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Today we will introduce famous Swiss luxury watch brands that offer high-end timepieces. Watches are made to tell time but they have always been a window to individual’s style and taste. As inevitable part of overall self-branding people all over the world are trying to find timepiece that will represent their attitude and tell their story for them.
Watch industry is huge on today’s market. There are thousands of models and hundreds of brands so everybody can find their perfect watch. There are 15$ watches that will fulfill its primary task but also timepieces that cost tens and hundreds thousands of dollars.
They are not only prestigious remarks that represent social status as consumer goods. With very stable price over time they can be good investments, too. All of these brands have a long tradition of watchmaking and they made thousands of innovations that pushed forward the watch industry. As prime examples of craftsmanship you can find a lot of artistic elements in them. Together with usage of finest materials this makes them luxurious and of course, expensive. Another thing that makes these brands unique is that most of them in production use parts that all are made in house. This is a fact that they are proud of the most and why they are highly valued.
You will notice that the most of these brands are located in Switzerland. In the top 50 Swiss brands there are 17 watch brands that make billions of year sales. Tradition of watch making in this European country is long and dates back in 18th century so it is absolutely true when Switzerland is called the land of watches.
Swiss Luxury Watch Brands
Rolex is synonym for luxury and one of the most powerful brands in the world. It was founded in London in 1905 but moved to Switzerland in 1919. More than 2000 watches produced daily and 7.9 billion dollars of estimated revenue for 2016 are numbers that show what giant Rolex is.
Patek Philippe is founded in 1851 in Geneva, Switzerland . Their timepieces are well known for their mechanical movements. Jean-Adrien Philippe, one of the founders, invented crown winding. This is one of many revolutionary inventions from Patek Philippe that moved forward the production of watches. This is why watch enthusiasts consider Patek Philippe to be the leading brand in watch industry.
Another Swiss watch company founded in 1875 by Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward-Auguste Piguet. The company is still owned by their families. Audemars Piguet is successful in making watches that have both, the tradition and innovations in their design. Thanks to its great design and functionality Royal Oak their most popular model that was introduced in 1972 is considered to be one of the icons of watch industry. Among famous sportsmen and movie stars that were brand ambassadors of Audemars Piguet is legendary Muhammad Ali.
Is Swiss watch company founded in 1755 by Jean-Marc Vacheron. It is considered to be along with Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet one of the most prestigious Swiss watch brands. With more than 250 years of great history it is the oldest still active watch production company. Today it is owned by Richemont group. It is interesting that some of the greatest men as Napoleon Bonaparta, Papa Pius XI, Duke of Windsor and Harry Truman wore their timepieces.
is founded in 1860 by Louis-Ulysse Chopard. It is noted that their watches were worn by last Russian emperor, Nicolas II. Today they have sales over US$900m a year and over 2000 employees all over the world. They are one of the sponsors of Cannes film Festival.
IWC stands for International Watch Company and it is the only major Swiss watch company located in eastern Switzerland in the town of Schaffhausen. It is founded in 1868. by Florentine Ariosto Jones, American watchmaker. IWC proudly say that they have parts and knowledge to repair every single model ever made by them.
Founded in 1884 in Grenchen, Switzerland is famous for their chronometer watches and consider to be the best Aviator watch brand. It gained its place in pop culture with 1965s James Bond movie The Thunderball. Breitling Top Time with Geiger counter helps 007 to find stolen nuclear bombs.
Is owned by Richemont group since 2000. This Swiss watch company was founded in 1833 by Antoine LeCoultre. One of thousends of La Coutre inventions is the smallest caliber in the world. It has almost perpetual movement.
Was founded as La Generale Watch Co in 1848 by Louis Brandt in 1903. Today they are a part of the Swatch group. Known as highly precise watches Omega was the official timekeeper of Olympic games more than 20 times since 1932. NASA also choose Omega for their moon expedition and omega Speedmaster Professional, worn by Neil Armstrong, watch was the first and only watch on the moon.
Longines has its base in Saint-Imier. The company was founded by Auguste Agassiz in 1832. Today it is also owned by the Swatch Group. Well known Longines logo was the first registered trademark in watch industry. Along with Omega, Longines is also known for precise sports timekeeping.
Breguet is a founded by Abraham-Louis Breguet in Paris in 1775. Among their contributions to watch industry are famous tourbillion technology, invented by the founder, and that they made the first wrist watch in 1810. Another top brand of The Swatch Group location of production is Vallée de Joux in Switzerland.
Tissot is founded by father and son, Charles-Félicien and Charles-Émile Tissot in 1853. At the beginning they traveled to US and Russia to sell their watches. In 1930 Tissot and Omega merged and watches made at these times are highly valued by collectors. Until 1970s the company was rising. But quartz revolution was very hard to them and founding of The Swatch group saved the company. Today they are official timekeeper of NBA, NASCAR, Commonwealth Games.
TAG Heuer began as Uhrenmanufaktur Heuer AG, founded in 1860 by Edouard Heuer in St-Imier, Switzerland. They have contributed the world of watches with some great inventions. One of them is oscillating pinion from 1887 that is still used today in timepieces of prestigious brands.
Hublot founded in 1980 by Italian Carlo Crocco is a part of LVMH. They are famous for bold designs of their watches. They revolutionized the watch industry by introducing materials that were never used before in watch making. Natural rubber strap in high end watches is one of them. Their brand ambassadors are Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt and Manchester football club.
Swiss Watch Brands – Final words
Watch enthusiasts, collectors and aficionados can spend hours and hours debating which brand is the best. We think that it is a matter of individual opinion and taste since every single brand presented here contributed the art of watchmaking with revolutionary innovations. We presented some interesting facts about every company so you can consider this article to be a beginner’s guide to Swiss watch brands.