TAG Heuer Watches vs. Rolex: A Comparison

For those of you who have heard great things about TAG Heuer watches, and are trying to decide whether to buy a TAG watch or a Rolex, I am writing this comparison to clear up some common misconceptions about these brands.  After inquiring with several luxury watch aficionados, I learned quite a bit about the technology, chronograph movement, and reliability of TAG watches vs. Rolex.  My findings are detailed below:

Quality / Value:  Surprisingly, Rolex is not considered the *best* watch among high-end watch experts, but it is still the most recognized name brand among the general public.  It is also not the most expensive watch.  Both brands are known for making fine mechanical and quartz watches. If you are considering trading it in down the road, a Rolex may be a better choice, since it retains its intrinsic value and will be worth more than a Tag watch over time.


Warranties and Service:  Both companies will give you a two year warranty on most models, and a three year warranty on others, but neither provides a lifetime warranty anymore.  Service on either watch, if regularly worn, is usually needed on these watches every 4-5 years.  This can cost about $500 for a TAG watch and up to $1200 for some Rolexes.  Keep in mind, if you have your watch serviced, it will no longer be certified by COSC (Controle Official de Suisse Chronometres) once someone has gone into the movement of the watch.  It can only be re-certified if you send it back to Switzerland, which is almost never done.

Diamonds:  Tag uses F to G color diamonds, and Rolex uses D color diamonds.   Most models come with a two year warranty on the stones.

Movement:  Rolex uses its own in-house movement on most models, which is of the self-winding variety.  TAG watches use ETA movement, which is owned by Swatch.

Both companies make quartz and mechanical versions, but it is important to understand the difference.

·         Quartz is not only more accurate but it is likely to be more reliable over the long term.  They are also cheaper than mechanical chronograph watches.

·         Mechanical chronographs can be incredibly accurate, but they are not for everyone.  This is because their self winding movements can only be activated by wearing them.  As a result, they may lose accuracy if you frequently switch watches.

Accuracy:  This depends on whether you prefer quartz or automatic movement.  Quartz will be more accurate over time because it doesn’t require movement for self-winding, but most chronograph wearers are more concerned with the workmanship and intrinsic value of a Swiss chronograph than they are with consistent accuracy.

Appearance:  Rolex rarely changes the appearance of their watches, meaning a Rolex watch from the 70s will look very similar to one you would buy today.  While this testament of their timeless appeal may attract loyal customers, others like to update their look from time to time.  With Tag, newly released models look different every few years.

Cost:  A Rolex is generally more expensive than TAG watch, if you compare similar models, but one can often justify this when you consider that Rolex will retain its value over time.

Overall, my findings revealed what many of you may already know.  Choosing a TAG Heuer watch versus a Rolex is really more a matter of personal taste.

3 thoughts on “TAG Heuer Watches vs. Rolex: A Comparison”

  1. excellent review. Sometimes the Law of Diminishing Return/value comes into play. Once a common level of quality has been attained, other factors must be figured in. These would include looks , brand and money .
    When all things are equal they as the author points our subjective personal opinion and likes rule.
    As the old saying goes, pay your money and either brand will be just right for YOU.

  2. I bought my first Tag many decades ago, and can rely on its accuracy. That’s all I want from my watch. The case and wrist band is all scratched up, but the face is as clear as the day I bought it.

  3. I look at the TAG Aquaracers on the TAG website. The prices range from $1400 to $3000 but many of them look the same. It is very difficult to compare the cheaper one versusthe more expensive.

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