a better value than Rolex?

I believe that both are excellent values for the price paid. Each employs superior materials and is a meticulously crafted timepiece. One can spend far less to get a quality diver watch, but both of these brands are in a distinct class due to their history and exclusivity.

Does Rolex or Panerai Hold its Resale Value?

Rolex watches hold their value better than most other Swiss luxury watch brands. Due to their popularity and demand, the Rolex brand has a secondary market that is the envy of most brands. Panerai watches are also in high demand but are produced in far lesser quantities than Rolex. They do experience depreciation after purchase but do enjoy demand as used timepieces.

Who wears a Panerai watch?

Some of the individuals wearing Panerai watches are Mike Horn, the world’s greatest modern-day explorer, Gregorio Paltrinier, a world champion Olympic swimmer, and  Sylvester Stallone who chose to wear a Panerai in the 1996 film Daylight. Panerai timepieces are treasured for their accuracy and ruggedness among these types of elites.

In conclusion, both the Panerai and Rolex brands are excellent choices. They each reflect distinctly different designs but are each diver worthy and reflections of the taste and discerning choice of the wearer. The Panerai may be more of a conversation piece and enjoy a more colorful history, but the Rolex is also a great-looking alternative and speaks for itself due to its recognizability as a swiss luxury watch

Rolex vs Tag Heuer

Say you want to compare Rolex with TAG Heuer broadly. It’s easy to write off TAG as no challenge quickly. But you’d be surprised to discover both brands’ equally rich history and influence in the horology world. These two watchmakers currently build watches for watch enthusiasts with different timepiece interests. 

We get into the intricacies of both brands’ watch engines, popularity, and more. At the end of the road, you should have an idea which one of these brands suits you best or edges the other in your preferred category. Of course, there’ll be no Rolex or TAG Heuer slander, so we’ll get started with that rich history we talked about earlier without further ado.

Brand History

Rolex: Innovators From Get-Go

Rolex was established in 1905 by Swiss watch designers Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred David as Alfred and Davis. But here’s a historical plot twist you likely didn’t know: Rolex was based in London but moved down to Geneva because of high taxes on luxury products post World War I. As a result, they weren’t widely recognized as Rolex for nearly two decades when they were renamed to Rolex SA. Although their timepieces were already branded Rolex three years into the business.

But that’s enough brand name and chronological history class. Let’s talk patents and groundbreaking horology. Rolex released several never-before-seen complications and watches that transcend collector and enthusiast circles. They unveiled the first ever certified chronograph – the Daytona – only after five years in business.

Rolex released the first water-resistant watch ( the Oyster), the first self-winding watch (Oyster Perpetual), the first date and time watch (DateJust), and the first multiple time zone watch (GMT Master) within 50 years of business. Astonishingly, Rolex still produces most of these evergreen watches, which speaks volumes.

TAG Heuer: Trailblazers from The Genesis

A glimpse into Rolex history proves hard to top, but TAG Heuer (or Heuer) isn’t far off. They were founded in 1860 – five decades before Rolex – and originally named Heuer AG. It wasn’t until 1985 – during the quartz crisis –– that they were acquired by Techniques d’Avante Garde (TAG Group) and called TAG Heuer. They’re based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. 

Before the 1985 takeover, Heuer released the first-ever dashboard chronograph, called Time of Trip, in 1958. And over a century ago, they patented the “oscillating pinion,” that we use in watches today. And in 1916, Charles-Auguste – the founder’s son – introduced the first ever stopwatch accurate to 1/100 of a second, The Mikrograph. 

Surprisingly, Heuer only released their first wrist chronograph in 1914, so you can imagine they were trying to keep up with the competition, Rolex, for example. However, unlike Rolex, which still sells the line of iconic watches from its early days, TAG’s most iconic timepieces, like the Carrera and Monaco, are only later models. So it’s only logical to say that Rolexes have a richer history than any Heuer watch.

Brand Popularity

What if you had to compare brand popularity? Rolex would be the obvious winner based on the numbers. Enough data shows that Rolex is the #1 watchmaker in Switzerland and the world, while TAG Heuer is a distant #12 Swiss and #50 in world rankings. Despite this gap, TAG Heuer is a world-class watchmaker that you can’t write off as a luxury brand. Here’s a glimpse at both brands’ influence.

Rolex

3 Rolex watches on display

In reality, Rolex has gone beyond popularity as a watchmaker. Instead, they are researchers, innovators, explorers, and an awards laureate, in addition to their countless partnerships with business, arts, and sports legends. 

As you already know, Rolex released many world’s first watches and movements in their early years. And they’ve publicized the strengths and capabilities of their timepieces boldly in scientific explorations and media. For instance, the Deep Sea Challenge was on both trips to the ocean’s deepest depths. And we’ve seen James Bond wear a Rolex Submariner or Chronograph, though not as much as an Omega Seamaster Ocean. But you get the drift. Rolex has and still is everywhere that matters, from pop culture to sports, to politics to space travel. 

Although Rolex has millions of filthy rich “fanboys,” they have only 20 official brand ambassadors. Some of them are the recently retired 20x Grand Slam winner Roger Federer, Formula One icon Jackie Stewart, NBA hall of Famer Dwayne Wade, and his celebrated actress, activist, and wife, Gabrielle Union. 

And in recent decades, the Paul Newman Rolex Daytona sold for $17.8 million at an auction, which had trickle-down effects on the brand’s popularity. Not only was Rolex on every watch enthusiast’s screen, but the general public. With this kind of influence, Rolex could stop marketing and still break profit, maybe even better. 

