Centuries before the advent of smartphones, watches served a highly practical purpose as efficient, mechanical time-telling tools. Since then, they have evolved to be about far more than just function. They’re glamorous accessories, status symbols, expensive projections of identity, and, oftentimes, heirlooms passed down through several generations. Interested in horology? Here are the top luxury watch brands on the market to know today. And don’t sweat it if you need a few pronunciation lessons before purchasing—we’ve got you covered.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
Established in 1833 in the Swiss Jura Mountains, Jaeger-LeCoultre is known for its clever designs. One of its most notable—and coveted—styles, the Reverso, features a face that flips over to protect itself within the watch casing.
Founded by childhood friends Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward-Auguste Piguet in 1875, Audemars Piguet is perhaps most famous for its Royal Oak collection, which, since its debut in 1972, has become an obligatory status symbol for every A-lister from hip hop legends to elite athletes. Now it has some competition: In 2019, the brand released a new collection, Code 11.59.
Founded in 1988 by Dutch couple Peter Stas and Aletta Stas-Bax, Frédérique Constant’s mission statement is to craft fine luxury watches using Swiss techniques but sold at a relatively accessible price point.
Georges-Édouard Piaget set up his first workshop on his family farm in the village of La Côte-aux-Fées in the Swiss mountains in 1874, launching the brand that is now famous for offering the thinnest automatic watch in the world.
Louis-François Cartier founded the jewelry brand in Paris in 1847. Seventy years later, his grandson Louis Cartier invented the famous Tank Watch, which was modeled after a military tank. Several iconic watch models have followed since, including this Baignoire Allongée.
Jeweler Harry Winston is relatively new to the watch game compared to other longer established brands out of Europe. Nevertheless, the same spirit of innovation that drives the brand’s fantastical gems also applies to its timepieces. Take this avant-garde creation, the latest to join the Project Z collection—only 300 of them were made.
Founded in 1735, Blancpain enjoys the esteemed distinction of being the oldest surviving watch brand in the world. In the 1950s, it introduced the Fifty Fathoms diving watches, which were crafted in collaboration with the French Navy’s combat swimmers and soon became the standard issue of the US Navy SEALs.
Longines was founded in 1832 by Auguste Agassiz and two partners in Saint-Imier, Switzerland, where the company is still headquartered. Its iconic winged hourglass logo is the oldest logo of its kind still being used in its original form.
Georges Favre-Jacot was just 22 when he founded his eponymous watch company in 1865, eventually renaming it Zenith. In the century and half since, the brand has amassed a number of high profile wearers, including Mahatma Gandhi.
If you think Tudor watches look like Rolexes, you’re not seeing things: the brand is a subsidiary of the luxury watch giant and its timepieces are especially perfect for those who want the look and feel of a Rolex—without the high price tag.
Founded in 1848, Omega holds the unparalleled title of being the first watch on the moon thanks to Buzz Aldrin, who wore the Speedmaster for his history-making feat. Today it may be most famous as the preferred timepiece of England’s deadliest weapon: James Bond.
Arguably the most well-known watch brand, Rolex has many firsts under its belt, among them the first-ever waterproof watch, appropriately called the Oyster, which was created in 1926.
Patek Philippe consistently tops the list of best watch brands in the world and is a status symbol like no other. Founded in 1839, the Swiss company is the last family-owned independent watch manufacturer in Geneva.
Vacheron Constantin is among the oldest luxury watch manufacturers in the world, founded in Geneva by Jean-Marc Vacheron in 1755. The watches, which are known for their extensive complications, have been worn on the wrists of famous figures like Napoleon Bonaparte and Harry Truman.
Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels’ Alhambra motif has been a coveted status symbol since its invention in 1968. This watch is the best of both worlds: an elegant timepiece and stunning piece of jewelry, all in one.
“Techniques d’Avant Garde” is what the TAG in TAG Heuer has stood for since Edouard Heuer launched the Swiss brand in 1860. In 1962, John Glenn wore a Heuer stopwatch on the Mercury-Atlas 6 flight, giving the Swiss watchmaker the distinction of being the first in space. Now well-known for their sporty silhouettes, TAG Heuer has an illustrious list of celebrity ambassadors, both official and not, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith, Matt Damon, and Tom Brady.
Founded as Officine Panerai in Florence in 1860, this Italian watchmaker has become known for its bold, sporty cases. From its former role as the official supplier to the Royal Italian Navy to its partnership with Ferrari, Panerai’s timepieces guarantee the finest Italian craftsmanship.
The first luxury watch to rock a rubber strap, Hublot is also known for its bold cases. Fun fact: the brand’s name is French for “porthole”—it’s easy to see where the inspiration comes from.
In its early days, Chopard—founded by Swiss watchmaker Louis-Ulysse Chopard in 1860—was known for pocket watches and chronometers. Today, the brand’s glamorous watches and jewelry are regularly seen on the red carpet at events like the Cannes Film Festival (an official Chopard partner).
One of the youngest luxury watch brands on the market, MeisterSinger was founded in 2001 and is instantly recognizable with its single-hand face design, perfect for the wearer who is less focused on the hustle and bustle and more interested in enjoying the journey.
Bulgari is mostly known for fine jewelry and luxury goods (particularly beloved by Elizabeth Taylor), but don’t sleep on the watches. The brand created the first jewelry watch and its iconic snake motif, the Serpenti, is legendary. It’s also a master of luxury sport watches, as evidenced here.
Abraham-Louis Breguet earned his stripes as the watchmaker commissioned to make a pocket watch for Marie Antoinette and later, to create a wristwatch for the Queen of Naples—how’s that for a resume builder? That spirit of innovation, and timeless design, continues today.
Founded in 2012, Verdure Watches has a particular focus on comfort, which stems from founder Eddie Johnson’s original inspiration that wristwatches should be crafted for daily use. The brand’s clever motto says it all: “Time well spent.”
Fine state-of-the-art craftsmanship is at the heart of every Montblanc timepiece, and especially in the Montblanc 1858 collection, which is a reinterpretation of 1920s and ’30s Minerva watches used for military exploration.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below