There are thousands of watches out there, and an impressive number of watchmakers and watch brands. These work tirelessly to provide watch lovers all over the world with the product of their dreams, and while some buyers want a watch that looks a certain way, others care more about the functions. When you invest time and money in finding the right watch for you, and when you choose a quality product, you get something you can wear with pride for many years to come.
This is a guide to the top luxury watch brands, with everything from Swiss watch manufacturers to makers of divers watches!
View The Best Watch Brands Below
1. Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet is a luxury brand from Switzerland, and they are known for groundbreaking wristwatches like the Royal Oak, in 1972, some of the world’s thinnest watches and the very first skeleton watch (1934). The business was originally founded in 1875 by two childhood friends – Edward Auguste Piguet and Jules Louis Audemars – who were both Swiss watch-makers.
Now making both ladies watches and men’s watches, Audemars Piquet has grown into one of the best known Swiss watch brands, globally admired for the craftsmanship that goes into each and every one of their products. The company shows its lust for perfection and innovation in one of their logos, which reads: “To break the rules, you must first master them.”
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph
This 42mm diameter watch is one of those gold watches you just can’t take your eyes off of. An 18kt sparkling pink gold case, gold bezel in a beautiful octagon shape – also 18kt pink gold, top luxury alligator wristband with a pink gold clasp and a transparent case back puts this gorgeous watch in a league of its own. Self-winding movement, with a sapphire crystal that is scratchproof and durable, and the watch itself is waterproof down to 100 meters.
+ Scratch resistant sapphire crystal
+ Self-winding classic movement
+ 18kt pink gold case and bezel
+ Alligator strap with gold clasp
Why We Like It – If luxury watch brands are something you tend to be drawn to, you won’t be able to resist this stunning beauty. Everything about it screams class and quality, and it has that little extra that makes it worth spending money on a watch.
2. Patek Philippe
With so many Swiss watch manufacturers active today, it is impressive to see a company like Patek Philippe, that has produced luxurious watches uninterruptedly since the start in 1839. The company was founded by Antoni Patek and his then partner Franciszek Czapek. It is currently considered one of the oldest Swiss brands, and also one of the most luxurious and highly thought of.
Many prestigious and famous names are known for having owned Patek Philippe watches and among them American Presidents and European royalty. The brand has also held multiple records for the most expensive watches ever sold on an auction.
Patek Philippe NAUTILUS
Price tags matter, but when you see this mechanical watch with its 18kt rose gold case, easy-to-read rose gold hands, date window at 3 o’clock, transparent case back, Nautilus bracelet (also made in stunning rose gold) and 35 jewel caliber self-winding movement, you might not be able to resist. It has been hallmarked with the prestigious Geneva Seal, and you won’t have to worry about water damage as this women’s and men’s fashion watch is water-resistant down to an impressive 120 meters.
+ Rose gold Nautilus strap
+ Date window at 3 o’clock
+ Water-resistant down to 120 meters
+ For men and women
Why We Like It – Who doesn’t dream of owning Swiss watches from a company like Patek Philippe? These classy dress watches are a great option both for men and women who wants a beautiful accessory, and rose gold bracelet makes it a show stopper no matter where you go.
Have you ever heard of Wilsdorf and Davis? No? Then perhaps you know them by their more recent name – Rolex. The company first started production in 1905, founded by Alfred Davis and Hans Wilsdorf in London, but the company then changed the name to Rolex Watch Co. Ltd. in 1908. Since then, it has gone on to be owned by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation and is currently named Rolex SA.
Out of all watch companies, Rolex is perhaps the best-known name among the general public, and it is a name that is heavily associated with fashion trends, wealth and glamour. Watch manufacturing is an art in the eyes of many, and Rolex is the poster child for high-end watches.
Rolex Submariner Stainless Steel Yellow Gold Watch
There are times when going with a classic watch option is your best call, and this simple, stylish and timeless Rolex is for many an all-time favorite. The eye-catching yellow gold bezel, together with the 44mm stainless steel case and a rotating insert for time-lapse, is what makes this watch a must-have in your collection. Bright blue dials and beautifully shaped hour markers, a monobloc middle-case and useful features like water-resistant materials and a prolonged power reserve – this is a watch made to impress.
