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Omega vs Zenith

It’s an urge…every watch enthusiast has felt it, and every aficionado has had a taste of it; the desire to own an elegant timepiece that doesn’t only provide infinitesimally accurate timing but offers a fantastic investment opportunity along with the satisfaction of owning a piece of excellent craftsmanship.

But with a handful of luxury watches coming with different distinctions and qualities, help is often needed to determine the best watch for your satisfaction, especially when it is between two Swiss watches that are highly comparable. 

In this guide, we will reveal everything you need to know when choosing between Omega and Zenith watch brands. Why Omega and Zenith? Well because these brand’s artifacts are iconic among hundreds. Let’s delve in!

Omega’s history

About omega watches

Omega, the one brand that today can go head to head with the popularity of Rolex, was founded by Louis Brandt in 1848. It all began in a small Swiss village called La Chaux-de-Fonds when Louis, then 23 years old, established a workshop that he operated as La Generale Watch Co.

He started by gathering parts from local craftsmen and using them to develop key-wound precision pocket watches which he distributed to his major buyers in Italy and Scandinavia. Louis’s sons picked up where he left off after his death and after small-scale production for 37 years, La Generale Watch Co released its first mass-produced caliber movement, called Labrador. 

Following the success of Labrador, it quickly rose to fame by releasing the first minute-repeating timepiece in 1892 and the 19-line OMEGA Caliber in 1894. By 1903, La Generale Watch Co had become a world success after establishing a reputation for reliability and precision with over 200,000 watches produced annually.

It enlarged its distribution network rapidly – thanks to the global demand for its iconic watches – and spun off Omega Watch Co officially in 1903.

By 1932, Omega was world-renowned for unprecedented precision (The Omega chronometer could tell time more accurately than any other watch in circulation at that time) and became the official timekeeper of the Olympics with a global reach and increased market shares because along with its iconic timepieces, it adopted profound business ideas like premium pricing, tighter control of dealer pricing, and top-notch advertising, establishing its place in the watchmaking industry.

Zenith’s history

Zenith watch

Currently operating under the umbrella of the LVMH Group, Zenith is one of the oldest continuously operating watch brands today. It was first known as “Fabrique des Billodes” and was founded in 1865 by the visionary Georges Favre-Jacot in Le Locle in the canton of Neuchâtel. He began with the production of precision pocket watches and moved further to the production of board chronometers, table clocks, wristwatches, and precision pendulum clocks

Gradually, the production of marine chronometers began and this marked the beginning of the creation of mechanical marvels that challenged the foundations of traditional watchmaking, even leading to a Grand Prix award at the 1900 Paris World’s Fair, for its “Zenith ” movement. Subsequently, Georges Favre-Jacot renamed his watch company, (George Farve-Jacot & Co) “Zenith” in 1911 because he believed it represented the apex of precision.

Marking an enormous leap forward, Zenith began work on an automatic chronograph movement, “El Primero” which was launched in 1969 and unlocked the world of hundredth-of-a-second timing with the release of its Defy El Primero 21 ( a high frequency, low amplitude movement that is about ten times more accurate than a standard chronometer) and quickly took its place as one of the most innovative watchmakers in history. Today Zenith has developed over 600 movement variations and has an unrivaled record in the field of precision instruments with over 2, 000 chronometry awards.

What is Omega known for?

Short answer; pushing boundaries. Long answer;  from being the first watch brand to provide excellent resistance to magnetic fields,  (the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra > 15,000 gauss for instance used components that were made of non-ferrous materials, surpassing the standard use of a soft iron inner protection case to resist magnetic fields), to having the first most accurate timepiece produced on the planet (when it set an all-time precision record after undergoing six trials at the Geneva Observatory, making it the official timekeeper of the Olympic Games), Omega is known for its sporty chronographs, co-axial movements, and professional dive watches.

Over the century, It has risen to be one of the most respected luxury Swiss watch brands with a rich horological heritage, that continues to challenge the watch world today by creating some of the most expertly crafted timepieces ever. Recently, its catalog comprises four major collections, namely the Speedmaster ( AKA The Moonwatch), Seamaster, De Ville, and Constellation.

