You’ve just stumbled upon the best, most comprehensive comparison of the Rolex Sea-Dweller and Omega Planet Ocean. It’s not a topic we take lightly, as this is as big of a rivalry as Yankees vs. Red Sox, or Batman vs. Bane. Putting Omega and Rolex head to head is a contentious topic for loyal collectors. And while enthusiasts have been pinning these brands against one another for decades, the Rolex Sea-Dweller vs. Omega Planet Ocean comparison is among the most interesting and most searched on Google.
Having both been crafted specifically for deep-sea diving, these luxury watches have capabilities and features that make them highly appealing to both professional divers and avid collectors. In this guide, we’ll give you a comprehensive look at these two famous lines of dive watches to help you choose which is the right purchase for your collection. Are you ready to take a deep dive with us?
About the Rolex Sea-Dweller
The Rolex Sea-Dweller was first introduced back in 1967 and was specifically made for professional marine divers who were in search of the perfect watch for prolonged use at extreme depths. With timekeeping imperative in these situations, as well as water-resistance, divers needed a watch that would be completely reliable. Rolex has a deep history with waterproof watches, being the first to do so with the introduction of its revolutionary Oyster case back in the 1920s. With the release of the Sea-Dweller, Rolex instantly became the go-to watch for deep-sea divers and explorers of the 20th century. Today, the watch holds a lasting legacy that professional divers and avid collectors value and admire.
5 Fast Facts about the Rolex Sea-Dweller
– The Rolex Sea-Dweller is water-resistant up to 1,220 meters (4,000 feet).
– The Sea-Dweller collection also includes the ‘Deepsea’ (introduced in 2008). This separate model can withstand depths of up to 3,900 meters (12,800 feet).
– The Rolex Sea-Dweller features an automatic helium escape valve.
– The current Rolex Sea-Dweller has a case diameter of 43mm.
– Rolex introduced a Yellow Rolesor (two-tone) Sea-Dweller in 2019.
Omega first released its modern and luxurious Planet Ocean watch in 2005. While the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean is considered a more recent addition to the brand’s catalog, this iconic watch wasted no time grabbing the attention and affection of professional divers and avid collectors. Immediately this watch was pinned against classic and powerful dive watches like the Rolex Sea-Dweller. However, the Omega Planet Ocean stands on its own with multiple different configurations and serious diving capabilities. Backed by Omega’s dedication to precision timekeeping, the Planet Ocean is now one of Omega’s most popular watches.
5 Fast Facts about the Omega Planet Ocean
– The Omega Planet Ocean can withstand depths of 600 meters (2,000 feet).
– The Planet Ocean collection often features bright orange detailing on its dials, hands, and bezels.
– The Planet Ocean draws a number of design elements from vintage Omega Seamaster watches.
– Omega has expanded the Planet Ocean collection to include more than two dozen models, including both chronograph and GMT variations.
– The Planet Ocean is outfitted with a manually-operated helium escape valve.
The Big Comparison: Rolex Sea-Dweller vs. Omega Planet Ocean
Below, we’re going to put the Rolex Sea-Dweller and the Omega Planet Ocean head-to-head and compare their case sizes, depth ratings, and key features. Despite both being high-end professional dive watches, there are significant aesthetic and functional differences between the two models.
A Quick Look: Rolex Sea-Dweller vs Omega Planet Ocean
Movement: Rolex Sea-Dweller vs. Omega Planet Ocean
Omega Planet Ocean Caliber 8900
Today the Omega Planet Ocean is powered by the world-class Caliber 8900 self-winding movement that is Master Chronometer certified, meaning it has passed eight rigorous tests by The Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology. It was launched in 2015 as the replacement for the Caliber 8500 series, which itself replaced the Cal. 2500 that was used in the first Planet Ocean watches from 2005.
Similar to the ETA-based Cal. 2500, the in-house Caliber 8900 also boasts Omega’s Co-Axial escapement which improves the movement’s precision, stability, and reliability. It is also an automatic movement like the Cal. 2500 with a bidirectional rotor and the capability to tell the date. However, the 8900 was also outfitted with a range of new features and upgrades, like a silicon balance spring for superior anti-magnetism. The Caliber 8900 boasts a whopping 60-hour power reserve, 39 jewels, a Nivachoc shock system, and a frequency of 25,200bph.
An important thing to note about the Cal. 8900 is that while the original Caliber 2500 was an ETA movement that had been modified to feature Omega’s Co-Axial escapement, the Caliber 8900 series is very much an in-house Omega movement. This is an important distinction to make when comparing the Planet Ocean to the Sea-Dweller, as Rolex always manufactures its movements in-house, and it is only more recent generations of the Planet Ocean that feature in-house movements. Additionally, you can see the Omega Cal. 8900 through the clear case-back, giving you a peek at how it works along with the decorative ‘Cotes de Geneve en Arabesque‘ design applied to the bridges.
