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I'm a relatively new watch enthusiast. I have a very modest collection of watches that all retail for well under $1000.

I fully understand that the more one pays, the more one gets. I get that a Tudor or Rolex is a higher quality item than any of the watches in my own collection. I don't quite understand how these two brands in particular are held up so much higher than other brands within the same price brackets. Omega, I guess, is probably thought of as an equal, given history and such. Is it just the history of these brands that elevate them? The celebrity endorsements?

I'm baffled by the amount of press the Tudor Black Bay Navy is getting within the watch community. It just looks like another diver to me in a different color. What is the appeal here? I'm asking from a genuine curiosity into a brand that I know very little about. Is the quality you get for that price what sets it apart? Is it different than other Tudor's? What makes it so interesting compared to other divers in the same price category?

I'm here to learn.
 

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I'm with you on that. To an untrained eye, there are probably hundreds of watches that look just like a Rolex dive watch of some version. I think it comes down to the person wearing it knowing what it is. Years ago Coach only made black handbags so unless there was someone with a trained eye, women were just carrying a black purse, but the woman carrying it knew it was a Coach and I think the same thing happens with watches.
 

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Hold and see them in the metal. Visit any AD, sir. You will see and feel the difference. Much more when worn for decades.
My wife has a Rolex. I've held it many times. I get the quality. My question is if the quality is far superior to other brands in same price brackets? Is that why they are held up above their peers? I've never held a watch in the same price bracket other than a Rolex.
 

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I love the fresh perspective, OP. You’re right, to a large extent Tudor and Rolex are hype machines. A few thoughts...

One thing to keep in mind is that Tudor and Rolex are in many ways the originators of what we now take for granted as constituting a mechanical watch. Self-winding movements, water proof cases, steel, sport watches as a category, dive watch design... all of these things Rolex/Tudor either invented or popularized. It often bothers me is how so many brands are derivative of Rolex.

And while of course their watchmaking chops are excellent, you’re right that there’s better value for the money out there strictly speaking. However, part of the premium for Rolex and increasingly Tudor is the brand value. Because they are independent, Rolex are able to control supply and protect the long term value of their brand and watches, and that’s very appealing to buyers. You can expect your Rolex to hold value better than almost all other brands, most of whom have terrible resale value.


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I love the fresh perspective, OP. You’re right, to a large extent Tudor and Rolex are hype machines. A few thoughts...

One thing to keep in mind is that Tudor and Rolex are in many ways the originators of what we now take for granted as constituting a mechanical watch. Self-winding movements, water proof cases, steel, sport watches as a category, dive watch design... all of these things Rolex/Tudor either invented or popularized. It often bothers me is how so many brands are derivative of Rolex.

And while of course their watchmaking chops are excellent, you’re right that there’s better value for the money out there strictly speaking. However, part of the premium for Rolex and increasingly Tudor is the brand value. Because they are independent, Rolex are able to control supply and protect the long term value of their brand and watches, and that’s very appealing to buyers. You can expect your Rolex to hold value better than almost all other brands, most of whom have terrible resale value.


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OK. Now we are getting to it. History here plays a much more important role than I thought.
I have other hobbies. I'm also an audiophile. The general public for a long time believed that Bose was the best you could buy. But when you really started getting into the hobby you realized that there were countless brands that were vastly better than Bose. Bose is a joke among the audiophile community.

I see this is not the case for watches. In this case it seems the general public and the enthusiast community are in agreement about this brand. It's innovations and quality have kept it in high standing.
 

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I think it is the Rolex brand recognition, that even people who would never own a Rolex could identify a fluted bezel watch as a Rolex, and that a Rolex means "expensive watch."

My mom will not associate an Omega or Grand Seiko with luxurious watch. As such, there is a robust preowned market demand, and the preowned shops and pawn shops are more willing to take in Rolex than other brands. This feedback loop of value perception, demand, ease of selling just feed itself. Recent sports model shortage and the growing affluence of Chinese/Asian middle-class just fuel the craze even further.

In contrast, I had been asking around the shops to see who would want to buy my mid-range Tag, no one wants to even look at it, lol.
 

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One thing to keep in mind is that Tudor and Rolex are in many ways the originators of what we now take for granted as constituting a mechanical watch. Self-winding movements, water proof cases, steel, sport watches as a category, dive watch design... all of these things Rolex/Tudor either invented or popularized. It often bothers me is how so many brands are derivative of Rolex.
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Well, this is just not true. As usually there were no single point in time when those things were "invented", it was more like a process. For example, people started to design automatic watches in 1700s and the design was continuously improved. Even Breuget experimented with automatic winding. Sure, Rolex took its part in this process, but the claim that they invented it is just BS. It is even questionable whether Submariner or Fifty Phatoms were the first modern dive watch.
 