What is Zenith known for?

Short answer; classic designs and highly accurate movements. 

Long answer; outside of the vintage market, Zenith is renowned for providing a range of high-end, heritage-driven luxury watches in addition to the hyper-technical and fashionable modern Defy series. Their technological innovations have made Zenith a leading brand in the manufacture of high-frequency chronograph watches ( talk about its El Primero automatic chronograph) that even Rolex’s new Daytona could be powered by. ( a modified Zenith El Primero movement, “the Calibre 400” was the foundation of the new Rolex 4030 movement).

Zenith watches have rightly been referred to as the “beater watch” because they can endure punishment and maintain impressive accuracy at the same time. Zenith Defy collection for instance which began in 1969 features sporty, rugged watches with distinctive designs. It currently produces 32 different models for a total of five collections, namely; Academy, El Primero, Captain, Pilot, and Heritage.


Style plays a key role when it comes to choosing between two highly comparable timepieces. Fortunately, both brands offer very stylish-yet-practical watches. From the timeless trend of stainless steel to watches with leather straps, the common denominator of both Swiss brands is their uncompromised style and horological excellence.

Omega’s Constellation watches range from hands-down elegant dress watches to robust dive watches while Zenith continues to release elegantly finished timepieces for every watch lover in numerous styles.

Accuracy and Precision

Omega’s historic passion for accuracy and precision began as far back as 1931, at the Geneva Observatory trials where it broke the record for precision in all six categories. It has built its reputation on revolutionary watch movements and kept its spot as one of the world’s most accurate timepieces that subjects both its watch movements and completed timepieces to Master Chronometer testing for at least ten days to get an unsurpassed precision.

Zenith on the other hand is known for its historically significant and high-precision chronograph watch movements. The world has watched it grow from the production of mechanical watches to watches that use a gyroscopic mechanism (the Christophe Colomb for example features a movement escapement in a Cardan suspension-style cage that always points up).

Quality and Craftsmanship

Both brands are committed to using materials that enhance the aesthetic appeal of their watches while also maximizing robustness and performance. Omega makes arguably the most accurate Swiss-made mechanical movements in the world with approximately 70% international brand recognition.

Its timepieces are prestigious and of very high quality such that they can last through many generations. Zenith equally provides technically advanced high-quality watches with top-notch materials and craftsmanship.

Resale and Warranty

ALL Omega timepieces come with a 5-year warranty while Zenith offers a standard warranty duration of two years. In offering a five-year warranty, Omega comes ahead of Zenith establishing itself as a more high-quality and luxurious watch brand. The average resale value of a Zenith is lower than an Omega because Omega’s most popular models (The Speedmaster and Seamaster) are in high demand and often hold their value best on the secondhand market.

Which has a higher ranking?

Following reports published by the Swiss Watch Industry Federation and Morgan Stanley (An American investment company), Omega has a higher ranking than Zenith. From 2017 up until 2020, Omega has ranked number two in the top twenty watch brands with the larger market share. It only dropped to third place in 2021 with a 7.5% market share and an estimated turnover of CHF 2.2 billion, which is an exceptional performance for any Prestige brand.

Zenith did not feature in the top ten Swiss watch brands but turned up at number 18, which is still impressive.  Again, Omega came in third in the most searched watch brands on the internet with 8,076,000 hits based on annualized average monthly search volumes provided by Google’s Keyword Planner tool.

Speedmaster Pro Sapphire vs. Zenith El Primero

Omega has continually claimed the second spot worldwide in the watch model rankings because of its Seamaster and Speedmaster but the El Primero movement is undoubtedly Zenith’s most enduring legacy. Can these two top-class creators of chronometer watches go head-to-head against each other? Let’s take a closer look at two iconic timepieces from each collection.