“Every Rolex tells a story.”

TAG Heuer

Tag Heuer Carrera Red

As a brand established in the 19th century, we know TAG has a rich history. And currently, as a brand under Louis Vuitton (LVMH), they’ve got some popularity too. But the journey to this point started when they supplied the automobile, aviation, and sailing industries with dashboard timers.

Then things kicked off extraordinarily for them in car racing from the 70s to the 90s, with help from TAG. Techniques d’Avant Garde – TAG Heuer’s parent company at the time – were co-owners of McClaren, who sponsored Williams Racing in Formula One. 

Considering the long list of A-Listers who’ve pulled off a TAG Heuer as a dress watch, they’re a celebrity favorite. For example, we saw Timothy Dalton pull off a TAG Heuer Night Dive – rather briefly – in 1987’s Agent 007, The Living Daylights. Also, Men In Black and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor Will Smith almost always sports a TAG Heuer Monaco. 

Many Rolex fanboys were also former TAG ambassadors like Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Brad Pitt, and Leonardo DiCaprio, just to mention a few former ambassadors. Currently, TAG Heuer has Naomi Osaka, the 4x Grand Slam champion, Ryan Gosling from The Gray Man, and Patrick Dempsey as its official ambassadors.

And not to forget the influence of legendary race and film star Steve McQueen on TAG watches. TAG Heuer’s slogan is “Don’t Crack Under Pressure,” and they surely don’t, even with Rolex as a competitor.

Rolex vs. TAG Heuer: Brand Partnerships

As you probably know, this guide will be incomplete without comparing the partnership deals of these behemoth watch designers. How do they get the name out outside the watch industry? 

I’ll start with the name you’ve likely seen plastered on a race car, TAG Heuer. This brand has been a frontrunner in the automobile industry since the 1900s, especially after releasing its Autavia dashboard clock. They partnered with Formula 1 in 1980 ( and they weren’t untouched by the Quartz crisis). 

Rolex seems out of the league of TAG Heuer (or any watchmaker, for that matter) when you consider partnerships. They’re official timers for the most exclusive cabal of sports promotions and multinational corporations.

When you put that up against TAG Heuer’s most influential partnership being the official timekeeper of Formula 1, it’s totaling. But it’s a sublime collab that enshrines Heuer’s long history with car racing timepieces. And Rolex is more or less the apex luxury piece everyone aspires to wear when they become rich.

Brand Technology

Again, Rolex would outshine TAG when considering the tech for their movements, cases, and bracelets. Some of their least expensive lines are almost twice the cost of a Carrera (one of TAG’s high-end watches), so it’s unsurprising.

An Oyster Perpetual Date, Rolex’s entry-level watch costs around $3000 to $6000, while a TAG Autavia or Monaco starts from about $3,000. So comparing their tech is only about finding basic horology features like temperature resistance and anti-magnetic protection (for mechanical watches). Traditionally, Rolex has a watch line that handles each of these features. 

The Rolex Milgauss, for instance, has magnetic protection of 1 gauss – which is overkill even in enthusiasts’ circles except for a handful of scientists and big-time collectors. So while TAG Heuer can’t match that spec in their watch lines, they can take on more magnetism than the average wearer will ever handle.

In a way, this is why Rolex stands out, aside from the fact that their watches mostly have precious metal finishing. Furthermore, Rolex has a complete educational website dedicated to watching explorations, arts, and awards. What you’ll get from TAG is mostly a list of partnerships and limited edition watches. With these few points, it’s safe to say they don’t stand a chance against Rolex.

But TAG Heuer can be considered better evolved technologically because they invest in classy smartwatches and NFTs. Meanwhile, Rolex has stuck to mechanical watches (good in horology) for over a century. For instance, the TAG Heuer Connected is a chronograph-style smartwatch that combines tech similar to an Apple Watch with elegant steel finishing and displays NFTs. That’s the height of modern technology you’ll see from any luxury watch.

Accuracy

Accuracy is rarely contemplated except by the most passionate enthusiasts, but it’s worth mentioning. A watch is accurate by how fast it works when synchronized to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). For example, it could be 2 seconds fast or –4 seconds slower than UTC. 

One more thing is rate stability. This is how accurate the watch measures over a while, and it’s equally, if not the most crucial feature to test a watch’s accuracy. And how do Rolex and TAG Heuer watches compare after a month, year, or five years? Well, if you consider the fact that TAG Heuer produces quartz movements – the world’s most accurate timekeeper – and Rolex only makes mechanical movements, TAG is the clear winner. 

On the mechanical movement playing ground, you’ll quickly see Rolex’s unfair advanTAGe. And even TAG Heuer acknowledges it. While we can’t accurately quantify how accurate Rolex watches are (every watch varies how it’s used), they’re certified by Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC), which certifies a chronograph to be accurate between –4 and +6 seconds a day.

From a traditional horology standpoint, it can’t get any better than this. But Rolex goes even further with an in-house test that certifies their watches as Superlative Chronometers that keep time to -2/+2 seconds a day. 

TAG Heuer, on the other hand, can’t afford the fancy certifications and R&D teams, which they’ve admitted helps them to keep costs down. In fact, they claimed that their watches are as accurate as any COSC-certified model, which makes sense.

We aren’t sure of the costs to obtain a certification, but it’s much easier for Rolex to incorporate COSC certificates and research spending in their pricing. So if it makes sense, you can get a TAG Heuer that’s just as accurate as a Rolex, even if it’s $4,000 cheaper. But Rolex is officially the better timekeeper.

