Neither are my favorite. I don't like any of the AP dive watch designs. Rolex sport watches are iconic. The submariner, sea dweller, and explorer are amongst my favorites and if I had an unlimited budget the second two would be in my collection.
AP is certainly considered a manufacturer of "haute horology" and is a "top tier" brand. Rolex is a couple steps below but, to me, I prefer the Rolex designs for their iconic timelessness.
I voted Rolex because I have always loved Rolex watches from a young age. They have a look, an iconic style that is dare I say, 'timeless', and are robustly built. I never liked AP watches, not because they aren't any good, because they have good movements, but because I just don't like their looks. We all have different tastes, that's why there are so many various brands.
For a durable everyday watch, I would certainly pick a Rolex. How can you argue against a Sub, or even an Air King, for general use?
For a tool watch, again, I'd chose a Rolex.
For a vintage dress piece, it's AP.
For exclusivity, it's AP.
For something complicated and representative of haute horlogerie, AP is the clear choice.
For vintage chronographs, it's a toss-up.
I'll close with this observation sans commentary:
I can describe many pieces in the current Rolex collection, even the Cellini line.
I cannot name a single current AP beside the Royal Oak.
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