So which is better, is it Rolex or Patek Philippe wristwatches?
Very similar to the question of Patek Philippe vs Audemars Piguet watches, this question has been a long-standing debate inside the watch community. And the end of this discussion seems far from over.
In fact, even if you were to ask us, we are still unable to determine (at least for now) which brand takes the crown, as both Rolex and Patek Philippe display excellence and prestige as the leading watchmakers in the industry.
So to be fair, today, we will show you a point-on-point comparison of these two exceptional watch brands. This article will help you further understand each watch brand as well as the difference between them.
So if you are ready, let’s dive in!
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Both Rolex and Patek Philippe are regarded as two of the finest luxury watchmakers in the world. These two brands have a rich history of fine watchmaking and share the same drive for innovation and passion for making exceptional luxury watches.
Founded in 1839 by Antoine Norbert de Patek and François Czapek, Patek Philippe is a master watchmaker and is considered one of the oldest manufacturers of high-end luxury watches.
Patek watches are regarded for their exclusivity, accuracy, and elegance.
On the other hand, Rolex was founded by Hans Wilsdorf with the original name of Wilsdorf and Davis in 1908. After WWI, the brand moved its headquarters to Geneva, Switzerland.
Rolex models are well-known for their iconic designs and highly-functional tool watches.
Rolex History Timeline
Here are some highlight from the history of Rolex watches:
1905 – Hans Wilsdorf founded a timepiece distribution company in London, England
1908 – The company is renamed Rolex
1910 – First to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision for a watch
1919 – The company moves to Geneva, Switzerland
1933 – The first expedition to fly over Everest was equipped with Rolex Oysters
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
Patek Philippe History Timeline
Here are some highlight from the history of Patek Philippe watches:
1839 – Patek, Czapek & Cie is founded by Antoine Norbert de Patek and François Czapek
1844 – Receives a bronze medal for his keyless winding at the Industrial Exposition in Paris
1851 – The company name becomes Patek, Philippe & Cie
1869 – Patek Philippe creates the first Swiss wristwatch that was made for Countess of Hungary
1910 – Patek Philippe creates the “Duke of Regla” Westminster chime pocket watch
1925 – Patek Philippe creates its first wristwatch with a perpetual calendar
1944 – Patek Philippe wins a record number of first prizes for precision in the Geneva Observatory competition
1962 – A Patek Philippe tourbillon movement achieves the still unbeaten world timekeeping precision record for a mechanical watch at the Geneva Observatory
1997 – Launch of Aquanaut collection
2012 – Patek Philippe Watch Art Grand Exhibition in Dubai
2018 – Launch of the World Time Minute Repeater, Ref. 5531R
Brand Champions and Product Marketing
Patek Philippe and Rolex are two brands that are known to create the most iconic wristwatches in history. That is why they are also the go-to labels of numerous celebrity icons and famous people.
After being featured and associated with various James Bond movies, Rolex has become even more desirable for many watch collectors and casual wearers who are also fans of the film.
Other notable Rolex fans and brand ambassadors who stay loyal to the brand are Steve McQueen, Roger Federer, Tiger Woods, and the original owner of the most expensive Rolex watch, Paul Newman.
Patek Philippe, on the other hand, doesn’t have a watch ambassador at all. Instead of relying on celebrity endorsements, the brand prioritizes haute horlogerie, precision, and accuracy in its watch movements while maintaining its exclusivity and reputation that does not cater to market whims.
But even so, Patek Philippe’s watches can still be seen on the wrist of some of the famous people in the world, like Ed Sheeran, Lebron James, and even the late Queen Elizabeth II.
Rolex Watches vs. Patek Philippe Watches
Both Patek Philippe and Rolex have been making watches with incredible designs. However, these two luxury watch brands have their own distinct taste when it comes to watches’ aesthetics.
Patek Philippe timepieces are known for their extravagant and timeless designs.
Their luxury watches usually boast meticulous details, stunning dials, and intricate complications that add a touch of classiness as well as functionality. That is why some of their best watches are in the category of dress watches.
Meanwhile, Rolex is famous for its sporty and more masculine designs.
The advantage of Rolex is its reputation for making some of the most iconic watches that are robust, practical, and conform well even with men with the most active lifestyle. That is why they mostly produce sports watches that can be used on all occasions.
Comparing Patek Philippe and Rolex in terms of performance is not easy. Both of them have innovative contributions to the watchmaking industry as they create watches with exceptional performance.
However, there are notable differences between them.
Although they both create watches highly regarded for their performance, Rolex is more known for its tool watches that can function even in harsh conditions. One example of this is the Rolex Submariner, which has a water resistance of up to 300 meters.
Meanwhile, Patek Philippe focuses on more intricate complications. These include perpetual calendars, minute repeaters, chronographs, and so on. These functions offer great help for men to do their daily tasks easier and more efficiently.
What separates Rolex or Patek Philippe from most brands is their reliable movements. These two watchmaking giants are known for their in-house calibre that powers the inner workings of their watches.
Patek Philippe’s Calibre 89 is one of the most remarkable movements developed by the brand. It consists of 33 complications, including multiple calendars, chronograph functions, and astronomical indications such as the moon phase and many more.
For Rolex, the self-winding calibre 3135 is the most important in-house movement developed by the brand. It is equipped with 31 jewels, a Parachrom hairspring, and a COSC-certified chronometer that indicates its unparalleled timekeeping accuracy.