Rolex Sea-Dweller Caliber 3235
As of 2017, the Sea-Dweller is outfitted with the next-generation, in-house Rolex Caliber 3235. The bi-directional, automatic Cal. 3235 replaced the Cal. 3135 which is a Rolex workhorse with a long track record of proven performance, celebrated for its reliability across the industry. However, the Cal. 3235 was an important upgrade for this highly sought after timepiece, having been outfitted with 14 patents for improved precision, power reserve, and resistance to shocks and magnetism. One of those patents pertains to is its use of nickel-phosphorus for the construction of its all-new Chronergy escapement, which further increases its magnetic resistance.
The Caliber 3235 also boasts impressive capabilities like a 70-hour power reserve, 31 jewels, a frequency of 28,800bph, Rolex’s patented Chronergy escapement with blue Parachrom hairspring, and date functionality. Rolex also claims that the Cal. 3235 is two times more precise than a COSC certified movement, promising an official accuracy rating of -2/+2 seconds per day (after casing). While the Master Chronometer movement in the current Omega Planet Ocean wins out on magnetic resistance, the 70-hour power reserve offered. by the Cal. 3235 can push the Sea-Dweller ahead for some collectors.
Given the long history of the Rolex Sea-Dweller and the number of different generations of the watch that has existed, surviving examples can be found with a few different movements, depending on when the watches were manufactured. Prior to using the Caliber 3135 (from 1988 to 2017), the Rolex Sea-Dweller was previously powered by the Caliber 3035 movement (from 1978 to 1988) and before that, the Caliber 1575 (from 1967 to 1978), which appeared in the inaugural model and lacked quickset date functionality.
Case: Rolex Sea-Dweller vs. Omega Planet Ocean
Omega Planet Ocean Case
The large, 43.5mm stainless steel case on the current production version of the standard Omega Planet Ocean is substantial. However, the sheer size of this watch is exactly what makes it so powerful – boasting a water resistance of 600m/2,000ft, and a helium escape valve for saturation diving. The case of the Omega Planet Ocean was also designed to feel luxurious, combining polished and brushed finished surfaces, as well as curved edges, to enhance that premium feel. The addition of a clear sapphire case-back adds to this elevated aesthetic, as this feature is traditionally reserved for the most complicated and beautiful movements. Of course, the top of the case is topped off with a sapphire crystal too; however, it lacks any form of magnification lens over the date window.
Today, the 43.5mm Omega Planet Ocean 600m (featuring a Caliber 8900) we’ve been focusing on is only available in stainless steel. However, there are two versions that boast Cal. 8901 movements (functionally identical to the Cal. 8900 but featuring a gold rotor and balance bridge), which are forged out of 18k white gold or Sedena gold (Omega’s proprietary rose gold alloy). It’s also important to note there are other sizes available for the Planet Ocean collection. The standard size is 43.5mm and this is also the only size available for the various GMT models. However, Omega also offers a smaller 39.5mm version of the Planet Ocean, along with a chronograph version that has a 45.5mm case.
Rolex Sea-Dweller Case
Today the Rolex Sea-Dweller is available in both Oystersteel (904L stainless steel) and Yellow Rolesor (Rolex’s trademark name for two-tone watches with both stainless steel and yellow gold components). The introduction of the two-tone Sea-Dweller model is quite new, only having been launched in 2019. This was an important upgrade for the luxury sports watch, as it had been viewed as a flat-out tool watch since its initial introduction and had never before been offered with the option of precious metals. Yet, with the inherent luxury of being a Rolex watch, it made sense for the iconic Swiss manufacturer to integrate 18k yellow gold into its design. Both the stainless steel and two-tone versions of the Rolex Sea-Dweller clock in at 43mm; however, the Deepsea Sea-Dweller – an even more extreme extension of the line – has a 44mm case.
Of course, the case of the 43mm Sea-Dweller is an Oyster case, world-renowned for being the first waterproof watch case of its kind. The Oyster case is used across most of the Rolex line, from its classic Datejust to its various sport and tool watches, and it is known for its screw-down winding crowns and case-backs. Th case of the Sea-Dweller is also specifically designed to withstand the depths of the ocean, giving the wearer 4,000ft of water resistance and boasting an automatically-operated helium escape valve. You will also notice that on today’s Sea-Dweller watches, the sapphire crystal features a Cyclops magnification lens over the date window. On all older references, this was not the case and they instead featured flat crystals. Furthermore, the Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller features an extra-thick domed sapphire crystal that does not feature the Cyclops lens of the standard model.
