Written By: Vahid Moradi
Competition in the luxury timepiece market is fierce, and watchmakers consistently strive to develop innovative, alluring products that outdo the competition.
Omega and Rolex are two of the leading companies in this sphere. Their prolific designs and cutting-edge technology make the two brands ardent rivals constantly fighting for consumer favor.
Both brands offer absolutely opulent options, but in the battle of Omega vs Rolex, who is the real winner? In the end, it’s a matter of opinion—but if you’re the one forming that opinion, it helps to know the facts about both sides.
Take the time to read on if you want the full scoop on how the mechanics, materials, and aesthetics of these two powerhouse brands stack up against each other.
Omega and Rolex: A Longstanding Rivalry that Drives Innovation
Both Omega and Rolex have long been touted as revolutionizers of wristwatch technology. When you purchase from either watch brand, you’re not only gaining a sensational timepiece, but a guarantee from a company with well over a century of experience in the field:
- Rolex – Rolex first opened its doors as a small-time London timepiece distributor in 1905. It began producing its first products around 1920. The watch brand quickly rose to prominence when a Rolex Oyster Perpetual, the world’s first waterproof watch, traveled across the English Channel on a swimmer’s wrist and was still ticking on the other side.1
- Omega – When Rolex first set up shop, its competitor Omega was already over 50 years old. So where are Omega watches made? Omega was founded in the tiny Swiss village of Le Chaux-de-Fonds in 1848 and continues to make its watches in Switzerland. Of the many innovations in its history, being the first brand to develop a wristwatch that ticked off the exact minute is a major early accomplishment for Omega.2
With both brands having had generations of artistic and mechanically gifted minds to develop their products, it’s no wonder they offer top-of-the-line timepieces. But what sets these two brands apart from the rest of the industry, and each other? Let’s compare.
Omega vs Rolex: Leaders in Quality Components
Both Omega and Rolex are leaders in mechanical watch design, functionality, and component durability. While they both produce some of the highest-quality timepieces available, each company takes different approaches in doing so.
The most crucial component of a watch is the escapement. Escapements are both the hearts and nervous systems of timepieces. They regulate the energy supplied by the gears and send impulses that keep the hands turning at the right speed.3
In fact, it’s the escapement that separates modern mechanical clocks from their predecessors, and still defines them to this day.4 Thus, any discussion of a mechanical watch’s components starts here (much like the inertia that keeps clocks ticking).
Omega: Originators of Co-Axial Design
There were already copious blueprints for the creation of escapements when Omega introduced their co-axial design in 1999. Yet, the company found that all of them caused undue wear and tear on the timepiece’s other components.
Engineers sought to create an escapement that imparted minimal friction onto the gears and required less lubrication. The resulting co-axial design uses pins to feed impulses laterally to gears, rather than grinding two surfaces against one another. The benefits of this style include longer-lasting components, less need for maintenance, and smoother operation—which is why every Omega watch now utilizes the technology including both men’s omega watches and women’s omega watches.5
Rolex: Revolutionizers of the Swiss Lever
Rolex is no sleeper in the escapement department either, however. While the brand opts for the more standard Swiss lever design, they’ve formulated their own state-of-the-art style dubbed Chronenergy.
Chronenergy escapements are made from an extremely lightweight and durable nickel alloy. Their minimalistic design reduces the weight and inertia of the escape wheel, meaning less physical wear on other parts of the watch. This state-of-the-art technology is about as new as it comes in the watch industry, having been implemented across Rolex’s line in 2018.6
The Component Conclusion
In the melee of mechanics, Rolex and Omega bring varied (but matched) arsenals into battle. Both brands employ exceptionally durable and reliable pieces in the production of their watches and can be counted on to tick long into the future.
When it comes to timepieces, however, looks matter just as much as what’s on the inside. For that reason, it’s key to consider the aesthetics of your potential purchase before taking the plunge.
Omega and Rolex: Two Trailblazers of Timepiece Design
Omega and Rolex craft some of the most recognizable, enviable watches on the market. Both brands are lauded for their suave styles and range of sleek designs. With many elegant models to choose from, there’s plenty to desire from each company’s collection.
Still, both watchmakers imbue their products with their own characteristic panache. Breaking down each brand’s most notable timepiece gives an idea of the unique aesthetic assets that these two titans bring to the table.
