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Top 5 best luxury watch brands

Hai Ukraine - January 5 2017: Man looking on luxury watches Rolex on his hand.

Few watchmakers have the style, prestige and lineage of those that bare the etching ‘Swiss made’. When mentioning Swiss watches, quality, innovation, grandeur and timeless design come to mind. Many Swiss companies have been in the business well over 100 years and in that time have created some of the best watch brands in the world.

In this article, we take a look through the top watch brands, when they started and what has made them the luxury brand they are today. It’s no surprise all the watches here are made in Switzerland.

Top 5 best watch brands

1. Rolex

Rolex Submariner
(Source: Watches of Switzerland – Rolex Submariner)

Founded: 1920, London, United Kingdom
Founders: Hans Wilsdorf, Alfred Davis
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
Famous Models: Submariner, Yacht-Master, GMT-Master II, Datejust, Day-Date, Cosmograph Daytona & Sky-Dweller.

Rolex today is easily the most recognisable watch brand in the industry. They have garnered international acclaim through their luxurious and timeless designs. While founded in England they have become a staple of Swiss-made watches. Rolex is renowned for their adoption in pop culture from celebrities to presidents, their prestige as a global icon is unchallenged. From the famous 1950’s GMT to the 2012 Sky-Dweller, if you are after luxury, you can’t look past Rolex.

2. Breitling

Superocean Heritage B20 Automatic 42
(Source: Watches of Switzerland – Breitling Superocean Heritage B20 Automatic 42)

Founded: 1884, St-Imier, Switzerland
Founder: Léon Breitling
Headquarters: Grenchen, Switzerland
Famous Models: Emergency, Superocean Heritage, Navitimer, Premier & Avenger

Breitling are renowned for their watches superb performance and precision. Their watches are influenced by diving (Superocean) & aviation (Navitimer). These inspirations have led to many innovative features being included in their watches. The Emergency watch originally contained a radio transmitter which broadcast on the 121.5MHz distress frequency for pilots who needed help. Their styling is characterised by large watch faces for improved visibility, robust designs and high polished finishes. James Bond in Thunderball famously wore a Breitling watch, adding to its charm as a luxury brand.

3. Hublot

(Source: Watches of Switzerland - Hublot - Classic Fusion Power)
(Source: Watches of Switzerland – Hublot – Classic Fusion Power)

Founded: 1980, Geneva, Switzerland
Founder: Carlo Crocco
Headquarters: Nyon, Switzerland
Famous Models: Big Bang, Classic Fusion & King Power.

While Hublot is a relatively new luxury player in the game, by no means are they less impressive comparative to the others in this article. The brand was created in 1980 by Carlo Crocco who went about designing a watch with the first natural rubber strap in history. His original design was named the ‘Hublot’ which is French for ‘porthole’. Within the first year of sales, the watch was a commercial success generating over $2m. Since its inception, Hublot has become one of the most recognised brands within the industry with its award-winning designs. Hublot has teamed with the likes of Jay-z to create the Shawn Carter Classic Fusion and Usain Bolt to create the King Power. From royalty and politicians to sports stars and celebrities, they all choose to wear Hublot, forging the way for the brand to flourish in the luxury watch space.

4. IWC Schaffhausen

IWC Schaffhausen
(Source: Watches of Switzerland – IWC Schaffhausen – Da Vinci Automatic 36 )

Founded: 1868, Schaffhausen, Switzerland
Founder: Florentine Ariosto Jones
Headquarters: Schaffhausen, Switzerland
Famous Models: Portugieser, Pilots Watch, Big Pilot, Portofino & Da Vinci.

The International Watch Company was founded by an American who had the vision to combine modern engineering techniques with swiss elegance. The original focus was on aviation-style watches but over time started including newer styles and innovative titanium parts After WWII, IWC developed its famed Caliber 89 movement which still stands the test of time today and is highly regarded for its accuracy and longevity. IWC are iconic for their superior standards, using modern technology and hydropower to manufacture their movements to the highest quality. They are easily identifiable for their design and quality living up to their motto ‘good, solid craftsmanship from Schaffhausen’.

5. Tudor

(Source: Watches of Switzerland - Tudor Heritage Black Bay)
(Source: Watches of Switzerland – Tudor Heritage Black Bay)

Founded: 1926, Geneva, Switzerland
Founder: Hans Wilsdorf
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
Famous Models: Heritage, Pelagos, Black Bay

Tudor has forged a name for themselves even though they are a subsidiary brand of Rolex. Initially registered in 1926 and positioned as a mid-range luxury alternative to the distinguished Rolex label. Over time Tudor has become popular for its production of tool watches. These watches have been used by both the US Navy and French Marines, reinforcing the fact that they have been designed to the finest precision. Tudor is the perfect luxury fit for people who value solid construction and classic design but unwilling to pay the sometimes exorbitant prices charged from some brands. A truly remarkable brand with plenty to offer especially value.

Final thoughts

This list covers the best watch brands in the world. While the order of these watches may be debated, the quality and prestige of these brands cannot. Now that you have all the information about the best Swiss-made watches, it’s time for you to own one for yourself and experience the luxury they provide.

Image credit at the very top of the article: AS Photo Project/