Tudor Watches That Are Similar To Rolex Part I

Tudor Watches That Are Similar To Rolex Part I

It’s no secret that Tudor offers plenty of watches that are similar to Rolex and priced more affordably. In fact, that was the whole reason for Tudor’s founding – Hans Wilsdorf is quoted as saying, “For some years now, I have been considering the idea of making a watch that our agents could sell at a more modest price than our Rolex watches, and yet one that would attain the standard of dependability for which Rolex is famous. I decided to form a separate company, with the object of making and marketing this new watch. It is called the TUDOR watch company”.

While Tudor has certainly outgrown its “poor man’s Rolex” reputation as its own very cool watch brand, there’s no denying that Wilsdorf’s philosophy still permeates Tudor’s catalog. Whether you see them as affordable alternatives or different takes on general watch blueprints, the similarities are undeniable. Here’s a trio of Tudor watches that are similar to Rolex watches.

Tudor Black Bay Pro & Rolex Explorer II

Tudor Black Bay Pro

Image Source: tudorwatch.com

Tudor released the Black Bay Pro in 2022. Immediately, the similarities between this watch and the first Rolex Explorer II ref. 1655 (introduced in 1971) became clear. Just like the Explorer II ref. 1665, the Black Bay Pro sports a 39mm steel case, a fixed steel bezel engraved with 24 hours, a dial with four hands and a date window, and a three-link steel bracelet. Furthermore, they both run on automatic movements and are water resistant to 100 meters. 

However, there are two main differences to note. The first is the dial layout; Tudor of course opted to furnish the watch with its signature “snowflake” style hands including a yellow arrow-tipped 24-hour hand and shaped lume plots for the hours. Conversely, Rolex fitted the Explorer II with a red arrow-tipped hand, straight hour and minute hands, and 5-minute lumed markers. 

Rolex Explorer II 1655

Image Source: rolex.com

Yet, the biggest discrepancy between the Explorer II and the Black Bay Pro is that Rolex’s offering was designed as a watch with an AM/PM indicator while Tudor’s creation is a GMT watch. 

Tudor Black Bay Pro ref. 79470 Retail Price: $4,225

Vintage Rolex Explorer II ref. 1655 Avg. Market Price: $25,000

Tudor Black Bay GMT & Rolex GMT-Master II

Tudor Black Bay GMT

Image Source: tudorwatch.com

Next up, we have the Tudor Black Bay GMT and the Rolex GMT-Master II, both featuring steel cases and three-link bracelets, black dials with four hands (complete with red 24-hour hands) and a date window, and most importantly, blue and red “Pepsi” bezels marked with 24 hours. 

They both run on automatic movements with 70 hours of power reserve and they both are “true” GMT watches whereby the local hour hand can be adjusted independently in one-hour increments for easy adjustment while traveling. 

Rolex GMT Master II Pepsi

Image Source: rolex.com

Some of the most notable differences between these current-production references are that the Black Bay GMT’s case is slightly bigger at 41mm compared to the GMT-Master II’s 40mm diameter, and Rolex’s bezel is made from ceramic while Tudor’s is fashioned from aluminum. Tudor’s GMT also doesn’t have crown guards nor a Cyclops magnification lens over the date window. Additionally, the Black Bay GMT's bracelet features a riveted design while the Rolex's features unriveted links. 

Tudor Black Bay GMT ref. 79830RB Retail Price: $4,375

Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126710BLRO Retail Price: $10,700

Tudor Ranger & Rolex Explorer

Tudor Ranger 2022 model

Image Source: tudorwatch.com

The Ranger and the Explorer are their respective brand’s entry-level sports watches, offering understated time-only dials, water-resistant steel cases, durable three-link bracelets, and smooth unmarked bezels. 

Rolex Explorer I 40mm Steel

Image Source: rolex.com

Tudor’s Ranger and Rolex’s Explorer share similar dials in that they’re both black with a smattering of oversized Arabic numerals — 3/6/9 for Rolex and 3/6/9/12 for Tudor. However, the executions of both dials are quite different. For instance, the Explorer has applied white gold hour markers filled with lume while Tudor opted to have the Ranger’s luminous marking painted on for more of that vintage vibe. As is customary, the Explorer features Rolex’s signature Mercedes-style hands and a lollipop seconds hand whereas the Ranger includes an arrow-shaped hour hand and a seconds hand with a thin red tip. 

The Tudor Ranger’s case measures 39mm, which is 1mm shy of the Rolex Explorer 40. 

Tudor Ranger ref. 79950 Retail Price: $3,200

Rolex Explorer 40 ref. 224270 Retail Price: $7,700

Stay tuned for the second installment of this series where we’ll be comparing similar dive watches, chronographs, and daily watches from Tudor and Rolex.

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