The best swiss made watches brands list is one of our popular topics for this month. We have collected 30 best swiss watch companies that we think are worthy of your attention.
Best swiss made watches. If you’re looking for watch brands that are Swiss made, there is no better way to do it than with a list of the best swiss made watches. Each has been handpicked by experienced Swiss watch collectors — who have narrowed down their picks based on user reviews and feedback from actual customers.
Affordable swiss watch brands
Are you looking for the best watches in your desire budget? This can sometimes be a hard question to answer since there are thousands of swiss watch brands out there. It’s not a simple task to choose the right one, and let’s face it, there is a lot of expensive Swiss made watches that bring you nothing but luxury but not necessarily value for money. Here I would like to tell you about some top on affordable Swiss watch brands that you should consider purchasing from.
Swiss watches make their mark in luxury. They have a reputation for producing quality and meticulously constructed timepieces. But do you know that the Swiss make almost 80% of the watches sold in Asia? That’s quite impressive!
Best swiss movement watches
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If you were to ask the average person on the street in many parts of the world, they’d likely tell you Switzerland is the home of luxury watches. While the realities of the international watch industry are more complex, and many other nations such as Japan and Germany are also prominent makers of excellent luxury watches, Switzerland for many will always be the home of fine watchmaking. Part of the reputation for watch excellence from Switzerland lies in the sheer number of industry giants calling Switzerland home. Household names like Rolex, Omega, Blancpain, and Patek Philippe are Swiss, as are literally hundreds of other brands. Swiss watchmaking also has a reputation for being expensive, in no small part because of the aforementioned brands. However, the Swiss watch industry is as vast as it is complex, with different brands with varying specialities producing watches of every category and price point for export around the globe
With all of that in mind, looking at the Swiss watch industry as a whole is a bit daunting. There are, quite simply, a lot of brands to check out. In order to help you with your research, I’m setting out to provide a brief overview of some of the most prominent brands in the Swiss watch industry to give you enough of an understanding of the major brands to help you hold your own in any watch nerd conversation and make informed buying decisions when the time comes.For each brand, I’ll provide just a bit of history, some of the brand’s most loved models or accomplishments, and a few words about what the brand is up to now. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best Swiss watch brands (dramatic pause) in the world.
Now a subsidiary of Swatch Group, Blancpain was founded in 1735 by Jehan-Jacques Blancpain, making it one of the oldest watch brands in existence — older, in fact, than the United States. Blancpain can lay claim to many notable achievements over its lengthy history, but perhaps their most important horological contribution is the 1953 introduction of the Fifty-Fathoms, their first and indeed one of the first diver’s watches. Designed in collaboration with Nageurs de Combat, the French Navy’s combat swimmers, and later used by US Navy SEALs and other US military diving units, the Fifty Fathoms is one of Blancpain’s icons and a design you still see throughout their range today. Also known for high watchmaking, a few other noteworthy Blancpain watches are the Villeret Complete Calendar as well as their 1991 release, valued at around $800,000, the Blancpain 1735 Grande Complication, which features a tourbillon, moon phase, perpetual calendar, minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph, all in a surprisingly slim package.
Founded back in 1839 by Antoine Norbert de Patek and Francois Czapek, Patek Philippe is a leader in high watchmaking and is responsible for many complications and design elements taken for granted throughout the watch industry today. Owned since 1939 by the Stern family, who still operate the brand today in the person of CEO Thierry Stern, Patek Philippe is the best-known and indeed, the best-loved, of the “Holy Trinity of Watchmaking,” which also includes Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin. Patek Philippe is most often associated with expensive, impressive feats of watchmaking such as the Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010 (with no less than 20 complications) which sold for $31.19M in 2019. Also included in Patek Philippe’s resume is the first split-seconds chronograph (No. 124 824), and the first perpetual calendar wristwatch (No. 97 975). Another of the most iconic Patek Philippe watches ever, the Calatrava Ref. 96, was released in 1932. For many enthusiasts today, the Nautilus, released in 1976, is a favorite, combining Patek’s watchmaking knowhow and a sporty case. Sticking to their guns in producing beautiful, complicated wristwatches for a very select clientele, Patek has most recently expanded their catalog with grand complications like the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time and the Grande Sonnerie.
