Omega Aqua Terra VS Rolex Explorer

Enjoy a detailed benchmark and insightful comparison of the Omega Aqua Terra VS. the Rolex Explorer.

Comparison: Omega Aqua Terra VS the Rolex Explorer

Below, is a highly researched, in-depth, head-to-head comparison and/or benchmark for the Omega Aqua Terra VS the Rolex Explorer series of watches. The purpose of this comparison is to organize all the data in a coherent way and provide you with the information needed to make an educated and informed decision when considering the purchase of any of these watches. Both of these watches are terrific timepieces and we are not providing this information to say which one you should buy and which one you shouldn't buy.

However, we know just how technical watches can get and understand how much consumers appreciate when technical information is organized and arranged in an easy to read and easy to compare format. So for the sake of helping you make an educated and informed decision as quickly as possible, we created this detailed comparison to help you benchmark the Aqua Terra VS Explorer and decide for yourself if you should buy the Explorer or Aqua Terra.

For your convenience, you can examine any of these collections in a new window by clicking on the buttons below otherwise proceed with the comparison.

 

Introduction

Let's put both of these Swiss luxury watches up on the board and compare them side by side. We'll compare feature by feature with both watches, the Omega Aqua Terra vs Rolex Explorer. We'll start with the biggest differences and then work towards similar features. Let's start with obvious cosmetic differences such as the different hands and hour markers used on these two collections.

Difference in Accuracy & Precision

The Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra is a COSC certified chronometer, the highest designation that a watch can get from the Official Swiss Chronometric Testing Institute known as COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres). The accuracy of a COSC certified chronometer is a standard 99.994% accuracy or -4  to +6 seconds per day.

The Rolex Explorer is also a certified chronometer from COSC but they also have the Rolex designation of Superlative chronometer.

What's the difference between COSC certified Chronometers and Superlative Chronometers? After the Rolex watch movements arrive back from COSC with a COSC certified chronometer designation, Rolex places the calibers in the case and conduct further in-house testing and only release the watch with a Superlative Chronometer designation when the watch proves to be precise to -2 / +2 seconds daily accuracy.

 

Difference in Water Resistance 

The Omega Aqua Terra has a water resistance of 150m / 500ft

The Rolex Explorer has a water resistance of 100m / 330ft

Both of the watches have ample water resistance for activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and showering, NOT in hot water, though. For a full explanation of how water resistance works,  visit our water-resistance page.

 

Difference in Case Size

The Omega Aqua Terra featured here is a 41.5mm watch. However, there are many ladies sized Omega Aqua Terra watches. Their sizes are 30mm, 34mm, and 38.5mm

The Rolex Explorer is a 39mm watch. The Rolex Explorer II series has larger watches at 42mm

 

Difference in Price

The Omega Aqua Terra featured in this comparison is the 41.5mm model # 231.10.42.22.01.001. It has a lower price than the Explorer. There are other Aqua Terra watches that are less expensive than the Aqua Terra featured here such as the 231.13.42.21.02.002 which has an even lower list price. The Rolex Explorer featured in this comparison is the 39mm Rolex Explorer 214270 Black Luminous. It is currently selling for $7,000 at PrestigeTime.com.

The Rolex Explorer featured in this comparison is the 39mm Rolex Explorer 214270 Black Luminous and in general, you can usually find better discounts on an Omega watch than you can find a Rolex. This is because of the difference in brand value and the resell value. Rolex has typically one of the highest resell values in the industry and this also affects the percentage of a discount that stores (online or brick and mortar) would be willing to give you on a new Rolex Explorer. The higher the demand and resale value of the product, the lower the discount. So in terms of List price the Rolex is more expensive. With an Omega, you can expect steeper discounts even if the list price is the same as the Rolex.

 

Difference in Material Options

The Omega Aqua Terra is available in several materials including stainless steel and precious metals such as yellow gold and rose gold. However, there are larger and smaller options as well such as the Aqua Terra ladies automatic which is a 34mm watch. Larger versions of the Omega AT include 43mm men's watches such as the Aqua Terra Annual Calendar 43mm and the Aqua Terra 150m Co-Axial GMT Chronograph men's watches.  In addition, there are several two-tone options such as the Aqua Terra Co-Axial Day-Date which has an 18kt rose gold and stainless steel duotone case and bracelet.

The Rolex Explorer (at the time of publishing this comparison) is only available in stainless steel although that could change.

 

Difference in Bracelet and Strap Options

Omega Aqua Terra watches are available with fabric straps and leather straps as well as stainless steel and gold bracelets.

The Rolex Explorer (at the time of publishing this comparison) is only available with a stainless steel bracelet.

