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In the world of luxury timepieces, the battle between Rolex and Grand Seiko has always been fierce. Both brands are renowned for their exceptional craftsmanship and timeless designs. In this captivating article, we will be exploring the comparison between two iconic models: the Rolex Air King 116900 and the Grand Seiko Snowflake SBGA211. These watches have their own unique features and characteristics that make them highly sought after by watch enthusiasts and collectors alike.

The Rolex Air King 116900 is a classic and robust timepiece that exudes elegance and sophistication. It features a 40mm stainless steel case with a striking black dial, enhanced by luminous hour markers and hands for optimal readability. On the other hand, the Grand Seiko Snowflake SBGA211 is a true work of art. Its dial is a stunning representation of a snowflake, a design that has become synonymous with the brand. This watch boasts a 41mm stainless steel case and is powered by Grand Seiko’s renowned Spring Drive movement, offering unrivaled precision and accuracy. Join us as we delve into the world of horology and compare these two exceptional timepieces side by side.



Case Design

The case design of both Rolex and Grand Seiko watches is highly regarded in the watch industry. Rolex watches are known for their iconic and timeless designs. They often feature a combination of brushed and polished stainless steel, giving them a sophisticated and elegant look. Rolex also offers case designs in precious metals like yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold, for those looking for a more luxurious option.

On the other hand, Grand Seiko watches are known for their clean and minimalist case designs. They often feature a mix of brushed and polished surfaces, giving them a modern and understated aesthetic. Grand Seiko also prides itself on its attention to detail, with meticulously finished cases that are often praised for their flawless craftsmanship.

Dial Design

When it comes to dial design, both Rolex and Grand Seiko offer a wide range of options to cater to different tastes and preferences. Rolex dials are known for their simplicity and legibility. They often feature clean and straightforward designs, with the iconic Rolex crown logo at 12 o’clock. Rolex also offers a variety of dial colors, including classic options like black, white, and silver, as well as more adventurous choices like blue, green, and red.

Grand Seiko, on the other hand, is known for its highly detailed and intricate dial designs. They often feature beautiful textures, subtle patterns, and applied hour markers, giving them a sense of depth and sophistication. Grand Seiko dials are also known for their excellent legibility, with highly polished hands and markers that catch the light in a way that makes them easy to read.

Bracelet Design

Both Rolex and Grand Seiko offer exceptional bracelet designs that are not only comfortable to wear but also add to the overall aesthetic appeal of the watch. Rolex is famous for its iconic Oyster bracelet, which features three-piece solid links and a secure folding clasp. The Oyster bracelet is known for its durability and robustness, making it suitable for everyday wear. Rolex also offers other bracelet options, such as the Jubilee and President bracelets, which add a touch of elegance to the watch.

Similarly, Grand Seiko offers high-quality bracelet designs that are both comfortable and stylish. Grand Seiko bracelets are often characterized by their precise construction and attention to detail. They feature a combination of brushed and polished surfaces, giving them a refined and polished look. The bracelets are also designed to fit snugly around the wrist, ensuring a comfortable and secure fit throughout the day.


ROLEX Movement

Rolex watches are renowned for their exceptional movements, which are known for their precision and reliability. Rolex manufactures its movements entirely in-house, ensuring complete control over the production process. The movements are carefully handcrafted and tested to meet the highest standards of accuracy.

One of Rolex’s most famous movements is the Caliber 3135, which is fitted in watches like the iconic Rolex Submariner. The Caliber 3135 is a self-winding mechanical movement known for its robustness and accuracy. It features a Perpetual rotor that winds the movement with the wearer’s wrist movements, eliminating the need for manual winding.


Grand Seiko is equally renowned for its exceptional movements. Grand Seiko movements are also manufactured in-house, with meticulous attention to detail. Each movement is crafted by skilled watchmakers and undergoes rigorous testing to ensure its accuracy and reliability.

One of Grand Seiko’s most renowned movements is the Spring Drive movement. The Spring Drive movement combines the precision of a quartz movement with the elegance and craftsmanship of a mechanical movement. It uses a quartz oscillator as a reference for timekeeping, but with the added mechanical component of a mainspring for power. This unique combination results in a movement that is highly accurate, with a smooth and continuous sweep of the seconds hand.


ROLEX Accuracy

Rolex watches are known for their exceptional accuracy. Rolex movements are officially certified as chronometers, which means that they have passed rigorous tests conducted by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). To achieve this certification, Rolex movements must meet strict criteria for accuracy in various positions and at different temperatures.