Founded in 2001 by Dominique Guenat and Richard himself, Richard Mille stands apart from many traditional luxury watch brands as an innovative watchmaking company with superior technical prowess and a design concept focused on producing lightweight watches. With a signature tonneau-like case shape implemented throughout their range, Richard Mille’s collection is popular with celebrities, athletes, and the very wealthy segment of the watch buying crowd. Demonstrating a collaborative spirit, their impressive first model, the RM-001, was developed with Audemars Piguet. Some of their best-known models made to date are the RM-56 Sapphire which has a case completely constructed from sapphire, the RM-018 Meteorite made in collaboration with Boucheron, and also their latest piece RM 27-04, a watch built for tennis star Rafael Nadal, that can withstand extreme accelerations as Nadal no doubt produces. For most collectors, a brand like Richard Mille is out of reach. However, just as enthusiasts might fawn over a new Pagani Huayra Roadster knowing they’ll never own one, Richard Mille’s work can be appreciated from photographs and YouTube videos.
MB&F (Maximilian Büsser & Friends)
Launched in 2005, MB&F is a watch company that allows founder Maximilian Büsser to test his considerable engineering chops and artistic vision, creating “Horological Machines” (only some of which can be worn on the wrist), which look like absolutely nothing else out there. With advanced training in Micro-Technology Engineering, Max’s horology literacy is also imprinted by Jaeger-LeCoultre, where he spent seven years in senior management, as well as his former role as managing director of Harry Winston’s Rare Timepieces department. Each of MB&F’s Horological Machines is technical and artistic achievement, using new materials, innovative design concepts, and an often novel approach to the very idea of what a watch is. Among the brand’s many wild creations, some of the most notable watches and time-keeping machines are the HM10 Bulldog, the sporty new Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO, their latest collaboration with H. Moser & Cie, and the LM101 and Endeavor Cylindrical Tourbillon.
Often considered a bit underrated by enthusiasts compared to some of its younger peers, Vacheron Constantin, founded in 1755 by Jean-Marc Vacheron and Francois Constantin, is another of the “Holy Trinity of Watchmaking,” along with aforementioned Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet. With a brand motto that states, “Do better if possible, and that is always possible,” Vacheron Constantin have somewhat quietly carved out an impressive following thanks to their watchmaking prowess and interesting designs. Fast forward to today, and Vacheron Constantin has one of the most comprehensive line-ups among high watchmaking brands, especially compared to the other trinity members, ranging from a simple yet elegant three handers to perpetual calendars, minute repeaters, and the excellent Overseas collection for which they are perhaps best known to most. Some recent noteworthy pieces from Vacheron Constantin are the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-thin Skeleton, the Traditionnelle Tourbillon, and also the Patrimony Minute Repeater, all excellent examples of what Vacheron is capable of.
In contrast to many of the brands on this list, French brand Cartier (now owned by the Swiss Richemont Group) is a luxury jewelry brand first and watchmaker second. Still, Cartier, founded in 1847 by Louis-Francois Cartier, is an icon in the watch world as the brand responsible for the Pasha, Tank, and the Santos, a watch with an especially important history. Alberto Santos-Dumont, a Brazlian Aviator and friend to Louis Cartier, requested his friend design a watch that could be easily read during flight, a development which many consider the first men’s wristwatch and certainly the first pilot’s watch. Recently, Cartier has been increasing their production and inclusion of in-house calibers, with the Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Double Tourbillon an excellent example of the high watchmaking now going on within the brand. For enthusiasts looking for something a bit more mainstream, their recently reissued Pasha de Cartier is a great example of Cartier’s signature look and feel.
Now owned by the Richemont Group, the original Officine Panerai was founded in 1860 when Giovanni Panerai opened up his very first workshop in Florence, Italy that served not only as a shop but also as a watchmaking school. During World War II, Panerai utilized luminescent material initially developed for gunsights in the dial of the Radiomir, a watch designed to allow frogmen of the Royal Italian Navy’s First Submarine Group Command to read time underwater while on clandestine missions attacking Allied vessels. The original Panerai watches were built by Rolex with Panerai producing only the luminescent dials. When the glowing material in the Radiomir was deemed too radioactive for wrist wear, the Luminor was developed using tritium as a safer source of illumination. Today, Panerai is positioned squarely among the ranks of luxury watches with an extremely loyal following who call themselves the Paneristi. A few of the most notable models from Panerai are Luminor Base 8 Days with calibre P.5000, Radiomir California in 47mm, Submersible in 42mm, as well as their latest introduction, the Luminor Tourbillon GMT in 47mm.
