Latest Update: Feb 4, 2015
Which are the Best Luxury Watch Brands?
The time has come for list the top 10 luxury watch brands for men.
Luxury watches and luxury watch brands are fascinating and creating top lists on them is both interesting and a bit tough.
Interesting because there are many really good watches and luxury watch brands to choose from. Tough because it is really hard to choose just 10.
This time I decided to list the brands without any specific order. See the list further down.
All the Watch Brands Presented
I have tried to gather as relevant and correct info about the watch brands as possible, with every brand presented with the following info:
- Short background about the brand,
- Displaying the main collections from the brands product portfolio,
- Price range for current models
- Notable fact about the brand,
- Notable wearers or brand endorsers
- Link to their official websites and a brand forum link.
Help me Make this List as Good as Possible
If you find some inaccurate info, please let me know and I will edit the info. Also if you think I have missed out on some important info, let me know about that too. Just send me an e-mail to the address found in the footer of the page.
Let me hear your comments about the list whether you think it is good or bad, your favourite brands are not on the list or whatever you have on your mind regards to the list.
Enough said, let’s have a look at the list:
TOP 10 LUXURY WATCH BRANDS
Rolex – A True Classic Watch Brand
Rolex is truly one of the classic brands and one of the greatest status symbols, signaling success. Founded in England 1905 and moved to Switzerland in 1919. With a production of over 3200 watches per day, Rolex is the biggest and most well-known luxury watch brand today.
“Like a genial hotelier, Rolex has introduced me to some of the nicest people. I ask about their Rolex and they ask about mine. It’s as marvelous a conversation piece as it is a timepiece.” –Maurice Chevalier (1964)
Rolex Watches Product Portfolio
The main Rolex product portfolio consists of the following men’s models: Datejust, Day Date, Daytona, Deepsea, Explorer I & II, GMT-Master II, Milgauss, Submariner, Yachtmaster II
Pricing of current Rolex models
The prices for a new Rolex range from $5.000 to over $125.000
- Quotes for all current Rolex models (prices in Euro)
Notable fact about Rolex
In 1926, Rolex presented the “Oyster“, known as the first waterproof watch. Click image to left to see the Rolex advert for “Oyster” in Daily Mail, from Nov 27, 1927
James Bond and Rolex
James Bond wore Rolex in the first 8 movies, before Seiko took over. Rolex came back for Licence to Kill, where after Omega has held the prestigious title as official watch brand for James Bond. Picture of Sean Connery wearing a Submariner.
Other notable wearers and brand endorsers of Rolex
For more info about Rolex:
Vacheron Constantin –Watchmaking Mastery Since 1755
With an uninterrupted history of 260 years Vacheron Constantin is one of the oldest watch manufacturers in the world and together with Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe – Vacheron Constantin forms the classic trinity of prestige Swiss Watch Companies.
Vacheron Constantin – in the beginning only called Vacheron – was founded in 1755 by Jean-Marc Vacheron, an independent watchmaker in Geneva, Switzerland. Vacheron, a talented craftsman, created the companys first complication in 1770 and in 1779 he designed the first engine turned dials.
In 1819, when Vacheron was led by Jean-Marc’s grand-son Jacques-Barthélemy, the decision was made to bring in a partner. The partner was Francois Constantin and the company became Vacheron & Constantin.
Do better if possible and that is always possible
Vacheron Constantin Product Portfolio
The main Vacheron Constantin product portfolio consists of the following models: Patrimony, Traditionnelle, Malte, Quai De L’ile, Overseas, 1972, Historiques, Métiers D’art
Pricing of current Vacheron Constantin models
The prices for a new Vacheron Constantin watch range from $7.700 to $964.000
Quotes for all current Vacheron Constantin models (prices in Euro)
Notable fact about Vacheron Constantin
Above you see one of the most expensive wristwatches ever made – Vacheron Constantin Kallista. When it was made in 1979 the price was staggering $5 million, but today the Kallista is valued at about $11 million. Kallista had 118 emerald-cut diamonds. It took about 6,000 hours for the watch masters to make this watch and about 20 months for jewelers to enrich the watch.
Notable wearers and brand endorsers of Vacheron Constantin
For more info about Vacheron Constantin
TAG Heuer the Motorsports Watch Brand
TAG Heuer is one of the great Swiss watch brands and springs out of Uhrenmanufaktur Heuer AG, founded 1860, which in 1985 was purchased by TAG Group Holdings S.A. 1985 marks the birth of the brand name TAG Heuer.