Rolex also takes accuracy to the next level with their Superlative Chronometer designation. After COSC certification, Rolex performs additional in-house testing, guaranteeing an accuracy of -2/+2 seconds per day, which is twice as precise as the standard COSC requirements. This level of accuracy is achieved through meticulous adjustment and fine-tuning of each movement before it leaves the Rolex factory.


Grand Seiko watches are renowned for their remarkable accuracy. Like Rolex, Grand Seiko movements are also officially certified as chronometers by the COSC. This certification ensures that each movement meets the stringent accuracy standards set by the COSC.

However, Grand Seiko goes a step further in pursuit of accuracy. They have developed their own in-house testing standard, known as the Grand Seiko Standard, which requires even higher accuracy than the COSC standard. Each Grand Seiko movement undergoes this additional testing, ensuring an even higher level of precision. Grand Seiko movements are known to achieve accuracy within a range of -3 to +5 seconds per day, exceeding the industry standards for mechanical movements.

Water Resistance

ROLEX Water Resistance

Rolex watches are synonymous with water resistance. Rolex has a long history of producing watches that can withstand the rigors of water environments, making them suitable for divers and water sports enthusiasts. Rolex’s dive watches, like the Submariner and the Sea-Dweller, are specifically designed to be highly water-resistant.

The Submariner, for example, has a water resistance of up to 300 meters (1,000 feet). It features a screw-down Triplock winding crown and a robust case construction that ensures no water intrusion during underwater activities. Rolex achieves this water resistance through meticulous engineering and testing, ensuring that each watch meets the stringent requirements for professional diving.

GRAND SEIKO Water Resistance

Grand Seiko also offers water-resistant watches, although they primarily focus on dress watches and timepieces for everyday wear. While Grand Seiko is not as well-known for its water-resistant models as Rolex, they still adhere to high-quality standards to maintain water resistance in their watches.

Grand Seiko’s water-resistant watches typically have a rating of 10 bar (100 meters) of water resistance. While not specifically designed for diving, this level of water resistance ensures that the watches can withstand splashes, rain, and everyday water exposure without any damage. Grand Seiko achieves this water resistance through meticulous case design and high-quality materials.


ROLEX Materials

Rolex watches are crafted from a variety of materials, each chosen for its durability, aesthetics, and functionality. The most commonly used material for Rolex watches is 904L stainless steel, which offers excellent corrosion resistance and a high polish finish. Rolex also offers watches in precious metals like yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold, for those seeking a more luxurious option.

In addition to steel and precious metals, Rolex also utilizes innovative materials such as Cerachrom (ceramic) and Everose gold. Cerachrom is a highly scratch-resistant ceramic composite used for bezels, while Everose gold is a patented alloy that offers lasting radiance and resistance to fading.


Grand Seiko watches are known for their exceptional materials and craftsmanship. Grand Seiko primarily utilizes stainless steel for its watch cases, providing durability and resistance to corrosion. The steel used by Grand Seiko is of the highest quality, ensuring a beautiful and lustrous finish.

Grand Seiko also offers watches in precious metals such as platinum and gold, which are known for their elegance and luxury. These materials add a touch of sophistication to the watches and are highly sought after by collectors and watch enthusiasts.



Rolex watches are known for their prestige and quality, which is reflected in their price range. Rolex watches can range from several thousand dollars to several hundred thousand dollars, depending on the model, materials, and complications. The price of a Rolex watch is influenced by factors such as rarity, demand, and the use of precious materials like diamonds and gemstones.

It is important to note that Rolex watches have a strong reputation for retaining their value over time. In many cases, Rolex watches can even appreciate in value, making them a potential investment for collectors.


Compared to Rolex, Grand Seiko watches generally have a more accessible price range. Grand Seiko offers a variety of models at different price points, accommodating a wider range of budgets. Grand Seiko watches can range from several thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on factors such as the materials used, complications, and limited editions.

Despite being more affordable than Rolex, Grand Seiko watches are still highly regarded for their craftsmanship and quality. Many watch enthusiasts appreciate the value proposition of Grand Seiko’s offerings, considering the exceptional attention to detail and precision that the brand is known for.


ROLEX Popularity

Rolex is one of the most iconic and recognizable watch brands in the world. Rolex watches have achieved an unparalleled level of popularity and desirability among watch enthusiasts and the general public alike. Rolex’s reputation for exceptional quality, precision, and timeless design has made its watches highly sought after.

Rolex watches are often associated with success, luxury, and status, and they have become a symbol of achievement for many. The brand’s strong presence in popular culture, along with endorsements from celebrities and influential figures, has further solidified Rolex’s popularity.

