There are many exclusive watch brands in the market that offer robust and high-quality timepieces. However, only a few can match the artistry and craftsmanship of the two prestigious watch brands we will feature today – the Rolex and Audemars Piguet.
Last time we featured the Rolex vs Patek Philippe watches, today let’s have a close look between Audemars Piguet and Rolex and find out which is the better watch brand between the two.
We studied every angle of the brands in a head-to-head battle and compared them for design, performance, and movements.
In summary, it was close, but after hours of debate, here’s what we found:
- Rolex offers a better value and functionality for sporty men.
- Audemars Piguet offers a more refined design that suits modern men.
We ultimately chose Rolex as the winner, with the brand being great for beginner or even veteran watch collectors.
Continue reading to find out more about these two Swiss watchmaker elites.
Related: Rolex vs Rado Brand Comparison
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Rolex Watches vs. Audemars Piguet Watches
When it comes to design, both Rolex and Audemars Piguet share a passion for creating excellent watches with timeless designs that all watch collectors love. However, there are distinct differences between them.
Audemars Piguet watch is known for its trendy and contemporary design, which offers a fresher and more youthful look. Their timepieces are made of precious metals and are often finished with meticulous details like the Jules Audemars watch collection.
Meanwhile, Rolex has built a strong reputation for making some of the most definitive sports and waterproof watches, making them a perfect option for men with active lifestyles. They offer a sporty and much more masculine design, perfect for race car drivers or deep-sea divers.
If you’re looking for a watch with an elegant design, an AP watch would be the perfect choice.
But if you prefer a smooth blend of classic design and functionality, a tool watch from Rolex is what you are looking for.
Who will win the battle between Audemars Piguet vs Rolex in terms of performance? The obvious answer to this question is the Rolex watch.
Rolex stands out in terms of performance as most of its watches have proven to be durable and reliable even when exposed to extreme environments. One example of this is their Rolex Explorer collection, which has been exposed and tested to the harshest conditions on earth.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t rely on AP watches. Rolex has a slight advantage in terms of durability and performance. But Audemars Piguet compensates for this disadvantage by bringing intricate complications to their timepieces.
In fact, like Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet is famous for its superb complication. Since they created the first perpetual calendar wristwatch with a leap year display, they continue this legacy in their much more modern Royal Oak Grande Complication.
In terms of precision and accuracy, Rolex prides itself as one of the best Swiss watch manufacturers that creates COSC-certified in-house caliber. Rolex caliber is famous for its accuracy of -2/+2 seconds per day, one of the best in the world.
But although Rolex has a slight advantage in this precision and accuracy, we can’t deny that some watch lovers and connoisseurs still prefer the AP watches because of their gorgeous openworked or skeleton movements.
Both Rolex and Audemars Piguet watches are great choices for high-precision automatic movements. But if you want a more accurate timepiece to use for everyday usage, quartz watches are still the best in terms of precision.
Rolex Watches vs. Audemars Piguet Model Comparisons
When looking for an everyday watch, you must consider its versatility, comfort, and durability. Since this watch is designed for day-to-day wear, it should be versatile enough to complement your overall style effectively.
Here are some of the best watches from the Rolex and AP’s collections that fit well in the everyday watch category.
Rolex Datejust vs. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding
|Rolex Datejust Ref. M126300-0008||Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Ref. 15550ST.OO.1356ST.06|
|Dimensions||41mm diameter, 12mm thickness||37mm diameter, 9.1mm thickness|
|Case Material||Oystersteel||Stainless steel|
|Band||Jubilee Bracelet||Stainless steel bracelet|
|Water Resistance||100 meters||50 meters|
|Caliber||Caliber 3235||Caliber 5900|
|Movement||Automatic 70 hours Power Reserve||Automatic 60 hours Power Reserve|
|Retail Price||Starting at $7,700||Starting at $26,500|
Chronographs are timepieces equipped with functions such as a stopwatch to measure and record time.
They are specifically designed watches to help their wearer do specific tasks with ease and efficiency. This type of watch is commonly used by athletes and sports car drivers.
Here are two of the finest models from Rolex and Audemars Piguet with chronograph functions.
