Rolex Vs Cartier: Which Should You Buy?

Both Rolex and Cartier are two well known premium luxury watch companies. Perhaps you are looking to purchase one of these luxury watches. You may be having a difficult time trying to figure out which brand you should go with. Or maybe you are just curious as to which brand is superior. In this Rolex vs Cartier article, we will attempt to highlight the best features of each and see which one comes out on top!

Rolex Vs Cartier: Brand Name Recognition

The Rolex brand is pretty much a household name. It definitely holds more weight than the Cartier brand name. Just think about how many times you’ve heard the name “Rolex” vs how many times you hear the name “Cartier”. Rolex has been the center of watch innovation since the start.

Rolex was the first watch brand to be completely water resistant, and the first watch to feature automatic date changing, for instance. Also, Rolex is known for their accuracy as one of the most accurate watches on the market. Cartier, on the other hand, was originally designed for pilots, but has since been associated with royalty and the affluent.

Conclusion On Brand Name Recognition

Based on the points made above, and I’m sure your own experience can confirm that Rolex definitely possesses a much greater brand name recognition than Cartier.

Yes they are both well known luxury watches, but Rolex most definitely dominates the luxury watch space as the definitive luxury watch.

Winner: Rolex

Rolex Vs Cartier: Build Quality

Both Rolex and Cartier manufacture mechanical and quartz analog watches. Being Swiss luxury watches, these brands both have watches made of high grade materials.

The majority of watches produced by Rolex and Cartier will have stainless steel cases for the most part, although they do also have gold and platinum cases too. Rolex stands out with their stainless steel cases, however, as they use a type called 904L stainless steel. This type is more corrosion resistant than others.

Aside from that though, both brands also have sapphire crystal dial windows. Next, is water resistance. This will vary among models from each brand, but they both have a standard of about 100 meters of water resistance. Rolex does, however, have models that go all the way up to 1220 meters of water resistance.

Conclusion on Build Quality

Rolex takes the lead in terms of build quality with their high grade stainless steel, and superb water resistance in some of their models.

Winner: Rolex

Rolex Vs Cartier: Style

In terms of style, Cartier watches mostly stay within the realm of fashion. They do have a few other offerings in different categories, but the Cartier history as a jeweler before watchmaker still holds weight. One bonus to Cartier watches is that they have a variety of different case styles.

Cartier watch cases can be square, oval, or even tonneau. Rolex, however, mostly seems to stick with the more roundish case shape for the majority of their watches. It is definitely a plus for Cartier to have different case shapes, but that alone doesn’t necessarily win them this round!

Cartier watches are more of a dress piece for the most part. Rolex, on the other hand, while being a renown luxury brand, still maintains more versatility in their style. They can fit more of a variety of different styles and themes, from sport, to casual, to dress. This versatility in style in a way makes up for their lack of variety in case shapes.

Conclusion On Style

It appears that each of these watches have their own pros and cons when it comes to style. If you are looking for a pure luxury dress watch that has a variety of case shapes to choose from, then Cartier would be the best option.

If, however, you are looking for a luxury watch that can fit a variety of different dress styles, then Rolex would be a better fit, despite the lack of variety in case shapes.

Winner: draw

Rolex Vs Cartier: Pricing

In terms of pricing, Cartier watches are generally going to be less expensive than Rolex watches. They are by no means cheap, but If you are just now entering into the luxury watch space, then Cartier would be the better option to look into just starting out.

On the flip side, however, Rolex has better resale value. So if you don’t plan on keeping your luxury watch for the rest of your life, then a Rolex may be the better option, as you will get more money back if you intend to resell.

Conclusion On Pricing

Once again, this is one of those areas where the two watches are kind of even. You will spend less upfront when buying a Cartier, but a Rolex could be a better value long term. With the Rolex you will spend more, but you can resell the watch years later for a return on your investment.

Winner: draw

Key Points


  • more popular brand
  • innovative history
  • versatility of style
  • better resale value
    • more expensive


  • history of royal associations
  • less expensive
    • less popular brand recognition
    • not as much compatibility of style; more suited as a dress watch


So based on the research, Rolex wins as the better watch overall. But ultimately, everybody is different, and it is up to a person’s preference on an individual basis.

Ultimately comes down to how much you are willing to spend, and what your intentions are for the watch when buying it. At the end of the day though, both Rolex and Cartier are fine luxury watch choices!

If these brands are beyond your budget, then you may want to take a look at some luxury alternatives, that share the style of a luxury watch, without the exorbitant price!

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