It’s not just about the watch that you wear on your wrist, it’s about who made it. The most experienced watch collectors are invested in a manufacturer’s story and history, just as much as they are new innovative designs or the latest cutting edge technology – that’s why the classics always come good in the end. Some of the most uncomplicated and understated luxury watches are the most highly coveted. Here’s a list of the worlds’ 10 best watch brands and reasons why they’re so reputable.
View The Best Luxury Watch Brands Below
1. Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Automatic
Audemars Piguet created the Royal Oak Chronograph. Its sporty persona is highly desirable as a collection piece. This luxury model features a large 41mm stainless steel case, framing a silver “Grand Tapisserie” dial. The brand’s in-house controls the chronograph, small seconds, and central timekeeping hands are made with a self-winding Calibre 2385.
2385 provides an impressive 40-hour power reserve. Thanks to a vibrant history, including milestones like making the world’s first watch for sport made from stainless steel, Audemars Piguet is a Swiss watch company relied upon for its expertise, luxury, and heritage.
+ Creators of the first steel sports watch
+ In-house made calibers
+ Distinct “Grand Tapisserie” textured dials
+ Hexagonal shaped cases with the famous screws for decoration
+ 145-year long history
Why We Like It – This luxury watchmaker is most famous for the Royal Oak, created back in 1972, remaining a popular daily-wearing model for many still.
2. Patek Philippe
Patek Philippe Nautilus
Patek Philippe is renowned for producing some of the world’s most expensive luxury wristwatches. Designs like the Nautilus are still highly sought-after. Patek Philippe uses an innovative blend of high-grade materials like the 18ct white gold case of this Nautilus watch, and Grand Complications like this ultra-thin mechanical self-winding movement.
The Caliber 240 Q provides the day, the date, the month, the leap year, and a 24-hour indication. Its blue sunburst dial with moon phase and gold appliques tells the time precisely and clearly.
+ Watchmaker founded in 1839
+ Famous for their diving-inspired Nautilus timepieces
+ Remarkably svelte perpetual calendars
+ In-house made movements
+ Technically sophisticated timepieces with sporty appeal
Why We Like It – Patek Philippe has kept the original style of their patented fold-over clasp with safety features in their Nautilus watches.
3. Vacheron Constantin
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Automatic Chronograph
This company has focused firmly on creating luxury complex watches built with incredible examples of Haute Horlogerie at its core. The famous Overseas watch hones into the needs of the traveling enthusiast. If you like your timepieces to serve a purpose while getting you noticed, this 42.5mm Overseas Chronograph watch will be just right for you.
Chronograph scales at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock, as well as a date aperture at 4:30, a power reserve of 52 hours and water resistance of 150 meters – you’re sure to be able to take this steel Overseas Chronograph anywhere and do anything in it.
+ Manufacturing facilities in Canton of Geneva, Switzerland
+ Reinvented the Famous Overseas watch in 2016
+ Anti-magnetic technology
+ Family-run watchmaking company
+ Employs around 1200 people worldwide
Why We Like It – Vacheron Constantin is one of the oldest manufacturers still in production, instilling confidence upon the wrist.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classic Automatic
Jager-LeCoultre are the founders of the iconic Reverso watch – a luxury Swiss watch that answered the needs of British Army Officers in India during the Polo games. The dials of these 1930’s wristwatches could be concealed by reversing the case. Jaeger-LeCoultre is loved for its distinct rectangular Reverso watches like this one, crafted from stainless steel.
If you’re in need of the perfect gift for someone special, this 40mm model on a black alligator leather strap presents the time on a classic Arabic dial with striking blued steel hands. Jaeger-LeCoultre creates several luxury timepieces in quartz and automatic – this model of which is powered by the Calibre JLC 965, providing a 38-hour power reserve.
+ Manufacturers of the 1930’s Reverso
+ 187-year history
+ Creators of extremely rare timepieces
+ Developed the world’s most precise measuring instrument of its time
+ Created the smallest caliber in the world
Why We Like It – Jaeger-LeCoultre ensures its movements are compatible with some of its most discreet, ultra-thin watches.
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
Rolex created the Cosmograph Daytona over 50 years ago as ultimate diving tools. This sporty 40mm chronograph features a monobloc middle case made from Oystersteel with matching Oystersteel bracelet and a black ceramic bezel.