The Striking Submariner
Perhaps the most well-known luxury watch on the planet, there’s little praise to give Rolex Submariner that it hasn’t already received. Perhaps its greatest commendation, however, is being the Sean Connery-era James Bond’s watch of choice.7
While a standard (if it’s possible to call a Rolex standard) Rolex Submariner doesn’t feature James Bond’s infamous gadgets, it’s highly-regarded for its exceptional:
Materials – Rolex uses high-quality platinum 18-carat gold and their own in-house alloy dubbed Oystersteel in the production of their watches. Alongside these durable materials, they’ve developed their own secretive powdercoating and shining processes to maximize the sheen and scratch resistance of their products.8
- Design – The Submariner features a classic round-faced design with a pronounced ceramic bezel. This Rolex watch is always presented on a metal bracelet that stays true to the classic style first put out in 1953.9
- Embellishments – From the simpler to the increasingly sensational, Submariners come fitted with an assortment of jewels and gems. Rolex painstakingly selects and sets their precious stones to suit the piece’s aesthetics and create increasingly dignified designs.8
The Sumptuous Speedmaster
If arch nemeses exist in the watch world, the Speedmaster is the men's Omega watch to rival the Submariner. When it comes to notoriety, the Omega Speedmaster certainly gives popular Rolex watches a run for their money. While the Submariner may revel in silver screen success, the Speedmaster is NASA’s choice for its astronauts to keep perfect time during missions.9
Omega’s signature model features outstanding:
Materials – Omega experiments with various metals including gold, titanium, and aluminum in the creation of its patented alloys. The brand also protects its delicate faces under high-grade, lab-synthesized crystal that maximizes translucence and is virtually unscratchable.10
- Design – The Omega Speedmaster has a wide, circular face accented by three bold crowns on the side. These knobs are your key to adjusting the numerous instruments that define the design, including a tachymeter and chronograph. Unlike its Submariner counterpart, the Speedmaster comes with a range of potential bands out of the box.
- Embellishments – Speedmasters are not only adorned with a multiplicity of stunning gemstones, but they also come in some superbly unique special editions. Omega’s partnership with NASA gave birth to the Silver Snoopy Award Speedmaster. The one-of-a-kind model celebrates the organization’s stellar exploration with a dazzling lunar graphic on the inverse of the case.
Omega and Rolex: Often Imitated, Never Duplicated
Whether you relish the refined, regal radiance of a Rolex watch or your heart’s overtaken by the opulence of Omega, there’s no arguing against either brand being paragons in the field of watchmaking. They’re so revered, in fact, that admirers of these two industry leaders often get a little too inspired by their brilliant designs.
Luxury watches are persistently the most-seized counterfeit items in America, and plenty that police don’t find are making their way into stores.11 On top of this, Rolex and Omega are two of the top imitated brands on the market.12
The impetus to mirror these two innovators’ every move speaks to the influence and popularity of their style—lesser brands don’t have quite the same issues with copycats.
It also speaks to the sheer volume of fakes floating around and how easily one can be duped into buying something inauthentic. If you’re considering buying a watch from either of these stellar brands, always be sure to stick to a trusted dealer.
Consult CJ Charles to Procure Your Premium Timepiece
A luxury watch is an important purchase that shouldn’t be trusted to any run-of-the-mill shop. Luckily, CJ Charles is anything but your everyday watch vendor.
With over 35 years in the business, CJ Charles knows high-end timepieces inside and out. Our exclusive collection features only pristine and authentic pieces. Each has been meticulously analyzed by our experienced technicians before being certified for sale. Not only that, but if you are ever in need of Omega watch repair or are wondering about the Rolex repair cost, we are here to help.
If you’re trying to awaken your inner Bond and want an astonishing Submariner to suit your suave style, we have a wealth of pre-owned Rolex watches waiting to call your wrist home. Our exceptionally elegant pieces are 100% genuine and 100% dazzling.
Or, perhaps you’re an avid stargazer and want to don the same timepiece that Buzz Aldrin took on the first moonwalk.13 In that case, Houston, we don’t have a problem. Instead, we have an extensive men’s and women’s Omega watch collection with a myriad of stupendous Speedmasters at your disposal.
Whether you’re after ravishing a Rolex or opting for an Omega, CJ Charles is your go-to dealer for pristine, premium timepieces that are just as much works of art as they are watches.
Written By: Vahid Moradi
Vahid Moradi’s lifelong passion, dedication, and commitment for the jewelry industry led him to become the respected owner of CJ Charles Jewelers in 1988. From that moment, Moradi’s single focus in business was to become recognized as the pinnacle of value and world-class quality in the his Community. Over 34 years later, CJ Charles continues to grow and thrive as a successful, family-owned business that consistently provides exceptional service to all their clientele.
- Rolex. 1926-1945: Milestones in Watchmaking. https://www.rolex.com/
- Omega. 1848 The FIrst Workshop. https://www.omegawatches.com/
- Google Patents. Watches, clocks and chronometers and escapements therefor.https://patents.google.com/
- University of Houston. First Clocks. https://www.uh.edu/
- Forbes. The Power Of Co-Axial: How Omega Watches Use Technology To Strengthen The Brand. https://www.forbes.com/
- Rolex. The Escapement. https://newsroom-content.rolex.com/
- GQ.How Sean Connery Turned a Regular Rolex Into “The Bond”. https://www.gq.com/
- Rolex. Materials. https://www.rolex.com/
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronographs. https://www.hq.nasa.gov/
- Omega. Materials. https://www.omegawatches.com/
- United States Customs and Border Protection. 48 Hours, 460 Counterfeit Rolex Watches, $10.1 Million. https://www.cbp.gov/
- Chronocentric. Fake and Counterfeit Watches.https://www.chronocentric.com/
- Omega. Starmen. https://www.omegawatches.com/
- Rolex. Submariner. https://www.rolex.com/