Rolex Submariner Date (116610LV) and Tudor Heritage Black Bay (79230G): Hands on review & comparison

Rolex Submariner Date-116610LV: Introduction

As far as icons of the watch industry go, the Rolex Submariner is in a class of its own. For many years now the famous model has been arguably the most sought after watch ever made. Demand has not slowed down. Take a look at the Submariners that are cast from precious metals such as yellow and white gold, checking in at just over £25,000 they are a serious investment yet still they sell in high numbers around the World. The Submariner further showcase’s its popularity and demand when the stainless steel models are brought into the spotlight. Coming in 3 main variations (black dial non date, black dial date and green dial date) the steel Submariner appears as something that is much more affordable than its precious metal counterparts but demand in today’s market shows something very very different.

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Rolex Submariner 116610LV

Due to the perception of the steel models being more affordable, countless numbers of people are after the diving instrument. All 3 stainless steel models are fetching premiums significantly more than their list value and waiting lists at Rolex stockist are reaching beyond the 2 year mark. Model number 116610LV exemplifies this as it can be found being sold for £9,000+. A hefty price considering its RRP of £6,660.

 

Tudor Heritage Black Bay-79230G:Introduction

Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf had long considered the idea of making a watch that customers could buy at a more modest price range yet still had the same dependability as the Rolex watches he became famous for making. This led to the conception of the Tudor Watch Company in 1926. During its early years many Tudor watches were produced in the same factory with many of the same parts that Rolex used, helping them to firmly place themselves as a brand with products that are truly good value for money.

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Tudor Heritage Black Bay 79230G

Since then Tudor as a brand have gone from strength to strength as people realise the quality and craftsmanship that goes into the timepieces that they can acquire for a slice of what a Rolex costs. A key driving force of this growth is the Heritage Black Bay. Similar in design to that of the Submariner, it allows people to buy a watch that is always in fashion and (with its chronometer certification) keeps very accurate time. So this begs the question: If you can get everything you would get in a Rolex Submariner, in a Tudor Heritage Black Bay and save yourself thousands of pounds, why would you ever buy a Rolex?

The Technicalities:

With the DNA of Rolex flowing through the Tudor brand, there are obvious similarities between the watches. Both in movements, materials and designs. But working through all the parts and details of the watches with fine tooth comb you will begin to see the difference between the two.

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Rolex Submariner 116610LV:

The Rolex Submariner is made from a 904L steel superalloy. This steel is usually used in high technology, aerospace and the chemical industry as it is extremely resistant, can be highly polished and is able to retain its industrial charm even in the depths of the ocean where the watch is designed to be.

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The 40mm wide, 12.5 mm thick 904L steel case houses an in-house Rolex 3135 calibre. A movement completely developed and manufactured by Rolex. The self winding movement has a chronometer certification from the COSC, an achievement given to high precision instruments, with an allowance of -2/+2 sec/day after casing. The calibre is fitted with a parachrom hairspring which grants greater resistance to shocks and temperature variations, further enhancing the accuracy of the watch. The movement can store an approximate power reserve of 48 hours.

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The Submariner has chronometer certification status from the COSC

The green dial proudly broadcasts the hour, minute and sweeping seconds hand as well as a date function at 3 O’Clock that is magnified by the recognisable cyclops lens. The dial is surrounded by a uni-directional rotating bezel graduated in 60 minutes. The bezel is a parachrom insert in ceramic making it  extremely scratch resistant and the numerals and graduations are coated in platinum. The time is set using a screw down crown which triple locks to ensure the water resistance of 300m/1000ft.

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The green dial, hours, minutes and seconds hands date function at 3 O’clock

Tudor Heritage Black Bay 79230G:

This particular Tudor we are inspecting is a special collaborative piece between the brand and legendary department store Harrods. Tudor have added small features to showcase the two brands working together. Most noticeably, the ‘Harrods Green’ bezel, the green tipped sweeping hands seconds and the water resistance text coloured in green. Usual Black Bay models feature either red, black or blue bezels

The Tudor Black bay is cast from stainless steel for both the case and bracelet making it very durable and highly resistant. It comes in a polished and satin finish.

