It’s Sunday morning! To be more exact, it’s the Sunday of Watches and Wonders. It’s the last day of this year’s fair before it’s in the history books. With the Fratello team back home and the Genevan dust clouds starting to settle, it’s time for our first Sunday Morning Showdown featuring one of the novelties presented at the fair this year. And what better way to do that than with a good ol’ Rolex vs. Tudor battle? Many were disappointed with the new Rolex introductions and pleasantly surprised with the Tudor novelties. So it’s time to put the two brands against each other. Can the newly introduced black-dial Tudor Black Bay Master Chronometer beat its bigger brother, the Rolex Submariner 124060? It’s time to find out!

Watches and Wonders 2024 is technically still open, but after a long week of new introductions, it’s time to look back at some of the highlights. The most anticipated releases every year come from Rolex and Tudor. Many watch fans were clear in their opinions about the two brands. According to many, this year’s Rolex introductions were underwhelming. Tudor, however, surprised many enthusiasts with three great releases that showed the brand understands what the people want. While the Black Bay GMT was probably the most popular introduction, the METAS-certified Black Bay in black was a close second. With an updated movement, a slimmer case, and an absence of gilt-tone details, it is probably as close as we’ll ever see a Black Bay come to a Rolex Submariner. That’s why it’s time to put these two against each other and determine which comes out on top.

A recap of last week’s Sunday Morning Showdown

Last week, Daan and Thomas battled it out with the Rolex Yacht-Master 42 Titanium and the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique. Both of these lightweight titanium sports watches put up a decent fight, but in the end, the Yacht-Master 42 won with 58% of the votes versus 42% for the Fifty Fathoms. Besides a consensus in the comments section that both watches are pricey, people seemed to be on board with the clean design of the Rolex, while there are some questions on Blancpain’s future with the Fifty Fathoms. Ultimately, that sentimental balance was also represented in the results, with the Yacht-Master taking the titanium crown with a safe margin. Now it’s time to take it to this week’s battle, with Jorg defending the Black Bay and Mike making his case for the Submariner. Gentlemen, take it away!

Jorg: Tudor Black Bay Master Chronometer

This year, Tudor managed to surprise me. While a new version of the METAS-certified Black Bay was an easily predictable next step, the new Black Bay 58 GMT was a pleasant surprise. As a fan and aspiring Tudor Black Bay Pro owner, the latest addition to the BB58 lineup made me rethink that desire. The size and proportions of Tudor’s new GMT are much more desirable than the chunky profile of the Black Bay Pro. But in terms of design, I have difficulty coming to grips with the gilt-style details that characterize the Black Bay line so often. The vintage-inspired touches are often a bit too much, and it was my one big complaint with the Black Bay Burgundy that was introduced last year.

Tudor And Longines Watches

As if Tudor listened to that specific issue that more fans shared, here we are 12 months later with a new version of the Black Bay without any cosmetic aging tricks. The result is a watch that looks clean and has an updated, slimmer case with an impressive movement. The great thing is that it can be yours for roughly €4.5K. Knowing how well the new Master Chronometer version of the Black Bay wears, the combination with the new aesthetic makes this a must-have for many watch fans. It’s the alternative to the Rolex Submariner at half the price. And honestly, it is as close as Tudor has ever been to producing a modern version of its classic Submariner.

As close as we will ever get to a Tudor Submariner

The moment I laid eyes on the new Black Bay, the watch immediately got a high spot on my wish list. It doesn’t replace my much-desired Sea-Dweller ref. 16600 as that has a special place in my heart. But I would not pay the €9,500 that the current Submariner ref. 124060 costs at retail, let alone the premium to get one immediately. I adore the current Sub, and it is objectively still a better watch than the new Black Bay. But for people like me who do not want to spend nearly 10 grand on a Sub, the Black Bay is a sublime alternative.

On top of that, it also has plenty of standalone power to connect it to Tudor’s archive of Submariners. The crazy thing is that those vintage Subs have become incredibly desirable over the last few years, with matching prices. Sometimes, the rare early references of the Tudor Submariners fetch higher prices than the ones from Rolex. It’s a crazy phenomenon, but nothing is surprising anymore in the world of vintage watches. Most classic Tudor Subs are also more expensive than this new Black Bay. But this is a much better watch, and that’s why I would pick it.

The Black Bay Master Chronometer in detail

So, what do I like so much about the new Black Bay? It’s simply the full package. It starts with the overall looks. The absence of vintage-inspired details creates a clean and crisp aesthetic that immediately pulls me in. Only if we look closely do we see some heritage-based hints. The aluminum bezel insert and the Oyster-style bracelet with its fake rivets — if you prefer that — are the two main giveaways. I love that shifted balance as it changes the Black Bay into a clean, modern dive watch with subtle vintage hints rather than a modern-executed version of vintage Tudor. It’s a fine line for everyone, but that is why I love the looks of the new Black Bay.

