If you’re shopping around for a luxury diving watch, you would have no doubt heard of the wide range of Rolex Submariner and the Omega Seamaster dive watch collections. These legendary diving watches, both brands are Swiss-made, have been around since the late 1940’s/early1950s. They have been battling for the top spot in the luxury diving watch range ever since.
The preference between the Omega Seamaster and the Rolex Submariner will continue to be the topic of debate between divers. But when it comes to making the decision of which one to buy, assessing all the elements of both will certainly help. Read on to learn more about these legendary dive watch ranges to find out which one will suit you.
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The Rolex Submariner Range
The Submariner was launched by Rolex in 1953 exclusively as the first ever divers’ watch waterproof to a depth of 100m. With decades of innovation, today’s Submariners are waterproof to a depth of 300m.
If you’re a fan of James bond movies, you would have seen the Rolex Submariner appear many times. Although the real deal doesn’t have secret agent gadgets, it is still one of the most prestigious dive watches on the market.
The Rolex Submariner has been considered the high-end diver’s watch that all others will be compared to, with reliability, robustness, and functionality as the core focus. The durable design and unidirectional rotatable bezel have made this watch one of the top choices for divers. The hardwearing scratch-resistant materials survive the challenging nature of the sport while the 60-minute graduation allows divers to monitor their no-decompression limit (NDL) and decompression stop time accurately.
Overall the reliable functionality and the elite reputation of Rolex have made the Rolex Submariner one of the top picks of diver’s watches.
The Omega Seamaster Range
Omega dived into the marine watch world back in the 1930s and has been championed by underwater explorers and famous diving pioneers ever since. From Yves Le Prier- inventor of the SCUBA mask and cylinder to Charles William Beebe- the first deep-sea explorer. Omega became known as the trusted diving watch brand for ocean explorers.
It’s no surprise that the first Seamaster was modeled after the waterproof watches worn by the British Military in World War II. The Seamaster brought a new level of waterproofness to the table by integrating an O-ring for a better seal unaffected by changes in temperature.
The Omega Seamaster 300 was waterproof to 200m and became the favorite dive watch of the godfather of SCUBA diving Jacques Cousteau in 1963.
Omega kicked Rolex out of the James Bond dressing room when the costume designer discovered the British Naval history of the Omega was more fitting to James Bond’s character. The Omega Seamaster received a new boost of popularity as the new leader of premium dive watches.
The incredibly authentic maritime history of Omega and the innovative design allows the Omega Seamaster to remain one of the most respected and trusted dive watches to date.
Submariner vs. Seamaster: Selection of Models
Both the Rolex Submariner range and the Omega Seamaster range have welcomed a wide selection of different models over the years. Their high-quality fundamental design features remain the same yet their design features and prices differ.
The Submariner is part of Rolex’s Oyster Perpetual line which is then split into the Submariner collection and the Submariner Date. The Submariner Date as the name suggests was the first Submariner model to show the date on the right side of the face.
With more than 40 Submariner models crafted over the years, along with a few limited edition models, you have plenty to choose from. Each model has a unique reference number engraved between the lugs at the 12 o’clock side where the bracelet attaches to the watch.
The Seamaster is Omega’s oldest current collection of watches. Over the years there has been a wide range of adaptations of the Seamaster resulting in dive watches to dress watches and more.
There are currently 9 collections of the Seamaster including the Seamaster 300, the Railmaster, the Ploprof, and the Bullhead Chronograph. There is also a selection of limited edition models such as the Olympic Official Time Keeper. The model serial number on the Omega Seamaster is engraved on the back of the watch.
Submariner vs. Seamaster: Design & Materials
The image that may pop into your head when you think of the Submariner or the Seamaster may be fairly similar. The classic stainless steel linked strap with a heavy-duty housing and dark watch face. However, there has been a vast range of different designs using a variety of materials over the decades with a wide selection available today.
The stainless steel Submariner is available with or without the date display known as the Submariner Date. You can choose the anniversary option which has a green bezel and dial nicknamed ‘the Kermit’ by fans. The Submariner Date is available in yellow gold, white gold, or a bi-color mix of the two.
With all the different face colors, bezel colors, and strap options, there are a total number of 8 different Submariners to choose from. Most of the models have maintained the classic Rolex Submariner design.
Omega branched out from the original Seamaster design and became a little more adventurous with colors, materials, and features. The Seamaster 300M has retained the traditional style most similar to the Submariner with an additional Helium Escape Valve on the case.
The Seamaster is available in a variety of contemporary metal finishes such as steel, gold, ceramic, titanium, and platinum. You can choose from a variety of case sizes, face and bezel colors, dial options, and wrist strap materials. You can also opt for the standard date display or with chronograph movement.
So if you’re looking for something a little different from the traditional Submariner or Seamaster 300M design, you can find it within the Seamaster collection.
Submariner vs. Seamaster Pricing
Even after all your research and assessments of each feature, design, and model of the Rolex Submariner and the Omega Seamaster, most of the time your decision will come down to the price.
As with most Rolex watch models, the Submariner range has a higher price tag than the Seamaster. The price of course depends on the model and age of the Submariner or Seamaster you choose.
For a new Rolex Submariner, you could be looking at a price range of around $9,000 to up to $38,000. The price of a new Omega Seamaster dive watch could range from around $8,000 to $12,000 or more for limited edition models.
If buying new doesn’t fit well with your budget you could always browse the pre-owned market to find older-generation models for a great price. Even in the pre-owned selection of Rolex and Omega dive watches, you’ll usually need to pay for Rolex.
Submariner vs Seamaster: A Summary
To make choosing a little easier for you, we have compiled a quick reference of the pros and cons of each dive watch range.
Rolex Submariner Pros
Rolex is an internationally recognized brand with an impeccable reputation for premium quality watches.
The Submariner will hold its value being a Rolex and have a high resale value.
It has an anti-reflective coating on the inside of the crystal which eliminates the chance of it being scratched off.
The movement precision is second to none and rigorously tested by Rolex.
The ceramic Cerachrom bezel is famous for being super smooth and easy to rotate.
Rolex Submariner Cons
There’s no getting away from the higher price tag of any Rolex compared to other brands.
The movement doesn’t undergo final testing from a third party to ensure unbiased results.
There are limited style options if you’re not a fan of the classic Submariner design.
Omega Seamaster Pros
It has an unbeatable user history of professional ocean explorers and the pioneers of SCUBA diving.
There is a wide variety of different styles, colors, and materials to choose from.
You can purchase the Seamaster for around half of the price of a Submariner.
The new Seamaster Diver 300m Co-Axial Master Chronometer is resistant to interference from magnetic waves of up to 15,000 Gauss or 1.5 Tesla.
The illuminating watch hands and features make the Seamaster more legible in dark conditions.
The Seamaster features a manual helium escape valve to reduce the risk of the crystal popping off at the surface after a long dive.
Omega Seamaster Cons
Although the Seamaster will hold its value well, it won’t beat the resale value of the Submariner.
The anti-reflective coating is on the outside of the crystal making it more prone to being scratched off.
The movement is considered slightly less accurate than the Submariner’s chronometer.
The bezel is not as easy to rotate as the Submariner’s ceramic version.
Rolex Submariner vs. Omega Seamaster: The Verdict
In the end, choosing a Rolex Submariner or an Omega Seamaster will depend on which features you value the most. If you’re looking for a more classic look with impeccable accuracy, maybe the Submariner range is for you. If you prefer an alternative design with more innovative features, then go for the Omega Seamaster range.
Researching the finer design details of the various models within the Submariner range and the Seamaster range will also help narrow down your search. Read more about the various models in our other articles. Happy diving!