Sunday Morning Showdown — A Look Back At Some Of The Most Heated Battles of 2023 So Far
It’s Sunday morning, and usually, you would see a heated battle between two Fratello writers who picked two competing timepieces. But this week, we decided to take a bit of a breather. With Geneva Watch Days around the corner, part of the Fratello team is getting ready to travel to Switzerland to cover the latest releases that will be unveiled during the event. It will also give us new watches for our upcoming Sunday Morning Showdown battles. For this week, we decided to create an overview of the best battles of 2023 so far. On top of that, we want to ask you to suggest some pairings that you would like to see in this ongoing series. First, let’s jump into the overview of the best of this year.
When we started this series on February 2nd, 2021, we had no idea how successful it would be for Fratello. The writers love taking jabs at each other every week, and you, the Fratelli, really seem to enjoy our weekly recurring battles. As a result, it has become one of the longest-running series on Fratello. Since we are lining up multiple new showdowns, we wanted to take the time to look back at some of the closest, most heated, and most popular battles of this year. We’re currently in week 34, so we have already had 33 battles this year so far. Let’s take a look at five of this year’s best showdowns.
February 12th: Tudor Black Bay vs. Rolex Submariner
When Robert-Jan and Daan wrote their pieces for this Showdown, they knew it would lead to many reactions. And it did. The Submariner won the battle with 55% of the votes versus 45% for the Black Bay. You could hardly call that surprising. But the comments section was the forum for a lively discussion among fans of both watches or people who would choose neither one.
Overall, you will read in the comments the Submariner was a clear favorite. What quite a few people suggested, however, was replacing the Black Bay with the Pelagos 39. So we put that into another Showdown in March that we will get to in a bit. Overall, a 10% difference between the Sub and the Black Bay is closer than many of us probably would have thought.
February 26th: Girard-Perregaux Laureato vs. Chopard Alpine Eagle
Another matchup with a lot of reactions was the Girard-Perregaux Laureato against the Chopard Alpine Eagle. Ben and yours truly were responsible for igniting the fire, and you all had a lot to say about both watches. One of the most important realizations about both of these watches is that they are relatively affordable options compared to their Genta counterparts. In the end, the Laureato took the win with 61% of the votes, leaving the Alpine Eagle with 39%.
The comments section did reveal, however, that both watches are not necessarily ones a lot of you would actually buy. The phrase “with a gun to my head” appeared several times in the comments. A fun fact was that hardly a month later, Chopard would get a lot of praise for the Alpine Eagle XPS with its salmon dial and small seconds. Time for a rematch?
March 19th: Tudor Pelagos 39 vs. Rolex Submariner ref. 14060
As mentioned, the matchup between the Tudor Pelagos 39 and a pre-ceramic Submariner was much requested by you all. And as it turned out, the results were close — really close. To my surprise, the Pelagos 39 ended up taking the win with 51% of the votes against 49% for the Submariner ref. 14060. It’s surprising to me because I would think that the brand appeal of Rolex would still make the Submariner ref. 14060 come out on top. While perhaps not by a landslide, I thought the appeal would be significantly bigger.
And the comments section would have you think that the Submariner is the more popular watch of the two. As it turns out, though, most votes went to the modern titanium Tudor Pelagos 39. It’s a remarkable conclusion as the Black Bay loses in a direct battle with the Submariner. The Tudor Pelagos line, however, which is generally praised as the true Tudor design, ended up beating its bigger brother by a slim margin.
April 2nd: Tudor Black Bay 54 vs. Tudor Black Bay 58
You all let us know after the previous battle I discussed that we had done more than enough Tudor vs. Rolex matchups. So we didn’t do any others for the rest of the year. But that doesn’t mean both brands did not return, especially after both introduced some of the most praised watches of the year at Watches and Wonders. One of them was the Tudor Black Bay 54. This 37mm version of the popular Black Bay series turned out to be a hit.
So we had to put it up against the massively popular Black Bay 58. The Black Bay 54 ended up winning the battle with 59% of the votes versus 41% for the Black Bay 58. Besides a discussion about men’s shoe sizes, the comments revealed that the BB54 is considered a better remake of a vintage Submariner in size, proportions, and overall design appeal. Despite defending the BB58 in that battle, I have to agree.
July 9th: Longines Spirit Zulu Time vs. Tudor Black Bay GMT S&G
The last Sunday Morning Showdown I would like to highlight quickly is a recent one. Immediately after Longines released the 39mm version of its much-praised Spirit Zulu Time, we knew we had to put it against a Tudor Black Bay GMT. But instead of the two stainless steel versions, we lined up both watches in the glorious combination of steel and gold. Honestly, it’s a result of Longines offering us the two-tone version of the Zulu Time for review, a watch that we were all really impressed with.
And you were, too. The Spirit Zulu Time crushed the Tudor Black Bay GMT S&G, taking a total of 72% of the votes versus just 28% for the Tudor. And that was backed up in the comments section. Most people praised the design of the Zulu Time GMT, whereas the Tudor was labeled a watch trying to be something it is not as it clearly takes design influences from the legendary Rolex GMT-Master “Root Beer.” It begs the question of whether we’d see the same results if we put the stainless steel models up against each other. The chances are high that it would. Longines has become a true Tudor contender, especially after seeing the new HydroConquest GMT win one of the last Showdowns. These are interesting findings, and new Sunday Morning Showdowns are coming up.
The future of Sunday Morning Showdown…
There you have it — the most popular, most commented-on, and most remarkable Sunday Morning Showdowns of 2023 so far. It will be interesting to see what the rest of the year has in store for this series. As mentioned, with new releases coming up during Geneva Watch Days, we will find new watches to compete in our Sunday Morning Showdown series. But we would also like to ask you for your help. What are some of the matchups that you would like to see? They could be based on any criteria you see fit and an outcome you are curious to see. Let us know in the comments section, and we will try and make them happen in the remaining months of 2023. We thank you in advance for your help, and we’ll see you next week for another Sunday Morning Showdown!