Comparable TAG Heuer and Rolex Watches

The Rolex Submariner and the TAG Heuer Aquaracer are iconic dive watches critics and enthusiasts have compared. We’ll have a brief look at the features of both timepieces for an insight into how they build their watches. 

The most obvious place to start is how deep they can go underwater. Here, the Aquaracer wins, capable of depths up to 500m, while the Rolex has 300m water resistance. But the Submariner trumps the Aquaracer with luminescence in the dark, higher resale value, and a robust build from its stainless steel and precious metal strap options.

The TAG Heuer Aquaracer is mainly only sold in rubber straps, stainless steel, and bands like NATO fabric. However, they have many more dial and case options than the Rolex. On average, an entry-level Rolex Submariner costs around $8,000, while an Aquaracer could sell for around $2000.

Ultimately, you’ll find that unless you’re scuba diving into the Mariana trench, you can thrash either watch in water, and they’ll be perfectly alright. But the Submariner is a more valuable piece (although there are also a few priced limited edition. Aquaracers) 

Some Other possible Comparable Rolex and TAG Heuer Watches

Dress Watches

Oyster Perpetual vs. Link or Carrera Monaco

Chronographs

Day-Date vs. Monaco or Autavia

Dive Watch

Submariner vs. Aquaracer

Racing Watch

Rolex Daytona vs. Formula 1 or Aquaracer Professional

Resale Value

Rolex is the king of resale value when it comes to luxury watches. Not just because they’re more expensive but also the brand name. And TAG Heuer isn’t beating that today. But resale value generally depends on the condition of the watch, casing, warranty, or status of the previous owner.

And they’ll factor in what you can get for a Rolex or TAG if you want to sell them pre-owned. But you have a better chance of getting close to what you spent on a Rolex than a TAG Heuer watch. 

Warranty

TAG Heuer offers the industry-standard 2-year warranty period. But Rolex watches come with a 5-year warranty (a policy they started in 2015), but it is now a norm in ultra-luxury brand circles. While Rolex has a more extended warranty, both have excellent after-sale service in the US, so that won’t be an issue.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is TAG Heuer Related to Rolex?

No. TAG Heuer is not in any way related to Rolex other than the fact that they’re both swiss watchmakers.

Is There Any Better Watchmaker Than Rolex?

It’s hard to say as opinions vary, depending on watch type and price points. But some of the few luxury watchmakers touted to make better watches than Rolex are A.Lange & Söhne, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Breguet, Philippe Patek, and Audemars Piguet. However, Rolex still has the best price value of any other watchmaker.

Would TAG Heuer Be Considered A “Luxury” Brand?

Absolutely. TAG Heuer is a Swiss luxury watch brand established in the 1800s.

Final Thoughts

While choosing between a Rolex and TAG Heuer all comes down to preference and budget, we can’t deny that Rolex is the better brand in this comparison. TAG Heuer is a world-class watchmaker, but Rolex plays on a different level. 

You can’t go wrong with either if you’re interested in a famous luxury watchmaker. Rolex timepieces tell a story with robust cases and mindblowing complications, while TAG Heuer offers timeless and precise watches that turn heads just as much. 

Rolex Datejust 28 vs 31

The Rolex Datejust is a classic and elegant dress watch. A timeless collection we’ve seen icons from Paul Newman, Harrison Ford, to Roger Federer in recent times adorn. But also a favorite among watch lovers enthusiasts, and watch collector. A timeless piece that’s also Rolex’s best-selling and most extensive collection. 

The Datejust collections offer four different sizes – three men/unisex cases (31, 36, and 41mm) and one women’s case in 28mm called the Lady-Datejust. And we’ll compare 31mm and 28mm watches today. In this article, we compare the smallest line of the Datejust collection with the following 31mm to see if they’re only different-sized or one has better specs and features.

The Lady-Datejust 28mm – A Classic Rolex Feminine Watch

Datejust 28mm

Rolex introduced the Lady Datejust model in 1957, over a decade after releasing the bigger men’s version in 1945. It’s a classic combining the admirable style and powerful workings of the early watches in a 28mm case.  

The Lady-Datejust – a selection in the famous Oyster Perpetual line – is unsurpisining one of Rolex’s few recently updated watch models. What’s more is that it has a unisex appeal since it keeps the orignal designs, so men who prefer smaller dials opt in for Lady-Datejust.

And it has 5mm extension link on its Oyster bracelets for practical and comfortable adornment on larger wrists. And that’s only one type of bracelet, the Lady-Datejust line carries a myriad of precious metal bracelets, diamond-engraved cases dial colors.

The Rolex Datejust 31mm – A Mid-Sized Datejust

Datejust 31mm

The Datejust 31mm was the first self-winding waterproof chronometer to display date on the 3 o’clock dial. Since its1945 release, the Datejust 31mm has survived decades of competition and fierce knockoffs, and maintained its trademark aesthetic. It’s the Rolex many non watch enthusiasts admire first before starting a collection. 

More recently, Rolex debuted two Rolex Datejust 31mm variants at Baselworld 2019, One’s a yellow Rolesor version (Oystersteel and 18 carats of yellow gold), and the other, an Everose Rolesor (Oystersteel and 18 carats of everose gold). Since unveiling these two variants of the Datejust 31mm, the Everose gold design has been the best-selling. This article will reveal the prices of the Rolex Lady Datejust 31mm. 

The first set of the Datejust 31mm line had olive green, Sunray-finish dial with 18-carat yellow gold hands and Roman numbers with a “VI” made out of 11 diamonds. The second pair featured a Rose-color, Sunray-finish with hands and Roman numeral design in 18-carat pink gold.