Rolex Watches vs. Patek Philippe 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.
It also must be practical. Meaning it doesn’t need to be so extravagant or equipped with a highly complicated mechanism.
Here are the two watches from Rolex and Patek Philippe that fit well in the everyday watch category.
Rolex Datejust vs. Patek Philippe Nautilus
|Rolex Datejust Ref. M126300-0008||Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5811/1G-001|
|Dimensions||41mm diameter, 12mm thickness||41mm, 8.2mm thickness|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel||White Gold|
|Band||Jubilee bracelet||White gold bracelet|
|Water Resistance||100 meters||120 meters|
|Caliber||Caliber 3235||Caliber 26-330 S C|
|Movement||Automatic 70 hours Power Reserve||Automatic 35 hours Power Reserve|
|Retail Price||Starting at $7,700||Starting at $68,000|
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.
Rolex’s most famous chronograph watch is the Rolex Daytona, while Patek Philippe’s Nautilus chronograph is also a must-have.
Rolex Daytona vs. Patek Philippe Nautilus
|Rolex Daytona Ref. M126506-0001||Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph Ref. 5990/1A-011|
|Dimensions||40mm diameter, 11.9mm thickness||40.5mm diameter, 12.53 thickness|
|Case Material||Platinum||Stainless steel|
|Band||Oyster bracelet||Stainless steel bracelet|
|Water Resistance||100 meters||120 meters|
|Caliber||Caliber 4131||CH 28-520 C FUS|
|Movement||Automatic 72 hours Power Reserve||Automatic 55 hours Power Reserve|
|Retail Price||Starting at $77,000||Starting at $67,000|
Dress watches, as the name suggests, are specifically designed to be worn with formal attire. They are developed to complement the overall appearance and style of the wearer in formal or professional settings.
Aesthetically, these watches are elegantly designed to impress not only their wearer but also anyone who lays their eyes upon them.
So here are two of the best dress watches from Patek Philippe and Rolex.
Rolex Day-Date vs. Patek Philippe Grand Complications
|Rolex Day-Date 40 Ref. M228239-0004||Patek Philippe Grand Complications Ref. 5327R-001|
|Dimensions||40mm diameter, 12.1mm thickness||39mm diameter, 9.71mm thickness|
|Case Material||White gold||Rose gold|
|Band||Presidential bracelet||Alligator leather strap|
|Water Resistance||100 meters||30 meters|
|Caliber||Caliber 3255||240 Q|
|Movement||Automatic 70 hours Power Reserve||Automatic 48 hours Power Reserve|
|Retail Price||Starting at $38,500||Starting at $101,000|
If you are looking for a dive watch, Rolex and Patek Philippe brands offer some of the best next-generation timepieces you could ever use for exploring the deep blue sea.
Dive watches from these brands are not only designed to withstand high pressure but also offer great legibility for divers to track time underwater safely.
Here is a comparison of two of the most reliable dive watch models from these high-end watchmaking brands.
Rolex Submariner vs. Patek Philippe Aquanaut
|Rolex Submariner Ref. M124060-0001||Patek Philippe Aquanaut Ref. 5168G-001|
|Dimensions||41mm diameter, 12.5mm thickness||42.2mm diameter, 8.25 thickness|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel||White gold|
|Band||Oyster Bracelet||Rubber strap|
|Water Resistance||300 meters||120 meters|
|Caliber||Caliber 3230||Caliber 26-330 S C|
|Movement||Automatic 70 hours Power Reserve||Automatic 45 hours Power Reserve|
|Retail Price||Starting at $9,100||Starting at $48,200|
Rolex watches are known to retain their value. There are also times when a Rolex appreciates in value, making its market price two or three times higher than its original retail price.
This is due to the high demand for the watches that the Rolex brand produces.
Here is a general overview of Rolex models and their price points.
|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|
Generally speaking, Patek Philippe’s watches are pricier than Rolex watches. This is due to several factors, such as the brand reputation, highly intricate complications, rarity, and lastly, its very limited production.
Every Patek Philippe timepiece is considered a watch collector piece simply because of the watch’s brand name and the story behind it.
So to give you an overview of how pricey this expensive watch may be, here is the Patek Philippe watch price guide.
|Grand Complications||Starting at $92,260|
|Complications||Starting at $35,480|
|Calatrava||Starting at $24,600|
|Gondolo||Starting at $35,400|
|Golden Ellipse||Starting at $34,070|
|Nautilus||Starting at $34,890|
|Aquanaut||Starting at $21,650|
Rolex and Patek Philippe watches are both high-demand timepieces.
Rolex has a reputation for maintaining a fairly high production volume compared to other brands, but because of the overflowing demands, the supply can’t reciprocate the market needs.
And this is two times more likely true for Patek Philippe watches. Because of its exclusivity, Patek is estimated to produce only around 58,000 watches a year, making its pieces more expensive than the other watches that are mass-produced.
So if you want to purchase timepieces from these watchmaking brands, there is a big chance that you must be put on a long waiting list before actually getting one.
Rolex Vs Patek Philippe – Conclusion
And there you have it! That is a brief point-to-point comparison between two giant names in the watchmaking world.
We hope that this article helps you further understand the similarities and differences between Rolex and Patek Philippe.
Now that we are one with this topic, what do you prefer? Rolex or Patek Philippe? If you choose Rolex, you may also read our article about the most affordable Rolex timepieces here.