In 1999 the French luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) bought TAG Heuer.
TAG Heuer is perhaps most known for their intimate relationship with motorsports as the names of the watch models hints.
TAG Heuer Watches Product Portfolio
The main TAG Heuer product portfolio consists of the following models: Tag Heuer Carrera, Tag Heuer Grand Carrera, Monaco, Link, Aquaracer, Tag Heuer Formula I, Professional Sports Watch
Pricing of current TAG Heuer models
The prices for a new TAG Heuer range from around $1.200 to $12.500
Notable fact about TAG Heuer
In 1916, TAG Heuer invented the “micrograph” and “microsplit“, the first sports stopwatches with a precision of 1/100 of a second, revolutionizing science, industry & watchmaking. This innovation made TAG Heuer official timekeeper in the three following Olympic Games; 1920 Antwerp, 1924 Paris, 1928 Amsterdam.
Notable wearers and brand endorsers of TAG Heuer
For more info about TAG Heuer:
Omega – Driven by its Pioneering Spirit
As one of the giants in the watch world, Omega has been driving the evolution of watchmaking. This pioneering spirit has taken Omega watches to the depths of the sea and all the way to the moon. Omega was founded 1848 in Switzerland by Louis Brandt, then making pocket watches with parts supplied by local craftsmen. But it was not until the 1880´s when the company moved to Biel/Bienne the big change started and in 1894 with the launch of the Omega Calibre the success came.
“Omega has always been driven by its pioneering spirit: six lunar landings; the first divers’ watch; the world’s only certified marine chronometer wristwatch. No watch company in the world holds more records for accuracy.” – Stephen Urquhart, President of OMEGA
Omega Watches Product Portfolio
The main Omega product portfolio consists of these models: Constellation, Seamaster, Speedmaster, De Ville
Pricing of current Omega models
The prices for a new Omega range from $2.100 to around $44.000
- Quotes for all current Omega models (link with prices in Euro)
Notable fact about Omega
The Omega Speedmaster was the first watch on the moon, when Buzz Aldrin as second man on the moon, took his moonwalk.
Read my post about The First Watch on the Moon
Notable wearers and brand endorsers of Omega
For more info about Omega:
Panerai – The Rising Star on the Luxury Watch Brands Heaven
Panerai was founded in 1860 by Giovanni Panerai who ran a small watch shop in Florence, Italy. Giovanni specialized in mechanical engineering and designing and producing high quality equipment for the Italian Navy. In 1915 Giovanni Panerai developed and patented a process for creating luminous markings for equipment made for the Italian Navy, which he called Radiomir. It is soon after this when the history gets really interesting.
The Italian navy needed a watch for their frogmen and in 1935 Panerai contacted Rolex. They needed a watch that was waterproof, was visible in the dark and big to furter increase the visibility. So it was that the first Panerai watches, from 1935 and all the way to 1954 were actually made by Rolex!
After the Rolex era, Panerai lived a quiet life until the resurrection of the brand in 1993, when the actor Sylvester Stallone stepped into a Panerai store in Florence. He was so excited about the watches that he bought a bunch of them and also decided to wear one in the movie “Daylight”.
This was off course what the Panerai brand needed and pretty much overnight it became the talk of the town, which it still today is.
The Panerai brand has travelled a long way since the start in Giovannis little watch shop in Florence, 1860. With headquarters still in Florence, the manufacturing is based in Neuchatel, Switzerland, Panerai nicely mixes the best of two worlds; Italian design and Swiss quality craftmanship.
Perfect mix of fine Italian design & Swiss quality craftmanship
Panerai Watches Product Portfolio
The main Panerai product portfolio consists of these collections: Radiomir, Luminor, Luminor 1950
Pricing of current Panerai models
The prices for most new Panerai watches range from $3.800 to around $13.700
- Quotes for all current Panerai models (link with prices in Euro)
Notable fact about Panerai
After using third-party movements, which they refined, Panerai launches its first in-house movement, the P.2002 in 2005. The P.2002 is a hand-wound calibre with GMT function and an eight-day power reserve.
Notable wearers and/or brand endorsers of Panerai
Panerai does not have any official ambassadors, but is often seen in media on the wrists of macho action movie actors. This probably creates an image of the brand which not many of the Paneristis is willing to stand behind, who like me feel that the Panerai brand is for the Paneristis. Anyway, here are some pics.
To get a more detailed history of Panerai, I absolutely recommend you to read the four part article series of Panerais history by Jake Ehrlich. Jake runs the blog Jake’s Rolex Watch Blog.
