Rolex vs. Breitling: Which is the Better Luxury Watch Brand?
There are often two reasons behind your struggle in choosing between two complex products or brands. First, brands themselves use complicated terminologies in product descriptions.
Secondly, product reviews by secondary sources – affiliate marketers – are very general because they lack technical knowledge or expertise.
Breitling or Rolex? Being experts and reputed watch dealers of 40 popular brands, we decided to present a detailed comparative review to help you decide between both luxury watch brands.
In this comparative review, both brands’ following features will help you decide between Rolex and Breitling.
- Brand History
- Brand Recognition
- Resale Value
- Price: Value for the money
Let’s get started.
History of Rolex
More than a century ago, German-born Hans Wilsdorf and his brother-in-law Alfred Davis founded a company to assemble watches. Just after three years, they decided to come up with their own brand. That’s how Rolex was born in 1908.
After two years of its foundation, Rolex secured a Swiss Certificate for Chronometric Precision besides the “Class A” Precision Certificate from the Kew Observatory in 1914.
After relocating from British to Geneva, Wilsdorf invented a fully sealed watch case to prevent movements from being exposed to moisture and dust.
This first-ever waterproof watch was well received by the people and gave Rolex a cutting edge in the luxury watch market. Since then, Rolex introduced various sophisticated watches, including Day-Date, the first watch to display the weekday and date.
History of Breitling
Leon Breitling founded the company in 1884 to create chronographs for the science and sports industries. In 1915 Gaston Breitling, Leon’s son, launched a chronograph with a start, stop and reset push functions.
Later on, Leon’s grandson added a second push button separating the reset from the start and stop. Several watch brands adopted this design.
Jack Heuer joined hands with Breitling in 1967 to produce the first self-winding chronograph released in 1969. Since then, Breitling introduced some remarkable mechanical and quartz models, all tested by COSC.
Which is the most recognizable luxury watch brand? The honest answer is Rolex. With nearly 100% brand recognition, Rolex is the most recognizable watch brand out of 55 well-known luxury watch brands worldwide.
Rolex has a magnetic pull that creates its demand even among ordinary watch users through its brand name’s strength.
On the other hand, in the list of 55 well-known luxury watch brands, Breitling ranks in 21st place. But that doesn’t mean Breitling is not a respected brand. Anyone with some knowledge of luxury watches will not hesitate to admit that it is also a distinctive brand.
Rolex wears the crown when it comes to brand recognition. Now let’s talk about the quality of both brands.
Rolex uses 904L stainless steel, which contains 1.6 times more chromium, nickel, and molybdenum than 316L stainless steel. The large amount of the elements increases resistance to corrosion, abrasion, and elevated temperatures by 160% compared to 316L stainless steel used in Breitling cases.
The 316L stainless steel is far less scratch-resistant than 904L because it has a much higher Rockwell hardness.
Apart from the material, the movement plays the most critical role in any mechanical luxury watch. Let’s check what both Rolex and Breitling have inside their cases.
Movement is the most significant part of any mechanical timepiece. Rather, it would be better to say that movement is the ticking heart at any watch.
Rolex is known as a pioneer in the watchmaking industry. Rolex has in-house production of all parts, including the case, dial, bracelet, and casting, crafting, assembling, and finishing. Instead of appeal in its components, Rolex prefers the best functioning, reliability, and durability.
When it comes to movements, Rolex is one of the most respected brands in the world. This doesn’t mean Rolex creates the most attractive watches in the world. Instead, Rolex focuses on creating the most reliable and enthusiastic movements.
It is one of the few brands that send their every individual movement for COSC testing for about a century. In addition to COSC chronometric precision testing, Rolex also conducts additional indoor testing of all its watches. That is why Rolex dubs their calibers as “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified.”
Breitling used externally sourced movements in their watches for years. Even now, they rely on external Lemania and ETA chronograph movements. Following the trend of in-house movement development, Breitling started creating its own movements.
Something a bit deceiving about the Breitling calibers is that they name their watches as per the external movements, which creates an impression of in-house movements. They also don’t clearly describe their external movements as such.
But this does not mean that Breitling is not a quality luxury watch brand. Rather, Breitling is a well-known and reliable name in the luxury watch market.
On top of that, the brand has contributed to the market through its valuable inventions. Breitling has always played an important innovative role in the technical development of precise chronographs.
The warranty of luxury watches is the new battleground for the industry stakeholders. With a gradual improvement in quality and technology, luxury watch brands are extending the length of their warranties. The good news is it’s always in favor of consumers or clients.
Recently Rolex expanded its international warranty from two years to five years. Rolex also extended service intervals recommendation from three years to 10 years.
Extension of recommended service intervals means that you can wear a Rolex for ten years without cleaning or servicing. This warranty provides Rolex users with the confidence of quality and durability.
In contrast, Breitling safeguards its users with two years of international warranty. It also provides five years warranty on mechanical movements conditional to a water resistance test by an authorized dealer every two years.
Most Rolex owners equalize the resale price of their watches with gold. You can sell it for the best price anywhere in the world. Out of all luxury watches, Rolex holds its value to the best.
Because of brand recognition and prestige, Rolex always preserves a low production rate, making them rare. That’s why sometimes your Rolex watch can be worth many times the purchase price.
On the other hand, the resale value of a Breitling watch is not so good. The highest resale price ever recorded for a Breitling watch is only $ 173,500, much less than the resale price of a Rolex sold in an auction for $17.8 million.
Price: Value for the Money
Rolex prices are indeed high compared to Breitling. The cheapest Rolex with purely mechanical movements can currently cost you $6,000, double the price of the cheapest Breitling.
But comparing prices becomes more interesting when considered as value for the money. The consumer always determines the market value of a product.
Most people are willing to pay for a certain product, which indicates that the product is providing value for their money.
Rolex is the world’s most popular brand, which clarifies that most watch enthusiasts are willing to pay much more for a Rolex than a Breitling, which holds 21st place on the list of recognizable luxury watch brands.
Rolex has contributed to innovations in the luxury watch market more than any other brand, including Breitling. Also, in terms of brand recognition and the use of better material, Rolex is far ahead of Breitling. In terms of movements, Rolex wears the crown while Breitling is far behind.
As compared to Breitling, Rolex provides more than double the warranty for its products. Rolex watch owners compare its resale value with gold. Rolex is the top brand that provides the best value for the money.
Exquisite Timepieces is a well-known and reputed name for brand new and pre-owned watches. It is a brick-and-mortar store in Florida, an official and registered retailer for watches and accessories of 40 famous brands from all over the world.
Exquisite Timepieces is a member of both Jewelers of America & Better Business Bureau®, well-known and respected organizations here in the United States.
Exquisite Timepieces properly analyzes all watches and then presents them to our clients after ensuring product quality. Price, quality, and the 100% guarantee of your choice watch are considered keys to success at Exquisite Timepieces.
For your assistance and satisfaction, a team of luxury experts is always available during your purchase. Contact Exquisite Timepieces to inquire about your dream watch.