In the illustrious realm of haute horology, the perennial debate between Rolex and Omega ignites a passionate debate that extends beyond timekeeping. These two titans of the watchmaking world, each with a storied heritage and a legion of devoted admirers, have become synonymous with precision, craftsmanship, and an unwavering commitment to horological excellence. Within this article we explore the heart of this timeless clash, considering the distinctive attributes, iconic designs, and unrivalled legacies that have come to define the Rolex vs Omega rivalry. It is little wonder that second hand Omega and Rolex watches are as equally in demand as brand new purchases.

At the epicentre of this horological showdown lies the clash of philosophies and the convergence of iconic timepieces. Rolex, with its legendary status and understated opulence, faces off against Omega, a brand that has etched its mark on history with groundbreaking innovations and a close association with space exploration.

A Battle Between The Gods

As Omega and Rolex offer such a huge range of watches, it's only fair to wager a battle between two models, one from each brand. Let's select the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch and the Rolex Submariner as the contenders for this horological showdown.

rolex and omega watches

Omega Speedmaster Professional (left) and Rolex Submariner (right)

Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch

The Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch is synonymous with space exploration. Having earned its place on the wrists of NASA astronauts during the Apollo missions, including the historic Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969, this iconic chronograph is a testament to Omega's precision and durability. With its distinct black dial, tachymeter bezel, and legendary manual-winding movement, the Speedmaster Professional stands as a timeless emblem of human achievement and ingenuity.

Distinctive Features

Manual-Winding Movement

The Speedmaster Professional is powered by Omega's manual-winding mechanical movement. This traditional movement is known for its reliability and precision, requiring regular winding to keep accurate time.

Chronograph Functionality

The watch features a chronograph function, allowing users to measure elapsed time with precision. The chronograph pushers and subdials add both functionality and a classic aesthetic to the watch.

Tachymeter Bezel

One of the defining features of the Speedmaster is its tachymeter bezel, which allows users to measure speed based on time and distance. This feature has practical applications in racing and various other activities.

Iconic Design

The Speedmaster Professional has an iconic design, with a black dial, white hour markers, and hands. The watch's distinct appearance is instantly recognisable and has become a symbol of space exploration.

Hesalite Crystal

The watch is equipped with a hesalite crystal, a type of acrylic that was chosen for its shatterproof qualities during space missions. This crystal adds to the vintage charm of the Moonwatch.

Solid Case Back

The case back of the Moonwatch typically features the iconic Seahorse emblem, the Speedmaster's logo, and engravings commemorating its association with NASA and the moon landings. The Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch is not only a symbol of horological excellence but also a historic timepiece with a unique connection to human space exploration.

Legacy Status

The Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch is famous for being the first watch worn on the moon. Its historic association with NASA's Apollo missions, particularly the Apollo 11 mission that landed humans on the moon for the first time in 1969, has elevated the Speedmaster to iconic status. Here are the key aspects that contribute to its fame:

Apollo 11 Mission

On July 20, 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong wore the Omega Speedmaster Professional when he became the first person to set foot on the lunar surface during the Apollo 11 mission. Buzz Aldrin, the second person to walk on the moon, also had a Speedmaster on his wrist.

NASA Approval

The Speedmaster went through rigorous testing by NASA and was officially certified for space travel. Its reliability and performance in extreme conditions, including vacuum, high and low temperatures, and zero gravity, contributed to its selection as the official watch for astronauts.  The Speedmaster's manual-winding chronograph function was also crucial during spacewalks, allowing astronauts to measure elapsed time accurately. This functionality played a significant role in mission success.

Moonwatch Legacy

The Speedmaster Professional earned its "Moonwatch" moniker by being the first watch worn on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. It has since been worn by astronauts during six lunar landings and its integral role in the success of space missions make it one of the most famous watches in history..

Iconic Design 

The Speedmaster's timeless and distinctive design, featuring a black dial, white hands and hour markers, and a tachymeter bezel, has become instantly recognisable. Its aesthetic appeal, coupled with its historical significance, contributes to its enduring fame. The Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch is not just a timekeeping instrument; it's a symbol of human achievement and exploration, forever etched into the annals of space history.

omega watches

The Omega Speedmaster Professional 

Rolex Submariner

Dive into the depths of horological excellence with the Rolex Submariner, an undisputed icon in the world of diving watches. Launched in 1953, the Submariner set the standard for underwater timekeeping and quickly became the go-to choice for professional divers and watch enthusiasts alike. Known for its robust design, iconic rotating bezel, and the signature Mercedes hands, the Submariner is a symbol of Rolex's commitment to functionality and style. From the boardroom to the ocean's depths, the Submariner continues to define the pinnacle of luxury dive watches.

