That’s exactly where things took off. The recent flood of Omega – the other most well known watch besides Rolex – triggered the much-discussed topic once more. Both the Rolex and Omega camps tried settling the debate in the most honourable and most arrogant of ways. So, it is foolhardy to assume I’m here to settle this debate – no way, never – let me be perfectly clear it’s just my two pence on the topic raised by friends. I hope it makes for an enjoyable read.
Just like the Omega Calibre 2500, there’s the Rolex Caliber 3135, the workhorse three-hand movements found in majority of Rolex and Omega watches.
The most recent Rolex 3135 might have a pre-Parachrom Bleu hairspring inside; else, both the calibres use the Nivarox hairspring, bringing them an almost identical performance.
Whether the 3135 comes with appreciable advantages is a complex question. Better judge it yourself.
The 3135 has a glucydur balance wheel using the Microstella system for fine tuning timekeeping. The balance wheel houses 4 screws, placed at equal distances and moved towards or away from the centre of the balance wheel to speed up or slow down. For Omega, it’s the Etachron adjustment screw that looks less elegant (keeps the price down) and offers slightly less control and precision while fine tuning. But that brings the huge price differences between Omega and higher Swiss luxuries, not just Rolex. However, both 2500 and 3135 opted for freely-sprung balances besides the Nivarox hairsprings; for Rolex, it’s now the in-house built Parachrom Bleu hairspring. Rolex incorporates KIF shock protection and provides further protection against impact-generated timing errors, but the ETA Incabloc shock-protection system resists shocks just as well. Still, some watchmakers give KIF an upper hand.
It seems Rolex beats Omega from a theoretical viewpoint. I say this for maintaining the COSC standards of accuracy requires periodic adjustments. They are almost same for both 3135 and 2500, may be they are just a few days apart.
With regard to the calibres equipped with the co-axial escapement, Omega went off the safe routes. It was a brilliant move from the marketing perspective; it differentiated the brand from their chief competitors. Particularly, it was Rolex. The gee-whiz new technology promised a longer-lasting watch requiring less maintenance. This hit the average Joe watch buyer accurately and helped them understand with an extended, 3-year warranty coverage on Co-Axial watches.
The Omega Co-Axial escapement runs almost without any lubrication, if compared to traditional escapements. It has a lower beat speed that brings 1 tick less in a second than a high-beat watch. To consider that stagger, you need to be really anal retentive. Of course, everyone wants the smoothest sweep but then again, the dollars go up.
Watch(es) mentioned in this post are listed below. Click to see details and buy them: