Top 5 Luxury Watch Brands Today

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Just like it is important to note the cufflinks people wear, you should be able to recognize luxury watch brands and have some knowledge to initiate conversations. This week’s guest post is the first we have pertaining to watches.

It can be safely assumed that the term ’watch’ is not uncommon for most people in the world. In essence, a watch is a time-keeping instrument either worn on the wrist or kept in the pocket with a chain attached to it. Wrist watches were introduced during World War 1 – worn by soldiers and fashioned for military strategists who needed to synchronize the movements of their troops. A lot has changed with its meteoric rise in popularity since those days. Today, the wrist watch is regarded as an essential accessory, while luxury watches are even considered a piece of jewellery as well as a collector’s item. So, which brands make our Top 5 list? Let’s find out.

Luxury Watch Brand 1: Rolex

Roger Federer Wearing A Rolex When Lifting Wimbledon 2012 TrophyFrom the moment you read the post title, most of you had Rolex on the tips of your tongue. Indeed, it is a brand synonymous with luxury watches. While its headquarters is in Geneva, Switzerland today, the company traces its origins to England in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis. Proficient watch makers, their company simply assembled movements imported from Switzerland, placed them in high quality cases and sold them to local jewelers. Wilsdorf moved to Switzerland as a result of the increased import duties during wartime. The brand name ‘Rolex’ received a trademark in 1908 and the company was registered in 1915. The brand is recognized worldwide as a top notch, if not the top, brand of luxury watches today. Rolex also has created a new brand of watches under its umbrella company called “Tudor”.

 

Luxury Watch Brand - Rolex

Luxury Watch Brand 2: Patek Philippe

Luxury Watch Brand - Patek Philippe

Often termed as the ‘King of Watches’, this brand is exemplary of the Swiss prowess in watch making standards. The company was founded in 1851 in Geneva by watchmaker Antoni Patek and Adrien Philippe (inventor of the keyless winding mechanism). This brand is responsible for making one of the most expensive watches on the planet with as many as 24 functions. It is renown for manufacturing every component from scratch and producing only mechanical watches which can be either automatic or manual winded. The brand is also known as the choice of many members of the British, Danish and the Italian Royal families, who commonly sport this brand.

Luxury Watch Brand 3: Omega

James Bond - 007 - Wearing an Omega WatchThis is the brand of watches popularized by  super spy 007 – James Bond. It is the brand chosen by NASA (making pieces that work perfectly in zero gravity) that manufactured the first watch on the Moon – worn by captain Buzz Aldrin – and is worn by noted personalities like John F. Kennedy and Prince William. It is also the official time keeping partner of the Olympic games. The headquarters of this brand is also in Switzerland, founded in 1848, and is owned by the Swatch Group. The watches are high precision and are famous for its ‘chronograph’ range. The company, along with the aforementioned Patek Philippe, is a constant participant in the observatory trials and is dedicated to keeping accurate time.

 

Luxury Watch Brands - Omega

Luxury Watch Brand 4: Tag Heuer

Lewis Hamilton Wearing A Tag HeuerFounded in Switzerland in 1860, this brand is known for its high end, high precision mechanical watches, fashion accessories and chronographs. TAG Heuer has been a part of many moments in the world of sports and Hollywood, with their specialty being the high end chronographs used in Formula One races. TAG Heuer has a long list of notable partnerships for official time keeping partner – like the Summer Olympics (3 times), countless Formula1 Races and a watch specially for the McLaren F1 racing team. The watch brand is most renown for the world’s most precise chronograph, the Mikrogirder 1/2000th and the Mikrogirder, which is precise to 5/10,000ths of a second, amongst other notable high-end luxury watches like the the Monaco V4 which is driven by belts as opposed to gears. All of these rank among the most expensive watches by Tag Heuer.

 

Luxury Watch Brand - Tag Heuer

Luxury Watch Brand 5: IWC Schaffhausen

Founded in Switzerland, and now based in the United States, the IWC Schaffhausen or simply ‘IWC’ is among the top brands of luxury watches and popular for their mechanical watches. Soon after the introduction of quartz watches, the company suffered badly in terms of sales and the branding. The company has gone through many ownership structure changes as well but its fortunes have risen to new heights as the manufacturer of some of the finest luxury watches with innovative technical designs. The watches by this maker are known for their high worth as jewellery, rather than its functions, and are priced slightly lower (although still extremely expensive) than the other brands on this list. Their price point aided its rise in popularity, putting it amongst the top 3 luxury watch brands alongside Rolex and Omega.

 

Luxury Watch Brand - IWC

 

There are numerous premium and luxury watch brands, both old and new, whose exclusion from this list of 5 may surprise some readers. However, the aforementioned brands have excelled in terms of their quality and their standards in keeping accurate time and helped in maintaining the market of good old mechanical luxury watches – which is why these made our list.

