Are Tudor and Rolex the same?
Weeeeell, yes and no. Let’s rewind back to the beginning.
Since the brand was founded by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis in 1905, Rolex has taken the world by storm. The company has created some of the most iconic timepieces and is now recognised as a specialist brand linked with high quality and precision. The company pride themselves on fine horological processes, using their own in-house movements and high-grade materials. To which it is no shock that a Rolex watch will set you back a pretty penny.
As Rolex’s success continued to increase, such luxurious, quality timepieces became more and more desirable. But there was one issue, price, and this is something that Rolex founder, Hans Wilsdorf wanted to address.
“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 standards of dependability for which Rolex are 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.” - Hans Wilsdorf.
And thus, in 1926, Rolex’s little sister was born; Tudor.
The new brand made use of the existing Rolex manufacturing processes and materials to put out watches that were basically more affordable Rolex’s. Some of the earlier Tudor watches were in fact made from Rolex Oyster cases and bracelets; they even shared crowns, hands and crystals. Some of the earliest Tudor’s can even be found with the Rolex logo.
So, if Tudor’s were made from Rolex parts, by Rolex, why were they cheaper? Well, this came down to the inner workings. Tudor watches were powered by much less expensive ETA movements - hence the lower price point.
Despite being an affordable, high-quality watch, Tudor struggled to stand out from the shadow of its star child sibling and there was only one way to solve this. REBRAND!
In 2009 Tudor underwent a huge rebrand in attempt to step away from the stigma of being classed as a “poor man’s Rolex”. The brand decided to introduce a plethora of new product lines, starting with the Tudor Grantour Chronograph and Tudor Glamour; then eventually releasing the Heritage Black Bay and Pelagos in 2012.
Proving furthermore that Tudor was a brand that meant business, in 2015 the company introduced its first ever in-house movement, the Cal. MT5621; debuted in the North Flag model. Since then, Tudor have developed even more in-house movements which can be found in other watches such as the iconic Black Bay GMT.
Additionally, in 2017, Tudor went on to further reinvent their brand image into a more youthful and style focused one. Being the rebellious one of their siblings, Tudor fixated on being more daring and experimental with their timepieces; compared to big bro Rolex’s safe bets. Heck they even changed their motto to “born to dare”.
All in all, this winning mix of edgy, fashion forward consciousness, Rolex-derived quality and affordable pricing has now pushed Tudor into a very desirable position within the watchmaking world.
Are Tudor watches still made by Rolex?
The official answer here, as a whole, would be no. Although Tudor and Rolex share their headquarters in Geneva, Tudor now have full control over their operation as a separate entity from Rolex; despite their watches being made from the same materials and Rolex chipping in to help with service and distribution.
Are Tudor and Rolex the same?
The official answer would be no. And the only way to explain it would be to compare yourself with your own brother or sister. You both grew up in the same house (or headquarters in this case) and are made from the same DNA. But you both have your own personality and style and like to get on with your own thing. But you're always there to help out and draw from each others experiences if needs be, because you're family.