+ Classic Rolex construction
+ 48-hour power reserve
+ Self-winding Caliber 3135
+ Oyster design fold-over clasp
Why We Like It – If you love a good watch, you will want to add a Rolex to the collection. This impressive watch is something you would expect James Bond to wear, yet it can also be the ideal average citizen watch for someone who wants to give themselves the luxury.
Today, the exclusive watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre is owned by Richmont, but it was originally founded in 1833 by a man named Antoine LeCoultre. Jaeger-LeCoultre has an impressive number of unique watches, patented inventions and other merits on their resume, and they are known for having once made the world’s thinnest watch at the time.
The brand officially got its current name in 1937 and they have been setting women’s and men’s fashion trends on the watch front ever since. Worth knowing is that the Millionomètre – a method to measure the micron when producing parts for a watch – was invented in 1844 by Antoine LeCoultre.
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Whether you prefer something more elegant or a street style watch this sleek men’s style watch will fit you perfectly! It has that desireable vintage feel to it, while still having all the modern features, and it is constructed to run smoothly and in accordance with its set-up, without any sort of mechanical service.
The stainless steel case is 36.8mm, it has a large yellow dial in the middle with easy-to-read yet classy looking numbers, the strap is made of authentic yellow leather and it has a small and durable stainless steel buckle.
+ Automatic self-winding watch
+ Soft real yellow leather strap
+ Deployant stainless steel buckle
+ Delivered with box and papers
Why We Like It – This watch has something that makes it resemble an old pocket watch, and the vintage feel has it standing out among other luxury watches.
5. IWC Schaffhausen
IWC stands for International Watch Company, and it has been manufacturing watches since 1868 when it was founded by Florentine Ariosto Jones – a talented watchmaker from the United States. IWC is currently the only watchmaking company that has their facilities in the east of Switzerland, which is a fun fact not everybody knows, and they are famous across the globe for making watches with titanium, and for their practical military watches. This is a company that has been recognized for its dedication to sustainable product development and to protecting the environment since the early 2000s.
IWC Schaffhausen Pilot Spitfire Mark XVI
The dial of this IWC Schaffhausen watch has stunning silvery color, and it matches the silver hands and the stainless steel bracelet. You can tell from a distance what a nice watch it is, and it is great for everyday carrying thanks to its discreet but luxurious design, with a screw-down crown of stainless steel, 39mm case, a fold-over push-button clasp, and automatic movement. It has a power reserve of 42 hours and is water-resistant down to 200ft/60 meters.
+ Stainless steel bracelet
+ Fold-over push-button clasp
+ 200 ft water resistance
+ 39mm stainless steel case
Why We Like It – The IWC Schaffhausen is a classy, luxurious and impressive looking watch, with a simple fold-over clasp design to make it sit securely around your wrist.
Cartier is a French jewelry company that specializes in both watches and other types of jewelry. It was founded in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier, and their goods are now being sold in 125 different countries, which is impressive for any watchmaker. It holds 59th place on Forbes list of the world’s most valuable brands, has its headquarters in Paris and has sold many watches to royalty, such as King Edward VII. ‘
Elegance’ is a word that accurately describes the watches manufactured by Cartier, and in 2018, the company was listed 2nd on the WWF’s list of 15 watchmakers that had been awarded environmental ratings.
Cartier W5200028 Analog Display Automatic Self Wind
The Cartier W5200028 is a simple, classic and fashion newsworthy rectangular watch, made in gorgeous stainless steel, roman numbers, sapphire crystal, date window at 6 o’clock, automatic self-wind movement and with water resistance down to 99 feet. It combines the best of a classic watch with modern features, and you get it delivered in a tasteful box which makes it perfect to give away to someone as a gift. The dial stands out thanks to the roman numbers and the beautifully designed display, and it will give you a watch that strikes up attention.
+ Unique rectangular shape
+ Delivered in a box
+ 99ft water resistance
+ Dial with roman numbers
Why We Like It – If a round dial isn’t your cup of tea, and if you want something that stands out, this rectangular watch is the perfect alternative!