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For Rolex specifically, part of the appeal is that there is so much more demand than supply for the steel sports models in particular, that if you buy one new it is actually more valuable as soon as you leave the AD. They literally cost more on the second hand market than new. Therefore, even if it has cost more to purchase, your value for money is better than anything else that I can think of. Unfortunately that means people want to buy just to resell and that exacerbates the issue with supply and demand, and leads into a situation where it becomes difficult to get ‘on the list’ for a particular model.

As for the new blue Tudor Black Bay - I honestly don’t think that it does look like ‘just another diver’ at all. The sizing of it, the colour way, the bezel material and click ratio, the handset etc all make it unique for a new watch with impressive technical specifications and a stylistic nod towards a historical watch without being a Seiko-style reissue.
 

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I came across a black dial DJ at an AD in Paris a little over a week ago. Thought it was a bit too dressy due to the fluted bezel. Really kicking myself that I didn’t just jump on it just based on value alone.
 

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I'm a relatively new watch enthusiast. I have a very modest collection of watches that all retail for well under $1000.

I fully understand that the more one pays, the more one gets. I get that a Tudor or Rolex is a higher quality item than any of the watches in my own collection. I don't quite understand how these two brands in particular are held up so much higher than other brands within the same price brackets. Omega, I guess, is probably thought of as an equal, given history and such. Is it just the history of these brands that elevate them? The celebrity endorsements?



I'm here to learn.
First off, welcome to the forum.

To start answering your question I'll start with a simple question - what makes a watch appeal to anyone at all? I checked out your other thread and apparently for you the design/aesthetics is perhaps the single most important aspect you value. But is that all there is to a watch?

We like to justify our decisions, and not only on a watch purchase. The reason behind that justification is quite simple really - most of us have limited resources and when we dedicate our resources to an acquisition we like to think it's justified, especially when that amount is significant.

Forget about Rolex, Tudor, Grand Seiko, Omega, A Lange & Söhne, Citizen, Tag Heuer for a second...they are nothing but a name. For me personally, an automatic watch needs to be accurate. I don't care if it says Patek Philippe on the dial, if it's not accurate all the hand finishing and prestige doesn't mean jack. Many will then argue why bother with a mechanical watch when a quartz G-Shock is infinitely more accurate than any mechanical watch ever will be? Simple - a quartz movement, while accurate, doesn't really require workmanship to come to that accuracy, the technology is inherently more accurate. And that difference alone makes it far less interesting, let alone impressive, compared to a mechanical timepiece.

The appeal of Rolex/Tudor to me is, again, quite simple. It's a well-rounded package. It's may not have the best finishing in its movements nor casework. It may not have the highest immunity to magnetism. It may not even be the best looking watch. And it sure as heck isn't the most expensive watch brand out there. But for a mass produced timepiece that is reliable, good looking, offers "Superlative accuracy", relatively affordable, and gives you one of the best worldwide service network of all watch manufacturers, what's there NOT to like?

Here's the thing, this subject is BOUND to get haters commenting in no time and will start saying how Rolex is nothing but a marketing hype, driven by "manufactured scarcity and what have you. The strange thing is, anyone can walk into a Rolex AD today and buy a Rolex. What the haters are pissed and complain about is not the scarcity of a Rolex watch, but the fact that they can't walk into an AD and purchase the "hot models" - a stainless steel Daytona at MSRP? Not happening.

But if all you want is a great watch that will last a lifetime, will not break the bank, looks good, and will even have some retained value after you have owned it for decades, anyone can walk into an AD and purchase a Rolex Oyster Perpetual or a Datejust at MSRP or even at a small discount, TODAY.

I purchased my first Tudor in 1995. It was a Tudor Submariner and it cost me over half of my monthly salary back then. It's worth every penny I spent for it and I still own it today.

20 years later after that Tudor purchase, I bought two brand-new Rolex in 2015. Best purchases I've made in a long time and I'll enjoy owning then and passing them to my kids when they graduate in a few years.
 

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I suppose a big part is the tech and spec that goes into the movement. I bought a BB58 shortly after they were released because of the movement. It’s a bit of a milestone for a Wilsdorf brand and the dimensions sit right in the golden ratio zone. If another established brand like Seiko for example produced a similar piece with comparable spec I’d get one of those too.
 

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quality, reliability, flexibility, history, value retention

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Well, this is just not true. As usually there were no single point in time when those things were "invented", it was more like a process. For example, people started to design automatic watches in 1700s and the design was continuously improved. Even Breuget experimented with automatic winding. Sure, Rolex took its part in this process, but the claim that they invented it is just BS. It is even questionable whether Submariner or Fifty Phatoms were the first modern dive watch.
Like the Omega Marine dive watch from 1932


 

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I've owned a few Rolexes, and truly love both the Explorer (especially the 36mm) and the Milgauss. However, there are of course other watches that are equally well made, many of which cost considerably less. SO, part of the price is the name, and the history/prestige/reputation that it embraces--all things that some consider important. For a few, though, if you stripped away the name, and looked at it or any other watch on its own merits, then really you open the field up much wider than many allow. In a sense, the value of a Rolex is higher if taken with respect to what others think (which many do), but if taken purely on a mechanical/performance basis, many will take other options at an equal or lower price point--this group buys purely to satisfy themselves, without a care of what others think. So, Rolex has a a high relative value, if you take recognition into consideration, a lower value, allowing other players onto the same playing field, if you simply take the watches as mechanical objects, regardless of how they may fare with reputation, depreciation and so forth.
 