Datejust 28mm Vs Datejust 31mm Design and Features

Although the first Rolex Datejust was available only in yellow gold, the collection of Rolex Datejust has diversified significantly to different models, some of which are the Datejust 28mm and 31mm. Currently, the Lady Datejust 28mm is one of the smallest sizes of the Rolex models in production and has some fantastic designs and styles. 

Lady-Datejust is categorized officially as a women’s watch but is in fact unisex, just like the 31mm Datejust watches. Here is a comparison of their design and features.

Materials and Designs

The Lady Datejust 28mm Rolex watch is highly favorable among the women of the 21st century because of its ability to strike a rich status. It can be used in different functions such as boardroom or ballroom. A beautiful example of its similar nature with bigger Datejust is Yellow Rolesor Lady-Datejust 28mm in Yellow Rolesor combined with Oystersteel and 18-carat yellow gold will be used as an example.

Steel And Precious Metal Embellishments

Oystersteel is considered a durable, lighter,  and cheaper metal than gold. And gold is a heavier but precious metal. Rolex combines both metals in the watch for a mix of functionality and luxury that’s suitable for daily wearers. They call it, the Rolesor, which is a combination of gold and steel. This is why Rolex watchmakers have used these metals (Oystersteel and Gold) in their watches since the 1930s.

The use of the two metals was referred to as Rolesor, which connotes using gold and steel, along with their contrasting colors and radiance, to produce a single Rolex watch. Enthusiasts and fans love its combination of wealth and functionality, and is the Oyster collection’s top seller. Both 31mm and 28mm Oyster Yellow Rolesors have identical steel and gold and similar price ranges.

Iconic Cyclops Lens – Date Magnifying Glass

Word around enthusiast circles is that Rolexes are the “old man’s watch.” This isn’t because Rolex are old-fashioned or affordable to seniors, but because of their trademark cyclops lens. It’s a magnifying lens that zooms in the date display closer than most other watchmakers.

But the joke is that Rolex does this so older folks would find it easier to read the date. The cyclops lens on the men and ladies Datejust is a sapphire crystal glass dome.

Link Pieces (Jubilee Bracelet for ref)

The five-piece link metal Jubilee bracelet was first designed in 1945. So it came with the orginal Datejust watches, which 31mm Datejusts fall into. Despite being over seventy years old, the jubilee bracelet remains in style.

The net-like links are dressy and comfortable enough to wear as a tool watch or sports watchs thanks to its concealed clasp. And Lady-Datejusts use the same iconic jubilee bracelets as Al Pacino’s Rolesor in Scarface.

Gold Carat Hour Markers

The hands and hour markers on the dial of both Datejusts are made from 18 carat gold, which is invincible to time. And in some designs, all the hour markers – except the 12 o’clock – are diamonds set by hand, adding a touch of luxury to the indestructible build of the steel and gold versions.

Water Resistance

Both Datejust 28mm and 31mm are water resistant for dives up to 100 meters or 330 feet. Rolex designed the Oyster Perpetual Datejust with a befitting waterproof Oyster case and an airproof twin-lock crown. There’s a saying that “Whatever you can handle, your Rolex can handle.”

And the Datejust watches are no different whether you wear them in the local pool or to explore the North pole. As long as you rinse off sea water with freshwater both sizes offer capable and equal water resistance for any water.

Impenetrable Screw Down

If you’ve ever tried or intend to open the caseback of a Rolex to see their revered movements, you’ll be disappointed, because they’re impenetrable. The case back is locked in with a solid screw-down flutings. Only certified Rolex watchmakers and maybe some experienced horologists and such get to see the beauty that lies within any Rolex.

Date Display

Datejust display date at 3 o’clock,  which was a groundbreaker during its release (it’s common now, but used to be one of a kind). What’s special about the Rolex though, is switches to a new day – number –  automatically at midnight instead of rolling over slowly. And with a quickset, you can set the date independently of the time settings.

Dial

Rolex Datejusts have a sterling collection of dial colors, from black to green, and specials like the slate-grey Wimbledon dial. And as an example, the Dial of this model presents four white Rolesor versions, which include the combination of Oystersteel and 18-carat white gold.

It is the first watch to feature a bezel set with brilliant-cut diamonds totaling 46; it also has an aubergine, sunray-finish Dial that is fashioned with hand-set diamonds on the Roman numeral VI.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual 28mm and 31mm

Both Datejusts have an engraving of Oyster Perpetual on their dials. Oyster is rolex’s first water resistant wristwatch case and “Perpetual” is a metaphor for Rolex’s non-stop winding watch movements. And this is only an homage to Rolex’s greatest early achievements. 

All Datejust 28mm and 31mm movements are produced and assembled in-house by certified Rolex watchmakers. The newer Datejusts use a 2014 calibre that was introduced to the line in 2018. Datejust 28mm and 31mm use calibres within the range 2135-2236, depending on the reference being created.

With the production of this perpetual calibre masterpiece, Rolex had to file several patents to preserve this exquisite self-winding mechanical movement. The perpetual Calibre also provided excellent performance as regards precision, convenience, reliability, power reserve, resistance to shocks, and magnetic fields. The perpetual Calibre is fitted with a patent Rolex Syloxi hairspring.

It has ten times accuracy than an ordinary hairspring confronted with shocks. Datejust movements are also embedded in non-magnetic nickel-phosphorus escape wheels. The winding system is fitttend with trademark Paraflex shock absorbers, for increased accuracy under daily movements. The both have a power reserve of 55 hours and chronometer certification for high accuracy that’s signified with a green seal in the box.