7. Piaget SA
Piaget SA was founded by Georges Piaget in 1874, and he started his business in France, right there on the farm where he lived. They originally dedicated themselves to manufacturing clock movements and sophisticated pocket watches, but have been making wristwatches since 1911 when Georges Piaget’s son became the owner of the company.
When it comes to ultra-thin movements Piaget SA has been one of the leading manufacturers for many years, and they are also leading the Tourbillon movement and in the Retrograde movement.
Piaget Limelight G0A42213
This breathtaking timepiece is not your average watch; it is made in 18ct rose gold, small and delicate to fit a woman’s wrist perfectly, it has a silver dial with Roman numerals, an 18ct rose gold strap, 26mm case diameter and quartz movement, which makes it the perfect watch for a lady who wants to show off class wherever she goes. It is easy to maintain and made by one of the most prestigious watchmakers, something that guarantees the quality, endurance and class.
+ Thin and elegant design
+ 26mm case diameter
+ 18ct rose gold case and strap
+ Perfect fit for women
Why We Like It – Many of the watches featured in Best Watch reviews are designed for men but this women’s watch is delicate and ideal for thinner wrists.
8. Ulysse Nardin
This top-tier Kering brand was founded in Switzerland – the land of watches – in 1846, by a man named Ulysse Nardin, who went on to name the company after himself. Their headquarters can be found today in Le Locle, and the company now mainly focuses on manufacturing wristwatches.
They are also known for their marine chronometers, which are deemed to be highly accurate. Notable owners of Ulysse Nardin watches are for example Jeff Bezos – the founder of Amazon, and American TV host Larry King. In 2015, the band released an exclusive timepiece with a built-in music box, named “Only Watch Stranger.”
Ulysse Nardin Diver Automatic Black Dial
This Ulysse Nardin watch is a dive watch with a round, silver-toned case (42mm), black dial with silver details, solid case back and luminescent hands. It features an exclusive black leather strap that can be changed, tang clasp, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, screw-down crown and a sense of class you just can’t beat. It is a good watch for any activity – for work, for an office party, for a regular outing and for anything you would want to partake in. The watch is water-resistant down to 1000ft/300 meters.
+ Thick real-leather strap
+ Screw-down crown
+ 1000ft water resistance
+ Silver-toned case with black dial
Why We Like It – Gorgeous authentic leather strap, and beautiful contrasts with the stainless steel case and midnight black dial.
The chronometers Breitling is famous for making are designed especially for aviators, and that is something that sets them apart from other watchmakers. The company was founded by Léon Breitling in Switzerland, and the company head office is still located in Grenchen, Switzerland, and they are also well-known for making divers watches to very high standards. The founder died in 1914, upon which the company was taken over by his son, Gaston, and it has only gone up from there. If you want unique chronograph watches – Breitling is the company to turn to.
The first thing you notice when having a look at this watch are the three chronograph subdials that create a beautiful contrast against the black dial; the watch has luminous hands, a sapphire crystal that is anti-reflective, contrast-stitched leather band, a 43mm stainless steel case, corrugated bidirectional bezel, and a gorgeous analog display.
The fold-over clasp makes it easy to take the watch off and to put it on, and to replace the wristband if ever needed. It comes packed in a leather pouch and an exclusive box, and it is one of the best watches for someone who wants a watch with multiple features.
+ 17.10mm case thickness
+ 12 hours, 30 minutes and 60-second display
+ Reliable and highly durable deployment clasp
+ Three easily visible and large sub-dials
Why We Like It – When it comes to chronograph watches – Breitling is close to unbeatable, and this watch gives you beautiful design combined with impressive durability and a luxury feel.
10. Vacheron Constantin
It is not unusual for some of today’s largest watchmaking brands to have been around since the 19th century, but Vacheron Constantin beats many by having first started manufacturing watches in 1755. Their production has been uninterrupted ever since Jean-Marc Vacheron founded the company.
This is beyond impressive and somewhat unique in the watchmaking business, and they now produce thousands of watches per year for a worldwide market. The world’s most complicated mechanical watch at the time of writing – the Reference 57260 – was introduced by Vacheron Constantin in 2015, and has become something of a sensation.
