Luxury watch brand comparison: why Rolex really deserves the crown

The Swatch Group, along with Omega, has distanced itself from Baselworld. The watch industry seems to be on the move, but Rolex remains the undisputed market leader in the luxury segment. A new neuromarketing study sheds light on how this is achieved.


In the three supreme disciplines of emotional marketing, the brand with the crown is right at the top. Omega has a lot of catching up to do, but Rolex also still has potential.

In the golden world of luxury watches Rolex is the undisputed queen. This position does not come by chance. For example, a comparison with rival Omega clearly shows how refined the brand emotionalizes with the crown. This is crucial. After all, customers don't buy a luxury watch (just) to tell the time, but to get a certain feeling.


Key Findings:

  1. Rolex meets the gold standard better. However, one essential aspect is still too weak.
  2. Rolex triggers more emotions than Omega (as a brand and through its touchpoints).
  3. Rolex also conveys a more consistent emotional brand image (stringency from touchpoint to touchpoint). But there is potential for optimization for both manufacturers.
  4. The clearest weak points are the campaign for Rolex and the points of sale (POS) for Omega.
  5. The two famous ambassadors support the respective brand emotionally once partially and once practically not at all.
Rolex vs Omega Emotional Fit to Gold Standard
  Rolex Omega
How big is the match between the respective brand and the customer's desired emotions (the perfect chocolate)? ●●●●○ ●●●○○
Source: Zutt & Partner

Customers want security, status and inspiration from a watch in this price segment. While Rolex caters to two of the three desired emotions (security and status), Omega only plays up one of the three longed-for sensations (inspiration).

Rolex vs Omega Emotion volume
  Rolex Omega
How much emotion does the respective fire trigger (independent of the profile)? ●●●●● ●●●○○
Source: Zutt & Partner

Watches - properly emotionalized - can help fans and potential customers reach emotional heights. Depending on the brand and its history, watches can become very personal and close companions. Rolex masters this discipline significantly better than Omega. And not only with the brand, but also across all touchpoints.

Rolex vs Omega Emotional thread
  Rolex Omega
How consistently are emotions carried through from touchpoint to touchpoint in the respective brand? ●●●○○
Rolex knows better how to always face the customer in a similar way. But not all marketing measures fit the brand yet.
Customers always receive different impressions in their contact with Omega. This makes it more difficult to anchor the brand essence.
Products ●●●●● ●●●●○
Campaign ●●●●○
While this campaign fits Rolex's brand emotions (which is why the score is good at four out of five), it triggers only a very modest volume of emotion.
Omega's campaign also fits the brand and also triggers a lot of emotion.
POS ●●○○○
Rolex's point of sales only insufficiently cover their brand emotions. At least they play out a certain independence.
This is where Omega's need to catch up is greatest. The very classic profiling of the point of sales neither fits the emotional profile of the brand nor differentiates it from the competitors.
Exhibition stand (Baselworld) ●●●○○ ●●●○○
Ambassador ●●○○○ ○○○○○
Video ●●●○○ ●●●●○
Source: Zutt & Partner

Conclusion of the EmoCompass study Focus

Rolex is the winner in all three disciplines. But it's not just Omega that has a lot to do; the market leader could also further exploit its emotionalization potential.

For reasons of differentiation, both brands would probably do well to stick to their respective emotional profiles. Although they only meet parts of the gold standard today, they can position themselves clearly in the market.

Omega has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to emotional volume. The best way to do this is to emotionalize touchpoints - and to do so where all the senses play a major role. That's why rethinking the point of sale could be a winning strategy.

In addition, it is worthwhile for Omega to adjust all other touchpoints to its own brand emotions. However, this also applies, in a weakened form, to Rolex. For example, when using famous (and expensive) personalities to promote its own products. The results of this study show sobering results with regard to brand fit. When choosing ambassadors, it is also important to pay attention to the emotional fit to the brand (best practice example: George Clooney at Nespresso).

For the further development of one's own brand, it is also worthwhile to look at the emotional positioning and classification of other watch brands such as IWC, Patek Philippe, Breitling, and so on. In addition, it is always valuable to examine what can be learned emotionally from other product categories and industries. After all, the consistent transfer of best practices across companies and industries, combined with the new knowledge around brain and emotions, leads to the most effective customer experiences.

The results are based on a qualitative EmoCompass survey conducted in March 2019 by Zutt & Partner, a consultancy specializing in neuromarketing in Wolfhausen in the Zurich Oberland. The determined mood movements of 100 (=theoretical saturation reached) people living in German-speaking Switzerland were analyzed. The survey was conducted in online individual interviews - completely non-verbal via neuropsychologically coded patterns. Working with abstract colors and shapes allows tapping into emotions at deep individual association levels and almost to the exclusion of cognition (rational thought) and of pure likes and dislikes. For the methodology, the findings from neurology such as synesthesia, patchwork-like working of the brain as well as fuzzy logic are used. You can learn more about the EmoCompass at







Exhibition stand (POS)






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