Resale Value

A Rolex Datejust 31mm does hold value. But at times, the fair market value of a Rolex Datejust may be less (most likely) or more than (if you’re a celebrity, icon, or went through an experience with watch) the purchase of the watch. But there’s a good slim chance both watches  could also increase in value.

For instance, the price of a steel bracelet Rolex Datejust 31mm with green dial is around $8,000, but some dealers sell pre-owned models as high as $9,000. That’s the height of resale value in the watchworld, and there’s hardly a difference between the 31mm and the ladies’ datejust pricing. Aside from status, the condition of your watch always determines resale value, but you can bet you’ll get a good return for a Rolex than any other watch.

Unisex Appeal

The Rolex Datejust 31mm watch was created for the women’s market, even though the Lady Datejust label isn’t inscribed, like the Datejust 28mm Rolex watch. According to a Rolex advertising campaign, the 31mm Rolex watch is more like a man’s watch women prefer to wear. So, it’s a Rolex that men and women can wear. 

But which one would be befitting for your wife or a female benefactor? It’s clearly the woman’s choice because there are no special lady features in the Lady-Datejust. Still, because of its smaller watch face, it’s considered a ladies watch and would be perfect for any woman who isn’t a watch enthusiast with a preference.

It’s compact, but radiates luxury, power, and functionality of any Rolex. Men with smaller wrists or interest in a conspicuous luxury timepiece can wear the 28mm and women with bigger wrists can go for the 31mm Datejust.

Price

As with all luxury watchmakers, price varies with materials, case size, bracelets, reference, and with the Datejust, even dial color. The Rolex Lady-Datejust is available in different versions, but broadly three bracelets – Oystersteel, Jubilee, and President steel bracelets. It could cost as low $6,000 for a basic and plain steel version and up to $60,000 for the Rolex Lady President with diamonds. 

And you could be lucky to find amazing pre-owned deal on a gold ladies’ Datejust watch for approximately $10,000, which is less than half the retail price. For the Rolex Datejust 31mm, the story remains the same. The variation you pick is what determines actual price, however, an entry level stainless steel 31 Datejust costs around $7,000.

And could cost as high as 15,000 for its equivalent with a two-tone (Rolesor) design.  Ultimately you can get a classy 28mm or 31mm Oyster Perpetual watch for between $6000 – $15,000. Whether that budget gets you a pre-owned or new watch boils down to your preference.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Did Rolex Come Out With 28mm?

The refined glamourous classic feminine watch was created in 1945 but was revealed in 1957. The Lady Datejust 28mm is known for its style, technical operation, and timeless elegance and functionality, which has evolved this design into the recently released 28mm model.

What’s the Difference Between Lady Datejust 28mm and Datejust Lady?

Depending on the design you buy, the materials used to create them are somewhat the same. The significant difference between Datejust 28mm and 31mm is the face size of the watch. So, a smaller wrist individual will use a Datejust 28mm, while a middle size wrist will use a Datejust 31mm.

Why Should You Buy a Rolex Datejust?

The Rolex Datejust is a popular model in the brand’s catalog, which explains why demands are always high, and prices are increasing steadily. Here are a few reasons to buy a Rolex Datejust:
-A wide range of design options
-Automatic in-house calibre with a date display
-Timeless and iconic dress watch
-Certified chronometer

Datejust 28mm or 31mm

So, there you have it. The Rolex 28mm or Lady-Datejust is a small-faced Datejust and the 31mm is a mid-sized Datejust. Nothing’s changed in the features of the small one despite having being introduced tweleve years after the latter. 

Anyone can wear the Lady-Datejust even though it’s marketed as a women’s watch. It even has an extension link to cushion bigger wrists. It has almost as many variations variations as the 31mm and both have the recognizable Oyster case aesthetic.

Hopefully, this article shows you which Datejust size is better for you. And if you are shopping, you can check out our new and pre-owned Datejust collections in the store.

Tudor GMT vs Rolex GMT

Rolex and Tudor are some of the best brands producing timepieces globally. These brands have built a reputation in the watchmaker industry for their classic and efficient wristwatches. Although Tudor is not as famous as Rolex, the brand comes through when you need outstanding wristwatches. 

Until recently, people considered Tudor wristwatches “the poor man’s Rolex.” However, the brand has proven itself worthy by crafting some outstanding luxury wristwatches. Nowadays, it is easier to find people checking to see which of these two brands is the best, more with the introduction of GMT watches. 

The Tudor GMT vs. Rolex GMT comparison strikes several nerves. It is pretty challenging to pick a side in this debate because each brand produces the best GMT wristwatches. Thus, it isn’t easy to pick a side at first glance. We will take an in-depth look at the two brands and what makes each unique. Before we proceed, we will first understand what GMT wristwatches are and how they work.

What Is a GMT Wristwatch?

We have often seen wristwatches with the inscription “GMT” on them. However, we may not fully understand what GMT means. A GMT timepiece is one with a 24-hour format in addition to a second hand that indicates a second-time zone. This means you can tell the time in your current location and another location of your choice if you correctly set the second hand. 

“GMT,” as seen on some wristwatches, stands for Greenwich Mean Time. GMT watches offer two things: standard hands that tell local time and a hand always synchronized to GMT. Hence, you can use the GMT hand to get accurate time readings worldwide. Why, then, do you need GMT timepieces? 

GMT timepieces make it easier and more efficient to tell the time in another timezone. Not all GMT wristwatches work as well as others. One of the most popular and reliable GMT timepieces is from the Rolex brand. The Rolex GMT-Master is renowned for its efficiency. Another brand that produces efficient and exciting timepieces is Tudor. 