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OK. Now we are getting to it. History here plays a much more important role than I thought.
I have other hobbies. I'm also an audiophile. The general public for a long time believed that Bose was the best you could buy. But when you really started getting into the hobby you realized that there were countless brands that were vastly better than Bose. Bose is a joke among the audiophile community.

I see this is not the case for watches. In this case it seems the general public and the enthusiast community are in agreement about this brand. It's innovations and quality have kept it in high standing.
Rolex has its fair share of detractors. I will give them that they build highly robust movements but in many ways, their watches have been technologically lagging compared to Omega and other brands at the same price point. In particular, I think that anti magnetic ratings are becoming more and more important in an age where everyone uses laptops and tablets, and Rolex is seriously behind Omega on that front.

The other issue for me is that very, very few people wear their watches to the stress levels which will require the robustness of a modern big brand steel sports watch. If you wear one and bang it around, that's something I respect, but 99.9% of those watches will never see seawater or more shock than a brisk walk. And if ultimate strength is the goal, Rolex doesn't work with grade 5 Ti, nor ceramic cases, even though both materials are lighter with many desirable properties over 904L. I can't see an argument aside from aesthetics and cost to use steel instead of titanium if you are truly designing for ultimate durability.

History is cute and all, but I would much prefer to own a brand that is innovating right now. And I just don't see that coming from Rolex these days.
 

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Rolex has its fair share of detractors. I will give them that they build highly robust movements but in many ways, their watches have been technologically lagging compared to Omega and other brands at the same price point. In particular, I think that anti magnetic ratings are becoming more and more important in an age where everyone uses laptops and tablets, and Rolex is seriously behind Omega on that front.

The other issue for me is that very, very few people wear their watches to the stress levels which will require the robustness of a modern big brand steel sports watch. If you wear one and bang it around, that's something I respect, but 99.9% of those watches will never see seawater or more shock than a brisk walk. And if ultimate strength is the goal, Rolex doesn't work with grade 5 Ti, nor ceramic cases, even though both materials are lighter with many desirable properties over 904L. I can't see an argument aside from aesthetics and cost to use steel instead of titanium if you are truly designing for ultimate durability.

History is cute and all, but I would much prefer to own a brand that is innovating right now. And I just don't see that coming from Rolex these days.
But that's where Tudor comes in isn't it?

Ceramic case, titanium, silicon hairsprings...all available in one or more of Tudor's current lineup.

On paper, an Omega Seamaster 300 probably trumps a Submariner in every way. But on wrist, the Submariner has a certain charm that's retained from the old Submariners from yesteryears, one thing that's missing in a Seamaster.

Rolex may be slow in its evolution over the last decades, but I think that's the smart thing about them - they have retained that identity that made them successful in the first place.
 

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I have had watches ranging from $500-$25,000. Cheaper Divers up to your more expensive ones. There is just something about the quality of a Tudor or Rolex especially Tudor. For the price you pay youre getting a hell of a watch.
 

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Rolex has its fair share of detractors. I will give them that they build highly robust movements but in many ways, their watches have been technologically lagging compared to Omega and other brands at the same price point. In particular, I think that anti magnetic ratings are becoming more and more important in an age where everyone uses laptops and tablets, and Rolex is seriously behind Omega on that front.

The other issue for me is that very, very few people wear their watches to the stress levels which will require the robustness of a modern big brand steel sports watch. If you wear one and bang it around, that's something I respect, but 99.9% of those watches will never see seawater or more shock than a brisk walk. And if ultimate strength is the goal, Rolex doesn't work with grade 5 Ti, nor ceramic cases, even though both materials are lighter with many desirable properties over 904L. I can't see an argument aside from aesthetics and cost to use steel instead of titanium if you are truly designing for ultimate durability.

History is cute and all, but I would much prefer to own a brand that is innovating right now. And I just don't see that coming from Rolex these days.
Rolex doesn't believe in change for the sake of change, something which I think Omega is sometimes guilty of.

While I agree that magnetic resistance is important, the main component which becomes magnetized is the hairspring, and even the Parachrom Bleu hairspring in the Rolex 313X movements are extremely resistant to magnetic fields. I guess I just don't see how much practical benefit there is to having a watch that can resist 1.5 Teslas unless I work around MRIs. I would argue that far fewer people need the level of magnetic resistance that Omega offers than the robustness of a modern sports watch.

As for innovation, I found the command bezel on the Sky Dweller to be quite interesting, and they had a pretty innovative realization of an annual calendar complication, involving only four gear wheels and two gear ratios on top of the usual Rolex date calendar complication.
 
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