Dial: Rolex Sea-Dweller vs. Omega Planet Ocean
Omega Planet Ocean Dial
The dial on the Omega Planet Ocean is incredibly clear. What so many divers love about this watch is that it is very easy to tell the time on the dial. And for collectors, it is simply beautiful to admire. This is due to a few defining factors, like the large arrow-shaped hands coated in Super-LumiNova and the signature applied Arabic numerals at 6, 9, and 12. It is a classic look to have the Arabic numerals colored orange; however, you can also get them in white for a more monochromatic appearance.
On the dial of the Omega Planet Ocean, there’s also always a date window, which sits at the 3 o’clock location (or at 6 o’clock on the chronograph model), unmagnified, as to not distract from the readability. Below the hands, you can read its Co-Axial and Chronometer certification, as well as its 600m/2000ft water resistance rating. At the top of the dial below 12 o’clock marker, you’ll see the Omega insignia with Seamaster Professional sitting below it.
Rolex Sea-Dweller Dial
The dial of the Sea-Dweller has a classic, Rolex sports watch appeal. This face is defined by the round and rectangular luminous plots outfitted with long-lasting blue Chromalight luminescence. The Mercedes-style hands are another Rolex classic, also featuring Chromalight so they can be easily referenced, even at the deepest depths of the sea. Rolex’s Mercedes hands are noticeably thinner than the Omega arrowhead hands; however both offer exceptional legibility, so it really comes down to your aesthetic preferences here. On the Rolex Sea-Dweller, you’ll also only ever find a black dial (not including Deepsea watches), which provides a strong contrast against the luminous hands and hour markers.
On the Rolex Sea-Dweller dial, you will also always find the date sitting at 3 o’clock, older models won’t have a Cyclops lens but those from the current 43mm generation will always have on the surfaces of their crystals. On the stainless steel Sea-Dweller, you will also notice that the Sea-Dweller name is inscribed in red letters, whereas it appears in gold text on the Rolesor version. Otherwise, both watches feature “4000ft=1220m” and “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified” on the lower half of their dials.
Bezel: Rolex Sea-Dweller vs. Omega Planet Ocean
Omega Planet Ocean Bezel
The Liquidmetal ceramic bezel on the Planet Ocean 600m comes in an array of colors including a combination of gray and orange, a combination of black and orange, solid black, solid blue, and solid orange. The two-tone bezels feature a bit of a different design, the first section of the bezel (between the starting triangle and the 20-minute marker) always featuring the pop of solid orange with graduation marks in between. Additionally, there are also the Planet Ocean GMT bezels that can be found both in solid colors and white and black split-color design.
With the exception of the 24-hour bezels fitted to the various GMT models, all Omega Planet Ocean bezels have the same functionally – a unidirectional timing bezel graduated to 60 minutes, which can be used to help divers accurately measure elapsed time while underwater. The bezel on the Planet Ocean also features a coin-edged design that makes it easy to grip underwater, which is imperative for divers who have already descended and may be wearing thick gloves.
Rolex Sea-Dweller Bezel
The unidirectional 60-minute timing bezel on the Rolex Sea-Dweller is made to be strictly functional and although it has seen a number of updates over the years, its basic design has remained largely unchanged. Unlike the Planet Ocean, the bezel on the current Rolex Sea-Dweller is always crafted out of black Cerachrom. However, this proprietary, virtually scratch-proof ceramic material is loved by collectors and divers for its durability and the fact that it won’t fade over time.
The engraved numerals of the diver’s scale on the bezel are also specially done, coated via a PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) process with a thin layer of either platinum (on the stainless steel version) or gold (on the two-tone model) so that they are both legible and luxurious. The bezel of the Rolex Sea-Dweller is graduated to 60 minutes and also features serrated edges so that it is easy to maneuver while underwater.
Bracelet: Rolex Sea-Dweller vs. Omega Planet Ocean
Omega Planet Ocean Bracelet
Omega offers four different kinds of straps/bands for the Planet Ocean including a metal bracelet, a Nato strap, a leather strap, and a rubber strap. The Nato strap and rubber strap are probably the two options best suited for actual diving; however, the bracelet and leather strap options offer great alternatives for those that seek a more dressy and refined appearance for their Planet Ocean.
With that in mind, all of the different wrist closure options for the Omega Planet Ocean are highly functional and aesthetically pleasing. The various straps all offer ample room for adjustment, while the bracelet option features a clasp with a divers extension system that allows wearers to quickly adjust it to fit over a wetsuit sleeve without the use of any tools.