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle manual-winding Ultra-Thin Skeleton
This watch expresses true craftsmanship, elegance, and sophistication; the Vacheron Constantin is a dream-come-true for many timepiece enthusiasts. The ornamented movement will have you looking at it even when you don’t need to know the time. I
t has a total of 177 different parts, with an 18k white gold case, sapphire crystal case back (transparent), 30mm case, diamond-set bezel, a beautiful leather strap and an impressive 18 jewels incorporated in the design. The 31-hour power reserve is highly convenient, and it has a durable tang clasp.
+ Sapphire crystal case back
+ 18 incorporated jewels
+ 18k white gold case
+ Open ornamented movement
Why We Like It – The way you can see this watch work, through the transparent case back and open dial design has amazed watch enthusiasts since it hit the market.
Watch Brand Buyer’s Guide
Some choose their new watch entirely based on looks, while others care more about the brand or the functions. If names like Omega Seamaster, Omega de Ville, Omega Speedmaster, Grand Seiko, Nomos Glashütte, Glashutte Original, Louis Moinet, and Girard Perregaux has your head spinning, and if you are unsure of what the difference is between a sports watch and quartz watches – we are here to help clear things up for you. Let’s have a look at a few things that can help you find both the brand and the watch that is right for you.
Quartz vs Mechanical
These are two concepts that are highly relevant when choosing a new watch. A quartz watch is highly accurate watches that need little to no maintenance. Quartz movements run on batteries that need to be replaced every 3-4 years usually, and they tend to be less expensive than the mechanical watch.
Some quartz watches also run on solar power. Most inexpensive watches you can purchase in stores are quartz watches, so this is most likely qhat you have had in the past unless you knowingly bought a mechanical watch previously.
Now, a mechanical watch is the “old fashioned” kind and the type of watch that is still considered by many to be the real kind. It is somewhat less accurate than a quartz watch, but with new and modern mechanical watches, the difference is minimal. A mechanical watch does not run on battery but does instead need to be powered up with a mainspring. These are either wound up manually or automatically, depending on the type of watch.
The Watch Case
The case of the watch is what surrounds the dial, and it is important to decide what shape and material you want. Commonly used materials are gold, titanium, stainless steel and platinum, and here it is usually a matter of taste that decides what is best for you. A stainless steel watch is a popular option both when it comes to cheaper and more pricy alternatives, and this could have to do with how easy it is to combine it with any outfit and women’s and men’s hairstyles so that you can wear it both on a regular day and for a special event.
Platinum and gold tend to be what the most expensive watches are made of, and while it is tempting to have a watch that stands out, it is crucial to know that these two materials weigh more, meaning watches made of gold or platinum will be heavier to wear than a watch made of ceramic or stainless steel.
The crystal of a watch can also be made of different materials, and you are likely to find mineral crystal, sapphire crystal, and plexiglass. On a more expensive watch, you usually want to find that it has Sapphire Crystal, and this is because it is very scratch resistant, and allows you to see through it thanks to its clearness.
Keep in mind – just because the sapphire crystal is scratch-resistant, it does not mean that it is shatterproof, as these are two different things. Sapphire crystal shatters easily upon impact but does not scratch.
Is an expensive watch always better than a cheap watch?
This is a difficult question to answer, but watches are actually items where price may indicate quality, as the best watchmakers take a lot of pride in the watches they produce, which means that money will possibly buy you prestige and quality.
What is a good watch for an inexperienced buyer?
A quartz watch may be a good option, as you do not need to wind these up, and due to these watches generally being more accurate.
It may seem stressful and confusing to find the best watch brand and the best watch-maker in the watch industry, but it gets easier once you gain a bit of knowledge. Whether you are looking for high-end watches, the most popular watches, vintage watches or affordable watch brands, there is one thing we can guarantee – there is a watch out there that would suit you perfectly.
The watch world is incredibly rich and diverse, and that is the beauty of it! There is something for everyone, and a step towards finding that special watch is to learn a little about the leading brands in the world. Do you want luxury watches, diving watches or a nice affordable watch? No problem! We have listed a variety of products of all kinds.
If you want a quality watch that will last you for many years, then it is worth it to spend extra money on getting a watch from one of the best watch brands.
Did You Know
Wristwatches have been around for a long time, but despite common belief – they were actually worn by women before they started being worn by men.