Breitling and Rolex are industry giants in the luxury watchmaking industry, so it’s hard not to compare them. Although they offer different styles, they specialize in developing watches meant to be used for certain activities and professions.
Whether you’re looking for a diver, pilot, casual, or sports watch, Rolex and Breitling are two of the best brand choices to look into. But which of these luxury brands is better?
Breitling was established in 1884, packing a lot of heritage, history, and legacy in its name. The company’s founder, Leon Breitling, was obsessed with aviation, so it’s not unusual that the brand took off first as a manufacturer of pilot watches. As the years go by, innovation and adaptiveness pushed Breitling to develop watches that extend to other user markets.
Breitling’s flag-bearer is the Navitimer which remains to be one of the most trustworthy chronographs today. But aside from pilot watches, Breitling has watches designed for diving, sports, hiking, and casual and formal attire.
Popular Breitling endorsers are David Beckham, Brad Pitt, and John Travolta.
- Have professional watch designs for paramedics, pilots, military personnel, and others
- They have a smartwatch model
- Entry-level watches are half the price of Rolex
- A lot of models with a rubber strap option
- Lower resell value compared to Rolex
- Less recognizable brand
- Uses quartz movements which purists find distasteful for a luxury watch
Rolex was founded in 1902 and is currently owned by the Wilsdorf Trust. It’s a brand that needs not much introduction because it has been deemed by many users as the standard for luxury, quality, and performance. But Rolex’s reputation goes beyond that since not many people know how they changed the game with their innovative timepieces.
Rolex has already been making waves in pioneering the development of models like the Oyster Perpetual and Datejust collections. The brand became even more prominent with its release of the Submariner, Deep-Sea, and Cosmograph Daytona models.
Prominent Rolex endorsers include Cristiano Ronaldo and Roger Federer. The brand is also tied up with events and companies like Daytona, the U.S. Open, and Formula 1.
- Easily recognizable brand with a high resell value
- Highly accurate timepieces
- Uses luxurious materials like gold on their watches
- Expensive for their simple features
- Less option for strap style
- No smartwatch yet
Comparing Breitling vs Rolex
Here are the major points between Breitling and Rolex you should consider before making a purchase.
Movements and Quality
Rolex used to have quartz movements on their watches, but they stopped producing those a long time ago. Now they only have mechanical movements that purists love. Automatic and manual-winding watches are more complicated to create, but they have a certain appeal because of the craftsmanship involved in manufacturing them.
Rolex takes pride in its expertise in making in-house mechanical movements. They test each watch they produce and rate many of them COSC-certified chronometers with an accuracy as high as -/+2 seconds a day.
Breitling, on the other hand, gladly welcomes both quartz and mechanical movements, and use either of them in their wide breadth of watch collections. Quartz watches may lack the prestige given to their mechanical counterparts, but they’re easier to maintain and have better accuracy.
In terms of durability, Breitling watches use 306L stainless steel components which are typically what most watchmakers use. Rolex, on the other hand, uses 904L stainless steel components on the watches due to their higher resistance to corrosion and scratches.
Style and Variety
Breitling offers create special watch collections for different professionals like pilots, paramedics, and military personnel by equipping the watches with functions that these people need the most. Breitling has the Chronomat for casual use, the Navitimer for pilots who need chronographs and multiple time zone features, the Superocean for divers who are looking for high water-resistance ratings, the Avenger for rugged use, and the Premier for everyday elegance.
Rolex does the same, but with more finesse and luxury. They have the Day-Date for formal wear, Sky-Dweller for frequent travelers, Submariner for diving professionals, Cosmograph Daytona for sportsmen, Air-King for pilots, Explorer for mountaineers, and Yacht-Master for sea navigators.
Breitling appears to be more friendly and open to various customer preferences. Many of their watches have variants for preferred strap and case back styles compared to Rolex. Rolex also offers variety, but it’s more focused on the difference in the color schemes of the dial and the bezel.
Rolex remains the king of the hill as it still is the most recognizable Swiss watch brand worldwide. Breitling, on the other hand, is the 15th most identifiable Swiss watch brand. Make no mistake though, because Breitling is a major luxury brand. It’s just that hard to topple Rolex’s popularity.
Due to Rolex’s popularity, you’ll get a higher resell value with their watches over a Breitling timepiece.
Rolex has a five-year international warranty on their watches.
Breitling provides a two-year international warranty on their watches. Those with a mechanical movement have a five-year warranty period.
The cheapest model is the Oyster Perpetual which is priced around $6,000. Even the most affordable Rolex watches have COSC-certified chronometers and automatic movements to emphasize the brand’s superiority in providing accurate timepieces.
Entry-level Breitling watches are way cheaper than Rolex ones, but that doesn’t mean they’re inferior in quality and features. The Breitling Colt Skyracer is a COSC-certified watch, but it costs only $2,000 – not even half of the most affordable Rolex watch.
In terms of quality, Rolex and Breitling are the top of the hierarchy among watchmakers. When it comes to style, Rolex will be more appealing if you want to make a statement because that’s what the brand stands for. But if you want to wear something a bit different and creative without sacrificing quality and reputation, Breitling is a great choice to consider.