Both Grand Seiko and Rolex are amazing watchmakers, known for their quality and luxurious timepieces. But is a Grand Seiko better than Rolex?
In terms of quality, a Grand Seiko watch is on par with a Rolex watch. They aren’t necessarily better than Rolex, but not worse either. Both brands are on a similar level in terms of quality, so it mainly comes down to personal preference.
Both brands have their own upsides and downsides. Even though objectively, there is no clear winner, subjectively, there’s a lot to keep in mind with these two watch brands. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into whether or not Grand Seiko watches are better than Rolex watches and we’ll discuss some of the differences.
Grand Seiko And Rolex; Is There A Difference In Quality
Grand Seiko is a luxury watch brand that had some difficulty establishing itself. This is partly because this is a part of the well-known watch company Seiko, which is a company known for making affordable, but high-quality watches.
The average Grand Seiko watch will cost you around $2.500, so you can imagine that a watch with the Seiko name and a price tag of a few thousand dollars can easily be ignored. A shame, really, because Grand Seiko is miles ahead of Seiko in terms of quality and craftsmanship. Grand Seiko is definitely a luxury watch brand.
Of course, we’ve all heard about Rolex. Rolex is arguably the most popular and sought-after luxury watch brand, but how does it stand up against the quality of Grand Seiko timepieces?
In terms of quality, this is actually a fairly even match. Let’s take a look at some of the key factors that make or break a watch; the movements, the materials used, and the manufacturing process!
The movements used in a watch is of incredible importance. In order for a watch to be a luxury watch, it has to have an in-house movement, meaning the movements are made by the brand themselves.
Otherwise, you could be purchasing a watch for a few thousand dollars that uses the same movements as a watch that only costs $100. This would feel like a rip-off, and rightfully so.
In-house movements are usually of higher quality than the mass-produced movements that the cheaper watch brands use. These cheaper brands order movements in bulk, usually from cheaper countries such as China. This allows them to keep the costs lower, which can be passed on to the customer.
In-house movements are more expensive to make, but they are of much higher quality. Bulk manufacturing leaves room for error, whereas a hand-made, in-house movement is made by an expert whose sole job it is to make the best possible movement system.
Luckily, both Grand Seiko and Rolex watches contain in-house movements. Both of these luxury watch brands make their own high-quality movements, ensuring that the quality of the movement is the best possible.
In fact, Grand Seiko even created a revolutionary movement system called the Spring Drive. The Grand Seiko Spring Drive is a unique mechanism that powers the watch and is a combination of electronic and mechanical watchmaking.
Seiko Spring Drive is powered by a mainspring, making it self-sufficient in its power needs, which ensures the gliding motion of a Grand Seiko watch. Furthermore, there’s a tri-synchro regulator that regulates the speed at which the mainspring unwinds, ensuring accuracy not seen in other quartz watches.
This complicated mechanism is made in-house and adds to the value and luxurious feel of this watch. When compared to Rolex, Grand Seiko might actually be a step up!
The materials used to make a watch are incredibly important as well. Cheaper watches will often be made with stainless steel or other cheaper options, while luxury watches are made with titanium, yellow gold, and several different precious stones and jewels.
The difference in quality and luxury are apparent here. Stainless steel, although of great quality, is rather inexpensive and can be found back in almost all of the cheaper, more affordable watches.
Exotic materials such as yellow gold or titanium are much more expensive and give off that feeling of luxury. Not to mention that these materials are also of extremely high quality.
Both Grand Seiko and Rolex use high-quality, exotic materials for their watches. Grand Seiko often uses high-quality stainless steel, yellow gold, or titanium for their watches, and the same goes for Rolex. Most luxury watch brands actually use similar types of materials for their high-end watches, so there are a few that will be commonly named.
One point where Rolex stands out is the isolating qualities of its materials. Rolex watches are known to be extremely silent, and this can partly be contributed to the isolating qualities of the materials used for Rolex watches.
Another reason why Rolex watches are so silent is because of the in-house movement. Rolex crafts these movements in such a way that you can barely hear the ticking sound. Only when you press your watch against your ear will you be able to hear a ticking sound.
Whereas Grand Seiko had the upper hand in the movement system, Rolex takes the cake on the materials front. Even though both watch companies use very similar types of materials, the way Rolex handles them might just be a little better than how Grand Seiko does it.