 

Difference in Movements

Omega Aqua Terra collection is available with battery-powered quartz movements as well as the more common mechanical automatic movements. There are quite a few different mechanical movements (AKA calibers or sometimes spelled in its native French as calibres) used in the Aqua Terra collection. In the past few years, Omega has added updated movements to the Aqua Terra series, calibers that use components with anti-magnetic properties to fight any electromagnetic interference on the caliber's precision and these newer models have prestigious COSC and METAS certifications.

  • The Omega caliber 8508 movements can be found in the Omega Aqua Terra 150mm Co-Axial watches.
  • The Omega caliber 8500 movements can be found in watches such as the Omega Aqua Terra 150mm Master Co-Axial series and the AT Automatic Chronometer series
  • The Omega caliber 8520 and 8521 movements can be found in the Aqua Terra Ladies Automatic 34mm
  • The Omega caliber 8611 movements can be found in watches such as the Aqua Terra Annual Calendar 43mm
  • The Omega caliber 8602 movements can be found in the Omega Aqua Terra Day-Date series
  • Omega caliber 8800 movements can be found in the Aqua Terra 150m Co-Axial Master Chronometer 38mm series
  • Omega caliber 8900 movements can be found in the Aqua Terra 150m Co-Axial Master Chronometer 41mm series
  • Omega caliber 8938 movements can be found in the Aqua Terra 150m GMT Worldtimer Co-Axial Master Chronometer 43mm series

The Rolex Explorer collection has only mechanical movements.

  • The Rolex Explorer uses the Rolex caliber 3132
  • The Rolex Explorer 2 series uses the Rolex caliber 3187

Pros and Cons of The Omega Aqua Terra:

PROS

More Options
There are many, many more options when it comes to the Omega Aqua Terra collection. Such as more complicated series within the collection that features more than just a date window at the 6 o'clock position (something the Rolex Explorer doesn't have by the way but there is a date window on the Explorer II series) but also some that come with a Day-Date, GMT, or Worldtimer function. How many more other options are there? 
More Choices of Movements 
There are a number of different movements used throughout this collection depending on the series and size. 
More Strap Options 
There are more options for straps from fabric to stainless steel to precious metal such as 18kt yellow gold and 18kt rose gold, and two-tone (stainless steel and gold) 
More Dial Options 
There are more options for dial colors 
More Case Options 
There are more options for case color 
More Complications 
There are more options with a higher diversity of complications 
Better Prices 
The Aqua Terra has prices that start at a lower price point than that of the Rolex Explorer collections 
More Classier Models 
The Aqua Terra collection also contains some more expensive-looking watches than the Explorer series with many precious metal options 
Better Discounted Pricing 
You can usually find better discounts on brands like Omega, compared to Rolex. This has to do with the differences in the prestige of the brand itself as well as the resale value 

CONS

Accuracy & Precision 
The Aqua Terra (NON-quartz) collections use a COSC certified chronometer, the highest designation that a watch can get from the Official Swiss Chronometric Testing Institute known as COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres). The COSC chronometer's impressive accuracy of -4/+6 seconds per day doesn't have the same precision as the Rolex Superlative chronometers which is -2/+2 seconds per day  
Resale Value 
The resale value on Omega watches is typically less than that of a brand like Rolex which has one of the highest resale values among luxury watch brands 
Brand Prestige 
The Omega brand doesn't have the same prestige as the Rolex brand which has the highest brand recognition in the luxury watch industry 

Pros and Cons of The Rolex Explorer:

PROS

Brand Prestige 
In terms of prestige, the Rolex brand is, bar none, the most recognizable brand out there with almost 100% brand recognition worldwide, while Omega watches have closer to 70% which is also amazing. So as far as which watch is a bigger status symbol, one would have to say that the Omega Aqua Terra watches are slightly behind Rolex Explorer but are still considered dream watches by many. 
Accuracy & Precision 
Rolex Explorer watches have a superlative chronometer designation which has an accuracy of -2/+2 seconds per day which is 2 to 3 times more precise than the Omega Aqua Terra's COSC certified chronometers with -4/+6 seconds per day, which is still a very impressive and accurate movement. 
Resale Value 
Resale value is typically higher on Rolex watches compared to Omega watches 

CONS

Available Models 
Rolex Explorer series has a much smaller collection of watches with two watches in the Explorer 1 series and two more watches in the Explorer II series 
Price 
The least expensive Rolex Explorer costs more than the least expensive Omega Aqua Terra 
Lower Discounts 
Buying an even slightly more prestigious watch comes at a price. You usually can't get the same types of discounts on a Rolex compared to a brand like Omega. This has to do with the esteem and prestige of the Rolex brand as well as the greater resell value. 

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