Speedmaster Pro SapphireZenith El Primero (9004)
•Brand: Omega•Brand: Zenith
•Movement: OMEGAs mechanical caliber 1863•Movement: El Primero
•Power reserve: 48 hours•Power reserve: 50 hours
•Type: Manual-winding ( the famous manual-winding chronograph movement that was used on the Moon)•Central chronograph hand that makes one turn each second.
•Features: Chronograph, Tachymeter, Small seconds•Features: 1/100th of a second Chronograph
•Bracelet material: Steel•Bracelet material: Titanium
•Case material: Steel•Case Material: Brushed Titanium
•Case Diameter: 42 mm, between lugs: 20 mm, and thickness: 13.5 mm•Case Diameter: 44 mm, between lugs: 22 mm, and thickness: 14.5 mm
•Crystal: Domed, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment inside.•Crystal: Domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides.
•Water resistance: 5 bar (50 meters / 167 feet)•Water resistance: 10 bar (100 meters / 334 feet)
•Product weight (Approx.): 161 g•Product weight (Approx.): 450 g

Speedmaster Pro Sapphire

•Features Sapphire crystal which is harder than hesalite.•More expensive to replace/restore.
•A future classic and modernized version of the Moonwatch.
•A highly collectible item that will never cease to remain valuable.
•A perfect blend of historical significance, timeless design, and luxury spec.
•Can be worn on any occasion

Zenith El Primero

•Steeped in history.•Minimal folding of links means it is not ideal for people with smaller wrists.
•Good quality timepieces.•Prone to scratches.
•Classic design that will stand the test of time.
•Versatile style
•Comes in 42mm to 44mm for all wrist sizes.

Omega Speedmaster 57 vs Zenith El Primero

Omega Speedmaster 57

OMEGA was the only watch brand to pass NASA’s rigorous tests (which involved putting the timepiece through extreme conditions like high temperatures, volatile fluctuations, high-pressure levels. etc) in the 1960s. Omega Speedmaster made its mark in history when it beat Rolex, Longines, and Hamilton watches to become the official robust and reliable timepiece of the Apollo program.

Subsequently,  Astronaut Wally Schirra wore Speedmaster (ref. CK2998) on his Mercury Sigma 7 Mission in 1962, making it the first OMEGA watch to enter space. OMEGA’s famous Speedmaster ’57 is a sub-collection of the Speedmaster family that was first introduced in 2013. While the Speedmaster 57 is sporty and elegant, it retains the traditional Speedmaster design.

The new features are two subdials, a date display, and the inclusion of a new manual-wind chronograph movement called the Omega caliber 9906. Omega further elevated the vintage spirit to a whole new level by packing this up with slimmer styling, extraordinary color, and a Co-Axial Master Chronometer engine – one of the very best automatic movements – certified as a Master Chronometer by METAS, and has twin mainspring barrels mounted in series to provide a 60-hour power reserve, in addition to Omega’s customary Arabesque Côtes de Genève decoration.

The Speedmaster 57 is representative of the original, timeless look of the Speedmaster line. When it comes to prices, Omega Speedmaster watches are more affordable than Zenith El Primero (and therefore more attainable) with the price ranging from $5,000 and going up to $8,000 on the higher-end models.

Zenith El Primero

“El Primero”, literally means  “the first” in Spanish. Zenith’s El Primero has been in production for  50 years now and has long been the most celebrated automatic movement on the market. It was the first automatic chronograph globally with the most precise chronograph in the world and made a name when it shocked the watch world by oscillating at a high-frequency movement that can measure 1/10th of a second (current top models can even time to 1/100th of a second). 

From the Chronomaster to the Defy and Pilot, Zenith’s El Primero collection boasts double tourbillon beats at 36,000 beats per minute, whereas the typical watch movement beats at 28,000, offering more accuracy. El Primero enjoys broad collector popularity and typically sells between $3,700 – $24, 500.

Final thoughts: is Omega better than Zenith?

Both Omega and Zenith excel in the production of high-quality movements in the history of mechanical watches. Depending on your needs, different answers can put this question to rest. If you see a watch primarily as an investment, then Omega is better than Zenith. 

When it comes to accuracy and precision, it can be tricky to put one ahead of another. Zenith is credited with the production of the very first chronograph caliber and is renowned for Its precise chronograph movements (especially the El Primero series that revitalized classical watchmaking and the Swiss watch industry with accuracy and precision that relied upon its column-wheel mechanism).

