In the world of fine watches, Rolex has, for the longest time, been regarded as the gold standard for great watches. And it’s true. Rolex watches are magnificent Swiss watches, and investing in one could be the best thing you ever do.
But as you know now, Rolex is not the only Swiss watch that will turn heads.
Omega watches are exceptional, too; which means that you have to look at more than the brand names to decide which of these two timepiece brands best suits your style and preferences. If you watched Casino Royale, you must remember the familiar, but stinging rebuke made towards Rolex watches by Daniel Craig when he’s casually asked if he’s sporting Rolex (007’s signature watch) to which he answers Omega.
Without going deep into such scenes, you can already picture other situations where Rolex and Omega fans clash.
What these hurtless rivalries between leading brands of watches tell us is that if you are interested in buying either brand, you have to be aware of their rankings, as well as the factors that contribute to the ranking and value of the two watch brands. Note, however, that despite the obvious rivalries, Rolex still takes the number one spot as the best of the two Swiss watches.
In this article, we’ll analyze these two brands at length to see if Rolex really is the industry leader, and if there are cases where Omega is the better brand. With the two brands having a similar brand strategy to its potential buyers, we’ll look at the areas in which these two brands bear similarities (if any) and how they differ from each other.
To start us off in this comparison, we’ll first take a look at the history behind each brand.
How much do you really know about Rolex or even Omega?
Here’s an interesting bit of information you may not know – there isn’t any manufacturer known to hold a Rolex patent, in history.
And contrary to popular beliefs, the inventions for water-resistant watches or automatic watch mechanisms were not made by Rolex! Rolex does, however, hold a number of other design patents.
So, what the actual truth about Rolex?
Well, Rolex, the manufacturer, played a significant role in the development and design of the watch’s automatic mechanism since it developed the fully rotatable rotor system, in contrast to the older bumper mechanism, which featured an interrupted circulation system for the flywheel, invented by John Harwood.
Then there’s the development of the water-resistant design for the watch. This design development transpired on different levels.
At the time of the development of Rolex’s initial designs, there already existed various viable solutions to deal with the waterproofing problems faced at the time.
In 1926, there was the invention of the screw-down crown, a step that tool the watch industry years ahead of innovation.
Around that time, there was the infamous swim by renowned star Mercedes Gleitze during which she wore her Rolex Oyster around her neck. Her experience demonstrated empirically that the water-resistant state of the Rolex timepiece.
Therefore, even with some developments and designs not being a 100% Rolex invention, we can still note that Rolex played a critical role in the design of water-resistant watches.
Their success in the design of a water-resistant and swim-friendly timepiece in the early 20th Century, however, points that the company was involved in the design and manufacture of water-resistant watches.
Rolex’s biggest competitor is Omega. Even though Omega is known to hold much fewer patents than Rolex, Omega is still ranked as one of the brands of historical significance.
One of the biggest historical events recorded by Omega is the Omega Speedmaster Professional made by Buzz Aldrin. This Omega watch was the first watch to ever make it to the moon, alongside Rolex and Blancpain, among other brands. As a result of this historical success, Omega is regarded as one of the standard dive watches.
What you might not know is that long before Omega became one of the reputable watch brands on the market, the brand made a milestone move by coming up with the first watch that featured a minute repeater.
As early as the 1960s, Omega was a revered brand known for the quality of its timepieces, as well as the brand that benchmarked the manufacture of the highest-quality wearable watches; alongside Rolex.
Looking at the histories between these two brands, it’s clear that these are two massive brands that put innovation on top of their designs to ensure that their customers have the very best products.
If there’s one thing that Rolex is known for, it’s the classic design of their model. People who buy Rolex buy the classic and timeless design of the watch. But this is not the only thing people look at when buying a Rolex watch.
Even as the brand capitalizes on the classic and nostalgic designs, Rolex has an aggressive R&D team that is constantly looking for new product features to incorporate into the watch; whether it’s the dial system or the automatic mechanism, these guys are always working on ways of making that classic timepiece better.
While Rolex watches all look the same, in a way, their watches still stand out. Some of the biggest product lines by Rolex include the GMT-Master, and Date Just, among others.
Note that Rolex watches go not go beyond the 40mm mark.
Omega watches, unlike Rolex, watches go beyond the 40mm mark. And looking at the progress made in the designs of Omega watches, it’s clear that Omega is more progress-oriented than Rolex.
For example, Omega was the first watch brand of the 20th century to develop a watch with a co-axial escarpment to be used commercially. The Master Co-Axial 15.000 Gauss Movement is an invention by Omega, even though it’s largely associated with Rolex.
When buying a high-end watch like this Rolex or Omega, you are making a huge investment, and you need to make sure that your investment is protected. Both brands offer impressive warranty terms.
While most luxury watch brands offer 2-year warranties for their products, Omega and Rolex have taken things up a notch; perhaps as a show of the trust, they have in their products. Omega watches come with a 4-years’ warranty while Rolex watches have 5-year warranties.
Note that the Rolex sports watch models are regarded as the most valuable watches, and their value is also quite stable. The high value comes from the resilience against elements and the reliability of the watch. The 5-year warranty further enhances the value of the Rolex watches.