Years of innovation and cutting-edge technology at Rolex have led to features like impressive water resistance, a sealed sapphire glass lens, and a screw-down Triplock triple waterproofness system.
Inside the watch is Rolex’s superbly crafted 4130 Calibre, so if you’re looking for a sporty watch with a decent power reserve – this Rolex Cosmograph Daytona will keep perfect time for up to 72 hours.
+ Developers of icons like the Cosmograph Daytona
+ Founded in 1920
+ Patented features like the Triplock Triple waterproofness system
+ Created Monobloc steel middle case – optimum water resistance
+ In-house made calibers
Why We Like It – All luxury watches by Rolex are handmade, deserving their place in our list of best watches brands
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatic
The Fifty Fathoms watch by Blancpain was the first modern dive watch for its time. Created in 1953, it’s still one of the most sought-after and popular diver’s timepieces of all time. This luxury model, for example, gives you an in-house developed movement (the Caliber 1315m capable of a 120-hour power reserve), as well as a one-way rotating bezel, a satin-brushed titanium case for a lightweight finish, a dramatic blue dial with luminous markers and hands, and a 300-meter water resistance. Blancpain has dedicated a considerable number of years to perfecting its diver’s watches, making it one of the best luxury watch brands of all time.
+ Creators of the best modern diving watch
+ Robust material manufacture
+ Handmade movements with astonishing power reserves
+ The famous Fifty Fathoms collection was created in the 50’s
+ A manufacturing history spanning 267 years – founded in 1735
Why We Like It – Blancpain likes to show its craftsmanship skills off through a sapphire-backed case.
7. IWC Schaffhausen
IWC Schaffhausen Pilot Spitfire Automatic
IWC Schaffhausen was founded in 1868. This Mark XVI collection is home to models like this 39mm stainless steel watch. It’s a comfortable fit if your wrist is verging on the slender side. The 60-meter water-resistant timepiece is equipped with an automatic movement and features the iconic triangular index at 12 o’clock.
IWC Schaffhausen is among some of the best watchmakers in the world. Their pilot-inspired mechanical watches like this Spitfire Automatic focus on precision and reliable performance, yet still always manage to look sophisticated and refined enough to pair with any outfit in your wardrobe!
+ A brand recognized for creating women’s watches with flair and elegance
+ In-house made movements
+ All handmade wristwatches
+ Founded in 1868, based in Schaffhausen, Switzerland
+ Refined pilot’s watches with patented features and available in bronze
Why We Like It – This Maison have created other iconic models like the Portugieser and the Da Vinci.
8. Jacob & co
Founded in 1986, Jacob & Co blend artistry with technology. They’re a luxury watch brand famous for creating masterpieces like the Twin Turbo, the Mystery, and the Astronomia. For more than a quarter of a century the brand has focused on creating mechanical watches that double-up as an innovative piece of jewelry.
The openwork dial of a Jacob & Co watch exposes the intricate detailing of Jacob & Co DNA, along with precious jewels and the finest materials involved in its design. They’ve also produced watches for the National Basketball Association players, hip-hop artists, and other famous celebrities.
+ Openwork dials exposing fine craftsmanship
+ Founded in 1986
+ Based in Manhatten, New York City
+ Created the famous Twin Turbo and Astronomia
+ Developers of avant-garde Grand Complication watches
Why We Like It – This American company remain at the forefront of innovation and cutting-edge technology with their bold and distinct designs.
Chopard Mille Miglia Automatic Limited Edition
Chopard designed the sporty Mille Miglia range of luxury wristwatches in tribute to the world’s most beautiful race. Chronographs like these feature the trio of counters located at 12, 6, and 9 o’clock. In this model, a silver dial with “bouchonné” finishing and red accents contrast beautifully with the racing-inspired black rubber tire tread strap.
The chronograph movement is protected inside a 44mm steel case integrated with 100-meter water resistance, and the Swiss watch brand also chooses an innovative sapphire crystal glass to ensure optimum protection over the dial and a clear view into the display at all times.
+ Founded in 1860 by Louis-Ulysse Chopard
+ Based in Sonvilier, Switzerland
+ Luxury racing-inspired watches – the Mille Miglia line
+ Superb materials and sporty chronograph dials
+ In-house mechanical watchmaking
Why We Like It – Vintage-inspired luxury watches like Chopard’s racing watches are among the best chronographs in the world, expressing a definite 1940’s design.