The El Primero is considered the  ‘raison d’être’ of Zenith and was even used by Rolex for the first version of the Daytona chronograph as did many other brands. Omega on the other hand is known to deliver precise and accurate chronometric watches that are certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute.

When it comes to ranking, Omega ranks higher compared to Zenith. Omega ranks at number two of the most recognizable Swiss watch brands while Zenith can be found at number 18. If classic styles, elegance, outstanding design, and high-quality materials are your specs, both brands offer the glamour and luxury appeal of Swiss watches.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Zenith watches worth the money?

Yes, Zenith watches offer great value with their highly precise chronographs and are worth every cent of the dollar they cost.

Is Zenith a respected watch brand?

Zenith stands out as one of the best-respected Swiss watch brands. They are renowned for their classic designs and highly accurate movements, the likes of which were regularly used by Rolex until they started making their own in 2000

Which holds value, Zenith, or Omega?

The value of watches depends on different factors like age, scarcity & growing demand, accessories, the material used, and condition. Omega watches have been known to hold their value considerably well in the world of luxury watches, better than Zenith timepieces.

Rolex vs Zenith watches

The question we will tackle today is whether I should choose either a Zenith or Rolex timepiece for my next purchase. Purely from the standpoint of brand recognition, the hands-down selection would be a Rolex. Rolex is perhaps the most recognizable luxury watch in all the world, but to truly make an informed and subjective decision, we will discuss the similarities and differences between both brands.

Zenith’s History

A luxury Zenith watch

We will begin by providing some background on the Zenith brand. The company was started in 1865 by Georges Favre-Jacot in Neuchatel, and is one of the longest operating and manufacturing watch houses in all of Switzerland. Favre-Jacot is the originator of the concept of “in-house movements” where every aspect of the watch manufacturing process was controlled in-house.

He believed that only true perfection could be achieved by controlling every facet of a watch’s conception to its finished product. He built a vertically integrated operation and in 1900 he won the Grand Prix award at the Paris World’s Fair for his Zenith movement. By 1911, the company would bear the name Zenith as its official brand.

Throughout the early 1900s, Zenith continued garnering awards for excellence in chronometry. The caliber 26x and the caliber 135 movements were introduced and contributed to the eventual accumulation of over 2300 awards for chronometry and precision timekeeping. The watches may not be COSC certified, but Zenith is renowned for its rigorous accuracy standards.

Zenith purchased movement maker Martel in 1959. This opened the door to the development of the El Primero chronograph movement, which is perhaps one of the greatest contributions to the watchmaking world. This movement was introduced on Jan.10, 1969, and was the very first automatic chronograph timepiece and possessed a frequency of 36,000 VpH. Because of this high rate, the movement offers great positional accuracy and resolution.

Another major development was the use of CAD to develop an ultra-thin movement that ranged from 2.83mm to 6.2mm. (depending upon the array of complications incorporated). Characteristics of the movements included an annual Glucydor balance wheel, a self-compensating balance spring, and an automatic winding mechanism with a large diameter tungsten carbide rotor mounted on ball bearings.

These movements operate at 28,800 VpH and require minimal maintenance. These very precise movements were awarded “Best movement of the Year” at the Basil Fair in 1994. Another triumph in development, design, and assembly for Zenith.

Rolex’s History

Rolex history

Rolex, surprisingly, has been around for a far shorter time than Zenith and compared to most other luxury Swiss brands. This is an even greater testimony to the success of the Rolex brand and the reputation the company enjoys today. Much of this success is attributable to Hans Wilsdorf, the English entrepreneur responsible for the creation of the brand.

Though conceived in England, Wildorf created the Rolex brand in 1908 and would ultimately move the entire operation to Geneva, Switzerland where he would create the first water-proof self-winding wristwatch with a perpetual rotor. In fact, a patent was issued to Rolex in 1926 for the world’s first waterproof watch, what today is the oyster case.