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The green bezel, seconds hand and water resistance show the link with Harrods.

It weighs in in at 41mm wide, 1mm bigger than the Submariner and also 0.2 mm thicker at 12.7mm. The case protects an in house movement (MT5602) which is also a self winding mechanical movement that is chronometer certified by the COSC and as such has an allowance of just +2/-2 sec/day after casing. The Tudor has an approximate power reserve of 70 hours, almost a whole day more than its Rolex counter part. The movement is regulated by a variable inertia oscillator with a silicon balance spring.

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Tudor Black Bay as a COSC certified movement

The Tudor also features a unidirectional rotation bezel, however it is made from the same stainless steel that is used to make the case. The iconic large Tudor crown does screw down to ensure the watch retains its 200m/660ft water resistance. Whilst the bezel is green the dial on the Tudor is still black with bronze coloured minute track and hour indicators with luminescence fillings.

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The Harrods Green unidirectional rotating bezel and green tipped sweeping seconds hand.

Tudor do offer the choice of going for the watch on a stainless steel bracelet or on an aged leather strap, both come with an additional fabric strap.

The comparision:

Both watches are great pieces of horological work that are very accurate in their mechanical movements but as can seen from the fine details of the watch, there are subtle differences that set the watches apart.

The movement:

Comparing the movement first. Both are automatic. Both are chronometers. So what sets one apart from the other? Extreme details like the parachrom hairspring provides the Rolex movement with that edge as it remains impervious to things such as shocks or temperatures changes, more so than the silicon hairspring of the Tudor. Increased resistance to these kind of things allows for a more accurate time keeping to take place over longer periods of time. The additional feature of the date window in the 3135 Rolex movement adds another level to the Submariner that the Tudor doesn’t have. Not only does the date feature provide an easy visual way of knowing the date, its presence on the dial helps to occupy space to make the watch feel more complete without feeling too busy.

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The MT5602 does have an advantage over its ‘big brother’. The watch makers at Tudor have been able to squeeze in another 22 hours of power reserve whilst making the case size only 2mm bigger than the Rolex. With the Tudor’s 70 hour power reserve, the watch can be taken off on a Friday and not be worn again until Monday and will still be ticking away, the Rolex’s 48 hour reserve falls short of this by just under a day. Something to seriously consider if the watch is to be purchased for something that is going to be worn only a few times. At least when the power reserve on the Tudor runs out it is just the time that has to be reset where as on the Rolex there is the additional challenge of resetting the date as well as the time.

The case:

Both watches are made out of a stainless steel alloy with the Black bay being cast in a 316L stainless steel alloy and the Submariner a 904L alloy. These timepieces are constructed from metals which are fit for their divingDSC_0868 purpose. The metals are very resistant to things like corrosion, however the Rolex alloy is resistant to more things and can take a higher polish than other steels.

The Tudor is bigger. It is deeper and wider than the submariner. Whilst the difference is only slight, it is noticeable. The Black Bay sits higher on the wrist and has a bit more weight behind it. The submariner seems to use the curves of the case in a way that enables the watch to wrap around the wrist of the wearer to make it ever so slightly more discreet.

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The Black Bay is bigger in width and in depth.

Both pieces are designed for diving, with screw down backs and crowns to lock away the movement from any impending water damage when submerged. The two both boast water resistances that are far beyond the average watch but the Rolex pips the Tudor. Rolex and Tudor both claim that their watches are waterproof to 300m and 200m respectively.

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The average swimmer will never go anywhere near the 30m mark let alone the 200m resistance of the Tudor. These watches aren’t designed for the average swimmer though. In terms of diving and water resistance, 100m is a big difference. According to the National Ocean Service, every 10 metres you go down the pressure increase by 14.5psi. That means a huge difference in pressure between what the Tudor can withstand to the Rolex. A feat that would have taken Rolex slightly more time to work on and adapt to considering they also made smaller watch.