Rolex Daytona vs. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph
|Rolex Daytona Ref. M126506-0001||Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Ref. 26238CE.OO.1300CE.01|
|Dimensions||40mm diameter, 11.9mm thickness||42mm diameter, 15.3mm thickness|
|Case Material||Platinum||Black ceramic|
|Band||Oyster Bracelet||Black ceramic bracelet|
|Water Resistance||100 meters||100 meters|
|Caliber||Caliber 4131||Caliber 4404|
|Movement||Automatic 72 hours Power Reserve||Automatic 70 hours Power Reserve|
|Retail Price||Starting at $77,300||Starting at $83,600|
A dress watch is specifically designed to be worn with formal attire. These watches are aesthetically elegant and designed to complement the overall appearance and style of the wearer in formal or professional settings.
Here are two of the finest dress watches that Audemars Piguet and Rolex collectors can choose from.
Rolex Day-Date vs. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding
|Rolex Day-Date 40 Ref. M228239-0004||Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Ref. 15510OR.OO.D002CR.02|
|Dimensions||40mm diameter, 12.1mm thickness||41mm diameter, 10.5mm thickness|
|Case Material||White gold||Pink gold|
|Band||Presidential bracelet||Black alligator strap|
|Water Resistance||100 meters||50 meters|
|Caliber||Caliber 3255||Caliber 4302|
|Movement||Automatic 70 hours Power Reserve||Automatic 70 hours Power Reserve|
|Retail Price||Starting at $38,500||Starting at $42,000|
A dive watch is specifically designed to withstand high pressure underwater. They are waterproof and are often equipped with functions to help track how long a diver was underwater and help the diver keep track of how much air was in the tank.
Here are two of our favorite watch models from these luxury watch brands.
Rolex Submariner vs. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver
|Rolex Submariner Ref. M124060-0001||Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Ref. 15720ST.OO.A009CA.01|
|Dimensions||41mm diameter, 12.5mm thickness||42mm diameter, 14.2mm thickness|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel||Stainless steel|
|Band||Oyster Bracelet||Gray rubber strap|
|Water Resistance||300 meters||300 meters|
|Caliber||Caliber 3230||Caliber 4308|
|Movement||Automatic 70 hours Power Reserve||Automatic 60 hours Power Reserve|
|Retail Price||Starting at $9,100||Starting at $30,000|
The Rolex is known to hold its value longer than any other watch brand in the industry. They are also considered a good investment because of the increased demand for their watches and high resale value.
In fact, the most expensive Rolex watch sold in an auction reached a whopping $17 million.
And to give you an overview of current prices of every Rolex model, here is an updated Rolex watch price guide.
|Datejust||Starting at $7,700|
|Day-Date||Starting at $38,500|
|Daytona||Starting at $15,100|
|Submariner||Starting at $9,100|
|Milgauss||Starting at $9,300|
|GMT-Master II||Starting at $10,700|
|Yacht-Master||Starting at $11,550|
|Sea-Dweller||Starting at $13,250|
|Oyster Perpetual||Starting at $6,400|
|Air King||Starting at $7,000|
|Explorer||Starting at $7,250|
|Sky-Dweller||Starting at $15,650|
|1908||Starting at $22,000|
As a member of the ‘Holy Trinity’ of the watchmaking industry, we can say that Audemars Piguet is considered a more upper-market watchmaker compared to Rolex. They have an excellent resale value too.
The most expensive Audemars Piguet ever sold is the Royal Oak Complication, with a price of $869,000. But if you want to, you can still find some affordable Audemars Piguet watches in the secondary market.
And to give you an overview of the current retail price of their watch models, check down below our updated price list of Audemars Piguet watches.
|Code 11.59||Starting at $34,300|
|Royal Oak||Starting at $17,200|
|Royal Oak Offshore||Starting at $29,000|
|Royal Oak Concept||Starting at $169,000|
If we talk about brand recognition, we can say that Audemars Piguet and Rolex are considered some of the most recognizable watch brands in the world. But this brand recognition is also equivalent to high demand, which makes their watches difficult to acquire.
Although they can make thousands of watches per year, their supply still cannot meet the growing demand for their timepieces.
That is why many watch collectors often opt to buy in the secondary market just to acquire the watch model they want. While others choose a lower-market brand like Tudor watches.