The third and final of the “Holy Trinity of Watchmaking”, Audemars Piguet traces its heritage back to 1875, when founders Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet first registered the brand. Renamed Audemars Piguet & Cie in 1881, the brand in its early days mostly manufactured movements for others, including Tiffany and Co. Audemars Piguet is respected for creating the world’s first-minute repeater movement in 1892 for Louis Brandt, Omega’s storied founder. However, without a doubt, Audemars Piguet is best known for one watch, the Royal Oak, designed by Gerald Genta in 1972. The original Royal Oak design has been updated and reimagined many times since its inception, with modern lineups like the many Offshore models, and the complicated Concept serving as good examples. In early 2019, Audemars Piguet released a new collection called Code 11.59, a series of modern dress watches with impressive calibers, as well as the [Re]master01 collection, essentially heritage reissue collection as we’ve seen from so many brands of late.
Hublot, in contrast to many older watch brands on this list, traces its roots back only four decades to 1980, a fact that makes Hublot’s achievements and position in the industry today all the more impressive. Now a wholly-owned subsidiary under the LVMH, the Hublot we know today benefited tremendously from its time under Jean-Claude Biver. Biver, who helmed the brand from 2004 to 2014, also led the development and release of the Big Bang, now Hublot’s most popular model and a watch credited with saving the brand. Hublot is also known for the Classic Fusion, the Meca-10 Titanium, and their most recent line-up, the Classic Fusion 40th Anniversary, all of which are takes on Hublot’s signature case shape.
Another brand with roots both in watchmaking and fine jewelry, Chopard was founded by Louis Ulysse Chopard in Switzerland in 1860. Owned by the German Scheufele family since 1963, Chopard is a rare independent watch brand in a sea of conglomerate-owned brands. In the company’s early history, Chopard was known for their reliable chronometer watches, and provided watches for Tsar Nicholas II, the last emperor of Russia, as well as the Swiss Railway Company. Today, Chopard produces pieces of jewellery and watches with an emphasis on “Responsible Sourcing” for their raw materials. Some of their most hyped recent watches include the Chopard L.U.C Time Traveller One, Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph, and their most recent release, an integrated bracelet sports model called the Alpine Eagle.
Without a doubt, Rolex is one of the most important brands in watchmaking. Founded in London in 1905 but based in Switzerland since 1919, Rolex has cemented a place in watch history by producing many legitimate icons of watch design including the Submariner, Daytona, Milgauss, Yachtmaster, and Datejust, watches that all but define the categories in which they exist. For many, the Rolex Submariner is the definition of what a diver’s watch should look like, just as the Daytona is the definition of a sport chronograph. However, Rolex is also a polarizing brand among collectors and enthusiasts, with lengthy waitlists and a generally secretive approach to business being major contributors to the shade being thrown. Still, as evidenced by the seismic-level reaction to something as simple as a 1mm increase in the case size of the newest Submariner variant which just debuted, Rolex still controls the heart strings of a huge fanbase.
Breguet, which dates back to 1775, is one of the oldest surviving watchmaking companies, and has long been associated with tourbillons, an innovation which they invented in 1801 as an answer to the gravitational effects on a watch’s timekeeping. Another notable achievement from the brand is the creation of the first watch to be wound by means of the crown in 1830, where previous watches were wound with a key. Breguet has also made watches for many famous patrons such as England’s King George III and Sir Winston Churchill. The brand even has their own signature set of hands in the Breguet hands that were invented back in 1783 by Abraham Breguet, and which are included today in watches from the Classic collection as well as in the Marine. A few of Breguet’s best-loved modern watches include the Classique 5140BB, Type XX, and their latest 7137BB.
Considering what the brand is capable of, Girard Perregaux is one of the most overlooked brands in watchmaking today. Originally founded in 1791 by Constant Girard and Jean-Francois Bautte as Girard & Cie, Girard Perregaux, so named since 1856, has been associated with high watchmaking since its inception. With 80 manufacturing and design patents under their sleeves and a wide collection of in-house movements in beautifully designed watches, Girard Perregaux has somewhat quietly garnered an impressive reputation among those in the know. Some of Girard Perregaux’s most notable technical achievements are embodied by the Neo-Tourbillon with Three Bridges Skeleton and the Constant Escapement L.M. Now a subsidiary of the Kering Group, Girard Perregaux’s recent achievements include the Laureato Infinity Edition, introduced in 2020 as a limited-edition offering in commemoration with Wempe, the brand’s German distribution partner.
Often referred to as the “watchmaker of watchmakers”, Jaeger-LeCoultre was established in 1833 in the heart of the Vallee de Joux in the Swiss Jura Mountains. Throughout their history, Jaeger-LeCoultre has often been more of a behind-the-scenes movement manufacturer, having supplied their calibers to many other important brands including Patek Philippe. This is, of course, in the days before the concept of “in-house” was as powerful a marketing tool as it is today. Without question, the most iconic watch from the House is the Reverso, initially conceived as a sports watch for polo players to wear during matches. Another signature innovation of the brand is the Polaris Memovox, a diver’s watch equipped with a mechanical alarm which has its own interesting heritage and series of modern reissues.