 

Movable bezels are a play key part in a divers watch as they enable the wearer to work out timings just from what position the bezel is set too. The Rolex bezel is parachrom inserts in a ceramic bezel instead of stainless steel like the Tudor is. This gives the Rolex added resistance to scratches and pressures found at lower depths in the ocean. Both pieces have uni-directional bezels meaning under the immense pressure of the ocean the bezels won’t move back on themselves and compromise any diving time. The Submariner offers a more raised bezel with deep grooves allowing for good grip and easy rotating.

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The large grooves on the Rolex bezel allow easy gripping when rotatin

 

The Tudor bezel isn’t as prominent against the domed sapphire crystal and the grooves aren’t filed as deep. It is a bit more of a chore to change the bezel to the position you need. Both watches bezel’s are graduated with 60 minutes. Tudor’s bezel offers a 60 click rotation with Rolex offering 120 click rotation. This provides a much smoother rotating of the bezel on the Rolex and altogether a more enjoyable experience.

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The Tudor bezel. Made of stainless steel with smaller grips than the Rolex.

They both feature clasps with a safety latch to ensure the watch stays securely fastened when in use. Whilst the designs are similar, Rolex execute it better. The safety latch is easier to use and smoother to open and close.  The clasp as a whole is easier to work with and operates in a more functional manner than the Tudor. The Submariner clasp also includes a small bracelet adjustment mechanism that can size the bracelet for a wet suit without the need for any tools, a feature that comes in handy with its relative ease.

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As standard the watch hour indicators are filled with a very bright loom that is useful to illuminate the watch when the darkness of deep waters would usually make watches unreadable.

The Verdict:

With its instantly recognisable green dial, the Submariner has earned the nickname of the ‘Hulk’ watch after the famous Marvel superhero. In some ways comparing these two watches is much like comparing The Incredible Hulk to The Abomination in the film with the same name as the former character. In the motion picture The Hulk and The Abomination are similar in build an appearance with the latter being slightly bigger, arguably stronger and at surface level appears to be more superior. Ultimately when they come to blows, The Abomination is no match for The Hulk.

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Lets get one thing straight, the Tudor is not and should not be considered an abomination. It is stunning piece which is wider, deeper and heavier than its discussed counterpart. But this comparison helps provide a more clear understanding of how the watches should be considered. Even if the watches were made from exactly the same parts in exact the same way at exactly the same time but still were branded as Tudor and Rolex, the Rolex would win. Whilst both watches do work at a very similar level and the Tudor has earned the right to be considered on a similar level to the submariner, the submariner just has that edge over the Black Bay. That edge being that it is a Rolex. Rolex have held onto their position at the top of the Swiss watch game, almost with the same superhuman strength as ‘The Hulk’ and will really always be the preference of anyone, no matter who the competition is.

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Both watches are currently trading at above list price in the market. The green submariner at £9,000+ instead of the £6,660 retail and the green Tudor around £5,000+ instead of the £2,630 retail price. If you are looking to spend serious money on a watch then going for ‘The Hulk’ is a win win. You got an incredible timepiece, immensely accurate and something that will hold its value. If you are looking for a piece that is great value for money without compromising on accuracy then the Tudor is a great suggestion as it draws from its Rolex roots to produce a likeness of the legendary submariner. As people start to realise the quality of Tudor watches and the association with Rolex it will only be a matter of time before the demand and prices start to go up and the value of the watches appreciate!

Both watches are available to buy online:

116610LV:https://www.thewatchsource.co.uk/preowned/Rolex-Submariner-Date-116610LV-192

79230G: https://www.thewatchsource.co.uk/preowned/Tudor-Heritage-Black-Bay-79230G-191

 

 

 

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