Rolex is by far the most recognizable Swiss watch brand in the market. It’s the symbol of prestige and elegance even for those who don’t own a Rolex watch.
But other watch brands have the same quality, luxury, and stature as Rolex. For instance, Ulysse Nardin is a Swiss watch brand that may not be as popular as Rolex but is undoubtedly one of the most respected companies in the watchmaking industry.
So, which of these brands is better? Would Rolex be the better purchase? Or would Ulysse Nardin be the more preferable investment that can be passed down to the next generation?
Ulysse Nardin was founded in 1846 and is one of the oldest watchmakers that remain independent today. It first became known as a manufacturer of nautical watches and was a trusted brand by navies worldwide for almost a century.
The company has pioneered the innovative use of silicone and diamonds to improve the weight, durability, accuracy, and stability of their watches. Their exceptional craftsmanship and creativity earned them a membership in the very exclusive Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie.
- Inimitable designs that you won’t find elsewhere
- More variety of watch styles
- Has more sophisticated models
- Designs might be too eccentric for some users
- Lower resale value compared to Rolex
- Less recognizable relative to Rolex
Rolex is a brand known worldwide for its prestige, luxury, and popularity. They have a long history of manufacturing precise, elegant, and functional timepieces trusted by celebrities, scientists, military, professionals, and executives.
Rolex is recognized for its contributions in the horological industry like the Submariner and Deepsea for their underwater records, and the Cosmograph Daytona for its accurate chronograph functions. The company didn’t stop there and proof of this is the use of Superlative Chronometer calibers on all their products for the best timekeeping precision.
- Highly accurate timepieces
- Elegance on every watch model you buy
- High resale value
- Easily recognizable
- Brand is too familiar and may feel less exclusive
- Watch styles don’t vary that much from each other
- Expensive for their seemingly basic features
Compare Ulysse Nardin vs Rolex
Here are the factors to consider in choosing between a Rolex and a Ulysse Nardin watch.
Movements and Quality
Ulysse Nardin is known for its Marine Chronometers that are COSC-certified. As a watchmaker specializing in manufacturing watches for seafarers, the company values timing precision. They’re also the first to use silicone in the escapement to reduce friction and develop a diamond balance spring to improve stability.
Rolex is renowned for taking movement accuracy seriously. Proof of this is their COSC-certified calibers with an accuracy of -2/+2 seconds per day. All watches produced by Rolex now have this kind of highly precise movement.
Rolex’s scratch-resistant 904L stainless steel case is hard to beat in terms of durability. Rolex also has the patented Paraflex® shock absorbers to protect the mechanisms inside the watch and the Cerachrom® bezel insert to improve bezel resistance. All these give Rolex watches the best-in-class quality even among creations from luxury brands.
Ulysse Nardin, on the other hand, has a more polished and intricate look that’s pleasing to the eye. The watches from the brand have a different shine that makes them stand out even when placed side-by-side with a Rolex watch. Ulysse Nardin watches have a more delicate feel compared to Rolex timepieces that are designed to be high-end beater accessories.
Style and Variety
Rolex has several watch collections designed for different professions or occasions. They have the Submariner for divers, the Explorer for outdoor adventurers, the Cosmograph Daytona for racers, and the Datejust for executives, to name a few. All these are presented with a certain flair of elegance that make the watches versatile for casual, sports, and formal use.
Ulysse Nardin is known for its quirky and innovative designs. Their collection includes the Marine for seafarers, Diver for diving professionals, Freak for adventurous users, and Executive and Classico for formal use. Among these models, the Freak collection is the most popular and revered among collectors and enthusiasts because of its unique look that you won’t find in any other watch brand.
In terms of horological complication, Ulysse Nardin beats Rolex. Ulysse Nardin offers tourbillon, mechanical alarm, perpetual calendar, GMT, and other sophisticated features that Rolex doesn’t offer.
Nothing beats Rolex in terms of worldwide brand popularity even among luxury watches. It has been included in various lists as one of the best and most renowned brands in the world.
Ulysse Nardin, on the other hand, doesn’t generate the same amount of attention that Rolex gets. It’s rarely included in the list of top manufacturers that people know of. But this doesn’t mean Ulysse Nardin is lower in quality compared to Rolex. The brand is given the same level of respect that Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin receive.
Ulysse Nardin and Rolex both offer a 5-year international warranty on all their watches.
The most affordable Rolex watch is the Oyster Perpetual which ranges from $5,000 to $6,000. On the other hand, the cheapest Ulysse Nardin timepiece can be bought for around $7,000.
Rolex has a higher resale value because of its popularity. Although Ulysse Nardin is a luxury brand, it may not fetch the same esteemed value compared to a Rolex.
Rolex is the brand of choice if you want an easily recognizable watch with higher resale value. Their watches are functional, durable, and luxurious, making them a good investment choice.
If you want a more eccentric timepiece, Ulysse Nardin is the better option because of its unique style and innovative horological technology. It may not hold the same resale value as a Rolex watch, but it will surely last a lifetime because it’s designed to be the only watch you’ll need the moment you purchase it.