10. Lange & Söhne
Lange & Söhne Odysseus
A. Lange & Sohne put their 197 years of expertise to good use once again with the innovative Odysseus model, perfect for any adventure seeker. So, whether you’re into sports, hiking, swimming – the lot – you’re sure to find the A. Lange & Sohne Odysseus watch a practical and innovative tool.
It features a dramatic blue dial with small seconds sub-scale and white gold hands that balance the date at 3 o’clock and the day at 9. With impressive water-resistant properties, the steel case of the Odysseus protects the L155.1 Datomatic Calibre, performing at 28,800 vibrations per hour and delivering a useful 50-hour power reserve.
+ Founded in 1845
+ Developers of the Lange 1, the Saxonia and the Zeitwerk
+ Adventure watch – the Odysseus
+ In-house movements with impressive power reserves
+ Classic styles combined with durable materials
Why We Like It – A. Lange & Sohne created the Odysseus for those who want to combine a dress watch style with outdoor use.
Luxury Watch Brands Buyer’s Guide
With so many luxury watch brands out there, searching for watches by a brand on the internet can be an overwhelming task. Here’s what to look for when considering who to invest your money in and why.
Prestigious watchmakers know that collectors want quality, backed by years of experience and success. Brands that boast provenance above all provide a collector with peace of mind. Luxury watches crafted from time-honored techniques that have been handed down a family line from one generation to another, offer that added sense of trust and authenticity.
That being said, there are watch brands like Jacob & Co, who haven’t been around as long but have soared their way to the top with successful timepieces that have become loved for their iconic look and high-quality materials.
As well as brand history, some of the best luxury watch brands are those who create timepieces in limited supply. Some of the most sought-after wristwatches are created by the likes of Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin, who create wristwatches in smaller numbers due to the length of time it takes to craft each wristwatch exquisitely. On the other hand, brands like Rolex are selling more watches than any other manufacturer and remain one of the most in-demand and highly regarded luxury watch brands.
Vacheron Constantin has spent many a year researching and developing some of the most complicated wristwatches in the world. Their model ref: 57260 remains the most complicated watch ever, boasting a total of 57 complications.
On the other hand, Audemars Piguet became the first watch manufacturer to create the world’s first stainless steel sports watch – the Royal Oak. Patek Philippe creates some of the most expensive wristwatches in the world. Jaeger-LeCoultre made the iconic two-faced watch. We can, therefore, appreciate that each brand is loved for reasons of its own.
German manufacturer, A. Lange & Sohne has created some unique features like a blue copper dial and their ultra-thin watches. Or if you’re more inclined to a diver’s watch, you’ll enjoy the sporty aesthetics of Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms watch collection.
With anti-magnetic technology, cutting edge movements, and patented features that improve the accuracy of a watch, some of the best luxury brands out there are those that can look back on a portfolio of inventions that have played an integral role in improving the science behind timekeeping over the centuries.
Whereas TAG Heuer has made links with the motorsports industry inextricably and has gone on to collaborate with Aston Martin and Red Bull racing, other companies have sided with like-minded watchmakers, like A. Lange & Sohne who share a long legacy with Wempe.
If a watch brand harnesses the opportunity to saddle up with a business outside of the industry as TAG Heuer has done, this can only be a good thing. Some watch brands indicate their collaboration by showcasing both logos on one dial.
Others boast themed designs that embody a unique partnership by referencing characteristics of a car or an aircraft in their design. Partnerships and collaborations are one other way to ensure that you’re investing wisely in a sustainable and long-standing, quality watch band.
For many watch collectors, the best brands out there are those who have earned a place in the industry. Those are brands famous for creating an innovative tool that is loved for one stand-out feature alone.
Breguet, Cartier, Panerai, TAG Heuer, and Breitling – although names that didn’t make our list – are also top watch brands known on an international level. They are mostly known for producing tourbillon models, limited edition watches, digital models for men, traditional signature designs, and series/collections launched in celebration of a person, era, or industry.
Whether it’s their reputation for creating the most reliable in-house developed movement or a revolutionary material that brings an extra level of resistance to a wristwatch, our guide to the best watch company is sure to make choosing the best timepiece and investing in the right watch brand much more straightforward.