Omega and Rolex are two of the most recognized watch brands in the entire world. But if you are still yet to invest in one, you may be asking yourself the question “Which is best, Omega or Rolex?”. It’s a pretty tough question to answer since there are so many advantages to owning either. Both have a huge presence in the watch market and both are heavily collected on the preowned market too. Popular models like the Seamaster 300 from Omega and the Rolex Submariner are steel diver’s watches that have a huge cult-like following amongst elite circles of watch connoisseurs. Collectables like these generally increase in value making them a solid investment.
Omega is the oldest brand of the two. It was founded by a 23-year-old watchmaker, Louis Brandt in the mid-1800s. In 1948 the brand celebrated its 100th anniversary with the Seamaster collection – the brand’s most popular and widely recognized collection. Omega also created the first watch to land on the moon – the famous Speedmaster Professional watch – another investment-worthy timepiece. Omega equips many of its wristwatches with the Co-Axial escapement movement which guarantees all-round better mechanical efficiency than a standard automatic movement.
Rolex, on the other hand, was born in 1905, founded by Hans Wilsdorf, who later set up a more affordable brand called Tudor. In 1910 Rolex became the world’s first brand to receive a Swiss Certificate of chronometric precision. It also created the world’s first waterproof automatic wristwatch and specialized thereafter in creating timepieces of exceptional quality, both in design, mechanical and material development.
As mentioned earlier, the Rolex Submariner is one of the world’s most popular diver’s watches which also became a blueprint for many diver’s models to follow. The watch, created in 1953, takes full advantage of the iconic Oyster case, promising unprecedented waterproofness of 300 meters, thanks to several patented features like its screwed-down crown (and Triplock triple waterproofness system) and monobloc middle case.
Case/Dial: 40mm Steel, Black
Movement: 3130, Self-winding
Functions: Hours, Minutes, Seconds, 48h power reserve
The Cosmograph Daytona is Rolex’s legendary racing watch. Its desirable chronograph design has a fearsome waiting list for vintage models in the preowned market - the Paul Newman Daytona being one of the most expensive timepieces in the world. The Daytona has a functional tachymeter scale, three chronograph counters and is available in yellow gold, steel, and bi-color versions.
Case/Dial: 40mm Steel, White
Movement: 4130, Manufacture Rolex, Self-winding
Functions: Centre hour, minute and seconds hands, small seconds hand at 6 o'clock. Chronograph (centre hand) accurate to within 1/8 of a second, 30-minute counter at 3 o'clock and 12-hour counter at 9 o'clock. Stop seconds for precise time setting, 72h power reserve
Strap: Oyster Steel
The Datejust collection offers a wide choice when it comes to design and style with hundreds of variations to choose from. Originally developed in 1945, the case sizes vary from 28, 31, 36 and 41mm diameters. There are diamond-set Datejust watches, colorful dials, and cases crafted from yellow gold, white gold and Rolesor (half-and-half). The dress watch became the first automatic waterproof watch ever made to display a date function.
Case/Dial: 41mm Steel, Dark rhodium
Waterproof to 100 metres / 330 feet
Movement: 31, Self-winding
Functions: Centre hour, minute and seconds hands. Instantaneous date with rapid setting. Stop-seconds for precise time setting, 70h power reserve
Strap: Oystersteel Jubilee, five-piece links
Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch:
When Buzz Aldrin wore a Speedmaster Professional Chronograph on the first lunar landing in 1969 it created history. Since then the watch has been worn for every one of NASA’s piloted missions and is valued for its precision, its reliability and its durability. Nicknamed the Moonwatch, the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch is slightly different from the original models, since it now features a moon phase complication in addition to its chronograph features. The watch has been growing in popularity in the new and preowned market ever since.
Case/Dial: 42mm Steel, Black
3 bar (30 metres / 98 feet)
Movement: 1861, Self-winding
Functions: Chronograph, Tachymeter, 48h power reserve
The Omega Constellation was designed in 1952, marking the 100th anniversary of the La Choux de Fonds manufacturer. The range covers models for men and women and features the iconic “Griffes” or “claws” situated on either side of the case. The Constellation Globetrotter boasts a fluted bezel, adding to its distinguishable and highly desirable look. These models make for the perfect dress watch for the fashion-conscious lady or gent.
Case/Dial: 38mm Red Gold, Stainless Steel, Silver
Movement: 8602, Self-winding
Functions: Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Date, Day, 55h power reserve
Omega Seamaster Diver 300M:
The Seamaster Diver 300M belongs to Omega’s larger Seamaster collection. The newer watches cram 25 years of watchmaking expertise into their design, honoring the original model which launched in 1993. Not only is it the watch of choice for Agent 007 in all the new James Bond movies but it also features an innovative gas release valve to meet the needs of saturation divers and a high-performance engine at its heart – the Master Chronometer Calibre 8800.
Case/Dial: 42mm Ceramic, Stainless Steel, White
3 bar (30 metres / 98 feet)
Movement: 8800, Self-winding
Functions: Date, Calendar, 55h power reserve
One thing to consider before investing in a Rolex or an Omega watch is what its resale value will be should you which to re-sell it, as well as how much money you are prepared to part with, to begin with. It all depends on whether you’re looking to buy from the new or second-hand market. Generally speaking, the cheapest Rolex watches are double the price list of Omega’s most affordable watches, but each manufacturer has its unique qualities to offer a wearer. The choice, however, often comes down to style.
Omega watches, on the whole, are expensive, but not as expensive as Rolex watches. The retail price of an Omega Seamaster 300M comes in at around 4,500 USD. The Omega Aqua Terra GMT stainless steel costs around a thousand dollars more. Speedmaster watches generally retail for anything around 8000 USD to 20,000 USD (the latter of which reflects the price of the Speedmaster Moonwatch Snoopy for example - a steel limited edition watch of just 1,970 pieces worldwide. Gold Constellation watches from Omega can cost up to $44,000 and a platinum skeletonized Tourbillon watch from the De Ville collection can set you back around 354,000 USD. The James Bond classic – the Seamaster - is probably the most investible and highly-collected Omega watch. Resale wise – the models from the Seamaster 300 generally appreciate, in particular the discontinued quartz models.
Rolex watches are equally as pricey. The lower end of their price range includes models like the Oyster Perpetual, the Air-King and the Explorer which can cost anywhere between 5000 and 7000 USD. The Rolex Submariner watches belong in the brand’s mid-range price bracket, costing around 9000 USD. The top end of the collections includes the Sea-Dweller which costs around 17,000 USD and the Day-Date models which you can expect to pay around the 30,000 dollar mark for. The Submariner, however, is probably the safest bet when it comes to an investment. Its price is generally destined to increase in the pre-owned market, plus it’s the most recognizable model of Rolex’s entire catalog.
Although Omega made the first watch to the moon, Rolex specialized in perfecting their legendary diver’s watches and created other iconic models like the Daytona. Both brands produce accurate, stylish watches. The debate between Rolex and Omega could go on forever. Choosing between the two is really about style vs functionality, and whether you are looking at a watch for investment purposes or as a collector’s item to enjoy on a personal level.