The FAQs will clarify some of the questions that arise from ranking watch makers. Undoubtedly some will be surprised and some disappointed to see their watch ranked lower than where they thought it would be. On to some of the questions:
First of all a movement is referred to a watch’s motor that makes it function (gears, springs, circuitry, etc). An in-house movement is defined as a movement that is built by the same brand that sells it as opposed to using an external 3rd party movement. It is also worth mentioning that using an in-house movement is generally desirable over using 3rd party movements because it strengthens the brand’s sophistication and capabilities.
Watch-Rankings.com analyzes the watch brands by researching the brand’s website, history, heritage and product catalog. We research industry journals and blogs, consider where the watches are sold, read reviews and feedback on websites like Amazon or various internet boards.
We also factor in resale value on eBay or Chrono24. We take note of brands that attend and produce innovations at watch shows such as Baselworld.
We rank on a combination of the following criteria:
- Typical price point
- Brand heritage
Update 12/5/2020 – Below is an example of how a brand is ranked:
1. The Omega website is accessed to view the collection which as of this date contains 79 current watch models: https://www.omegawatches.com/en-us/suggestions/omega-mens-watches?product_list_order=price. They are exported finding the cheapest Prestige at $3,750 with the outlier Tourbillon at $176,500. The Tourbillon is excluded as outlier because that’s not the “Typical” watch that the brand makes. The watch before the Tourbillion is the $42K Seamaster which sports the “Typical” Co-Axial movement that Omegas have. The average retail price for the 78 watches (excluding the Tourbillon) is $9,002.60. A sample of that data is below.
This creates a starting point to place Omega into the 3-Star Luxury Watches (Swiss) category $5,000 – $10,000. I know from experience that Omega’s advertised retail prices, like Rolex, are real. They are not inflated like lesser brands. I’ve gone to local stores myself and have seen the same prices. So I know that that’s how much they sell for.
2. Let’s check whether the other attributes match for that category:
$5,000 – $10,000 – Yes
Respected Heritage/Pedigree – Yes
High resale values – Yes
Mass Production, some rare pieces – Yes
Quality Automatic Movements, some In-House – Yes
Great Craftsmanship – Yes
Some Precious Metals and Stones – Yes
Sapphire Crystal – Yes
I could just stop there but, let’s have a look at the other markets like eBay and/or Chrono24.
3. Chrono24.com indicates 34,697 Omegas as of 12/5/2020 at 7PM https://www.chrono24.com/omega/index.htm?dosearch=true&query=Omega. Of those, I use the price filter to look at the distribution. Here’s what I find:
$0 to $1,000 = 2,010 watches (some of these are parts or vintage so take this with a grain of salt)
$1,001 to $5,000 = 15,664 watches (a lot of these are used)
$5,001 to $1,0000 = 10,322 watches (a lot of these are used)
>$10,001 = 4,364 watches (these are precious metals or special movements, etc)
Note: Those add up to 32,360 while overall the site showed 34,697 Omegas. This is a problem with the site’s filters.
I observe that most of their watches, 27,000 or so are indeed within the less than $10,000. This tells me that their watches typically don’t sell at more that $10K which would be the next level up.
While there are 15,664 watches between $1K and $5K, there are 4,364 that cost more so really the average should be somewhere between $5K and 10K. This once again confirms that in the market Omegas are typically between $5K and $10K.
The Rankings has this delineation between Swiss or Other Countries. The alignment is done by current ownership country and not by where the watches are typically made (i.e. Swiss Made) or where the brand was first started.
By the way, the reason the brand is aligned with the current country of ownership is because that’s more important than the original country. It’s sort of like a citizenship status. A brand can change country of ownership over time many times. What’s important is the current country. But I recognize the original country as well because that’s also sometimes important to know.
Another thing to look for is how the brand fared through world wars or the quartz crisis. Many brands went bankrupt during those times and when they were resurrected sometimes, they were not the same brand after. An example is Universal Genève which was a 3 Star Luxury Swiss brand and became a 2 Star Basic Luxury ranking after it was resurrected by a Hong Kong company Stelux Holdings International, Ltd. In 1989. So we literally have the brand listed twice with the year annotation to differentiate before and after.
So let’s break down Omega.
4. I look at the brand’s own history/heritage information. As expected Omega has a solid history with a Chronicle starting in 1848 all the way up to 2020 here https://www.omegawatches.com/en-us/chronicle. While that’s impressive, the presentation is more of a marketing tool and hard to extract the actual details.
So I looked at the Omega Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega_SA and found that the brand nearly went bankrupt in World War 1. They merged with Tissot to form the SSIH Group. Then in the 1980’s quartz crisis they once again merged with ASUAG which eventually became the famous Swatch Group.
Sometimes the website doesn’t is elusive about the ownership or country so more research is needed but Omega is pretty straight forward.
So Omega is part of the Swatch Group which is a Swiss company therefore Omega is a Swiss brand. It gets placed into the Swiss Watch group and since it’s owned by an umbrella company that gets noted as well.
CONCLUSION: I conclude that Omega is in the 3-Star Luxury Watches (Swiss) category $5,000 – $10,000. In addition the brand gets the red heart symbol because of the credibility, their style, their heritage, movements, quality, etc. It’s a solid brand.
As our watch ranking indicates Patek Philippe is in a whole different category when compared to Rolex. While Rolex is the most well known watch brand in the world, Patek Philippe is at a whole different level of sophistication and class.
Rolex is great because it makes everything in its watches in-house and at the highest level of quality. They achieved remarkable quality levels even though they mass produce watches. They build a great product and were very successful to market their brand name worldwide.
Patek Philippe also makes its parts in-house, but they go the above and beyond. Patek Philippe’s watches are much more refined in terms of detail in the movement and in complications.
For example they polish every part in their movement whether it is visible or not. Also, they’ve kept records of every watch they made and as a result are the only manufacturer who can restore any of thir watches – even those dating as far back as 1839. With a Patek Philippe you know you’re getting the finest possible craftsmanship.
While everyone in the world knows about Rolex only those with some horological knowledge know about Patek Philippe.
While Patek Philippe has some of the most expensive watches in the world the brand fails in the exclusivity category. Even though Patek Philippe has some of the most, perhaps the most rare, distinguished and desirable time pieces they also mass-manufacture many time pieces which knocks them one level below makers that have full lines of rare watches