Even with both Rolex and TAG Heuer’s very different approaches to watchmaking, there are some similarities to be appreciated between to the two brands. Both Rolex and TAG Heuer have prioritized work that reached beyond the watch industry. TAG Heuer’s primary focus has been on the automobile industry, creating iconic models like the Carrera and the Monaco – the latter of which was worn by Steve McQueen in the making of the film Le Mans. Rolex also relies on ambassadors and influential world leaders to stylize its wristwatches, like Tiger Woods, James Cameron and Roger Federer. Here’s a comparison guide highlighting some of the most popular collections by each brand, along with a comparative price guide.
Rolex was founded in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis in London. In 1926 the company launched its first-ever waterproof and dustproof watch made from the famous Oyster case. The first self-winding automatic mechanism with a perpetual rotor was created in 1931, followed by the Datejust model in 1945 and the iconic Submariner in 1953. Since then Rolex has been specializing in the development of world-leading, high-quality mechanical wristwatches, cementing a name for itself within the luxury watch industry.
TAG Heuer Carrera:
Water resistance, unmatched durability, and shock resistance are core values of the Carrera watch by TAG Heuer. Their clean attractive dials have made them an instant hit with sporty individuals as well as motorsport lovers. The dashboard-inspired dial of a Carrera watch is adorned with chronograph dials at 12, 6 and 9 o’clock, along with a tachymeter bezel that can be used in conjunction with the chronograph feature to measure speed based on travel time or distance based on speed.
TAG Heuer Carrera
TAG Heuer Formula 1:
TAG Heuer produce incredibly affordable sporty wristwatches compared to Rolex watches, including the famous Formula 1 models. They boast a classic aesthetic combined with great functionality. They also perform well for their price point. The Caliber 16 powering some of the Formula 1 watches provides a 42-hour power reserve courtesy of 28,800 vibrations per hour. If you’re looking for a sporty timepiece that can also suffice as a dressier watch for formal occasions – the TAG Heuer Formula 1 is for you.
TAG Heuer Formula 1
TAG Heuer Aquaracer:
Compared with the Rolex Submariner, models like the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Automatic 500m model ref: wak2180.ft6027 and the Aquaracer 500m Calibre 72 model ref: cak211a.ft8019 win hands down for water resistance. Aquaracer models, however, are not as collectable or as investible as the Submariner. Aquaracer watches feature a helium escape valve in some models and the collections offers a larger variety of designs compared to the Submariner range. They make for sporty, rugged tools that can be a good option for wearing day-to-day as well as for a spot of scuba diving whilst on vacation.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer
The Rolex Submariner was created before the Aquaracer. It launched in 1953, taking full advantage of Rolex’s Oyster case with a monobloc steel centre and a screw-down crown. The Oyster was the first waterproof and dustproof watch. Today Submariner watches are priced mid-range in the Rolex catalog, featuring Triplock (triple waterproofness technology) built into their crowns and a Cerachrom unidirectional rotating bezels that not only protect the colour of their ceramic inlay from fading, but the structure of the bezel ensures remaining dive time can only be reduced and never extended (an innovative safety tool for diving enthusiasts).
The simple three-handed dial layout of the Rolex Datejust looks similar in aesthetics to some of the classic designs of the TAG Heuer Carrera line. The Datejust was the first mechanical wristwatch to feature a date aperture and is characterized by a cyclops lens. The materials used for the Rolex Datejust are much more sophisticated than the Carrera models, however. The collection is home to a vast array of different coloured dials, cases crafted from gold, steel or a mix of both, and case sizes of 26, 31, 36 and 41mm.
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona:
Like the sporty TAG Heuer Formula 1 and Carrera collections, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona range boasts racing-inspired elements. The design of the Daytona watch has become one of the most highly collectable watches on the market, especially those from the Paul Newman line. The original Paul Newman Daytona watch, worn by the actor himself, sold for 17.75 million USD in 2016 at Phillips Auction House in New York. Other Daytona models will allow you to measure elapsed time on a display that borrows from Rolex’s rich heritage in the motorsport industry – another connection shared by TAG Heuer . Models like the Daytona ref: 116518LN can also measure speeds up to 400 units per hour, displayed in kilometres or miles.
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
The price difference between the TAG Heuer Aquaracer and the Rolex Submariner probably highlights the drastic difference between the two brands the most accurately. The price of the Aquaracer sits at around 2-3000 dollars, whereas the Submariner costs around 8-900 dollars. Top-end Rolex watches can set you back around $30,000 with models like the Day-Date and the Daytona. The most expensive TAG Heuer model is the Monaco, distinguishable by its square case. These wristwatches can sell for around $4,500.
Rolex is the #1 most recognised watch brand in the world whereas TAG Heuer is the 12th most recognised brand. This may not seem like such a large gap, but Rolex’s ranking within the watch industry has led to a huge fan base. The Rolex name adds tremendous value to a watch. Whilst most watches depreciate in value, some are known to hold their value, especially in the case of a Rolex watch. There are few iconic watches in the word that will sell on for as close to retail value as a Rolex. TAG Heuer however, has firmly cemented its name in industries synonymous with their company values. Having created partnerships with sporting models that are globally supported, the TAG Heuer name will always be associated with motorsport fans and sporty individuals.