Distinctive Features

The Rolex Submariner is an iconic dive watch that has become a symbol of luxury and adventure. Here are some of its distinctive features:

Water Resistance

The Submariner is renowned for its exceptional water resistance, originally designed for professional divers. Modern Submariner models can withstand depths of up to 300 meters (1,000 feet).

Rotating Bezel

The unidirectional rotating bezel with a graduated scale allows divers to track elapsed time underwater. This feature is crucial for calculating dive times and ensuring safety during underwater activities.

Oyster Case

The Submariner features Rolex's signature Oyster case, known for its robustness and hermetic sealing. The case provides protection against water, dust, and pressure, contributing to the watch's durability.

Cerachrom Bezel Insert

In recent models, Rolex introduced the Cerachrom ceramic bezel insert, known for its scratch resistance and resistance to fading caused by exposure to UV rays. The insert typically features engraved numerals and markings.

Triplock Crown Seal

The Submariner is equipped with a triplock winding crown, featuring a triple-sealed system that enhances water resistance. This design ensures that the crown is securely screwed down, preventing water ingress.

Helium Escape Valve

In some Submariner models, particularly those designed for professional saturation divers, a helium escape valve is included. This feature allows helium gas to escape during decompression, preventing damage to the watch.

Mercedes Hands and Cyclops Lens

The Submariner typically features the iconic Mercedes hands and a date window with a Cyclops lens for magnification. This design enhances readability and is a hallmark of Rolex's aesthetic.

Oyster Bracelet

The Submariner is often paired with the Oyster bracelet, known for its robust construction and comfort. Some models feature the Glidelock extension system, allowing for easy adjustment of the bracelet length without using tools.

Superlative Chronometer Certification

Rolex Submariner watches are powered by automatic movements that have been certified as Superlative Chronometers. This certification ensures precision within strict accuracy standards.

Classic Design

The Submariner's overall design, with its clean lines, luminous markers, and iconic Rolex crown logo, is instantly recognisable. The watch's aesthetic has remained true to its heritage, making it a timeless and enduring classic. These distinctive features collectively contribute to the Submariner's reputation as a high-performance dive watch and a symbol of Rolex's commitment to excellence.

Legacy Status

The Rolex Submariner is famous for several reasons, solidifying its status as an iconic and highly sought-after timepiece. Here are some key aspects that contribute to the Submariner's fame:

Dive Watch Pioneering

Launched in 1953, the Submariner was one of the first commercially available dive watches. It played a pivotal role in establishing the blueprint for modern dive watches, setting industry standards for water resistance and functionality. The Submariner's robust construction and exceptional water resistance (initially 100 meters, now 300 meters) made it a favourite among professional divers. Its reliability and performance contributed to its association with exploration and underwater adventures.

James Bond

The Submariner gained significant cultural prominence through its association with the fictional British spy James Bond. In several Bond films, the character has been portrayed wearing a Submariner, solidifying its reputation as a watch synonymous with sophistication and action.

Distinctive Design

The Submariner's timeless and versatile design, characterised by its rotating bezel, luminous markers, Mercedes hands, and iconic oyster case, has made it instantly recognisable. The classic aesthetics have contributed to its enduring popularity.

Rolex Craftsmanship and Heritage

Known for its precision and craftsmanship, Rolex has maintained a commitment to quality throughout the Submariner's history. The watch embodies Rolex's reputation for producing reliable and enduring timepieces.

Cultural Symbol of Success

The Submariner has become a symbol of luxury and success. Its association with achievement, durability, and refined design has led to its status as a prestigious accessory.

Collectibility and Investment Value

Certain vintage and rare Submariner models have become highly collectable and sought after by watch enthusiasts and collectors. The Submariner's reputation for retaining and increasing in value over time adds to its allure as an investment piece.

Endurance and Reliability

The Submariner is renowned for its durability and ability to withstand the rigours of various environments. Its reputation for endurance, coupled with regular updates and improvements, has contributed to its longevity in the market.