Rolex has filed for over 500 patents over the history of its existence for innovations that range from their movements to their exclusive Cerachrom bezels and bezel inserts. Cerachrom is a ceramic material that is virtually impervious to scratches and its color is unaffected by the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Rolex today is a completely vertically integrated company with every step of the watch’s conception to completion performed by the Rolex team. To assure the continued success and commitment to producing the highest quality timepieces, Rolex has an exclusive training center that educates, trains, and acclimates every employee to their culture of excellence as well as one of the most rigorous testing labs to ensure the integrity of every watch.

There is even a department of tribology where the scientific study of friction, wear, lubrication, and how moving parts interact in every aspect of a watch’s movement and physical parts exists in order to continue Rolex’s constant perfection in watchmaking. Another attribute of the Rolex collection is its commitment to precision and accuracy.

In this aspect, Rolex and Zenith share a common trait, though every Rolex is not only a certified chronometer but a superlative chronometer as reflected by the certificate and green seal that accompanies each wristwatch. The parameters of accuracy exceed those required by the COSC. which are -4/+6 seconds per day. The superlative identification reflects a deviation of -2/+2 seconds daily.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona vs. Zenith Chronomaster Sport

We will now compare two of the most popular watches available in each brand’s collections. The present-day Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is outfitted with a caliber 4130 self-winding chronograph movement housed in a 40mm. case constructed from 904L stainless steel. This type of steel is made up of various alloys that are particularly resistant to corrosion. 

The original Daytona was unveiled in 1963. From 1963-1988, the Daytona had a mechanical chronograph movement made by ETA Valjoux. From 1988- 2000, Rolex procured the Zenith El Primero automatic chronograph movement for use in the Daytona. These models were referred to as the “Rolex Zenith” or the “Zenith Daytona.”

According to the Rolex website, there were modifications made to the El Primero movement by their watchmakers, but for the most part, a majority of the movement’s parts and construction were provided by Zenith. The current in-house produced movement employs a vertical as opposed to a lateral clutch to activate the chronograph.

It has a larger mainspring, increasing the power reserve feature to 72 hours and the movement features a Parachron hairspring which offers greater resistance to shocks and temperature variations. An easy way to determine if the Daytona you are handling has an El Primero movement is if the running seconds’ indication subdial is at the nine position.

Also, if there is a 60 on the subdial, the watch has a Zenith movement. Since 2000, Rolex has made many modifications and improved its caliber 4130 movements to increase its accuracy and precision. The pre-2000 Daytonas are highly collectible due to the Zenith El Primero relationship. The Daytona collection base model in stainless steel retails for approximately $14,000.00 and prices increase rapidly from there.

The Zenith Chronomaster Sport, though not as popular as the Rolex Daytona, is a beautiful watch in its own right. The entrance price point for a Chronomaster Sport is approximately $11,000.00 retail in stainless steel with an 18kt. rose gold model running almost $40,000.00. The diameter of the watch is 41mm. and has a self-winding chronograph movement composed of 311 components and resonates at 36,000 VpH. It has a black ceramic bezel and a striking three-color dial and a power reserve of 60 hours.

The Chronomaster Open, introduced in 2003 is worth mentioning here for it has a partially open dial that exposes the regulating organ and the escapement of the watch. This unique feature lends further to the allure and appearance of the timepiece.

Next, we will compare some of the major characteristics and attributes of the Zenith and Rolex collections. The selection of models varies greatly between each brand. Zenith offers about 10 percent of the models and variations in comparison to Rolex. Zenith has 4 distinct collections and is grouped as follows; Defy, Elite, Pilot, and the Chronomaster.

The Defy collections are men’s and women’s watches that combine cutting-edge manufacturing with futuristic forms and materials. The Elite timepieces are ultra-thin dress watches and automatic movements. Most are available with a strap and reflect a purist and classic watch fashion. Lastly, the Pilot segment is probably the most renowned after the Chronomaster.

Zenith created the very first pilot and aviation watch and trademarked the term “Pilot” in 1904. To this day, the Zenith Pilot watch is the only watch that has the word “Pilot” on the dial. Rolex, on the other hand, has over 1400 different models with some of the most popular styles being the Presidential, Submariner, Daytona, GMT Master, Sea Dweller, and others.