Rolex Sea-Dweller Bracelet
Rolex has only ever outfitted the Sea-Dweller with its iconic Oyster bracelet. When compared to the options available for the Planet Ocean, the lack of choice may seem somewhat bland. However, the Rolex Oyster bracelet is an icon in the watch world for a reason. Its ability to pair form and function is the gold-standard for bracelets, and it is handsome, durable, and incredibly comfortable to wear on the wrist.
Rolex has also outfitted the classic bracelet with its Oysterlock clasp to help prevent accidental opening. Rolex also has its own bracelet extension technology known as ‘Glidelock’ that allows a diver to extend the bracelet to fit over a wetsuit. Additionally, the Rolex Sea-Dweller is also fitted with the brand’s ‘Fliplock’ extension link that enables the wearer to extend the bracelet further should circumstances call for it. What divers love so much about the Glidelock extension system is that you can instantly make fine adjustments to the Oyster bracelet on the fly, without using a single tool.
Pricing & Value: Rolex Sea-Dweller vs. Omega Planet Ocean
This is one of the most important sections about the Rolex Sea-Dweller vs. Omega Planet Ocean comparison, as many collectors are curious about the investment potential of their luxury watches. Generally speaking, while the Omega Planet Ocean costs significantly less at retail, the Rolex Sea-Dweller holds better value in the long run.
Omega Planet Ocean Pricing and Value
Depending on the specific model the average retail price for a new Omega Planet Ocean is around $6,000 to $7,000. With that in mind, titanium and precious metal versions typically cost more, although even the full titanium model on a matching bracelet can be found brand-new for well under $10,000. This is by no means cheap, but compared to the Rolex Sea-Dweller, it is a really great deal. Considering all of the incredible functionality you get out of the Omega Planet Ocean, as well as the luxurious finishes and selection of aesthetic details, the price point is quite reasonable for the Swiss luxury watch market.
When it comes to the secondary market, the Omega Planet Ocean holds good value, but not quite as well as the Rolex Sea-Dweller. Older Planet Ocean watches can often be found at a significant discount, but even the current-production models can often be found at noticeable savings compared to their original retail prices. With that in mind, given that this watch is still relatively new to the market, we’re curious to see how it ages in terms of vintage status over the years.
Rolex Sea-Dweller Pricing and Value
Today the retail price of a stainless steel Rolex Sea-Dweller clocks in at $11,700, while the two-tone version is priced at $16,600 due to the use of 18k yellow gold. This is significantly higher than the price of the Omega Planet Ocean, however, you’re paying for a few things. The first is sheer functionality – as this watch offers an official depth rating of more than twice the one offered by the Planet Ocean. The second thing you are paying a premium for is the brand name. Rolex watches hold great value because of the quality associated with them, and you do end up paying a premium for that. However, because of this, the Rolex Sea-Dweller also holds better value than the Omega Planet Ocean.
Vintage Rolex Sea-Dweller watches are considered rare and incredibly collectible. Prices for the original reference from the 1960s start out well-above the retail price for brand-new Sea-Dweller watches, and can easily reach into the six-figure range for the ultra-rare Double Red Sea-Dweller (DRSD) and Single Red Sea-Dweller (SRSD) watches. Additionally, due to global demand far exceeding supply, even the current-production Rolex Sea-Dweller watches that are still available at a retail level trade hands on the pre-owned market for more than their original retail prices, simply because there is no way to purchase a brand-new Rolex Sea-Dweller without spending some time on a rather lengthy waiting list.
Frequently Asked Questions About Rolex Sea-Dweller vs Omega Planet Ocean
Here, we’re taking a dive into the most common questions about the Rolex Sea-Dweller and the Omega Planet Ocean. However, if you think there’s something we’ve missed in this FAQ or guide, we encourage you to reach out to our team of experts. We have a wide selection of both Rolex Sea-Dweller and Omega Planet Ocean watches on our website, and we’re happy to help you find the right one that deserves a spot on your wrist.
What is the difference between the Sea-Dweller vs. Planet Ocean?
The Sea-Dweller is designed and manufactured by Rolex and the Planet Ocean is made and manufactured by Omega. There are a variety of differences between the two watches, but the most obvious is their aesthetic differences. The Omega Planet Ocean features a distinct face with arrow hands and a variety of bezel colors and strap options, whereas the dial of the Sea-Dweller is instantly recognizable as a Rolex sports watch with classic features like geometric shapes for the hour markers and Mercedes-style hands. When it comes to functionality, the Rolex Sea-Dweller can withstand depths of 1,220 meters whereas the Planet Ocean can go as deep as 600 meters.