What brands of luxury watches do you particularly like? Share with us in the comments below!

Image Credits – hypo.physeOOOHOOW, acejewelers, Doug_Jnr, jasperparnevik

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About Author

Rohit Agarwal

Rohit Agarwal is the current contributor for watchbandwarehouse.com, which is a home to a fine collection of TAG Heuer monaco bands and other great accessories. Rohit is also an avid collector of watches and different timekeeping instruments.

  • Rob

    Admittedly, I am biased to Breitling, but it absolutely should have made this list over Tag and Omega. Tag/Omega imho are very much the bottom rung of luxury watches, while Breitling has just as much sophistication and refinement as a Rolex. However, Breitling owners don’t have to flaunt their $ the way a Rolex screams “look at me, I have a Rolex!”

    • Hey Rob,
      I absolutely agree that there are a number of brands that could easily take the place of those on this list, and Breitling is certainly one of them. We feel that the brand recognition Tag & Omega enjoy just put them slightly ahead.
      And of course, there are two types of luxury – the flashy, Rolex kind and the understated Brietling one. It just speaks to the personality of the people wearing them, not to the watches themselves! (;

    • Alupigus

      I am rreally sorry but Brietling is not at all a luxury brand. They only have one in-house movement and that is B01, and even this one is not 100% their own. Brietling is about cases with ETA inside. Also te guy who made this list is a noob. Omega has no place there and Tag is a joke

  • Rajit Dixit

    Iwc cheaper than tag and omega???.. U r surely don’t know ur watches.. And rating them based on marketing budget

  • Nithin

    Lange&Sohne,Breguet,Cartier..?

  • Juan Vera

    Quite honestly, if the criteria is “recognition”, this, I think, is an OK list. But fails in putting IWC in front of Cartier and Breitling. But in terms of luxury watches, I still don’t understand how people keep dismissing Jaeger LeCoultre, Breguet (which, to me, is the finest watchmaker) and Audemars Piguet (although I highly dislike the way they’re doing things today. Making a watch for LeBron James, for example. And I hate the royal oak and, even more, the royal oak offshore model). Tag Heuer is a brand that holds a name, but is actually quite cheap and, as watchmakers, they’re nothing. They even copy Rolex in some models, which is a big ‘No No’ in luxury. I’d never buy a Tag. I really don’t want to spread hate, I’m just giving my opinion. And while in the matter of Rolex, Rolex is a quite simple brand. They have not innovated in terms of watch-making at all. What they do have to their name is the design of the Oyster case. They’re more case-makers than actual watch-makers. Of course, the common rich buyer doesn’t really care about that, but it’s something that any watch connoisseur will tell you and take into consideration when it comes to giving value to a watch and the company that builds it. If I were to make a list of the most luxurious watches as of right now (and some of them are just timeless), I’d say:

    1. Breguet
    2. Patek Philippe
    3. Rolex
    4. Audemars Piguet
    5. Vacheron Constantin

    And for the common:

    1. Rolex
    2. Cartier
    3. Zenith
    4. Breitling
    5. Omega

    And Zenith is actually a great watch, but this second list is for non-experts.

    In the first list I can admit changes that include such brands as Jaeger LeCoultre, Piaget, Blancpain and maybe, just maybe, some could argue that Rolex doesn’t fit in the first list and I could maybe agree to that, given the fact that they don’t do major complication watches. But there’s something about Rolex, their way of doing things, simple, yet really advanced, that gives them that third spot on that list.

    • Hey Juan,

      Thanks for that insightful breakdown in terms of your lists. I’m personally still learning the ropes when it comes to watches so this was quite useful for me in terms of luxury watches! And everybody is entitled to an opinion, so the question of you spreading hate doesn’t arise… no worries!

      Reading your comment tells me you have a really good understanding of watches – I would love for you to formulate your thoughts into a coherent guest post. If you’re interested, please email me at dhawal@hucklebury.com

      Cheers!

    • Chuck

      I’m surprised also to not see Panerai on any of these lists. Good write up and great review here! I totally agree!

  • Ivan

    Frankly, any list that places Tag and Rolex in front of Vacheron Constantin, Breguet, Jaeger le C. and AP show lack of understanding in luxury watches. top 5 of all time have been and will continue to be:
    1. Patek Philippe – will never be dethroned
    2. Vacheron C.
    3. Breguet
    4. Jaeger le Coultre
    5. AP perhaps could share a spot with A Langhe und Sohne or Breitling

    top 10 would also include Chopard, Frank Muller, Zenith, Rolex, Omega, etc. Tag would maybe be included in top 20…and that’s a big maybe.

    Those who know watches know what Im talking about. Every European politician or business person will have either a Patek or a Vacheron….Those two are the king and queen

  • Ivan

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