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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Note: This was originally posted in the Invicta forum by boscoe.

My vintage Tudor Submariner just came back from rehab today after three long months. I only had it for two or three days before I turned it over to my watch guy, Old Grumpy, for a complete overhaul – even though it was in very good shape when I bought it.

Now I am confident the Tudor is in perfect condition – at least for a vintage watch – and the peace of mind is well worth what I paid Mr. Grumpy to replace the slightly scratched crystal, rotor (a purely precautionary measure), seals and do a general cleanup on the movement, dial and hands. All with authentic Rolex/Tudor parts, of course.

I’m delighted with the outcome.

But that’s not the point of this exercise. I decided to play with my Tudor by doing a side by side comparison with the closest watch in my collection: Invicta’s Re-Issued 9937 Coin Edge. This Invicta is one of my all-time favorites from the brand. So here’s the tale of the tape – at least in my opinion, which is in no way expert.

THE BASICS



Both the Tudor and the Invicta are driven by a Swiss ETA 2824 automatic movement with a date at three o’clock. Both have sapphire crystals with cyclops lenses, stainless steel cases and bracelets, fold over diver’s clasps, rotating coin edge bezels, screw down crowns, luminous markers and Mercedes-style hands. Both are 200 meter rated.

This particular version of the Tudor Submariner does not have a quick set date feature. The Invicta, of course, does. Invicta’s bracelet is held into the case with screws. The Tudor uses spring bars.

The Tudor was made in Switzerland. The 9937 CE was assembled somewhere else – probably in Asia.

DIAL VS DIAL

By and large, the Tudor has a much cleaner – and more legible – dial than the Invicta 9937CE. The Tudor’s lume is whiter and brighter than on the Invicta, which has a decidedly greenish cast when you compare the two watches side by side. Invicta’s Tritanite lume looks white on the 9937CE until you do this kind of comparison.

And, speaking of lume, the Tudor glows brighter in the famous dark bathroom test than the Invicta. However, I can’t say yet whether it lasts longer – or shorter – than Invicta’s treatment, which is not one of my favorites.

Both watches have very crisp and perfectly placed hash marks even when viewed under a 10x lens. The printing on both is clean and crisp, too. Tudor’s logo is painted or printed on the dial. The Invicta has an applied 3-D logo, which contributes to its over-all busier look.

But the biggest contributors to Invicta’s clutter factor, are the small 3-D silver tone rings that highlight the Tritanite treated circular hour indicators. Invicta’s indicators are actually smaller than the luminescent circular markers on the Tudor, which features large arrows at 12, 6 and 9 o’clock. Invicta has a large arrow at 12 o’clock. The 6 and 9 positions are marked with bars, which makes the dial harder to read at a glance.

Invicta’s hour hands are a bit chunkier than on the Tudor. This gives it a slightly less elegant appearance, particularly with the small dot second hand – which is again ringed in silver tone. Tudor’s second hand is much more legible and larger. However, the lume on the minute hand is not as broad as on the Invicta. A minor drawback that is partially corrected by the brighter glow. But not entirely.

Both watches have optically clean lenses and a distortion-free cyclops.

CASE VS CASE





Invicta’s 9937CE is beefier than the Tudor. The Invicta weighs 139 grams (with bracelet) to the Tudor’s 103. This is due, for the most part, to the difference in the heft of the bracelets.

Invicta’s case is well made and about two mm wider than the Tudor at the lugs. Invicta’s name is engraved on the left side of the case – a feature I’m not wild about, but a growing trend in the watch industry. The Tudor’s is bare – at least on the sides.

The Tudor has a tangible air of superior quality, especially in this side by side comparison. Again, the weakness of the Invicta is not readily apparent when you view the watch on its own.

But when you study these two timepieces next to each other, the superiority of the Rolex/Tudor Oyster Case is obvious. The Tudor case fits together in almost a seamless way. The edging on the back of the case (created so it can be gripped and opened by a special tool, I believe) gives a feel of precision that’s simply lacking on the Invicta.

Tudor’s caseback is flat. Invicta’s is domed – in part due to the sapphire crystal that lets you see the gold tone movement. I love looking at the movement – and wish the Tudor had a display back. But not if I would have to sacrifice the quality – and the history – of the Rolex Oyster Case.

