When it comes to premium watches or top Swiss watch brands, Rolex is the de facto part of the conversation. In fact, for many non-watch enthusiasts, Rolex is the watchmaking industry. That’s why I decided to write this blog to share the top Rolex competitors or Rolex watch alternatives brands that compete with them. I have also analyzed Rolex’s market share to find out whether or not they actually dominate the market. So let’s start with the article & analyze the Rolex market share.
According to the latest study on the watch market, Rolex holds 28.8% of the total market share of the watch market. Rolex is followed by its closest competition Omega, Cartier, Longines, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piquet, Tissot, Tag Heuer, IWC, Richard Mille, Breitling, Hublot, Jaeger LeCoultre, Officine Panerai, Vacheron Constantin, Tudor, & others.
Rolex Competitors Market Analysis
Every year Federation Of Swiss Watch Industry (FHS) publishes Swiss watch export figures on its website. You can also get month-by-month export figures & yearly export figures on their website.
I checked the official data published on the website, I found that overall sales of the industry have increased from CHF 22.3(2021) to CHF 24.8(2022) billion. So overall Swiss Watch exports have risen by 11.4% from 2021 to 2022.
Another interesting trend that I noticed is that Swiss watches sales are down in China & Hong Kong markets. However, Japan, UK, & US are the market where sales of Swiss watches has increased. US saw the biggest jump in sales from CHF 3,080 to CHF 3,890 billion. It won’t be wrong to say that US is probably the biggest & only market that is showing healthy growth. However, this statistic doesn’t show the overall picture of the watch market as data only takes Swiss watch sales into account.
So let’s see a study that takes Rolex’s Swiss & non-Swiss competitors into consideration to find out its top competition.
Top Rolex Competition Analysis
The latest study on the Swiss market has found the closest competitors of Rolex. You can see the image above to find out the market share of the various Swiss brands. I will also be discussing the main Rolex competitors one by one.
1. Omega- 7.5% Market Share
Omega is one of the most well-known Swiss watch brands established in 1848. Today, it is the second most-sold Swiss brand according to the study. One of the reasons for the popularity of their watches is because of the high-end movement that Omega makes.
Because of the performance of the Omega watches they have been the official timekeepers of the Olympics many times. Besides the Olympics, Omega watches are also well known for their frequent appearances in James Bond movies.
This brand also has the unique distinction of being the first watch that was worn on the moon. Some of the best-selling Omega watches that give Rolex some competition are Moonwatch Professional, Diver 300m, Aqua Terra 150m, & Speedmaster lineup.
If you want to know more about the history of Omega then check out the dedicated history page on their website.
2. Cartier Watches- 6.9% Market Share
Cartier is a French luxury watch brand known for its iconic tank watches. The first tank watch was launched in 1917 which brought the brand to the limelight. While Cartier watches are popular for their tank design but they make watches in round shapes as well. Today this brand has the third highest market share after Rolex.
3. Longines- 5.6% Market Share
Longines is also a popular Swiss sports brand & is also a prominent sponsor of equestrian sports. That’s why this brand is usually associated with horse riding. You can find Swiss mechanical & quartz movement from Longines that are of very high quality. It is part of the Swiss Swatch group which owns Omega, Rado, Hamilton, ETA, & many other watch brands.
4. Patek Philippe- 4.8%
The next watch brand that is a Rolex competitor is Patek Philippe. It is known for making the first watch with a perpetual calendar & leap year indicator. Patek Philippe is also a luxury brand so its watches are also a style statement & that’s why various celebrities have been spotted wearing Patek Philippe watches.
5. Audemars Piquet- 4.2%
Audemars Piquet is a Swiss luxury brand known for its iconic Oak watch collection. What makes this watch series unique is the octagon bezel with screws design. Initially, the bezel of this collection used to be made of stainless steel but today it has been replaced by titanium & carbon fiber.
6. Tissot 3.1%
Tissot is probably one of the only few watch brands that are also known by non-watch enthusiasts. It is mostly because Tissot has been a prominent sponsor of MotoGP, Ice Hockey, Fencing, & Cycling.
I wasn’t surprised to find out that it is one of the top brands as they make various types of watches. You can get a Tissot watch under $100 to one with Swiss ETA movement costing thousands of dollars.
However, I would say that they aren’t direct Rolex’s competitors as they come nowhere close to the brand. Don’t get me wrong they do make some impressive watches but they are not Rolex Submariner or Daytona competition.