For more info about Panerai:
IWC – Good, Solid Craftmanship from Shaffenhausen
The International Watch Company, IWC, was founded in 1868 and is a Swiss high-end watch manufacturer based in Schaffenhausen, Switzerland. IWC is a part of the Richemont Group.
Good, solid craftsmanship from Schaffhausen
IWC Watches Product Portfolio
The main IWC product portfolio consists of these models: Ingeneur, Portuguese, Da Vinci, Portofino, Aquatimer, Pilot
Pricing of current IWC models
The prices for a new IWC range from $6.200 to over $262.000
- Quotes for all current IWC models (link with prices in Euro)
Notable fact about IWC
In 1990 IWC presents Grande Complications, the single most complicated wristwatch in existence at the time. It featured not only a perpetual calendar, moon phase display, but minute repeater as well.
Notable wearers and brand endorsers of IWC
For more info about IWC:
Patek Philippe – The “King” of Watches
Designing and manufacturing some of the most complicated mechanical watches, from the headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, since 1851, Patek Philippe is by many considered the king of watches.
One of the most prestigious watch companies in the world
Patek Philippe Watches Product Portfolio
The main Patek Philippe product portfolio consists of these models: Aquanaut, Calatrava, Complications, Golden Ellipse, Gondolo, Grand Complications, Nautilus
Pricing of current Patek Philippe models
The prices for a new Patek Philippe range from about $11.000 to around $225.000
- Quotes for all current Patek Philippe models (link with prices in Euro)
Notable fact about Patek Philippe
The Patek Phillipe Henry Graves Supercomplication Pocket Watch is one of the most expensive watches ever. The watch was made in 1932 for Henry Graves Jr. and then sold at Sothebys in 1999, for an amazing $11.000.000.
Notable wearers of Patek Philippe
Patek Philippe is worn by many royalties, presidents, top business men, but also seen on celebrities like Charlie Sheen.
For more info about Patek Philippe:
Audemars Piguet –Pushing the Boundaries of Fine Watchmaking
Audemars Piguet is one of the three big Swiss watchmakers and still today every timepiece manufactured in-house is made using the old-fashioned hand made technique.
The Audemars Piguet story dates back to 1875 and Le Brassus, Switzerland, where Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet decided to join forces and started a watchmaking company with the goal to develop and craft watches equipped with complex mechanisms.
The company quickly became famous for its delicate watchmaking and amongst their clients where, Bulgari, Cartier and Tiffany & Co. who rebranded and sold Audemars Piguet watches under their own house names.
Audemars Piguet has since the start been dedicated to craft watches of highest complexity and innovation, with several firsts and records in numerous horological categories.
Audemars Piguet is meticulous attention to detail, defined
The two friends shared a passion for watchmaking and a mastery of the art of precision, which yet today characterizes the company. Audemars Piguet continues to blend tradition, experience and knowledge in order to push the boundaries of fine watchmaking.
Audemars Piguet is not just a company. It’s still an independent family business established in and continually operating from Le Brassus, in the Vallee De Joux, the cradle of fine watchmaking
Audemars Piguet Product Portfolio
The main Audemars Piguet product portfolio consists of the following models: Royal Oak, Royal Oak Offshore, Millenary, Jules Audemars, Tradition, Classique
Pricing of current Audemars Piguet models
The prices for a new Audemars Piguet watch range from about $23.500 to $760.000
Quotes for all current Audemars Piguet models (prices in Euro)
Notable facts about Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet have created the world’s smallest manual movement for a wristwatch, the first wristwatch with tourbillon and mechanical winding, the Dual Time, the first skeleton watch amongst many other boundary pushing achievements.
In 1972 Audemars Piguet created the Royal Oak, the first luxury watch in stainless steel. The Royal Oak was designed by Gerald Genta and is by many seen as the watch that introduced stainless steel as a material in luxury watches.
The Royal Oak is one of the most iconic watches ever and has been the influence of many other watch models. (click image to enlarge)
Here is a very good article on the Royal Oak History
Notable wearers and brand endorsers of Audemars Piguet
For more info about Audemars Piguet
A. Lange & Söhne – German Engineering Art
A. Lange & Söhne is a trademark of Lange Uhren GmbH, a German watchmaker founded in 1845 in the town of Glashütte, Germany, by Ferdinand Adolph Lange.
The Lange brand ceased to exist in 1948, after the Soviet administration in East Germany, took over the company’s property. After the Berlin wall fell in 1990 the brand made a re-start and is today again one of the premium luxury watch brands in the world.
