Perhaps the most famous watch brands among the hundreds of timepieces on the market are luxury Swiss watches Rolex, Omega and Longines, and the much less expensive daily sports-themed watches Seiko and Citizen. Rolex, Omega and Longines serve as benchmarks for all watchmakers to aspire to: name recognition, customer loyalty and the principle philosophy of eschewing trends with their own distinctive styling. Seiko and Citizen offer durable outdoor wear and classic styling for thousands of dollars less.
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More than any other watch, Rolex retains high resale value. Rolexes 20 years old and older still sell in the thousands of dollars. Vintage Rolexes are almost as highly sought by collectors as contemporary versions. Rolex was an early innovator of the water-resistant watch, automatics powered with the movement of the wrist, military watches and day and day/date calendar timepieces. The Oyster-Perpetual, Submariner and Sea Dweller remain Rolex's top brands, according to Thewatchguy.homestead.com.
Omega, while a competitor of Rolex, is not necessarily in the same league as Rolex, primarily because most of its line of watches sell for considerably less. Although Omegas also sell in the thousands of dollars, it also features entry-level watches like the DeVille and Genève that can be purchased for about £650. Omega is also known for its sophisticated marketing. The watch accompanied the Apollo 11 lunar landing in 1969 and is perhaps best known as the James Bond watch. Omega's Seamasters and Speedmasters are high sellers, according to Interwatches.com.
Longines is closer to styling and pricing to Omega than Rolex. It also shares the same marketing enthusiasm as Omega. Longines is associated with sports, most notably sponsoring Formula One auto racing, the Tour de France bicycle race and as the official timekeeper for some of the Olympic Games. Its collection includes ladies' and men's dress watches, including the Heritage College, and a line of sportswear that features the Admiral, Conquest and HydroConquest.
Long derided as a cheap Japanese import, Seiko watches became a force in the watchmaking industry as a pioneer in quartz technology in the 1970s. Seiko revolutionised the industry as many watchmakers abandoned mechanical watches for battery power. In the 1990s, Seiko introduced the kinetic watch that is electrically charged by movement. Seiko is now famous for its sports watches: the Ananta, Spring Drive, Sportura, Velatura, Arctura and Premier.
Perhaps Seiko's closest rival is the Japan-based Citizen. Like Seiko, Citizen offers an extensive line of sports watches with an emphasis on highly accurate multifunctional timepieces. Citizen is famous for its Eco-Drive watch in which its timepieces have tiny solar panels under the watch dial to capture sunlight and convert it into energy. The Eco-Drive can conserve enough power to operate for several months in the dark. The Citizen Skyhawk A-T also features an "atomic" setting in which it captures low radio frequencies from the world's timing stations to set the exact time.
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