Another major difference between the two is the timepieces available for women. Here, there is no comparison. Zenith offers a few ladies’ models whereas Rolex has several styles to choose from made in steel, steel, and gold, all 18kt. yellow. rose, or white gold. In addition, women can opt for diamond markers, bezels, and diamond-encrusted bracelets.

Many Rolex models have the distinctive cyclops magnifying lens over the date window at the three o’clock position on the dial. The luster and sparkle of the fluted bezels make a Rolex standout in the sea of swiss luxury watches and the durability and superior water resistancy of the oyster case lend to the watch’s practicality and appeal.

Rolex is probably the most recognized Swiss luxury watch available today. The success of the brand is a virtual case study in creating a luxury item that grows in demand and popularity year after year. In using effective marketing, exclusive distribution, and promotion through partnering and sponsorship of golf, equestrian events, and a host of other prominent sports and activities Rolex has become one of the distinct reflections of success.

The Presidential model is prominent in many board rooms around the world and wearing a Rolex says as much about an individual as the automobile they drive or what zip code they live in.  Concerning retail prices, purchasing either a base model Rolex Oyster Perpetual or the least expensive Zenith Elite will cost you about $6000.00.

Resale and Warranties

If resale value is something you are concerned with before purchasing your watch, Rolex would be the better purchase hands down. Even if this is not a consideration at the time of purchase, Rolex watches hold their value better than any other brand on the market. Certain models such as the Daytona are so sought after that older models sell for well over their purchase price in the after-market. Unfortunately, Zenith timepieces, like almost every other brand, do not hold their value as well.

On the subject of warranty, Rolex offers a five-year warranty which is generous compared to most Swiss luxury brands. Zenith watches come with a more standard two-year warranty which is commonplace amongst Swiss watch houses.

In discussing the precision and accuracy of each brand, both Rolex and Zenith produce highly accurate movements. As aforementioned in this article, Rolex watches are not only certified chronometers satisfying the standards set forth by the COSC but bear the “Superlative Chronometer” label because they exceed these standards.

The Zenith movements are very accurate, but they are not certified chronometers. Arguably though, the El Primero is still regarded as the most accurate automatic chronograph movement for measuring time. It too is not a certified chronometer. The only characteristic where Zenith might be considered superior to Rolex is in terms of high horology watches.

High Horology encompasses the realm of watches that incorporate added complications to their movements. Examples of high complications are minute repeaters, perpetual calendars, and tourbillons. Few watch companies are able to create these complications which add considerable prestige to their brand. Zenith created the very first high-beat tourbillon which oscillates at 36,000 VpH or 5 Hz.

While Rolex has some complicated movements such as the caliber 9001 powering the “Sky Dweller” model, the collection is more known for its construction and accuracy. It would be fair to mention that the caliber 9100 movement holds 14 patents making the “Sky Dweller” a pretty impressive model in its own right.

Zenith Vs. IWC timepieces

The question has been posed: are Zenith watches comparable to IWC timepieces? I do not believe there is a simple answer. In making an educated comparison, we will start by discussing the history of  IWC. IWC or the International Watch Company, as it is more formally known, was founded in 1868 by the American watchmaker and businessman Florentine Ariosto Jones.

While in Boston, Massachusetts, Jones conceived the idea of combining advanced American production technologies with the skilled craftsmanship of Swiss watchmakers. With this mandate, Jones traveled to Switzerland to start his venture. Upon arriving in Switzerland, he did not receive the warmest reception in places like Geneve or other Swiss centers of watchmaking.

Perhaps this was due to Jones being a foreigner or that the watchmakers in these regions were wary of an outsider and his vision. Instead of becoming discouraged, he went as far north as he could and set up shop in Schafhausen near the German border and on the Rhine river. Being on the Rhine river became a prescient decision because it enabled IWC to harness the river’s flow to provide hydroelectric power for its factory.

This has led to IWC being a major proponent of using renewable energy, making sustainability a prime focus, and a commitment to accelerating biodiversity efforts within the watch industry. As per the corporate website, the purpose of IWC is “Engineering Beyond Time”. Transparency, circularity, and responsibility are the guiding principles and inspire all that the company pursues.