7. Tag Heuer 2.3%
Tag Heuer watch brand is known for its affiliation with Formula 1 sports. The reason for that is, this brand is credited with creating the first chronograph that can track 1/100th of a second. It is a very important metric in racing when you want to set a new course record which most of the time is just a difference of a split second.
Tag Heuer makes plenty of different types of watches so you will find high-end chronograph to decent dress watches in their collection.
8. IWC 2.7%
IWC stands for International Watch Company & it was founded by Florentine Ariosto Jones in 1868. He started the first watch-making industry in Northeastern Switzerland. While the company struggled quite a lot in its initial years but it went on to become very successful.
It is credited for making watches that can be used by pilots. IWC watches usually offer high magnetic resistance to make sure timekeeping isn’t affected. This is the case because accuracy is not optional when you are a pilot. Today brand commands a 2.7% watch market share which is quite impressive.
9. Richard Mille 2.7%
One of the things that are common when it comes to Swiss watch brands is that all are at least 50 to 100 years old. One brand that is relatively new at least in terms of Swiss brands is Richard Mille. The brand was founded in 2001 by Richard Mille.
It’s well known for its unique design which is tonneau case & skeleton dial which makes them unique watches. Another thing that makes Richard Mille’s watches unique is the chronograph function with a skeleton dial. Most of Richard Mille’s watches also have a see-through case back. The specs of Richard Mile watches are usually impressive but it’s definitely not the best Rolex competition.
10. Breitling 2.2%
Breitling watches are one of the most revered watches by pilots and aviation enthusiasts. Not just enthusiasts, they were also the watch suppliers for the Royal Air Force during World War II. One of the well-known watches that Breitling is known for is Navitimer. Using it, pilots were able to do complex calculations.
Besides pilot-oriented watches, Breitling also makes chronograph & diving watches that are also of very high quality.
11. Hublot 2.2%
Hublot watch is a sub-brand of the Louis Vuitton group but it definitely has its own unique identity. The brand was founded by Carlo Crocco & he was inspired by portholes found on ships, aircraft, planes, & other vehicles. Also, Hublot means porthole in french so you can definitely see the brand’s source of inspiration.
While Hublot does come in the top 15 closest Rolex watch competition but a lot of hardcore watch enthusiasts hate the brand. However, Hublot is witnessing some of the best sales performance since its inception.
12. Jaeger LeCoultre 2.1%
The next Rolex competitor is Jaeger LeCoultre, known for its founder’s contribution to the watchmaking process. Also, this brand is known for its contribution to creating the first watch with a depth gauge, perpetual calendar, & first automatic alarm watch.
Today brand commands a respectable 2.1% market share & has maintained the performance of its watches.
13. Officine Panerai 1.5%
The next brand on the list is not a Swiss brand but an Italian high-end watch brand. This brand’s watch price dwarf Rolex in comparison. They are mostly known for their diving watches that perform really well.
They were the official supplier of watches for Italian Navy commandoes. Continuing the legacy, you will find Officine Panerai still making impressive dive watches. Maybe they can be considered Rolex Submarine competitors. However, given the price of Officine Panerai, you might find Rolex to be more value for money.
14. Vacheron Constantin 1.9%
Vacheron Constantin is a well-known luxury Swiss maker & commanded an impressive market share of 1.9% in the year 2021. Believe it or not, the watch brand has a history of watchmaking going back to 1755. They make some gorgeous looking watches & high-end caliber making their watches worth looking into.
Tudor is owned by Hans Wilsdorf Foundation which also owns Rolex. Tudor was created by the Rolex founder to provide an affordable Rolex alternative. That’s why for a long time Tudor watches had a reputation as a poor man’s Rolex. It was because the brand reused lots of Rolex iconic designs & movement.
However, the brand has evolved a lot over the years & today makes its own unique design & movement. And, the brand has been in resurgence for a while after being neglected for a long time.
Who Is Rolex Biggest Competitor?
In terms of sales & market share, the biggest competitor to Rolex is the Swiss Omega brand.
What Brand Is A Competitor To Rolex?
There are a lot of brands that compete with Rolex. Popular ones are Omega, Cartier, Longines, Patek Philipe, Audemars Piquet, Tissot, & Tag Heuer.
Is Omega A Competitor To Rolex?
Yes, Omega is second to Rolex in terms of market share.
What Is The Sister Company To Rolex?
Tudor is a sub-brand that is owned by Hans Wilsdorf Foundation which also owns Rolex.