As we see it, the Audemars Piguet vs Rolex debate seems far from over. This is because these two watch manufacturers have proven themselves as two of the finest watchmakers in the world.
Let’s have a quick look at their long history of impeccable watchmaking.
The Rolex watch brand that we know today was founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1905 in London before the company permanently moved to Switzerland and became the most famous watch brand in the world.
They are famous for creating the first waterproof and dustproof wristwatch, the Rolex Oyster, as well as the first diver’s watch, the Rolex Submariner.
On the other hand, for over a hundred years, Audemars Piguet established itself as one of the prominent watchmakers in the world of horology.
They are known for their impeccable craftsmanship and innovative ideas for creating watches, which leads them to become a member of the ‘Holy Trinity’ of the watchmaking world.
They created the first minute repeater wristwatch, the first self-winding tourbillon wristwatch, and other intricate timepieces with perpetual calendars and other complications.
Rolex History Timeline
Here are some highlights from the history of Rolex watches:
1905 – Hans Wilsdorf founded a timepiece distribution company in London, England
1908 – The company was renamed Rolex
1910 – First to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision for a watch
1919 – The company moved to Geneva, Switzerland
1933 – The first expedition to fly over Everest was equipped with Rolex Oysters
1945 – Rolex created the first self-winding wrist chronometer that indicates the date
1951 – Gives 150,000th chronometer, a gold Datejust, to General Dwight D. Eisenhower
1985 – First watchmaker to use 904L steel for a standard-production model
2002 – Establishes Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative
2012 – Deepsea Challenge watch accompanies James Cameron’s solo dive to Mariana Trench
2017 – Becomes the Exclusive Watch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Audemars Piguet History Timeline
Here are some highlights from the history of Audemars Piguet watches:
1875 – Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet started working together in making watches
1881 – Audemars Piguet & Cie was officially founded
1892 – Created the first wristwatch minute-repeating movement, which was then sold to Louis Brandt & Frère (Omega SA)
1899 – Manufactured a ‘Grand Complication pocket watch with 7 complications, including grande & petite sonnerie, minute repeater, alarm, perpetual calendar and deadbeat seconds, chronograph, and split-seconds hands.
1921 – Developed the world’s first jumping-hour watch
1934 – Unveils the first pocket watch with a skeletonized dial
1946 – Produced the world’s thinnest watch with 1.64 mm thick movement
1972 – Introduced the first luxury sports watch, the Royal Oak collection
1986 – Developed an ultra-thin automatic tourbillon watch with only a 5.3 mm thickness
1995 – Manufactured the first automatic ‘Grand Complication’ watch
2006 – Introduced the first direct-impulse escapement
2008 – Developed the first watch with a carbon case and carbon movement
2015 – Introduced the Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher
2019 – Introduced the world’s thinnest automatic perpetual calendar watch
2021 – Audemars Piguet collaborates with Marvel to create the limited edition Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther”.
Brand Champions and Product Marketing
Rolex and Audemars Piguet are two of the go-to luxury watch brands of watch enthusiasts for their timeless design, exquisite quality, and precise movements. They are known for their iconic watches worn by some of the most famous people in the world.
The Rolex brand has established itself as the master of precision and accuracy, which is why it strategically partnered with influential figures in various fields of expertise, from sports to the world of exploration.
Some of the most notable ambassadors of Rolex are Roger Federer, Tiger Woods, and Michael Buble. They also sponsored other deep-sea scientific explorations, including the works of legendary marine biologist Sylvia Earl.
On the other hand, Audemars Piguet’s mechanical watches are more known for their trendy designs, which include their famous Royal Oak line. This luxury watch brand has such a high demand that most of its rarer timepieces are already reserved, even if it hasn’t been made yet.
Jay-Z, Lebron James, and Michael Schumacher are some of the most prominent ambassadors of the brand that helps the AP brand to dominate the market.
Rolex Vs Audemars Piguet – Conclusion
And that’s it! That is the point-on-point comparison of Audemars Piguet vs Rolex watches. We hope this guide can assist you in picking the best timepiece that would suit your taste and lifestyle.
And if you are looking for an affordable luxury watch, you can check our article about the cheapest Rolex watches that you can buy.