Lastly, let’s discuss the manufacturing process of both of these watch brands. This is yet another step in the watch creation process that could be outsourced to cheaper countries. However, both Rolex and Grand Seiko make their watches in-house, by hand.
Handmaking these watches ensures the best possible quality and allows the watchmakers to go into incredible detail. A Grand Seiko watch, for example, can take up to 17 days to make.
Again, both watch companies make their watches by hand and in-house. So when it comes to the manufacturing process, there really isn’t a clear-cut winner.
What About The Price To Quality Ratio
One part where Grand Seiko easily outperforms Rolex is on the price to quality department. Compared to Rolex watches, Grand Seiko watches are very affordable.
When you want to purchase a Grand Seiko watch, you can expect to pay between $2.000 and $7.000. When you want to purchase a Rolex watch, your entry-level options will already run you $5.000. And the more luxurious Rolex models could cost you $40.000 or more.
|Grand Seiko Collection||Caliber||Cost|
|Grand Seiko Heritage Collection||Mechanical (9S)||$4.529|
|Grand Seiko Elegance Collection||Mechanical (9S)||$5.992|
|Grand Seiko Sport Collection||Spring Drive (9R)||$7.836|
As you can see, although Grand Seiko watches are very expensive, they’re actually on the more affordable side when it comes to luxury watches. And because Grand Seiko watches are made with luxurious materials, made by hand, using an in-house movement, a Grand Seiko watch is classed as a luxury watch.
When you compare these average prices to the average prices of Rolex watches, you can see a clear difference:
|Rolex Oyster Perpetual||3230||$6.000|
|Rolex Date Just||3235||$13.000|
|Rolex Day Date||3255||$40.000|
As you can see, even an entry-level Rolex watch, such as the Oyster Perpetual, is almost as expensive as the most expensive Grand Seiko watch. And considering that both of these watch companies create watches that are very similar in terms of quality, Grand Seiko is a clear winner when it comes to price to quality ratio.
Are These Watches Worth Purchasing
Whether or not a luxury watch is worth it or not really depends on you. Do you think a watch is worth a few thousand dollars? If yes, then a watch like a Grand Seiko or Rolex is definitely worth it. If you don’t think so, maybe look at some more affordable options.
Also, know for yourself why you’re purchasing such a watch. If you’re doing it for the namesake, then you’re probably best off going for a Rolex. Rolex is a universally renowned name of luxury and success.
Grand Seiko, on the other hand, isn’t nearly as popular. In fact, it’s actually very rare to see a Grand Seiko watch. Most people associate Grand Seiko with the more affordable name of Seiko, skipping over them because they don’t want to pay a few thousand dollars for a Seiko watch.
However, when you ask any watch enthusiast, they’ll always say that a Grand Seiko is a unique and beautiful timepiece. With their Spring Drive movement and beautiful designs, a Grand Seiko watch will be appreciated by those who love watches the most.
So if you’re mainly looking for a watch for the sake of the name and brand, a Rolex is probably your best bet. However, if you’re looking for a true piece of craftsmanship or just something that’s generally more unique (Nowadays it seems like everyone has a Rolex), definitely give Grand Seiko a try.
I’ve also written a whole other article that goes in-depth into whether or not a luxury watch is worth purchasing. You can find that article by following this link here!
Do These Watches Hold Their Value
Luxury watches are fairly expensive, ranging anywhere from $2.000 all the way into the multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars. Due to these high price tags, people often wonder if their watches hold their value.
Luxury watches such as Grand Seiko and Rolex typically hold their value pretty well. These watches are of extremely high-quality, have a rich history, and are always sought after by collectors.
Overall, a Grand Seiko watch will hold its value fairly well. As mentioned before, Grand Seiko watches are mostly appreciated by those who dearly love watches, as they know just how fantastic the brand is.
With a rich history, an innovative movement system, and an overall amazing quality, a Grand Seiko will hold its value really well. They might even rise in value after some time!
The same can be said for Rolex watches. Most Rolex watches gradually rise in valuation, mainly because they’re such luxurious and high-quality timepieces.