Obviously, Rolex watches are the most expensive luxury watches on the market. Wondering just how expensive these watches are? Well, one of the cheapest Rolex watches costs almost double the cost of an Omega watch.
The interesting bit, however, is that Rolex still holds the biggest chunk of the luxury watches market, despite the high product cost. So, if you are looking for an affordable luxury watch, you may have to settle on an Omega watch.
But before you buy Rolex or Omega, look at the features of the watch to see how best one watch fits your needs better than the other.
For example, the high cost of Rolex watches comes from the fact that anomalies are rarely reported where these watches are involved, and there are no production inconsistencies wit this brand. The quality of the PVD-coated bezel or fold clasps with solid ceramic inlays is unmatched.
Besides longevity, you also need to take into consideration how often the watch will require maintenance.
Omega watches, for example, are quite durable and don’t require too many trips to the maintenance guys thanks to their co-axial movement mechanism.
All you need is a special lubrication oil to keep the watch in perfect shape. Also, its 15,000 Gauss movement is a big win, which makes buying an Omega watch a smart move.
Like any other investment, you need to be aware of a luxury watch’s resale value before you buy it. You should know how much you will get for the watch if you choose to sell it later.
Rolex watches have a higher resale value than Omega watches. In fact, Rolex watches and products with the Rolex name have the highest resale value in worldwide. Omega watches have an average resale value, but nothing close to Rolex’s value.
Both Omega and Rolex are known for their superior quality water-resistant watches. Omega watches boast a higher level of water-resistance than Rolex with their top-rated Seamaster ProProf 1200M watch, which is resistant to water to a depth of 1200meters (4000 ft).
They also have other great diver watches, which include the Seamaster Planet Ocean and the Omega Seamaster Professional Diver which is water-resistant to a depth of 300M. All these watches also feature a helium-release valve. And Rolex is not left behind either as it boasts watches with a higher degree of water resistance than Omega.
Rolex has gone the extra mile (and then some) with its 2.7km/ 3,900m/ 12,800ft water-resistant Rolex Deepsea series. Obviously, this is a numbing blow that can easily get an Omega watch out of the water.
Looking at the water-resistant qualities of these two watches, and the fact that divers need watches with a minimum water-resistance depth of 1650ft, the Rolex Deepsea watch is definitely, the perfect divers’ watch thanks to its water-resistance depth of 12,800ft. Omega Seamaster ProProf has a water resistance of 1200M/ 4000ft.
While both brands are known to feature the best mechanical systems in luxury Swiss watches, they are also known for the precision of their watches. Omega and Rolex adhere to the highest standards of watchmaking, and they are known to launch products only after they’re sure of the quality and accuracy of the timepieces.
So, just how accurate are these watches?
Well, to determine the accuracy of the watches, we looked at the certifications received by the brands. Both Rolex and Omega have been certified to hold a COSC certification.
This is a certification prepared by an independent testing lab. COSC or ContrôleOfficiel Suisse des Chronomètres’ is a certification that has been earned by the brands for the high degree of accuracy of their chronometer.
Omega and Rolex create their watches using next-gen chronometer designations, hence the high degree of precision for their watches. Note, however, that despite the COSC certifications earned by the two brands, Omega comes on top of Rolex in the accuracy contest.
Omega not only manufacturers the best of mechanical luxury watches, but this brand also makes quartz watches, and as we are all aware, Quartz watches are more accurate than mechanical watches. Rolex stopped making quartz watches.
You probably know what EMF is, unless you have been living under some rock. EMF or electromagnetic Frequency refers to the electromagnetic frequency that is emitted by an electronic device. Every electronic device emits an EMF. But how do watches come in? Well, the EMF emitted by the different electronic devices all around us affects watches, which is why your watch might lose its accuracy after some time.
In fact, you lose some seconds from your watch, every day. Though there is nothing that can be done about EMF, watchmakers struggle with these forces and frequencies since they need to make sure that their watches are accurate, even as the watches fight back.
To enhance the accuracy of their watches, both Omega and Rolex make watches with antimagnetic properties.
Rolex’ Milgauss has a magnetic resistance of up to 1000 Gauss, while Omega watches feature the Master Chronometer or the Master Co-Axial Chronometer designation.
The watches with this designation have been tested and then certified by METAS, and their antimagnetic exposure is as high as 15000 Gausses. Therefore, the Omega watches are 15X more magnetic resistant than the Rolex watches.
Are there similarities between Omega and Rolex watches?
Yes. Below is a list of the shared features of Rolex and Omega watches:
- Both Rolex and Omega are Swiss luxury brands of watches
- They share a rich history in the watchmaking world
- Rolex and Omega hold COSC Certifications, and they still go through tests
- 007 has worn Rolex and Omega watches
- Both brands are known for their historical horological innovations
- Their watches are among the most accurate luxury mechanical watches
- Omega and Rolex fight electromagnetic interference in their innovations.
Many of the features highlighted above show that Rolex is the superior brand.
However, if you are looking for an affordable luxury watch with a higher degree of accuracy and fewer maintenance calls to the dealer, not to mention a higher degree of anti-magnetism, then Omega is a good option.