Overall, the Tudor is much slimmer than the Invicta, something I prefer though many like a thicker watch. The Tudor Submariner is also thinner than its Rolex cousin. So even though the Invicta and the Tudor share the same movement, the Invicta may be thicker simply because it was designed to imitate the Rolex as closely as possible.

Invicta’s bezel also suffers in comparison to the Tudor, which, again, is more refined and elegant. The nearly flat Tudor bezel moves more easily – and with a more satisfying click – than the Invicta bezel, which is domed and very fat. The Tudor’s coin edge is distinctive and defined. Invicta’s coin edge is not as wide and slightly obscured by the curve in the bezel.

The numbers on the Tudor bezel are crisp and clean, with defined spacing between the 1 and 0, 2 and 0, 3 and 0. Invicta’s font is compressed and the numbers touch in some places. Even the lume marker at 12 o’clock is easier to see on the Tudor.

Despite claims by EL, the Tudor shows the attention to detail Invicta is still only dreaming about – and the Tudor was made more than two decades ago.

BRACELET VS BRACELET

Invicta is the hands down winner here. Tudor’s version of the Rolex fold-over diver bracelet just plain sucks. (And so does the Rolex version, IMHO). Fold over bracelets like this made me sell otherwise delightful Orient and Seiko watches. Can you say cheap, boys and girls?
The Tudor bracelet (nicely stamped/engraved) is disgusting. It comes with a diver’s extension, which is lacking on the Invicta.

CROWN ,STEM & MOVEMENT VS CROWN, STEM AND MOVEMENT



Tudor wins this round with a finely engraved crown sporting the Rolex coronet. Again, the difference in the quality of the machine work is obvious when you look at Invicta’s engraved crown next to the Tudor. Tudor’s stem is also much, much thicker. Invicta’s looks spindly by comparison.

I haven’t had the Tudor long enough to tell how accurate the movement is. Old Grumpy swears he has regulated it to COSC specs, which isn’t impossible. My Invicta is very accurate and reliable. So no clear victor here.

Invicta just cases up Swiss movements without tweaking. Conventional wisdom in the Tudor world is divided on exactly how much tweaking Rolex did to the ETA movement before casing it. Some say a lot. Some say a little. Some say none at all. I can't say anything with authority.

CONCLUSION




By now, I’m sure it’s obvious I believe the Tudor is a better piece of workmanship – despite the hideous bracelet. I also believe the Tudor Submariner gives you better bang for your buck.

Right now, good to very good examples of Tudor Subs can be had for between $600 and $800 without papers etc. and $1500 to $1900 in relative mint condition with all the boxes, etc. I paid $349 (with shipping) for my Reissued Invicta 9937 CE. If I decided to sell it today, I’d get about two hundred bucks – if I were lucky.

I could recoup all the money – right today – I spent to purchase my Tudor. I could probably even get back all the dough I spent to bring it back to its current pristine condition. Tudor Subs, in my opinion, will rise in value while my Invicta, which I still love, will continue to decline.

I do not own the Tudor as an investment. I bought it for its own sake and have no intention of parting with it – ever. Nor will I part with my Invicta. I enjoy that watch for what it is, too.
Both are fabulous toys. But I think my sons – and grandsons – will end up playing with the Tudor when the Invicta is long gone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Update: May 28, 2007 By Boscoe

I have since sold my Invicta 9937CE - and bought two more Tudor subs. A mini two-tone (34mm) and a mid-size blue bezel, blue dial (38 mm) to match the full size reviewed here. I sold my Invicta because it wasn't getting wrist time. When I felt like wearing that style diver, I would always choose the Tudor over the Invicta.



The Invicta fetched $248 at auction a long time ago. Since then, Invicta has stopped using ETA movements in the 9937 and has switched to SW 200 movements by Sellita, a Swiss company that added a 26th jewel and some other reworking to an ETA-based ebauche.

Tudor prices have skyrocketed. My watch would now fetch in the $1800 range. I have recently seen nearly new in box Tudor Subs (blue dial) for $2500. And the price seems heading upwards.

The thin Tudor works well in sport and dress situations. Slides very easily under a long sleeve shirt while thicker divers like the 9937 often snag on the cuff.

It is running well within COSC specs. Thank you Grumpy!

One last and more surprising note: I have since come to actually love the original Tudor/Rolex hollow link bracelet. In this era of thick heavy bracelets, it is refreshingly light. I grow tired of wearing a lump of steel on my wrist, no matter how trendy it might be to have gigantic, heavy watches.
 
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