Rolex Submariner vs Tudor Pelagos

rolex submariner vs tudor pelagos

If there is one watch that shouldn’t be missing in a man’s watch collection, it would be a classic steel dive watch. First created in the 1950s when diving was gaining popularity as a recreational sport, today’s dive watches are popular for their water resistance, robust build, and looks that merit all-occasion wear.

The Rolex Submariner is considered the benchmark for dive watches. Its elegant design and illustrious history has taken it from a tool watch to a symbol of prestige. In 2012, Rolex’s sister company Tudor launched the Pelagos – a contemporary diving watch with a utilitarian appeal.

With their similar designs, they often present a conundrum for potential buyers. Below, we compare the two watches to help you decide.


The Rolex Submariner: Emblematic Dive Watch

The Rolex Submariner in stainless steel is one of the most recognizable and copied watch designs in the world. The original Sub debuted in 1953 in full steel — and although the line has evolved to include solid gold and two-tone options, it is the stainless steel models that remain the most popular and sought-after.

Design aside, the Sub also pioneered features that we see in dive watches today. It was the first wristwatch in the world to offer a depth rating of up to 100 meters. It also included a rotating bezel marked to 60 minutes. Created to help divers track immersion times, it is a user friendly approach that’s used by most dive watches today.


Rolex Submariner Date 40mm Stainless Steel Watches 16610 and 116610
Rolex Submariner Date 40mm Stainless Steel Watches 16610 and 116610

The stainless steel Rolex Submariner ref 16610 was the most successful Submariner model for two decades, until Rolex released the current ref 116610 in 2010. The current generation steel Submariner was upgraded with a Cerachrom ceramic bezel along with a new movement (Caliber 3135), and Maxi Dial with larger features and a more contemporary look.



The Tudor Pelagos: New Kid on the Block

The Tudor Pelagos came on the heels of Tudor’s success with vintage Tudor-inspired watches – the Heritage Chrono and Heritage Black Bay. The Pelagos, in turn, takes visual cues from vintage Tudor Submariner watches; but it’s a completely new watch on its own.

The original Tudor Submariner watches were made in stainless steel and carried third-party movements; meanwhile, the Tudor Pelagos is crafted in titanium – a first for both Rolex and Tudor. It is also powered by Tudor’s in-house, chronometer-certified Calibre MT5612 movement.


Tudor Pelagos 42mm LHD Titanium Steel Mens Watch
Tudor Pelagos 42mm LHD Titanium Steel Mens Watch

The result is a bold, ultra modern dive watch whose linear design is focused on function. Without the “niceties” that one can see in many dive watches today, the Pelagos’ mission is clear –  and that is to be a highly legible dive watch.



Rolex Submariner vs Tudor Pelagos

The Rolex Submariner currently retails at twice the price of the Tudor Pelagos. Price notwithstanding, here are several elements we can look at in deciding to choose between these two equally amazing dive watches:


The Rolex Submariner is made of stainless steel. Matched with the glossy ceramic bezel and the luminous indices and hands, the current Sub feels more like an elegant sport watch than a tool watch.

The Pelagos meanwhile is crafted in titanium, which is a slightly duller metal. Combined with the matte finish on the dial and bezel, the slightly dark tinted titanium finish of the Pelagos emphasizes its tool watch image.


Tudor Pelagos 42mm LHD Titanium Steel Mens Watch
Tudor Pelagos 42mm LHD Titanium Steel Mens Watch


The current Rolex Submariner still comes in a 40mm size, just like previous versions. However, the latest iteration was not just updated with a Cerachrom bezel, it also came with a host of updates that make it look bulkier than its predecessor: a larger winding crown, a wider lug width, and a Maxi Dial with larger hands and hour markers.

The Pelagos comes in a 42mm case and a thick profile, which makes it feel substantial on the wrist. The comparable lightness of titanium however, makes it feel less bulky than one would expect from its size.



The Rolex Submariner runs on Rolex’s workhorse movement, the Caliber 3135. Due to the design of the 3135, Rolex is able to squeeze a 48-hour power reserve into the watch, which is slightly longer than the ones offered by similarly sized movements.

The Tudor Pelagos meanwhile, just three years after its launch, received the MT5612 – a COSC certified movement with a 70-hour power reserve.

Rolex now has the new generation Calibre 3235 which offers a 70-hour power reserve; and it may eventually take over Caliber 3135’s spot throughout the rest of the standard sized, self-winding watches in the company’s catalog.


Rolex Submariner Date 40mm Stainless Steel Watches 16610 and 116610
Rolex Submariner Date 40mm Stainless Steel Watches 16610 and 116610



Which dive watch should you choose?

If price is not a determining factor, here are some points to ponder: the Rolex Submariner is a classic dive watch that’s highly recognizable and comes with prestige; the Tudor Pelagos is an ultra-modern dive watch with rugged styling and utilitarian looks. Whichever you choose, you’ll have a reliable dive watch that will last the test of time.





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