Now that we understand the workings of GMT wristwatches, we can better compare Rolex and Tudor GMT timepieces, their features, histories, and what makes each brand’s GMT timepiece special.

The Rolex Brand

Rolex Yachtmaster vs Submariner

Rolex SA is one of the most renowned watchmakers in the world. This British-founded Swiss timepiece designer and manufacturer came into existence in 1905. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the brand started using the name “Rolex” in 1908. Later, the brand changed its name to Rolex Watch Co. Ltd in 1915. 

After World War I, in 1920, Hans Wilsdorf decided to register the timepiece as Montres Rolex SA. The Hans Wilsdorf Foundation has owned and run this company since 1960. Interestingly, Tudor falls under Rolex as one of its subsidiaries. 

Although Rolex has a hand in developing the famed quartz watch movements, it has produced chiefly mechanical timepieces. While the brand has only made a few quarts timepieces for its Oyster brand, the Rolex engineers helped design and implement the movement in the late ’60s and early ’70s. 

It is interesting to see how Rolex SA has improved with time. Initially, the brand used ceramic bezels (Cerachrom) on its timepieces. One of the wristwatches that featured this bezel was the GMT-Master II in 2005. Later, the brand used ceramic bezel inserts in its professional sports watches. 

When it comes to steel, Rolex uses 904L grade stainless steel, which is more than you will find in other brands. Most other watch brands use 316L grade steel. Hence, Rolex wristwatches are more corrosion-resistant. Additionally, these wristwatches leave a beautiful luster when polished.

Rolex GMT Wristwatches

Rolex began making GMT wristwatches in 1954 with the introduction of the Rolex GMT Master. It didn’t take long before the brand also launched the GMT Master II, which is one of the most prominent timepieces in the world today. The GMT Master from Rolex has a luminous bakelite bezel insert. Additionally, it features a caliber 1036 automatic movement and a GMT complication. 

The brand quickly replaced the red and blue bakelite since it easily cracked. Later in 1956, Rolex introduced a metal bezel for its GMT timepieces. Moreover, the brand released several watches after the first. Some significant releases include 1675, 16760, 16750, 16710, 16700 GMT Master II, and 116710.

Tudor Wristwatches History

Tudor Black Bay

In 1946, Wilsdorf established Montres Tudor SA to offer a new perspective to users who wanted something other than Rolex watches. This unique collection of wristwatches targeted a new market segment and made a name for itself. 

Tudor launched the Tudor Oyster in 1947. Although the name resembled the Oyster seen in Rolex wristwatches, the design was quite different. Since then, Tudor and Rolex have shared brand names. Another prominent collection shared by Rolex and Tudor is the Submariner models. 

Although Tudor is a subsidiary of Rolex SA, the brand uses original and distinct advertising to garner its customers. Tudor’s early models were among the first to offer water resistance and self-winding movements in timepieces.

Historical Tudor Timepiece Models

Much like Rolex, Tudor has a rich history of prominent wristwatches that have made their mark. One such timepiece was the Tudor Oyster Prince 7909, launched in 1952. The timepiece had several case sizes, from 31mm to 34mm. Hence, users could enjoy a classic watch for their exact wrist size. The Tudor 7909 had a crown with a logo. 

The watch case lodged the caliber 390, a third-party movement with a 2.5Hz frequency. After this first Oyster release, Tudor released subsequent models like the Tudor Prince Date-Day in 1969. The Tudor Prince Date-Day had a case diameter of 37.5mm. 

With time, Tudor moved to produce Diver wristwatches which somewhat became the brand’s specialty. The brand released its first Submariner model in 1954, called the Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner 7922. This timepiece had a Mercedes-style hour hand and a crownless protector case back. 

Tudor started producing wristwatches with case guards in 1959 with the advent of the 7928 movement. Moreover, the brand has worked on and evolved its case guard designs. Tudor proceeded to introduce several chronographs in the 1970s. One central chronograph released by Tudor at that time was the Montecarlo 7169/0, and the brand released the timepiece in 1971.

Tudor’s Renaissance

As with most renowned brands, Tudor underwent a period where it seemed to have lost focus. Consequently, the demand for its models dwindled and was at an all-time low. At that time, the brand no longer sold its timepieces in America and the United Kingdom for several years. Tudor only started selling in the UK market in 2014. 

When a new administration arrived, they paid more attention to detail and released the Tudor Advisor in 2011. This timepiece had a mechanical alarm and took its design inspiration from the Tudor Advisor 7926. Although the watch was not a replica of the Tudor Advisor 7926, it was a contemporary interpretation of the past. 

Next, the brand released the Tudor Pelago, a timepiece without crown protectors. This timepiece had a snowflake hour hand and featured a titanium and steel case. One of the brand’s most outstanding designs arrived in 2012 when it released the Tudor Heritage Black Bay. 

Later in 2013, Tudor launched the Heritage Chrono Blue. The timepiece has some eye-catching orange and blue hues once spotted by the 1970s Monetcarlo models. Since its renaissance, Tudor has managed to enlarge its timepiece models. Nowadays, you will find Style and Range models as a part of its diversification process.

Rolex GMT Vs. Tudor GMT: Which Is Best?

Although Rolex is the most famous brand in the world and will always get many customers, Tudor has gained more ground since its renaissance. Before now, most people thought of Tudor wristwatches as the poor man’s Rolex. However, the brand has changed this perception. 

