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Battle of the diving watches: Rolex Submariner vs. Omega Seamaster

Battle of the diving watches: Rolex Submariner vs. Omega Seamaster

Nils Rau

Diving watches are among the most popular luxury watches: Both the Rolex Submariner and the Omega Seamaster have been legendary icons since the 1950s. But which of the two automatic watches is the best diving watch? We put the two models head-to-head to determine a winner. What did we conclude? Find out more here!

Submariner and Seamaster: Decades of history

Diving watches have been around since the 1920s. Both the Rolex Submariner and the Omega Seamaster are flagships of the brands and have been around for decades. When it comes to age, the Seamaster takes the lead: the first model was introduced as early as 1948. The first Submariner was introduced six years later, in 1954.

The advantage of age: The original Seamaster was more of a dress watch than a tool watch and actually has little in common with the Seamaster as we know it today. The watch had a leather strap and an overall more elegant appearance. It wasn’t until 1993 when Omega introduced the now well-known Seamaster Diver Professional with the wave blade and the skeleton hands. That being said, the current design of the Seamaster has only existed for 25 years. At Baselworld 2018, Omega also presented a revised Seamaster.

Rolex has always had more of an evolution than a revolution: the first model of the Submariner, Ref. 6204 or 6205, is unmistakably a Submariner. Case, bezel, dial and strap all have the same typical features of the distinctive model that we know today. It was only a few years later that the crown guard and the Mercedes hands were introduced.

Housing and materials: Variety in both models

When you think of the Seamaster or the Submariner, you usually have the typical stainless steel models in mind. But both watches are now available in different styles and material combinations.

The Rolex Submariner Date is available in white gold, yellow gold or bi-colour, the stainless steel Submariner is available with or without date and as an anniversary version with green bezel and dial. If you consider all colour and material combinations, there are eight different Submariner variations. The Omega Seamaster is even more versatile: in addition to the stainless steel and stainless steel-gold watches, Omega also offers titanium-gold models. In addition, the Seamaster is no longer only available in blue and black. There are even chronograph and GMT versions of the Seamaster. This variety serves nearly every taste, and has little detrimental effect on the clarity and stringency of the model range. In addition, the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean and the Rolex Sea Dweller and Deep Sea are model alternatives for both brands.

Both watches have a ceramic bezel and a quick adjustment strap, both have exceptional feel and quality. Unlike the Submariner, the Seamaster has a helium valve, which is a plus for professional divers.

Manufactures in the Rolex Submariner and Omega Seamaster

If you compare the movements of both watches, Omega comes out a few steps ahead. This is primarily due to Omega's innovations - just think of the exclusive co-axial escapement. In the new generation of Seamaster models, the Master Chronometer movements are used (specifically the 8800 calibre), which, in addition to the demanding METAS certification, offer resistance to magnetic fields of up to 15,000 gauss. The power reserve is around 50 hours.

Rolex movements are known in the watchmaking world as nearly indestructible, but with simple tractors. However, Submariner watches are not left entirely without innovations. One example is the blue parachrom spiral. In addition to the classic COSC certification, all Rolex movements are certified by Rolex itself. The power reserve of the calibers used in the Submariner models is around 48 hours. Since Rolex has recently started using a new generation of movements with ten newly filed patents and a power reserve of 70 hours, it is only a matter of time before they are also used in diving watches.

At a glance

For an overview we have selected the most popular models from our shop - the black Omega Seamaster Diver 300 M and the classic Rolex Submariner without date magnifier.

In conclusion

The reliability of both the Submariner and the Seamaster are always a reassuring factor when buying a luxury watch. There is no doubt that these two models are an excellent choice if you are looking for a robust, stylish luxury watch that is also suitable for everyday use and should accompany you for many years or even decades.

My personal winner is the Rolex Submariner. Granted: I love Rolex. This is precisely because there are few watches that have such a simple, harmonious and classic design. And this also applies to the Submariner. The watch is simple, superbly crafted to perfection. For me personally, the Seamaster has too many design elements. With the continuity of the models, Rolex does everything right - the restrictive model policy gives the watches a certain eternity guarantee. In the end, the choice between the two watches became a question of tradition and innovation. Those who prefer tradition will be happy with the Submariner. In addition, the Submariner is our winner because of its status and what it represents, whether it’s your first salary at a new job or a major milestone in life, you can always celebrate with a Rolex. For those who prefer innovation, the Seamaster is more likely to appeal to them with its more exciting movement and helium valve. In the end, there is value in both watches.

Of course, you should also be aware that the Submariner is much more expensive than the Seamaster. I personally believe that the price of a watch should not be taken into account when making decisions, as this can quickly lead to compromises. But if you consider this aspect, it can hardly be denied that with the Seamaster you get just as much watch for significantly less money.