Six collections comprise the IWC brand. The “Pilot’s Watch” has a starting retail price of $4250,00. The “Portofino” starts at $5050.00. The “Davinci” with an opening price tag of $5550.00. The “Ingenieur” with an entrance price point of $4750.00. The “Aquatimer” begins at $5950.00. And lastly the “Portugieser” collection.

The “Portugieser” timepieces are some of the most complicated wristwatches produced in Switzerland. The watches exhibit superior craftsmanship and are like works of art. $7500.00 will get you a base model with prices ranging into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for the most sophisticated and complicated models. In conclusion, IWC offers a wider array of complicated watches than Zenith.

Zenith Vs. Omega

Another question often asked, is how do Zenith watches compare to Omega watches? Omega is a Swiss luxury timepiece that is counted amongst the ten most recognizable brands around the world. Omega was founded in 1848 by Louis Brandt in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland. The watch company did not incorporate the “Omega” name until 1903 and even then it was known as a combination of Brandt and Omega. 

The major feature that distinguishes Omega watches from other brands is that each is a master chronometer. To achieve this classification, the movements are not just certified chronometers by the COSC (Swiss chronometer testing institute) for accuracy, but they are then put through more precision testing by METAS.

METAS is the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology. The movements are put through eight additional tests and must fall within certain parameters of accuracy. Whereas the COSC accepts results of -4/+6 seconds per day after the METAS tests the range is 0/+5, 0/+6, and 0/+7 seconds per day depending upon the caliber size of the movement.

The Omega watch line offers over 500 models and has a starting retail price of approximately $5000.00. A basic “Rail Master” is about $4900.00. and a basic divers watch will run you about $5100.00. Women’s watches start at approximately $6000.00. There is great depth to the women’s selections with styles ranging from the classic to models adorned with diamonds and gemstones in solid gold.

There are four distinct subgroups within the collection. Seamaster, Speedmaster, Constellation, and Deville. These groups are also made up of subgroups of assorted styles with choices that most would find appealing.

Omega has many notable inventions and patents it has acquired during its history. The company created the first Master Chronometer Tourbillon and presently offers four models that range from $137,000.00 to over $700,000.00 retail. These handcrafted watches come with either manual winding or self-winding movements and range in case size from 38.7 mm. to 44 mm.

These models are inspired by the first tourbillon wristwatch caliber Omega, created in 1947. Unlike the conventional tourbillon movements where the cages rotated once every minute, the Omega rotated once every 7.5 minutes. This provided greater accuracy leading to the movement being recognized as the most accurate recorded timepiece in 1949.

Another iconic chapter in Omega’s history was the development of the “Moon” watch. This watch was launched in 1957. In 1962, it was the first watch in space when it was worn by Wally Schirra for the Mercury Mission on Oct. 3, 1962.

Nasa subsequently qualified the watch for manned missions in 1965, and astronaut Buzz Aldrin wore it when he walked on the moon on July 21, 1969. Thus Omega became known as “The First Watch on the Moon.” Omega offers a five-year warranty on all of its timepieces making it comparable to Rolex in this respect.


Given the above analysis, I leave you to render your own decision as to the various brand comparisons. Rolex is by far the highest recognized brand of the four brands mentioned in this article. Zenith watches are accurate but have a limited appeal because of the narrow selection of styles. There is a great emphasis on chronographs, and rightfully so given the reputation and success of the EL Primero movement, but this ultimately limits the pool of watch buyers. Both Omega and IWC are far more recognizable Swiss luxury brands and have their own distinct styles and complications that would appeal to both a sophisticated buyer and a watch collector.

All four brands are high-quality timepieces. If you are seeking recognition in your timepiece, then the Rolex should be your choice. After Rolex, Omega probably has the most to offer as far as diverse styles appealing to anyone wanting a luxury watch. The ladies’ pieces in gold with diamonds and gemstones are incredible pieces of jewelry and worthy to be worn to any gala or other social function.

For a watch with different complications, IWC would be my choice but Omega should be considered especially for a tourbillon movement. Lastly, any watch enthusiast with deep pockets would do well to desire to have a Zenith with an El Primero movement in their collection.

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