Tudor and Rolex GMT wristwatches are all outstanding timepieces. Hence, it is challenging to pick a favorite at first glance. However, we can use a few things to determine which brand produces the best GMT watches. We will look at these features and compare the similarities and differences to determine which brand has outstanding GMT timepieces.

Design

You will discover that Rolex and Tudor have many things in common, considering their timepiece designs. Its public knowledge that Tudor obtained inspiration from Rolex’s Submariners when designing its Tudor Black Bay collection. Not only that, Tudor and Rolex have both used similar designs on several projects. Each brand modifies the primary structure into something exclusive. 

Tudor was the cheaper alternative to Rolex before now. Nowadays, Tudor also produces some of the most expensive timepieces that match Rolex’s pricing. This increase in pricing is understandable since Tudor uses Rolex components for making its watches. The only difference is that Tudor uses third-party movements in all its timepieces. 

Considering the current Tudor Black Bay GMT (ref M79830RB-001), you will discover that it has that distinct Submariner design found in other Black Bay timepieces. The 41mm retro wristwatch resembles the watches of the 1950s when the Rolex GMT Master (1954) and Submariner (1953) debuted. 

Although the Rolex GMT master has evolved, the Tudor Black Bay GMT has retained some of its original designs. You will discover that the GMT Master II Pepsi (ref 126710BLRO) looks more modern than the Black Bay GMT. This GMT Master II is the first with a red and blue ceramic bezel.

Technology

Before now, Rolex was the better of the two brands technology-wise. While Tudor depended on third parties to produce its movements, Rolex made theirs for decades. However, Tudor launched their in-house movement in 2015 and has swiftly implemented them across its timepiece collections. Today, both Rolex and Tudor have in-house movements for their GMT wristwatches. 

While the most recent Rolex GMT Master has a Rolex Caliber 3285 movement, the Tudor Black Bay GMT has the Tudor caliber MT5652 movement. Both movements are automatic and feature 70-hour reserves, respectively. Additionally, both wristwatches display time in two time zones.

The difference is that the Rolex wristwatch comes with a magnifying Cyclops lens on the date window. The Tudor Black Bay GMT has a regular date display without the unique magnifying lens featured in its Rolex counterpart.

Pricing

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Rolex charges premiums for its wristwatches. The Tudor Black Bay wristwatch with a stainless still bracelet goes for about $4,300, which is quite affordable. On the other hand, Rolex charges about $10,300 on its current GMT Master II. Thus, you can make a choice depending on your budget. 

From the price angle, the Tudor Black Bay is a better choice. However, it is not that easy. The money spent on Rolex’s GMT Master II offers quality and status. Wearing a Rolex wristwatch comes with so much respect, and Rolex stands for success and is the foundation for the Tudor Black Bay GMT. If you need an original GMT wristwatch, the Rolex Marinemaster is your surest bet.

Tudor Pepsi Vs. Rolex Pepsi

As we mentioned earlier, Rolex and Tudor share similar names for their wristwatches, and the Pepsi collection is not left out. While you can find Pepsi wristwatches for both Rolex and Tudor, there are some slight differences that we will now consider. 

Tudor Pepsi and Rolex Pepsi wristwatches got launched in 2018 as part of each brand’s exclusive GMT wristwatches. Hence, there is not much separating them in the year of release. However, considering the case size, Tudor’s Pepsi Black Bay GMT wristwatch has a bigger case size (41mm) than Rolex’s Pepsi GMT Master II (40mm). 

Although both brands use stainless steel materials for their wristwatches, Rolex uses higher-grade steel. Rolex uses Oysetersteel 904L stainless steel for its case material. Hence, you will enjoy a more scratch-resistant timepiece from Rolex than Tudor.

There is nothing much to separate the two timepieces regarding the dial. Tudor Pepsi and Rolex Pepsi have a black dial with luminescent hour markers. Additionally, both wristwatches have date displays, time with running seconds, and GMT functionality. Rolex’s Pepsi GMT Master II has a bidirectional bezel with red and blue ceramic inserts and a 24-hour scale. 

Although Tudor’s Pepsi Black Bay GMT wristwatch has a bidirectional bezel, it uses aluminum (red and blue) inserts with a 24-hour scale. Also, while you typically find a domed sapphire crystal on Tudor’s Pepsi timepiece, you will find a flat Sapphire crystal window on the Rolex Pepsi GMT Master II. However, the distinguishing characteristic is that the Sapphire crystal from Rolex comes with a Cyclops lens. 

Another distinguishing feature is that Tudor’s Pepsi Black Bay has a water resistance of 200m, which is more than the 100m spotted by Rolex’s GMT Master II. While both wristwatches have automatic caliber movements, Tudor opts for the caliber MT5652, while Rolex uses a unique caliber 3285 movement. Below is a table summarizing the similarities and differences between the Rolex Pepsi and Tudor Pepsi wristwatches.

FeatureTudor PepsiRolex Pepsi
Launch Year20182018
Case Size41mm40mm
MaterialStainless steelOysersteel 904L Stainless Steel
FunctionsDate display, time with running seconds, and GMT functionDate display, time with running seconds, and GMT function
DialBlack with luminescent hour markersBlack with luminescent hour markers
CrystalSapphire (flat) with Cyclops lensSapphire (domed)
Water resistance200m100mm
MovementTudor caliber MT5652Rolex caliber 3285
BezelRed and blue aluminium insert, bidirectional with 24-hour scaleBidirectional, red and blue ceramic insert with 24-hour scale
Strap/BraceletFabric or leather strap, stainless steel braceletJubilee or Oyster bracelet
Retail PriceAbout $4000About $9,700

Things to Consider When Choosing Between the Tudor Black Bay Vs. Rolex GMT Master II

Timepiece enthusiasts know that wristwatches do more than just tell time. For such watch lovers, these timepieces represent coveted accessories that suit their outfits. Additionally, brands like Rolex and Tudor produce wristwatches of high value that can serve as collectibles. 

