[VIDEO] Inside the Collection: Pairing the Tudor Pelagos 39 & the Rolex Submariner 14060M

As much as I advocate for expanding your boundaries when it comes to the type of watches you experience, most of our time is spent in the middle of our lane. These are the comfort food of watches, the sweet spot you keep coming back to. For me, these are typically simple divers or tool watches, the archetype of which is of course the Submariner. Not very exciting, but a great everyday companion that’s easy to use and read, with an uncanny ability to pair with pretty much any outfit or look. Plenty of other watches fall into the category as well, but the Submariner sets the bar, and does so particularly well in the form of the reference 14060M. Where more modern references have veered ever so slightly into “it needs to make a statement” territory, there is a humbleness that remains within the 14060, if ever a word could be applied to a Submariner. 

The peculiar vibe of the 14060 may be absent within the present catalog of Rolex sports watches, but that doesn’t mean it’s not out there in other more modern watches. In fact, you don’t have to stray far from the family to find such a candidate. Tudor has managed to capture a lot of the charm of early Rolex references in recent years, and one in particular strikes me as a perfect embodiment of what I love about 5 digit Subs, and that is the Pelagos 39. When this watch was introduced I referred to it as the modern Sub we never got, and expanded on that in my full review of the watch. I’ve since welcomed a P39 into my own collection, taking up residence next to a late model 14060M with 4 lines of text on the dial, making the direct comparison between the two all the clearer.


Each of these watches have their own unique visual identity, one a timeless classic that has been slowly evolving since the ‘50s, and the other a clean sheet modern take on the genre that, I believe, will age quite gracefully. The differences are plenty, but taking a step back, these two watches find themselves filling very similar roles. They are stout dive watches with similar capabilities and a near identical physical stature. They prize function over form, and without so much as a date complication, place all emphasis on legibility and timing via chunky black rotating bezels. Closed casebacks without a marking in sight, loads of brushed surfaces, black dials and white markers… all business. Nothing fancy, but also kinda just right, like a Toyota Tacoma, or a warm bowl of tomato soup and grilled cheese.

Despite their many similarities, both physical and spiritual, the 14060 and P39 enjoy their own personality quirks enough to justify a spot in the same collection. To me, anyways. Certainly just one of these would fill the role in any collection just fine, but this isn’t exactly a reasonable hobby, is it? The most glaring differences largely come down to the age between them. The ‘90s and early ‘00s weren’t exactly the pinnacle of Rolex bracelets and this 14060, while from the tail end of its production run, is a good example of why. There are no solid end links here, and the clasp itself is a bit unwieldy by modern standards, certainly not in the same league as the excellent clasp on the P39 with Tudor’s T-Fit system. That said, these old-but-not-old Rolex bracelets are comfortable and charming in their own way. Plus, drilled lugs are always welcome in my book.

Both of these watches wear beautifully, and while I don’t think we should be stressing the numbers, if you’re still reading about these two ostensibly boring watches at this point, you won’t mind a quick dip into measurements and their impact on the slight wear differences between them. The 14060 is listed as a 40mm watch, however it measures a bit under that at 39.4mm. Conversely, the Pelagos 39 is listed as, well, 39mm, but it actually measures closer to 40 than the Sub, at 39.6mm. One small detail that I truly love about this Sub is the design of the bezel assembly, which gets a wider toothing at its perimeter than subsequent references. This allows for a slightly narrower bezel insert, which is the last of the aluminum generation here, and alters the visual identity of the watch in a very minor, but noticeable way, appearing a bit flatter overall. 

The bezel of the Pelagos 39 offers the only notable visual flair of the watch thanks to the sunray finish it receives. It’s a detail you notice in nearly any light, and in use I’ve found that it provides a welcome break from the otherwise uniform matte textures found throughout the rest of the watch. The P39 is entirely titanium with a soft brushed texture, even on the lovely chamfer of the lug (which you might consider another bit of visual flair). The 14060 utilizes a steel case and bracelet, and is also brushed throughout save for the case walls, which are polished. Despite the different materials, they feel about the same weight in hand and on wrist with the P39 coming in a touch lighter at 104 g vs the 125g of the Sub (for reference, the 114060 weighs in at 153g).

Going back to case walls for a moment, Tudor is sometimes criticized for its tall case walls which encompass nearly the entire the thickness of the watch. It’s a particularly annoying detail on some of their thicker watches, but with the 12mm thick P39 it’s hardly worth complaining about. That said, holding it next to this Sub highlights the different approaches to the case profile. The 14060 has a much thinner case wall, with more of the thickness held in the belly of a caseback, whereas the Tudor has a near flat caseback. This allows the Sub to nestle into the wrist for a trimmer appearance than its 12.3mm thickness might imply. The biggest difference between the two when it comes to the numbers is their lug to lug distance, which is a fair bit longer on the Rolex at 47.6mm vs the 46.1mm of the Tudor. Of course, neither watch suffers from wearability issues in the slightest, and while they do wear similarly overall, the lightness favors the P39 while the trim fit favors the Sub.

One small takeaway here is for 14060 owners that are looking for something with modern build quality without sacrificing the sensible wearability of a 5 digit Rolex might find a perfect companion in the P39. This is a watch that truly feels like it could have been a modern Submariner in an alternate universe, especially in light of Rolex recently welcoming titanium into its sports watch portfolio via the Sea-Dweller Deepsea Challenge. The Pelagos 39 offers a clear look at how Tudor can position themselves to capture these qualities of neo-vintage Rolex, and it’s while it’s not the first of their watches to do so, this is the clearest parallel I’ve yet to see, and the first to do so while maintaining a truly novel Tudor design language. 

The 14060 offers a glimpse of what some consider the last generation of true tool watches made by Rolex. These days, a tool watch feels more like a genre descriptor that signifies certain design traits than a label meant for watches that are truly used for specific purposes like diving. I’d argue that any watch could be a ‘tool’ watch depending on how it’s used, even modern Rolex references, which are incredibly robust in every sense of the word.

The ‘90s were a strange time for many of us, Rolex included, but it did deliver some of the all-time greats from the brand, like the 16570 Explorer II and the Zenith powered 16520 Daytona (side note: I’d love to see those long stick hour markers return to the Daytona). These watches bridged the gap between tritium and ceramic, and I believe will be looked back upon with great curiosity as outliers in the sometimes awkward transition. 

Both of these watches say something about their brands that resonates with how I enjoy using watches in my day to day life. No fuss, straightforward watches that don’t muddy the water with stuff like helium release valves, date windows, and exhibition casebacks. Just three hands and a chunk of metal. That also means there’s not much artistry here to appreciate, and that’s just fine for middle of my lane watches. Like the Tacoma, it’s not supposed to be beautiful, it’s just supposed to work. And work these two watches do. They are both fabulous in their own right and they represent a look to the past, and to the future of these two brands, but more than anything, a passing of the torch. 

There are arguably plenty of more interesting, and more beautiful watches at these price ranges, but when it comes to a grab and go watch that doesn’t get in the way, can take a bit of a beating, and provide peak practicality and focus, I struggle to think of two better options for my collection than the 14060 and the Pelagos 39.

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Blake is a Wisconsin native who’s spent his professional life covering the people, products, and brands that make the watch world a little more interesting. Blake enjoys the practical elements that watches bring to everyday life, from modern Seiko to vintage Rolex. He is an avid writer and photographer with a penchant for cars, non-fiction literature, and home-built mechanical keyboards.