Another older Swiss house, Zenith traces its roots back to 1865 and a surprisingly young founder in the form of 22-year-old Georges Favre-Jacot. One of the first to integrate all aspects of the watchmaking process under one roof, from case manufacture to movement production to final casing and assembly, Zenith has a lengthy history of watchmaking in the purest sense. For most modern collectors, Zenith is associated with the El Primero chronograph, a watch whose caliber was released in 1969, and is considered the first automatic chronograph caliber ever created, a foundational achievement for the brand. Though it struggled during the quartz crisis and changed ownership more than once, Zenith today remains one of a few Swiss manufacturers with true high watchmaking chops. Now heavily invested in technical horological research, Zenith’s recent Defy Classic Carbon, with its fully carbon fiber case and integrated bracelet as well as an in-house skeletonized caliber, demonstrates Zenith’s enduring commitment to pushing the boundaries of watchmaking.
Yet another of the very old brands in Swiss watchmaking, founded by Louis Brandt under the name La Generale Watch Co in 1848 before taking up the Omega name in 1903. As the inventors of the minute repeater, tourbillon, and co-axial escapement, Omega, now owned by the mighty Swatch Group, is without question one of a few industry leaders in Swiss watchmaking. In addition, Omega has garnered a loyal following by producing watches worn by people taking an active role in making history. With Omega watches used by the Royal Flying Corps, US Army, and myriad other military organizations since the WWI era, a partnership with the Olympic games since 1932, and the distinct honor of being chosen by NASA as the first watch worn on the Moon, Omega has out-of-this-world (I’m sorry) legitimate cool-guy points. Today, Omega continues to pump out interesting variations of their core models, often with in-house calibers, including the recent “Silver Snoopy Award” Speedmaster.
Founded in 1846 in Le Locle, Switzerland, Ulysse Nardin has a heritage and design sense largely stemming from their history of producing high-accuracy marine chronometers for use by various naval forces around the world. Despite a history of excellence in technical watchmaking, the brand like many others fell under hard times during the quartz crisis and changed hands more than once. Now safely positioned under the wings of French luxury group Kering, Ulysse Nardin has enjoyed a resurgence among collectors. Some of Ulysse Nardin’s most significant releases in recent times are the Marine Torpilleur and the Freak X, a tech-forward, tourbillon-equipped demonstration of the watchmaking capabilities of the brand. In 2020, Ulysse Nardin again demonstrated its avant-garde approach with the Blast, a 45mm sport watch equipped with a new automatic tourbillon caliber.
Compared to some of the storied brands listed here, Breitling is one of the brands of the everyman, at least the everyman who is interested in sport watches. Swiss brand Breitling is old, founded in 1884, and has a lengthy history of building capable tool watches, often with movements produced by someone else, but more recently with an in-house approach. More than some other brands listed here, *ahem, Rolex*, Breitling have consistently adapted to industry trends and shifting styles, earning them a reputation as a brand for younger, more fashionable watch enthusiasts. Frankly, it’s a formula which has seen Breitling miss a time or two. But a willingness to adapt and a more reasonable set of price points compared to some other Swiss giants have also made Breitling a sort of attainable luxury sport watch. Think of models like the Navitimer, Superocean, and Aerospace. In recent years, Breitling have pumped up their in-house game, even collaborating with Tudor in producing the MT5813, a column wheel chronograph caliber based on the Breitling B01.
IWC Schaffhausen, or International Watch Company, was founded by an American, Florentine Ariosto Jones, in 1868. Of particular interest was the setting for the new brand in Schaffhausen, in Switzerland’s northeastern, German-speaking region, in contrast to the rest of the Swiss watch industry’s home in western, French-speaking Switzerland. This key difference led to cultural differences which still influence IWC today. The brand is likely best known for the many pilot’s watches they’ve created over the years, such as the original B-Uhr built for the Luftwaffe, the Mark 11, the first ceramic pilot’s watch (ref. 3705), as well as the modern Top Gun series. IWC are also known for the Portugieser series, their diver’s watches with their Aquatimer range, as well as their early adoption of titanium as a case material as in the very interesting IWC Porsche Design Ocean 2000, as well as the GST collection. Coming from the German-speaking part of Switzerland has also made the IWC a common choice for the German military since WWII, when IWC produced the aforementioned B-Uhr pilot’s watch along with other brands. More recently, IWC modified the Ocean 2000 diver they created with Porsche Design to create a Bundeswehr adapted model for German Navy divers and explosive ordnance technicians. Now a part of the Richemont Group, IWC is now best known for its Portugieser, Aquatimer, Portofino, and Pilot’s watches including the Big Pilot.