That translates into a watch with a 41mm stainless steel case measuring 13.6mm thick and 50mm long with a 21mm lug spacing and a 200m depth rating. The updated case design, which Tudor introduced in 2023, balances the overall proportions, creating a visually better watch. On top of that, it wears like a charm. If anything, that is what I loved about trying out the Black Bay Burgundy last year. The build quality is great, and the detailing is very nice. One perfect example is the updated bezel with the more accentuated knurling. It’s a practical solution that also has positive visual effects.

The Master Chronometer caliber MT5602U

While nothing new, the movement is also an important part of the total package. The Kenissi-produced caliber MT5602-U is a Master Chronometer certified by METAS. It is made in joint manufacturing with Kenissi in Le Locle, setting a new standard for Tudor’s movements. The automatic caliber operates at 28,800vph, has 25 jewels, and offers 70 hours of power reserve.

It is also antimagnetic up to 15,000 gauss and accurate to 0/+5 seconds per day. Additionally, it features a silicon hairspring, variable-inertia balance, and transversal balance bridge. With the addition of the METAS certification, it is as good as it gets for the money.

That’s why I think the new black version of the Tudor Black Bay Master Chronometer is a winner, not just in today’s battle but also in the competitive landscape of watches. I believe that this new Black Bay is the best your money can buy at €4,510 on the Oyster-style bracelet or €4,620 if you prefer the Jubilee look. I would pick the former bracelet because it complements the overall look much better.

The more classically styled five-row bracelet works better with the vintage-inspired versions, like last year’s burgundy version. Ultimately, it’s all about finding peace with a watch you love. For the first time, I am at peace picking a current Black Bay over a current Submariner. Tudor has eliminated my reasons to chase the current Submariner, making it easy to choose the Black Bay Master Chronometer instead.

Image: The Watch Club

Mike: Rolex Submariner ref. 124060

Well, I must give credit to Tudor where it’s deserved. I never thought the understudy brand would release a plain Jane Black Bay without fauxtina. And yet, here we are in 2024, and Tudor has finally listened to the requests for a true affordable Submariner alternative. But hold on for a second. Tudor pulled a slight trick and subscribed to its family’s recipe of coming very close to what we wanted. You see, the new Tudor Black Bay is big. Don’t get me wrong; it will do well, but if this watch had arrived as a Black Bay 58, I think it would’ve been game over.

Image: The Watch Club

The Sub brings better proportions

The Rolex Submariner 124060, often and incorrectly referred to as the “No Date Sub,” is still the dive watch to beat. Yes, even after Watches and Wonders 2024, the Sub remains king. While it shares the same 41mm diameter as its cheaper relative, it offers a more user-friendly footprint on the wrist. It has a 47.6mm lug-to-lug instead of the large 50mm span of the Black Bay. Then, the lug spacing is 21mm (I admit it’s not perfect), and the Black Bay spaces it out to 22mm. Finally, the thickness is 13mm instead of the Black Bay’s 13.6. That’s not a huge difference, but we know how Tudor’s divers tend to look slab-sided. All of this adds up to the Submariner being a more elegant diver that fits a larger number of wrists.

Image: The Watch Club

Classy finishing and a great movement

The Submariner 124060 brings legendary Rolex finishing to a 904L stainless steel case and bracelet. Plus, the brand uses a ceramic bezel and a fantastic Glidelock clasp. The dial uses a proprietary luminous material called Chromalight and glows a blazing blue in the darkness. Inside, the Sub uses a true in-house movement, the Rolex 3235. It has 70 hours of power reserve and is filled with Rolex material innovations, such as the brand’s Chronergy escapement. Naturally, the movement is certified as a chronometer by COSC. After that, though, Rolex carries out its in-house Superlative Chronometer tests, ensuring the watch is accurate to ±2 seconds per day.

Image: The Watch Club

There’s only one Rolex Submariner

It’s okay to be angry about the waiting lists for the Rolex Submariner. I hate them too and find them even more ridiculous now that the watch market is softer. Still, there’s only one Rolex Submariner. If you like the new Tudor Black Bay, that’s fine, but many still purchase a Tudor as a lower-cost option. That ultimately leads to disappointment and a desire for the real thing. Yes, the real thing is expensive at €9,500, but even at that price, I think it’s the best pound-for-pound dive watch on the market. There’s nothing quite like Rolex’s build quality, the timeless (non-retro) looks, and the value. Tudor has done an admirable job, but if I were going to choose one and money were no object, the Sub would win every time.

Cast your vote!

There you have it — two dive watches from the same family. One is the standard bearer, while the other is a new release that seemingly gives the people what they want. Cast your vote, and share your motivations in the comments section below.

Tudor Black Bay Master Chronometer vs. Rolex Submariner 124060