The value of a vintage watch tends to be a combination of its condition, provenance, and rarity. That said, sometimes it is not obvious – at Xupes HQ this week we compared these two vintage Submariner watches, from Rolex and Tudor, two watches that you would be forgiven for thinking are very similar - we knew we had to take a deep dive into what linked the Rolex 1680 and the Tudor 76100, what we love about them and of course how they differ.
ROLEX AND TUDOR COMPANIES ETHOS
“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 said 1946 Founder of Rolex and Tudor
Tudor is often referred to as the “little brother” of Rolex, but since its relaunch in 2009 it has built a reputation of top-notch quality, affordable price points and quite frankly offering more excitement with their quirky detailing than Rolex. Now, Rolex and Tudor still cooperate in several different areas, despite Rolex being famous for sharing very little publicly, it is believed that some parts are still made in Rolex’s own facilities as it is a more cost-effective option than to scale up inside Tudor. That of course is with the current set up, but these watches are from different time periods, the Rolex from 1973 and the Tudor from 1984. There are several give a ways that these two family members are related, from the obvious case size, design, and quality but even the Rolex crown on Tudors of the 70’s and 80’s.
Let us start with the Rolex Single Red Submariner Reference 1680 priced at £32,999.
In 1969, Rolex introduced the very first Submariner with a date complication (unsurprisingly known as the Submariner Date). The first reference was the Submariner 1680, and the earlier examples (produced until 1975) included the “SUBMARINER” name written in red letters on the matte black dial, hence the “Red Submariner” nickname. During those early years, Rolex experimented with dial design, which has led collectors to categorize the different dials from Mark 1 to Mark 7. Principle design factors are the Oyster case, in house movement reference 1570, stainless-steel Oyster bracelet with the diver’s extension piece and flip lock, and due to the addition of the date window, a Cyclops magnification lens on its Plexiglass.
On this particular example, the tritium to its hands and hour markers have developed a matching creamy patina over the years, along with its original MKIII faded thick font bezel insert, making this “Single Red Submariner” truly stunning, along with its feet first MKVI dial.
Moving onto the Tudor at £6,299 - the Reference 76100 is
referred to by Tudor collectors as a transitional model. It was produced
roughly at the same time as the 9411, and technically it is identical to that
watch. The main difference being the Snowflake hands and hour markers of the
The key characteristic between the two brands is that Tudor was sourcing movements from suppliers like the ETA reference 2824-2 calibre used on this model. It was also fitted with a Rolex stamped case back and signed “76100” to the inside of it.
Introduced in 1984 – the 76100 was only produced for a short period and are becoming increasingly difficult to find in good condition. The 76100’s were either fitted with a solid Mercedes hour hand called “lollipop” or as on this example with the traditional Mercedes detail shown.
These two dive watches maybe different ages and price points, but there is more that unites them than separates them. Above all, incredible lineage, category defining design and a blueprint that will last generations.