When it comes to luxury diving watches, Rolex has held the top spot its famed Submariner watch. However, Rolex’s brother brand, Tudor, has gained plenty of steam in recent years for its own collection of diving watches offered primarily in the Black Bay lineup. For a little friendly family rivalry, we’re comparing the Rolex Submariner vs. Tudor Black Bay to see how these siblings stack up against each other. To keep things fair and relevant, we’ve selected two current-production models with similar specs: the Tudor Black Bay 79230 and the Rolex Submariner 114060.
Rolex Submariner 114060
Rolex introduced the Submariner ref. 114060 in 2012 as the modern version of the no-date Sub. As such, the 114060 comes with all features we’d expect from a contemporary Submariner including a Cerachrom bezel, a beefed-up “super case,” a bolder “maxi dial,” and an updated Oyster bracelet fitted with the Glidelock extension system.
In case you need a refresher on the finer points of Rolex design, Cerachrom is what the brand calls its particular ceramic alloy used for bezels. Furthermore, a Rolex “super case” retains the customary 40mm diameter of past versions but wears larger due to broader lugs, more prominent crown guards, and a thicker profile. A maxi dial refers to those with larger lume plots and hands. Finally, the Glidelock system allows divers to lengthen the bracelet to about 20 mm in 2 mm increments.
As is tradition with the no-date Sub, the 114060 is fashioned from stainless steel and only comes with the option of a black dial and bezel combination. Of course, being a dive watch, the Submariner 114060 includes a unidirectional rotating bezel with 60-minute graduations and features plenty of lume on the dial (called Chromalight, which glows blue in the dark). The watch is water-resistant to 300 meters deep and runs on the Caliber 3130 automatic movement with 48 hours of power reserve.
Tudor Black Bay 79230
Introduced in 2016, the Tudor Black Bay 79230 is the company’s flagship dive watch reference. While this is not the first Black Bay (the collection was introduced in 2012), it was the first run on an in-house movement instead of a modified ETA movement.
The Tudor Black Bay 79230B-0008 features a 41mm stainless steel case, a matching retro-inspired rivet style steel bracelet, and a blue unidirectional rotating bezel. (Side note: Tudor does also offer the Black Bay 79230 with black and burgundy bezels and a variety of strap options too). One of the defining characteristics of Tudor Black Bay watches is the so-called “snowflake” hands on the dial, which first came about in the 1970s on Tudor watches for the French Navy. Other vintage-inspired details of modern Black Bay watches include the oversized crown, borrowed from the 1954 Tudor “Big Crown” Submariner ref. 7924, and the domed dial and crystal, similar to the first Tudor Sub from 1954.
The Tudor Black Bay ref. 79230 is equipped with Caliber MT5602, which has a power reserve of 70 hours, and this particular dive watch is water-resistant to 200 meters.
Rolex Submariner 114060 vs. Tudor Black Bay 79230
If we place the Submariner and the Black Bay side-by-side, there are some obvious parallels to point out. Both watches are exclusively made with stainless steel cases and are fitted with similar three-link steel bracelets. Furthermore, they both have unidirectional dive bezels with a 60-minute scale to track immersion times. Dial-wise, the Submariner and the Black Bay both include round, rectangular, and triangular hour makers. Plus, both watches are time-only models, both powered by COSC-certified automatic movements.
Now to point out the main differences. The Black Bay’s 41mm case is 1mm larger than the Submariner’s and it is also 2mm thicker, therefore it is noticeably bigger on the wrist. The Black Bay also has a bigger winding crown but no crown guards unlike the Submariner’s distinct shoulders around its winding crown. The Submariner’s bezel is craft from scratch and fade-resistant ceramic while the Black Bay’s is made from anodized aluminum. While both have black dials, the Submariner has its trademark round Mercedes-style hands while the Black Bay features its signature angular Snowflake hands.
The Submariner’s bracelet benefits from the Glidelock system for added length and its water depth rating is 100 meters deeper than the Black Bay. On the other hand, the Black Bay’s movement offers a power reserve rating that’s almost a day longer than that of the Submariner.
Of course, there’s a significant price difference between these two diving watches. The Submariner ref. 114060 retails for $7,900 (but often sells for more in the secondary market due to popularity) and the Black Bay retails for less than half at $3,800 (with slightly lower prices in the secondary market.)
In terms of Rolex Submariner vs. Tudor Black BayOverall, the Submariner is sharper, sleeker, much more luxurious and modern while the Black Bay leans into its vintage vibe and is more relaxed in its overall style. Although the Rolex Submariner is without a doubt the higher-end option and an absolute icon, the Tudor Black Bay is also a fantastic watch that stands firmly with its own personality and charm.