TudorIt was none other than Rolex’s Hans Wildorf who originally registered Tudor in 1926 before launching the company properly in 1946. Built around using off-the-shelf Swiss movements with Rolex-made cases and bracelets, Tudor was dreamed up as a way to get people into the Rolex brand family at a lower price point, a concept that worked. For much of their history, Tudor has been associated with tool watches, a fact that makes sense when you consider their purposeful lower price point compared to their more luxurious older siblings at Rolex. Tudor’s Oyster Prince, one of their best-loved early models, was used on a Royal Navy scientific expedition to Greenland in 1952, proving their utility as tool watches. The Tudor Submariner is another case in point, having been used by various military organizations around the world (along with Rolex Subs) all the way into the 1990s, when watches like the G-Shock largely took over military service. Their current popularity stems from when they relaunched in North America in 2013 with the Black Bay and Pelagos, two very interesting new tool divers which have both become mainstays of the brand. The enthusiast crowd’s love for Tudor started right here for many. Most recently, Tudor, which has in some ways become the “Black Bay” brand, released their now super popular Black Bay 58.
TAG Heuer S.A. was founded back in 1860 by Edouard Heuer, and operated simply as “Heuer” until the Techniques d’Avant Garde (TAG) Group obtained a majority share in 1985, creating the TAG Heuer we know today. For decades, the brand was closely associated with sports and specifically auto racing, making appearances in many popular films including a cameo by Heuer’s beloved racing chronograph, the Monaco, in Le Mans (1971) on one Steve McQueen’s wrist. Later in 1999, TAG Heuer became a part of the LVMH Group. TAG Heuer’s most-loved models include the Monaco, Carrera, and the Aquaracer, with Monaco arguably being the most iconic model from the company. Since receiving a major overhaul during Jean-Claude Biver’s tenure as CEO, Tag Heuer as a brand balances a collection of innovative modern watches with a vintage inspired collection including the excellent Autavia Chronograph.
With roots dating back to 1892 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in the United States, Hamilton Watch Company is a brand with a rich history of producing military watches for the United States Army during WWI and WWII. Though the company eventually ceased US manufacture in 1969, the brand’s now Swiss-made Khaki field watch collection will forever be associated with the classic image of the American GI storming a beach or charging across a battlefield. Hamilton is also known for its roles in film, with over 500 major movie appearances and a stunning catalogue of milestone moments on the silver screen. Hamilton, who are now owned by the Swatch Group, are a major actor in the international watch industry, with iconic collections like the aforementioned Khaki, Intra-Matic, and Jazzmaster, and a reputation for quality at an entry level price point for a Swiss watch.
Better known for their pens and leather goods to the majority of consumers, Montblanc was founded back in 1906 in Hamburg, Germany. Still considered a young brand in the world of horology, Montblanc only started producing watches in 1997. However, Montblanc has been in excellent company as a subsidiary of the Richemont Group since 1988, and enjoys technical support from other Richemont Group brands like Vacheron Constantin, Piaget, and Cartier. Richemont also purchased Minerva, a high end watchmaking factory, in order to increase Monblanc’s manufacturing capabilities, and Montblanc debuted their first in-house movement, the Calibre MB R100, in 2008, followed by the Tourbillon Bi-Cylinderique MB 65.53 in 2011. In 2020, Montblanc released the new 1858 Split-Seconds Chronograph, a declaration to the industry of Montblanc’s watchmaking prowess.
Bell & Ross
Initially conceived by Bruno Belamich (for Bell) and Carlos A. Rosillo (for Ross) as a university project in 1992, Bell & Ross, still an independent brand, is, at its core, a design brand as opposed to a true watchmaker capable of in-house manufacture. Heavily focused on tool watches, and designed with a “function drives design” concept, the majority of Bell & Ross watches are heavily inspired by aviation instruments, all the way down to their signature square case shape. In their early days, Bell & Ross watches were built by Sinn Watches in Germany, and that lineage still shows in the current Bell & Ross collection. Breaking free from Sinn, Chanel stepped in as a partner and equipped Bell & Ross with their own Swiss factory in 2002. Usually relying on Sellita movements, Bell & Ross watches are also often a strong value proposition compared to watches from other luxury watchmakers. Recent releases from the brand, including their square, ISO-rated BR 03-92 diver’s watch and the exciting BR05 sport watch, are good examples of where Bell & Ross are going.