Rolex is the synonym with luxury watches and I guess THE most well-known watch brand within Swiss watchmaking. It was founded in 1908 in London with an office in Switzerland. Since then Rolex has gained a lot of popularity and is today a status symbol of style and good taste. Rolex is also one of the biggest Swiss watchmakers with around 3.000 employees and $4.7 billion in revenue.
Rolex is without a doubt one of the most popular watch brands throughout the history of watchmaking and as of today. They also made the first ever waterproof watch in 1926, the Rolex Oyster watch and after that the highly popular and iconic Rolex Submariner watch.
Omega was founded in 1903. In 1917 Omega was chosen to be the official timekeeper for the British Royal Flying Corps and in 1918 for the American army. More famous though, is Omega for being the first ever watch on the moon in 1969 with their Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph.
Today Omega Speedmaster is probably the most famous Omega watch also called The Moonwatch. Omega has been the official timekeeping device of the Olympic Games since 1932. Today, Omega is part of The Swatch Group which also features well-known but less expensive watch brands such as Longines and Tissot.
3. Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet also just known as AP was founded in 1875 and is thereby one of the oldest watch manufacturers. They are especially famous for their very iconic Royal Oak timepiece introduced in 1972 with it’s slim and timeless design.
Today the Royal Oak is still a very popular watch together with their Royal Oak Offshore introduced in 1993. Audemars Piguet is known for their complicated movements and beautiful watch design. If you want an AP you also need to bring big bucks as their popular models retail from $20,000 and up.
4. Patek Philippe
Patek Philippe was founded in 1851 located in Geneva. Patek and Philippe are the surnames of the two founders. This watch manufacturer makes some beautiful timepieces and some very complicated mechanical movements. Many consider Patek Philippe as the most prestigious watch manufacturer as of their long history and their exclusive and expensive watches.
Patek Philippe is definitely one of the most popular watch brands but not worn by many because of their price tag which is amongst the most expensive watches in the world. In 1976 Patek introduced their Nautilus collection which as of today is their most popular. Patek Philippe Nautilus is an exclusive sport watch with a nice finish but the watch is really suitable for any occasion making it so desirable.
International Watch Co. also known as IWC is a Swiss watch manufacturer who was founded by an American watchmaker in 1868. IWC is known for its solid craftsmanship and is especially well-known for their Pilots’ watch and IWC Portuguese introduced just before second world war. Since then IWC has introduced other popular models such as the IWC Ingenuer and IWC Aquatimer
Today IWC offers a great variety of watches for different occasions. They have a great selection of sports watches as well as dress watches. Most IWC watches are at an affordable price level and pretty much the same price range as Rolex. IWC has managed with many of their new models to maintain their position of one of the most popular watch brands today.
Hublot was founded in 1980 and has at a short amount of time managed to become very popular. This brand doesn’t have the same amount of history as other brands on this list but yet Hublot is highly popular. In 2008 Hublot was acquired by the luxury goods company LVMH that also own well-known watch brands such as Tag Heuer and Zenith. Hublot is most famous for their large watches such as their Hublot Big Bang models.
Hublot is putting a lot of afford into sponsorship in order to maintain their position as a popular watch brand. Hereby they sponsor a lot of sports events such as FIFA World Cup and Formula One. They are also known for having famous ambassadors such as Usain Bolt. Some watch experts think that Hubot is overpriced and overrated compared to what you really get. Others think they make too many different special edition watches. Anyhow, Hublot is a good looking watch and a very popular watch brands amongst people who like to show off.
The only watch brand on this list that is not Swiss. The Officine Panerai is an Italian watch manufacturer founded in 1860 in Florence, Italy. In early 1900, Panerai became the official supplier of watches and precision instruments for the Royal Italian Navy. Even though Panerai is an Italien watch brand it still carries a Swiss movement inside. Panerai is a simple watch by design and either people love it or hate it.
It was actually first in 1993 that Panerai moved from making watches on request from the military to becoming a luxury watch brand. Since then Panerai has made a strategic cooperation with Ferrari making Panerai watches carrying the Ferrari trademark. Popular Panerai models include the Panerai Luminor and Panerai Radiomir watch. Panerai is a popular watch brand usually worn by the mature watch collectors, who also buy the history behind the watch.
8. Tag Heuer
Tag Heuer started out as Uhrenmanufaktur Heuer AG in 1860 but when TAG Group in 1985 purchased majority of the stakes Tag Heuer as we know it today was formed. As of 1999 Tag Heuer was acquired by luxury goods conglomerate LVMH. Heuer has a great history of making beautiful chronograph watches as early as 1882 when the first chronograph by Heuer got patented.
Tag Heuer is popular for their sports watches which is widely used by people who are into motorsport. Tag Heuer Carrera Automatic Chronograph is a racing-inspired watch that is the most popular and iconic Heuer watch throughout history and as of today. Other popular models by Tag Heuer is their Aquaracer and the Monaco and recently they introduced Tag Heuer Connected – The first Swiss-made Smartwatch.
Breitling was founded in 1884 and is known for their pilots watches as well as their diving watches. Breitling is a good watch if you are a casual guy that likes sports watches and are into diving and aviation. The most popular Breitling watches is Breitling Navitimer and Breitling SuperOcean.
Breitling is a partner with the car manufacturer Bentley making some watches targeted towards car lovers. You see Breitling as a sponsor in action-packed coherent such as Le Mans and Reno Air Race. A Breitling watch has also been featured in the James Bond movie Thunderball from 1965. Breitling is a perfect match for the sporty guy who likes action and to dress casually.
Jaeger-LeCoultre was founded in 1833 and has great history as a watchmaker making some of the worlds most complicated movements. In the early 1900 Jaeger-LeCoultre produced instruments for prestige car manufacturers in England. Jaeger-LeCoultre watches today is exclusive and expensive watches. Most of their models are with a leather strap and make up a good dress watch.
Popular models of Jaeger-LeCoultre is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso and Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control. In 2014 Jaeger-LeCoultre partnered up with Aston Martin to launch the Aston Martin Jaeger-LeCoultre gentleman’s watch which is a really nice sports watch. Jaeger-LeCoultre is a great watch for real watch aficionados and is definitely one of the most popular watch brands amongst people who have money and likes to dress classy. A Jaeger-LeCoultre will without a doubt impress at any meeting or in the board room.
Other popular watch brands worth mention
Vacheron Constantin, Blancpain, Tissot, Tudor, Chopard, Ulysse Nardin, Linde Werdelin, Porshe Design, Piaget, Cartier, Longines, Montblanc, Seiko, A. Lange & Sohne.
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