Founded not far apart in terms of date, both Breitling and Omega have a long pedigree of producing classic Swiss watches. Each watchmaker combines 21st-century innovation with traditional craftsmanship and techniques.
Most people would be more than happy with either a Breitling or an Omega, and both have a cult following amongst watch enthusiasts.
These watchmakers have an illustrious history and an unquestionable pedigree for manufacturing quality timepieces.
But look more closely, and there are some critical differences between the two that might influence your preference for one over the other.
This review compares Breitling vs. Omega across three key features: innovation, design, and notable models. Also, it offers a deep dive into the manufacturing processes, price, and warranties to find out what separates the two and how they compare.
Breitling produces watches for action-packed lifestyles, including models for astronauts, pilots, divers, and search and rescue teams. Breitling also has a partnership with the illustrious British carmaker, Bentley.
Their rich history in aviation has kept this brand at the forefront of innovative design techniques. They continue to make watches for pilots, an association that began at the beginning of the 20th century alongside the dawn of flight.
Breitling has always been a leader in breakthrough inventions and was the first watchmaker to develop the self-winding chronograph movement in 1969. Three decades later, high-quality timepieces like the Emergency Model offer unique features like a tracking beacon for real-life danger and disaster.
Breitling watches have extensive complications, tailored to the specific model’s audiences. But perhaps the most striking feature is the watch’s face size. Breitling is renowned for making very large watches.
The more prominent watch face does allow the luxury of more information and features, and the bold, oversized look has a cult following amongst some people.
The Navitimer debuted in 1952, quickly followed by the Montbrilliant line. The latter derives its name from the Ruelle Montbrilliant Street, where Breitling had its workshops from 1892 to 1979.
Dive watches appeared in Breitling’s catalog in 1957 when they launched the Superocean and the Transocean in 1958. More recently, it released the Superocean Heritage collection in 2007.
The 1980s were a busy decade for Breitling, seeing the release of the Chronomat in 1984 and the Colt line, which was exclusively for military use.
In 1995, Breitling launched the Emergency model. The first and only watch of its kind, it features an internal locator beacon that will transmit a signal on the international distress frequency.
In 2002, Breitling partnered with the carmaker, Bentley, to develop a new partnership called Breitling for Bentley.
Bentley commissioned Breitling to create an onboard clock that supported Bentley’s luxury, peerless quality, and top-class performance.
Technology moves at a pace, and Breitling has kept up, maintaining its position at the forefront of watchmaking innovation. It released its first smartwatch, the Exoapce B55, in 2014.
Omega also claims great prowess and cutting-edge technology, capitalizing on a pedigree that includes being the first watch on the surface of the moon.
The Omega range offers very diverse and creative timepieces, including watches with 1,200 meters of water resistance, stopwatch functions, and pieces designed explicitly for time-sensitive sports like motor racing.
Omega has always focused on the sporting arena. It has been the official timekeeper at the Olympic Games since 1932. However, Omega is perhaps best known for its partnership in popular culture with the world-famous James Bond movies.
Visually, Omega watches tend to have a clean dial face, with the prestigious omega symbol prominently displayed at the crown.
Omegas are a standard watch size with an appearance that is always classic and traditional.
The Omega Speedmaster is probably Omega’s most iconic watch model.
As the official chronograph for the legendary American space missions, a status designated by NASA, this watch has seen many incarnations since it graced the wrist of Buzz Aldrin in 1969. It remains enduringly popular to this day.
The Seamaster has been designed for plumbing the depths and is one of Omega’s most famous designs.
Launched in 1957 to mark Omega’s 100th anniversary, the Seamaster line includes the Seamaster Aqua Terra launched in 2003 and the Seamaster Planet Ocean two years later in 2005. They are two of their most sought-after models.
The main difference between Breiling and Omega watches is design. Breitling watches are much larger with a busier dial face than the Omega’s conventionally proportioned and clean dial face.
Apart from size, it’s hard to put a piece of paper between these two iconic brands.
Comparing Breitling and Omega watches depends on which watch element you want to prioritize.
Precision and Accuracy
Let’s start with precision and accuracy, the heart of any quality timepiece.
Omega has plenty of mechanical (non-quartz) watches that have the Master Chronometer designation supported by two different certification processes.
Breitling doesn’t have any Master Chronometers but does have lots of watches with one certificate from COSC and the Chronometer designation.
However, Breitling offers many quartz watches with a COSC certified Quartz Chronometer status. The certification confirms the timepiece’s precision accuracy, which performs at a higher level than standard quartz movements. Breitling calls this SuperQuartz.
Experts would say that Omega takes the lead in mechanical watchmaking accuracy as a good proportion of their watches are certified by COSC and METAS, the latter testing the movement in the case and real-life conditions.
However, Breitling is ahead when it comes to quartz caliber and perfection.
Delving a little more deeply into the production processes of the two companies, it comes as no surprise that Omega has always focused on making top-quality, complex, and unique watch movements in-house.
Innovations like the Master Co-axial anti-magnetic are features that set Omega apart from Breitling when it comes to creative design. Purists of the traditional movement revel in the fact that Omega manufactures its movements in-house.
The focus for Breitling has taken a different direction, producing unique and innovative watches on a large scale and sourcing the movements externally for their watches.
Both Breitling and Omega have a culture of experimenting with new materials, Omega with titanium, gold, and liquid metals and Breitling making headway with carbon fiber.
Breitling is more flexible than Omega in its customization options, allowing buyers to choose from a range of stylish straps to partner with any Breitling watch.
Brand recognition is essential for the wearer of either a Breitling or an Omega timepiece.
Omega ranks just after Rolex as the second most recognizable Swiss watch brand with just under 70% brand recognition internationally. Breitling is not so instantly identifiable, ranking as the 15th most recognizable Swiss watch brand globally.
Omega has the huge publicity advantage associated with the moon landings and their presence on the wrist of the world’s most famous secret agent, James Bond, for nearly three decades.
More people generally will recognize an Omega, and that matters, but watch aficionados around you will undoubtedly be able to identify a Breitling.
On pricing and warranty, the two brands are pretty even. A new, entry-level Omega or Breitling timepiece will put you out a few thousand dollars with the Omega Seamaster Diver 300 and the Breitling Colt retailing in the same price bracket.
Both manufacturers offer the same warranty period of five years, although Breitling only provides this on models with the Breitling in-house movement fitted; the rest only support a two-year warranty.
Whether you opt for Breitling or Omega, your purchase will not disappoint. Both brands deliver beautiful and functional watches, oozing classic Swiss style and watchmaking heritage.
Omega has a higher brand awareness than Breitling and does sell more watches, and it’s hard to compete with the endorsement of 007. However, Breitling has brand ambassadors, and the partnership with Bentley expands its reach into luxury car markets.
With a relatively even split on pricing and warranties, which watch brand is ultimately the better of the two probably comes down to personal preference. Certainly, visual appearance is a big differentiator as Omega watches are more traditional in size and cleaner than the more prominent and complex Breitling.
Breitling and Omega have both developed their unique place and following within the world of quality Swiss timepieces. Make your choice based on technical design, an illustrious connection, or just because you like the appearance.
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