GRAND SEIKO Popularity

While Grand Seiko may not have the same level of global recognition as Rolex, it has gained a dedicated following among watch enthusiasts who appreciate the brand’s craftsmanship and attention to detail. Grand Seiko has built a reputation for producing high-quality watches that are on par with some of the best Swiss watch brands.

Grand Seiko’s popularity has been steadily growing, as more people become aware of the brand’s commitment to excellence and its unique Japanese aesthetic. Grand Seiko watches are considered a hidden gem in the watch industry, known for their exceptional craftsmanship and value for money.

Resale Value

ROLEX Resale Value

Rolex watches are known for their strong resale value. Due to the brand’s enduring popularity and demand, Rolex watches often hold their value well and, in some cases, even appreciate over time. The reputation for quality and the perception of Rolex as a luxury brand contributes to the desirability of their watches in the secondary market.

Rolex watches with unique features, limited editions, or historical significance often command higher prices in the resale market. It is important to note that factors such as the condition of the watch, originality, and accompanying documentation can strongly influence the resale value of a Rolex timepiece.

GRAND SEIKO Resale Value

Grand Seiko watches also hold their value relatively well in the resale market. While not as widely recognized as Rolex, Grand Seiko watches have gained a dedicated following and are highly regarded for their craftsmanship and quality. As a result, there is demand for pre-owned Grand Seiko watches, especially those with unique designs or limited editions.

Similar to Rolex, the condition, originality, and accompanying documentation of Grand Seiko watches can affect their resale value. While Grand Seiko may not have the same level of resale value appreciation as Rolex, they still offer a good investment opportunity for those looking to purchase a luxury watch.


ROLEX Craftsmanship

Rolex watches are synonymous with exceptional craftsmanship. Rolex takes great pride in ensuring that every detail of their watches is meticulously crafted to perfection. From the movement to the case, dial, and bracelet, every component of a Rolex watch undergoes rigorous testing and quality control.

Rolex employs highly skilled watchmakers who meticulously assemble and finish each watch by hand. Each movement is carefully regulated for accuracy, and the cases and bracelets are meticulously polished to achieve a flawless finish. Rolex’s commitment to craftsmanship ensures that every watch that leaves their factory meets the highest standards of quality and precision.

GRAND SEIKO Craftsmanship

Grand Seiko watches are renowned for their exceptional craftsmanship, reflecting the Japanese dedication to perfection and attention to detail. Each Grand Seiko watch is handcrafted by skilled artisans who take immense pride in their work.

Grand Seiko watchmakers are trained for years to perfect their craft, ensuring that every movement is meticulously assembled and regulated for accuracy. The cases and bracelets of Grand Seiko watches are also carefully finished, with meticulous attention given to every aspect of the watch’s design.

Grand Seiko’s commitment to craftsmanship is exemplified in their “Made in Japan” label, which is a symbol of quality and precision. Each Grand Seiko watch is a testament to the brand’s dedication to perfection and the pursuit of watchmaking excellence.


Both Rolex and Grand Seiko offer exceptional watches that are renowned for their design, movement, accuracy, water resistance, materials, and craftsmanship. While Rolex has a more global recognition and widespread popularity, Grand Seiko has gained a loyal following among watch enthusiasts who appreciate their unique Japanese aesthetic and exceptional value for money.

When choosing between Rolex and Grand Seiko, it ultimately comes down to personal preferences and priorities. Rolex watches are often associated with luxury, status, and timeless design, making them a symbol of achievement. On the other hand, Grand Seiko watches offer exceptional craftsmanship, attention to detail, and a more accessible price range.

Regardless of the choice, both Rolex and Grand Seiko represent the pinnacle of watchmaking, with each brand striving for excellence in their respective offerings. Whether it is a Rolex or Grand Seiko on your wrist, you can be confident that you are wearing a timepiece of exceptional quality and craftsmanship.

I'm, your trusted guide to the captivating world of horology. At Mt. Watches, I am dedicated to providing you with a wealth of knowledge and resources when it comes to timepieces. Regardless of your expertise level, whether you're just starting your horological journey or have a refined taste for luxury watches, I have tailor-made content for you. My comprehensive guides, informative how-to articles, and expert reviews are carefully curated to enlighten, educate, and inspire you. From delving into the complexities of watch mechanics to staying updated on the freshest trends in luxury wristwear, your exploration of time begins and reaches the pinnacle of wisdom here at Mt. Watches.

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