It is usually challenging regarding the Tudor black bay GMT vs. Rolex Pepsi debate. However, consider a few before choosing a suitable wristwatch from these brands.

The Style

You need to consider the watch style when deciding between these two brands. While Rolex has evolved, Tudor has not. Tudor still carries the vintage designs from timepieces in the ’60s and ’70s. Thus, you can go with Tudor if you need vintage yet classic styles. On the other hand, you must patronize Rolex if you need modern and more aesthetically pleasing timepieces.

Although these brands come from the same ownership, Rolex is more prestigious. Wearing a Rolex GMT Master II timepiece or any Rolex wristwatch classifies you with successful and accomplished individuals. At the same time, Tudor is also a renowned brand but not as famous as its Rolex counterpart. 

Whichever brand you choose, ensure that the Pepsi wristwatch you pick suits your daily outfits. You won’t have to spend more money buying extra wristwatches. Additionally, you must consider water resistance if you love water sports or marine activities. You can also try to select neutral colors. The strap you pick depends on your preference. Hence, you can choose leather, stainless steel, or rubber straps. 

The Fitting

You must always consider how well your wristwatch fits to look smart. Although mostly overlooked, your wrist size is essential in picking the suitable wristwatch for you. If you have a small wrist, you must choose a timepiece that suits smaller wrists. For example, our article covers borders on the Tudor Pepsi Vs. Rolex Pepsi comparison. 

Tudor Pepsi has a bigger case size than Rolex Pepsi. Hence, smaller-wrist individuals will have to opt for Rolex Pepsi if they want to enjoy more brilliant looks. Contrastingly, more prominent wrist individuals will have to consider Tudor Pepsi GMT timepieces since they have a bigger case size. Why must you pick an appropriate wristwatch for your wrist size?

A small, thin wristwatch may look rather delicate on someone with a large wrist. A more oversized watch will look too big on a smaller wrist in the same light. Thus, it would help if you always used the appropriate wristwatches to appear smart.

Price and Value Retention

It is no hidden fact that Rolex timepieces cost more than Tudor’s. People usually referred to Tudor timepieces as “the poor man’s Rolex.” Although Tudor has increased the pricing for its Pepsi Black Bay and other models, it still does not measure up to the amount charged by Rolex. 

You must consider the Rolex Pepsi timepiece if you want a pricier wristwatch with higher value retention. If, on the other hand, you need a less expensive option, you can consider the Tudor Black Bay. 

Maintenance

Both Tudor Pepsi and Rolex Pepsi have durable and robust timepieces. These brands have made a name for producing solid and durable watches. Thus, you may not need to spend extra money on maintenance after purchasing these timepieces. 

Note that you may have to spend more on maintenance with Rolex Pepsi if you have to do any maintenance. Tudor does not charge as much as Rolex regarding maintaining its Pepsi Black Bay wristwatch.

MT5652 vs. Rolex Movement: Which is the best?

Both movements have unique and similar characteristics. The Rolex GMT Master II has a caliber 3285 movement. Furthermore, this movement has a self-winding, 31-jewel automatic movement feature that replaces the original caliber 3186. This new movement has a bigger diameter that enhances its 70-hour power reserve. Thus, you can expect higher precision, resistance to shock, power reserve, and longevity with this timepiece. 

The Tudor Black Bay GMT has a caliber MT5652 movement, which is just as efficient as the Rolex caliber 3285 movement. Unlike the 3285 movement, this movement has a 25-jewel self-winding movement (automatic). Interestingly, this movement also has a 70-hour power reserve. Additionally, this movement has a variable inertia balance, a bidirectional rotor system, and a micro-adjustment by screw. The caliber also has a non-magnetic balance spring (silicon).

It is pretty challenging to pick out the better of the two because each of these movements has similar features with just a few variations. Hence, you can use any of them and get near-similar results.

Tudor Pepsi or Roles Pepsi: Which is more expensive?

Both Tudor and Rolex Pepsi are exciting timepieces. However, as far as pricing is concerned, Rolex Pepsi costs more than Tudor Black Pay. While you can obtain your Tudor Black Bay wristwatch for around $4000, the Rolex GMT Master II goes for about $9500 to $10000.

Conclusion: Which Pepsi GMT Timepiece Should You Buy? Rolex or Tudor?

After reading this article, there should be only one question on your mind; which timepiece then should I buy? This question has several answers depending on what you want. Whether the Rolex GMT Master II or Tudor Heritage Black Bay GMT depends on your preference. 

If you want prestige and class, you can go for Rolex. However, you can buy a few Tudors with the money for the Rolex and still have some change. The Tudor Pepsi is an outstanding timepiece with an excellent design. If you are a purist, you will love Tudor Pepsi. Interestingly, the wristwatch features a 70-hour power reserve in its in-house movement. 

You can snatch up a Tudor Black Bay GMT from its online store if your local retailer has no left in store. Don’t worry about the fees; you will only pay a small fee for delivery. If you are a Rolex lover, you should be ready to spend around twice the amount a Tudor buyer would spend. However, as you may have guessed, a Rolex timepiece is the real deal. 

So which timepiece is right for you? That we can’t say. However, we can say that the two watches have exciting features. You can opt for any of them depending on your preference and budget. Whichever wristwatch you choose, you will indeed have a beautiful experience. 

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