Lange is especially known for double assembling. The watches are disassembled and then re-assembled again to ensure that each and every part is placed perfectly.
A. Lange & Söhne Watches Product Portfolio
The main A. Lange & Söhne product portfolio consists of these model families: 1815, Cabaret, Datograph, Double Split, Lange 1, Richard Lange, Saxonia, Turbograph, Zeitwerk
Pricing of current A. Lange & Söhne models
The prices for a new A. Lange & Söhne range from about $19.000 to around $338.000
- Quotes for all current A. Lange & Söhne models (link with prices in Euro)
Notable fact about A. Lange & Söhne
Adolph Lange served as the mayor of Glashütte for 18 years. During Langes time as mayor the economic climate of Glashütte flourished. In 1895 a monument of Lange was built.
For more info about A. Lange & Söhne:
Montblanc Writing a New Chapter in the Book of Luxury Watch Brands
Montblanc, the world leader in luxury writing instruments and pens, decided in the second half of the 1990´s to broaden their product portfolio to watches. They started out as an outsider, but gained the respect of the watch world after the acquisition of one of the worlds most exlusive watch manufaturers – Minerva.
With both of the companies owned by the Richemont Group, Minerva was merged into Montblanc in 2006, bringing the watchmaking history and knowledge into Montblanc.
“We knew that this watch would be one of the few historic milestones that any watch company can have” Jan-Patrick Schmitz, President of Montblanc N.A. when talking about Nicolas Rieussec
Montblanc Watches are recognized by their big, bold and clean design.
Montblanc Watches Product Portfolio
The main MontBlanc product portfolio consists of these models: Nicolas Rieussec, Star, Star 4810, Timewalker, Sport, Profile
Pricing of current Montblanc models
The prices for a new Montblanc range from about $1.500 to about $362.000
Notable fact about Montblanc
The premium Montblanc Watches are hand-made in the Montblanc Villeret workshops. Movement by Minerva.
Notable wearers and brand endorsers of Montblanc
For more info about Montblanc:
Breitling Watches for the Adventurous
Breitling was founded 1884 in Switzerland by Léon Breitling and is a Swiss luxury watch brand mainly focusing on three watch categories; diving, aviation & luxury. The Breitling watches are manufactured in Switzerland with Swiss components. Breitling calibre B01 is their own in-house mechanical chronograph movement and was introduced in 2009.
Breitling produces only watches, unlike other watches companies that produce and market also jewelry.
Breitling Watches Product Portfolio
The main Breitling product portfolio consists of these models: Chronomat, Navitimer, Superocean, Avenger, Transocean, Galactic, Superocean Héritage, Chrono-Matic, Montbrillant, Colt
Pricing of current Breitling models
The prices for a new Breitling range from $2.5000 to $39.000
- Quotes for all current Breitling models (prices in Euro)
Notable fact about Breitling
An interesting fact is that each employee at Breitling recieves a Breitling watch. What model they get is determined by the status of the employees role at the company and other variables. If an employee leaves the company he gets the opportunity to buy the watch for a special price.
Notable wearers and/or brand endorsers of Breitling
For more info about Breitling:
Hublot Watches Comes with Attractive Design & Unique Style
Hublot is one of the youngest luxury watch brands, but has already made its mark in the watch world. The company was founded in 1976 by Carlo Crocco and introduced to the public at the Basel Watch Fair in 1980. The brand quickly became a commercial success and was acquired by LVMH (Louis Vuitton-Moet Hennessy) in 2008. Hublot watches are known for their attractive design and unique style.
In 1980 Carlo Crocco released his first design: a fusion of gold and rubber
Hublot Watches Product Portfolio
The main Hublot product portfolio consists of these models: Big Bang, Classic Fusion, King Power, Masterpiece
Pricing of current Hublot models
The prices for a new Hublot range from $5.900 to $2.500.000
- Quotes for all current Hublot models (prices in Euro)
Notable fact about Hublot
Hublot is the “Official Watch” for FIFA and FIFA World Cup as well as the “Official Watch” of Formula 1.
Notable wearers and brand endorsers of Hublot
For more info about Hublot:
Thanks for taking the time to go through my Top 10 Luxury Watch Brands list.
As you might have noticed there were actually 12 brands presented on this list and not 10 as the title suggests. Honestly it is too hard to leave some brands out of a list like this and probably the list will grow in future
What do you think about the list?
Please share your thoughts about the article by commenting here below.