As a general rule of thumb, though, the older the watch, the more it will appreciate in value. Older watches are in lower supply and oftentimes, they’re out of production as well. This makes them a collector’s item, something that will always be valuable.
Comparing Popular Rolex Watches With Popular Grand Seiko Watches
Now that we discussed whether or not Grand Seiko watches are better than Rolex watches, let’s take a look at some models of both companies. Please keep in mind that there’s no actual ‘better’ choice. It really all comes down to your personal preference, as both Rolex and Grand Seiko are pretty similar in terms of quality.
The only main difference is found back in the name. Rolex is known as a sign of wealth and success, whereas Grand Seiko is often linked back to the cheaper Seiko watches, even if that’s not at all the case!
Now, let’s take a look at some models of both of these watch brands. For Rolex, we’ll discuss the Oyster Perpetual collection, as it’s most in line with Grand Seiko prices, as well as the Day-Date, one of the more popular Rolex models.
As for Grand Seiko, we’ll discuss the Grand Seiko Snowflake, the most popular Grand Seiko watch, as well as the Heritage collection, another popular choice among Grand Seiko buyers!
Grand Seiko Snowflake
The Grand Seiko Snowflake is one of the most popular and sought-after watches from Grand Seiko. This is a beautiful looking watch with a steel case and bracelet. Officially, this watch falls under the Grand Seiko Heritage collection, but this watch truly stands out from the rest.
One of the main reasons this watch is so popular is because of the beautiful and elegant look. The color of the dial is a mixture of light gray and white, resulting in the name ‘Snowflake’. The color represents the color of freshly fallen snow.
Aside from a beautiful look, this watch makes use of the earlier mentioned Grand Seiko Spring Drive movement. This is a sophisticated movement mechanism that ensures a gliding movement of the hands.
Overall, this is a wonderful watch. It’s of high-quality, it looks amazing, it’s made by hand, and it’s made with amazing materials. For this watch, you can expect to pay around $6.000. This is definitely one of the more expensive Grand Seiko watches, but well worth it!
The Rolex Day-Date collection is one of the more popular collections among Rolex lovers. A Day-Date is almost like the upper tier of Rolex watches and carries with it a feeling of prestige and success.
A Rolex Day-Date is available in many different materials, such as white gold, yellow gold, platinum, and the Rolex signature everrose gold. Along with the many different materials, there’s also the option of adding diamonds to your watch.
Aside from a stunning aesthetic, a Rolex Day-Date is also extremely functional. These watches have a perpetual hour work, which means that these watches will be able to display the date correctly, even through gap years.
The movement of this watch is the in-house made mechanical movement by Rolex, ensuring it’s of the best quality possible. When you combine all these features and the exotic materials, you’ll come down to a price of around $40.000, which can go even higher if you decide to add some of those diamonds!
Grand Seiko Heritage
Earlier we mentioned the Grand Seiko Snowflake as a beautiful Grand Seiko timepiece. However, this watch falls under a much larger category, the Grand Seiko Heritage collection.
The Heritage collection is a beautiful collection of high-quality watches, made with high-quality stainless steel or titanium. These are high-quality materials with a sleek and elegant look.
The face of these watches come in multiple different colors. Of course, you have the snow-white dial from the Snowflake, but you can also get these with a black, blue, or gray face.
As for the price, the Grand Seiko Heritage collection will come in at an average of $4.529. Now, some will be more expensive, ranging into the $7.000’s, and some will be cheaper, even as low as $2.200!
Rolex Oyster Perpetual
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual series is the most affordable series of Rolex and is often seen as the entry-level Rolex watch. Nevertheless, these watches are still of amazing quality.
These watches are made with oyster steel and contain a perpetual calendar. The movement in this watch is mechanical with a power reserve of around 70 hours.
Just like any Rolex, this is a true piece of quality and success. Aside from the signature oyster steel case and bracelet, a Rolex Oyster Perpetual comes with many different colored dials. There’s the classic silver, black, or blue look, but in 2020, Rolex launched a series of more extravagant colors. Bright yellow, green, turquoise blue, or even pink dials are now an option.
A Rolex Oyster Perpetual might be an entry-level Rolex watch, but it’s still as expensive as a Grand Seiko Snowflake, one of the more expensive Grand Seiko watches. These Oyster Perpetuals come in at around $6.000!