The world’s top luxury watch brands go above and beyond utilitarianism, reflecting the wearer’s personal style. While some great-looking timepieces are available at lower price points, fine watches exemplify character, taste, and individuality. Whether you’re in the market for a timepiece from one of the world’s top 10 luxury watch brands or simply exploring, you will benefit when you gain a solid understanding of these watches.
1. Patek Philippe
Founded in Switzerland in 1851, Patek Philippe is known best for its attractive, traditional styling and its highly functional mechanics. Unique yet classic in appearance, Patek Philippe watches have been the choice of famous figures such as Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and Christian IX of Denmark. Many of Patek Philippe’s most coveted watches contain exquisite complications including star charts, moon phases, perpetual calendars, and much more.
2. Audemars Piguet
Like so many other top watch brands in the world, Audemars Piguet originates in Switzerland. Founded by childhood friends Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward-Auguste Piguet in 1875, this company produces about 36,000 exquisite timepieces each year, plus movements for timepieces produced by Bulgari and Tiffany & Co. Some famous models to look for include the Royal Oak, the Roayal Oak Offshore, and the Royal Oak Concept.
If you love classic looks and fine details, then you’ll probably appreciate Chopard watches. Produced in Switzerland since 1860, these sophisticated timepieces are highly coveted for their design aesthetics. Chopard is also known for its fine jewelry, which may explain some of the exquisite models produced over the decades. Chopard luxury watches are worn by a number of famous figures, and the company further distinguishes itself by partnering with the Mille Miglia car rally, the Historic Grand Prix of Monaco, and the Cannes Film Festival.
One of the world’s most readily identifiable luxury watch brands, Rolex is highly prized. Offering a stunning array of watches that meld form with function in surprising ways, this company provides classic and cutting-edge designs alike. Look for favorites like the Submariner, Datejust, Yachtmaster, and more. If you’re hoping to find a good investment timepiece, be sure to keep Rolex in mind. These watches tend to hold their value very well, perhaps because they are so highly coveted.
Truly unique, and incredibly stunning, Jaeger-LeCoultre watches have been manufactured since 1833. Offering exquisite faces with complex, unique detailing, these innovative watches are masterfully crafted in Switzerland. Jaeger-LeCoultre is credited with a number of important contributions to the watch industry, including the invention of the keyless watch, which was introduced in 1845. Beautiful complications, sparkling jewels, and reversible cases are just some of the features you’ll find when you take a closer look at these marvelous timepieces.
6. Piaget SA
Piaget SA has enjoyed success since its founding in 1874. Ranked as the 6th most prestigious jewelry brand by The Luxury Institute, it is famous for intricate movements. Retrograde movements, Tourbillon skeleton movements, Self-winding movements, and modern, Ultra-thin movements power these watches and make them unique. Piaget SA owns Geneva’s largest jewelry workshop, with every stone being cut, polished, and set by hand. Diamonds and other precious stones used in the company’s watches and jewelry are of the finest quality.
Bold, simple design elements make Panerai watches stand out. Founded in Florence Italy in 1860, this company is today located in Milan. Panerai gained fame when it produced watches and precision instruments for the Royal Italian Navy at the turn of the 20th century. Between 1938 and 1970, Panerai was best-known for its military dive watches. In 1993, Panerai began focusing on the civilian watch market. The brand rapidly gained fame when actor Sylvester Stallone purchased a Panerai Luminor in Rome, which he wore during the filming of his movie Daylight. Since then, Panerai watches have enjoyed popularity worldwide. Consider yourself fortunate if you are able to purchase a vintage Panerai watch; these timepieces are highly coveted by collectors.
Cartier has been renowned for its watches and jewelry since its founding in 1847. If you’re looking for a timepiece with celebrity appeal, then Cartier may be just right for you. Like other luxury watchmakers, Cartier uses high-end materials. You’ll find that most of the company’s watches feature Roman numerals, which lend a unique, distinguished appearance that gives a nod to Cartier’s Parisian heritage.
Omega watches have been keeping time at the Olympic games since 1932, and that’s just one of the many things that make this coveted luxury watch brand famous. The James Bond character has been wearing Omega watches in spy movies since 1995, and NASA astronauts wore Omega watches during the 1969 trip to the moon. Famous wearers include Prince William, Buzz Aldrin, George Clooney, and John F. Kennedy. NCIS fans can see Mark Harmon and Michael Weatherly wearing matching Omega watches. Known for function and style, Omega watches come in a dizzying array of styles to meet a variety of needs.
If you love the aesthetics and performance aspects of dive watches and aviators’ watches, then consider Breitling. This luxury brand was founded in 1884, and is so reliable that its timepieces are favored by fighter pilots and astronauts. All Breitling watch models contain certified chronometers, and many feature automatic winding mechanisms. Other unique features include circular slide rules in Nativimer watches, and radio transmitters inside Breitling Emergency watches. In 2003, a pair of British pilots famously crashed their helicopter in Antarctica, and were rescued after activating their transmitters.