Continued Innovation

Rolex has consistently updated the Submariner, introducing technological advancements while preserving its core design. The incorporation of features like the Cerachrom ceramic bezel and improvements to movements showcase Rolex's commitment to innovation. The Rolex Submariner's fame is multifaceted, blending historical significance, iconic design, and cultural resonance. Its enduring popularity reflects its ability to go above trends and maintain its status as a symbol of excellence in the world of luxury watches.

rolex watches

The Rolex Submariner (left) and The Rolex Perpetual Datejust (right)

Price Comparison: New & Pre-owned

Comparing the price points of new and old Rolex Submariner and Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch models can create uncertainty, as prices can vary based on factors like condition, rarity, and the presence of certain features. Additionally, market conditions and trends can influence the values of these watches. However, let's look at a general overview of the price ranges for new and vintage models:

Rolex Submariner

New Models

The retail price for a new Rolex Submariner typically starts around £6,500 for stainless steel models without additional complications. Prices can increase significantly for models with precious metals or special features.

Vintage Models

Vintage Rolex Submariners can vary widely in price based on factors such as the year of production, condition, and specific features. Some vintage models from the 1960s and 1970s can command prices ranging from £16,000 to well over £100,000, particularly if they are rare or feature unique characteristics.

Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch

New Models

The retail price for a new Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch with a stainless steel case and hesalite crystal starts at around £4,100. Prices can be higher for models with sapphire crystals or other variations.

Vintage Models

Vintage Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatches, particularly those from the 1960s and 1970s, can vary in price based on factors like condition, originality, and historical significance. Prices for vintage models typically start around £2,500 to £3,800 and can go up significantly for rare or limited editions.

Moreover, these are general price ranges, and specific models or variations may fall outside these estimates. Additionally, the pre-owned market can offer opportunities to purchase these watches at different price points based on their characteristics and conditions.

vintage omega watch

A Vintage Omega Watch 

A Mortal Offering 

Both the Rolex Submariner and the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch are iconic timepieces with strong investment potential, distinctive designs, and solid build quality. Here's a summary of each watch's strengths from an investment, design, and build perspective:

Rolex Submariner

  • Investment: Rolex watches, including the Submariner, are renowned for their ability to retain and often increase in value over time. The brand's strong market demand, limited production, and consistent quality contribute to its desirability among collectors.
  • Design: The Submariner's design is classic, versatile, and instantly recognisable. Its enduring aesthetic appeal and timeless features make it a sought-after accessory in various settings.
  • Build Quality: Rolex is synonymous with exceptional craftsmanship and robust build quality. The Submariner's durable construction, water resistance, and precision movements contribute to its reputation as a reliable and enduring timepiece.

Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch

  • Investment: The Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch holds its own in terms of investment potential, especially considering its historic significance as the first watch worn on the moon. Certain vintage models and limited editions can appreciate in value.
  • Design: The Moonwatch's design is iconic and carries a unique historical narrative. Its connection to space exploration adds an extra layer of appeal to its aesthetics, making it a distinctive and conversation-worthy timepiece.
  • Build Quality: Omega, a brand with a long history of watchmaking excellence, ensures that the Speedmaster Professional maintains high build quality. The watch's durability and precision align with the brand's commitment to quality craftsmanship.

Should I Buy A Rolex Or Omega Watch?

Both watches have strong investment potential, and choosing between them ultimately depends on personal preferences. The Rolex Submariner is a classic choice known for its timeless design, prestige, and long-standing reputation. On the other hand, the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch offers a unique historical narrative and an iconic design associated with space exploration.

From an investment perspective, Rolex tends to have a slightly stronger track record for value retention and appreciation. However, individual preferences, historical significance, and personal style play crucial roles in the decision-making process. It's advisable to consider factors beyond potential investment returns, such as the emotional connection to the watch's history and design, when making a choice between these two exceptional timepieces.

Luxury Pre-owned watches with S&R Jewellers

Elevate your timekeeping experience with a pre-owned Rolex or Pre-owned Omega from S&R Jewellers – where every watch is a testament to enduring sophistication. Your perfect timepiece is just a visit away at S&R Jewellers. Visit or contact us today to see our selection of competitively priced watchesIf you are interested in selling your Rolex watch or Omega watch then please get in touch for a valuation.

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If you would like to learn more about Rolex watches, read our article - Rolex Submariner Versus Rolex Sea-Dweller.

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