How much is a Sea-Dweller vs. Planet Ocean?
At retail (referring to stainless steel models), you can buy an Omega Planet Ocean for about half the price of a Rolex Sea-Dweller. On the pre-owned market, this difference increases and the current-production Rolex Sea-Dweller costs nearly three times as much as the current Omega Planet Ocean. With that in mind, the Rolex Sea-Dweller has proved itself to hold value incredibly well over the years, and it makes an excellent investment piece, assuming that you are able to purchase one at a reasonable price.
What is better, the Sea-Dweller or the Planet Ocean?
If we are going to just compare the functionality of these two watches, many will argue that the Rolex Sea-Dweller is a better watch because it can go down more than twice as deep as the Omega Planet Ocean (1,220m vs. 600m). However, both watches provide far more water resistance than any individual will ever need – even for professional scuba diving applications. Ultimately, the “better” watch between the two is entirely subjective, and the answer for one person may not be the same for another; it all comes down to your needs, aesthetic tastes, and budget.
Is the Omega Planet Ocean a good watch?
Yes, absolutely! The Omega Planet Ocean is a superb, professional luxury diving timepiece that has become a true fixture within the industry. The modern Planet Ocean is outfitted with all of the features necessary to venture to the deepest parts of the ocean, while still being refined and luxurious enough to be worn with a suit or formal attire.
Is the Rolex Sea-Dweller a good watch?
Yes, absolutely! The Rolex Sea-Dweller is one of the most revered professional dive timepieces on the planet. Backed by Rolex precision and attention to detail, the watch was one of the very first to pioneer the helium escape valve in the industry and has served as the gold-standard for saturation diving watches for more than half a century.
What is better, the Rolex Sea-Dweller or the Rolex Submariner?
The Rolex Submariner is by far more popular among collectors because of its smaller, more wearable size. However, the Rolex Sea-Dweller has far more capabilities than the Submariner, considering that it can dive more than four times deeper than the Submariner (300 meters compared to 1,220 meters). Both models will work exceptionally well as professional dive watches, but the Rolex Sea-Dweller is often chosen by avid divers due to its longstanding connection to the world of deep-sea exploration.
Was the Rolex Sea-Dweller discontinued?
No. The Rolex Sea-Dweller still remains a part of the brand’s catalog today and it is available in both traditional and Deepsea formats. The classic 40mm model was officially discontinued in 2017; however, it was replaced by the new 43mm version that still remains a part of the Rolex lineup.
Is the Rolex Sea-Dweller collectible?
Absolutely. The Rolex Sea-Dweller is a highly collectible timepiece thanks to its long history, brand equity, and rarity. These watches are hard to get a hold of on the retail level and hold exceptional value on the secondary market – making them great investments. Additionally, certain rare vintage Sea-Dweller models are some of the most collectible Rolex watches out there. There are only a small handful of ‘Single Red Sea-Dweller’ (SRSD) watches ever produced and they are fiercely sought-after by collectors. In fact, they’re so rare they often don’t even appear at auctions, and when they do, they sell for huge sums of money.
How can I tell if my Rolex Sea-Dweller is real?
Like other Rolex watches, there are a number of ways to tell whether or not a Rolex Sea-Dweller is real. However, what to look for when authenticating a Sea-Dweller specifically will differ from one reference to the next. Check out our ‘How to Spot a Fake Rolex’ guide for a complete list of what to look for on real Sea-Dweller watches. Counterfeiters are getting better and better at copying Rolex’s designs each day, and sometimes the only way to confirm that a watch is real is by opening it up and inspecting it with high-powered magnification.
Why did Rolex create the Sea-Dweller?
Rolex created the Sea-Dweller to meet the new challenges of deep-sea exploration in the 1960s. Rolex already had its Submariner, which was sufficiently water-resistant; however, the unique conditions of saturation diving would force tiny helium molecules past the seals of divers’ watches that would expand during decompression and force the crystals from the watches. The Rolex Sea-Dweller was designed with a patented automatic helium gas escape valve, which allows trapped helium molecules to safely exit the watch during the decompression stage.
Who wears the Rolex Sea-Dweller?
Positioned as the ultimate deep-sea diving tool, and sitting large and proud on the wrist, it’s no surprise that celebrities love the Rolex Sea-Dweller. Here are just a few of the famous people that wear these ultra-capable tool watches.
Paul is the company's Founder and CEO. He is responsible for all the day to day activities from purchasing, receiving, marketing and sales. Paul is a graduate of Boston College 1979 and resides in California with his family.
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