Cartier vs. Rolex: Which is More Hard Working?

Deciding whether you should buy a Cartier or a Rolex watch is a sweet, but an easily solvable dilemma. Both brands are respected as the best in the industry, so how does one make a choice between them?

When deciding on the right brand you should ask yourself one simple question: what qualities and characteristics are the most important to you in a watch. Do you need it just to tell the most accurate time possible, or to make a statement and start a conversation?

We have compared Rolex and Cartier by nine brand characteristics. All you need to do is decide what you are not ready to compromiseon: price, style, accuracy or something else.

Brand History

Cartier was founded in France in 1847 while Rolex appeared almost 50 years later in 1905. While Cartier specialized in making both jewelry and watches, Rolex from the start focused on producing the best quality watches and moving the boundaries of their craftsmanship.

Rolex especially focused on watch accuracy and innovations. Rolex made the first ever waterproof wristwatch, the Oyster, produced in 1926, which was a sensation at the time. They also invented a self-winding mechanism in 1931.

Rolex pushed the endurance limits by making watches work perfectly even in the most extreme environments, like high up on Mount Everest or way deep in the Mariana Trench.

Cartier was always perceived as high-quality jewelry preferred by both royalty and celebrities. That is why it made its mark on watch design and style.

Cartier designed the first men’s wristwatch,the Santos, in 1904. They made it for Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, who needed a watch to use while flying. Until then people were using pocket watches that weren’t much practical on the go. The design was very popular and Cartier still makes variations of its classic look.

Cartier is also known for the iconic tank series, launched in 1917 that was inspired by the military equipment used in The World War I.


Rolex is the most recognized luxury watch in the world and an unmistakable attention drawing brand. Rolexes have a distinct look that makes them easy to spot and quick to push their owner in the spotlight.

Cartier makes many different styles and shapes which mean it is not easy to recognize at first sight like Rolex. That is why Cartier is a brand you would choose when looking to make a more discreet statement and a Rolex a brand for those who like the attention that follows it.


Who wins this category depends on the way one looks at things: whether or not you can afford not to be bothered by the price. Rolex watches are more exclusive considering the price. An entry-level Rolex reaches almost twice the price of an entry-level Cartier, making them less attainable to some.

Resell Value

Rolexes have excellent resale values compared to Cartier watches. On the other hand, Cartier watches have good resale value compared to some other high-end watches.


Rolex has the reputation for providing excellent accuracy. To attain the precisionrigorous tests are conducted. The Rolexes that get a Superlative Chronometer designation reach the level of accuracy of +2/-2 seconds per day. Cartier’s mechanical watches don’t have the same accuracy as Rolexes, which are all mechanical. Cartier also produces quartz watches that have excellent accuracy. So if you are an admirer of the clock mechanism and also seek accuracy Rolex would be your choice.


Cartier makes watches in all colors, shapes, sizes, with or without gold and diamonds. They offer watches with different variants of gold or precious metals giving you a huge selection. Cartier still does not offer nearly as many different models as Rolex.

Cartier is a brand you might be more inclined tochoose if having a jeweler’s touch on a watch is very important to you.

Case Shapes

Cartier watches come in every available shape giving you a variety of choices: round, oval, cushion shaped or square-shaped. Rolex, when it comes to shape, makes no compromises – every modern Rolex has a round case shape. Any other shape is very rarefor a Rolex. But then again,Rolex has managed to win the title of the most recognized watch.

Case Sizes

Both brands offer watches in different case sizes. Cartier watches vary from the tiny 28mm ladies watch to the impressive 44mm gentlemen’s choice. Rolex watches go from 31mm to about 42mm. Rolex does havesmaller watches in general, but the smallest one considering case sizes still is signed by Cartier.

Quartz Watches

Cartier producesboth mechanical and quartz watches, while Rolex only makes the mechanical ones. A watch powered by a quartz battery is known as being more accurate than a mechanical one. But Rolex still offers the most precise mechanical watches you can find.

Rolex tried producing Quartz watches for a while but gave up on the idea keeping their traditional brand image. Quartz battery powered Rolexes are very rare and hard to acquire. People who tend to choose a Rolex do so with an appreciation for the intricate and brilliant mechanism of a mechanical watch.

A Brand to Suit Your Character

Each person is unique:they have different needs and expectations, give more value to something others might not even notice. The watches are unique in the same way as people:different models and brands have different sets of characteristics to offer. And there is a right watch out there for everyone.

Both brands we discussed have proven quality. You won’t make a mistake by choosing either, but you can make a more conscious choice if you go for the brand that best suits your character and your personal needs. That will make your new watch as comfortable and familiar as if you were born with it.

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