Tudor made a large splash at Baselworld this year with the introduction of new models such as the Heritage Chronograph. This year it was different though. Their stand was still directly next to Rolex but with the introduction of their new models they seemingly left Rolex out completely, not mentioning them at all.
They are seemingly trying to make themselves a separate brand rather than taking pride in being a "baby" company of Rolex. Many would take pride in this assertion because Rolex is no small company and is well respected but it seems like the novelty has worn off for Tudor and my personal opinion is that Tudor thinks that being a "child" or "baby" company is cheapening the brand name and narrowing the audience because most will think that the watches will not be the quality of Rolex. This is not the truth at all. In fact, Tudor has the same finish as Rolex and despite not using all in-house movements they are staring to introduce them, such as in their Heritage Chronograph, in which they used the Tudor caliber 2892. They developed this movement independently without the help of Rolex.
In an additional effort to make the watch all their own they included two straps, a metal bracelet and a NATO strap. Rolex does not have any watches that come with more than one strap and if you do want an additional one it often has to be an aftermarket strap bought from elsewhere. The packaging, although it seems irrelevant and unimportant, says a lot about a watch. Would you like to get an A. Lange and Sohne in a cardboard box? Although I have not had the chance to experience the box first-hand those who have owned both watches from Tudor and Rolex say the packaging from Tudor has the upper hand.
Despite the fact that the watch was made by Tudor and they did not mention Rolex at all, they still took the design from the original watch from 1973. The reason I mention this is because it features a few features also found on the Rolex Daytona, such as the screw-down pushers. I find this fascinating because despite the fact that they are seemingly distancing themselves from Rolex they did not remove these features.
Another similar feature is the bracelet and clasp. The bracelet almost mimics Rolex's oyster bracelet, only the Tudor bracelet has a wider middle link. The clasp is almost a combination between Rolex's new and old oyster bracelet. The new oyster bracelet has a more subtle, built-in safety unlike their old clasp which did not match quite as well. Another similarity between the two clasps are the micro adjustment holes. The new oyster bracelet has the "slide lock clasp" instead of micro adjustments. The Tudor has a micro adjustments which I assume are a feature from the 1973 version. The other similarities have to do with the links, not the clasp. In addition to the links, which are curved like the oyster bracelet, screw pins to hold the bracelet together. These screw [pins] can be unscrewed from one side so the bracelet is easier to size while not sacrificing the added sturdiness. This is also a feature also found on oyster bracelets
My conclusion is that, while there are similarities in design, Tudor is indeed trying to disassociate itself with Rolex. These similarities in design most likely come from the original version that was introduced to the market in 1973, not from a modern Daytona or oyster bracelet. When looking at their stands at Baselworld, Rolex decides that Tudor goes next to them because at the end of the day, Tudor is still a "baby" brand and owned by Rolex. If the stand placement was up to Tudor, where would the stand have been? Probably not as close to Rolex. Tudor is trying to become its own brand, they are introducing watches that are becoming less and less similar to Rolex. They are using various techniques to do this and they are effective. In fact, it took months for me to find out that Rolex owns Tudor after I was first introduced to the brand through their Baselworld models such as the Heritage Chronograph or the Pelagos. I hope to keep seeing Tudor expand into their own brand because to me, the quality seems on par with Rolex for a much smaller price.
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Jake Fogarty is the founder of It's All About Watches and writer for most of what you will read here. If you want to contact me you can visit the contact and advertising page.