A quick peek at the most popular brands on Chrono24 reveals that Rolex, Omega, and Patek Philippe are the top sellers on the platform. These three brands have also dominated the watch industry’s image over the past decade, along with Audemars Piguet – the 4th most popular brand on Chrono24. So, what is it that makes these brands so popular? Let’s take a look at some of the factors that have led to their success.
Creating a Great Product
Obviously, everything begins and ends with a great product. All three brands are famous for making some of the industry’s top watches. Rolex and Omega are the current market leaders in terms of producing the best mass-produced mechanical timepieces. On the other hand, Patek Philippe creates much more complicated watches and does so largely by hand. The level of craftsmanship and quality is definitely a cut above that of Rolex and Omega.
These brands don’t just shine when it comes to new watches, however. All three have created some of the industry’s most famous classics, and each enjoys a healthy vintage market. Omega is well known for its and models. Patek Philippe has one of the most popular modern icons – the – in its catalog while also being responsible for remarkable classic watches with numerous complications that are highly sought-after by high-end collectors. Rolex has several very popular vintage models, such as the , , , and , that have helped define the watch industry as we know it today. But these brands’ popularity comes down to more than just watches.
The World of Luxury
Each of these manufacturers has managed to create a world of luxury around their brand. What I mean is that they have an outward image of exclusivity, exquisite taste, and lavish luxury that appeals to a large audience. These companies belong to that world and give consumers a chance to buy into it by purchasing one of their products.
Moreover, Rolex and Omega have created the “World of Rolex” and “Planet Omega,” respectively, where they update fans on their latest collaborations in the worlds of sports, cinema, arts, and more. These have given both brands a strong platform that goes above and beyond watchmaking.
While it may sound like a very modern form of brand marketing, both Omega and Rolex have participated in history-making events. Some of these moments have contributed greatly to the companies’ success. One example is the link between the Omega Speedmaster and space exploration, which resulted in the Moon landing on July 20, 1969. That achievement is, undoubtedly, the single most important watch story out there.
The same goes for Rolex and their sponsorship of historic mountaineering feats. While we now know that Sir Edmund Hillary was not wearing his Rolex on the top of Mount Everest in 1953, we do know it was part of his equipment. Rolex provided the English expedition – and many prior expeditions – with specially modified watches that could withstand extreme conditions at high elevations. When Hillary and Tenzing Norgay conquered Everest on May 29, 1953, it kicked off the legacy of the now-famous Rolex Explorer.
In contrast, Patek Philippe tends to focus more on family traditions and watchmaking heritage when marketing its timepieces. However, Omega and Rolex’s involvement in some of humanity’s greatest achievements has worked wonders for their brands.
Famous People and Their Watches
The watch world is full of celebrities and sports stars serving as brand ambassadors. The best kind of brand ambassador is, of course, one that fits the brand in terms of personality and style.
All three brands have iconic ambassadors. While Patek Philippe does not have any official brand ambassadors, their watches are worn by some of the world’s most famous people, including Brad Pitt, Eric Clapton, Ed Sheeran, LeBron James, and Jay-Z – and the list doesn’t stop there.
Omega and Rolex, on the other hand, have official brand ambassadors from a wide range of industries. Rolex is a proud sponsor of many different athletes, including Roger Federer and Tiger Woods. The company also supports film and the arts and works with the likes of Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Plácido Domingo, and Cecilia Bartoli.
The same goes for Omega. Movie stars like George Clooney, Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman, and Eddie Redmayne are all prominent faces for the brand. Models Cindy Crawford and Alessandra Ambrosio also have links to Omega. When it comes to sports, Omega’s most famous athlete is golfer Rory McIlroy. All of these celebrities help create an image of success for the brands by wearing their watches.
However, brands don’t just associate themselves with famous individuals. They have also cemented their places in popular culture by cooperating with some of the world’s greatest franchises and events. For example, Omega has had an incredibly successful relationship with the James Bond franchise for 25 years. The brand is also the official timekeeper of the Olympic Games, which is one of the longest-standing partnerships of any watch brand.
Rolex is the official timekeeper of many tennis tournaments and Formula 1 races. Moreover, the brand has sponsored some of the world’s most prestigious sailing, equestrian, and golfing events. The Genevan company also has links to classical music festivals and venues and is a partner of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization behind the Oscars.
These three brands have gone beyond watch manufacturing to become high-profile cultural phenomena. That is what makes them the most desirable names on the market and why people want to buy their products. In the end, that’s what it’s all about: wearing an outstanding timepiece on your wrist – nothing beats it.