Check the time in style
Just like clothes and shoes, watches are an essential part of an ensemble, whether you decide to be classy, chic, or casual. There's nothing like it if you have a stunning watch to play up your outfit, adding a hint of character and charm to the look you're going for. Not to forget, checking the time becomes easier and handier.
Well, these must be the reasons people spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on watches, and why brands make vintage, diamond-studded, gold embellished ones that could swallow up pay checks.
And now that we're talking about exorbitant luxury watches, here's a list of 25 brands that are the definition of exactly that.
1. Audemars Piguet
Picture source: https://www.audemarspiguet.com
Based in Le Brassus, a village inside the Vallee de Jouex in Switzerland, this well-known brand is the result of a partnership between childhood acquaintances Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet in 1875. With a company slogan that states, 'To Break the Rules, You Must First Master Them', this brand created a plethora of notable milestones in the watch-making industry.
From creating the world's first jumping hour wristwatch, skeleton watch, thinnest watch and the first luxury sport wristwatch called the Royal Oak, Audemars Piguet has established itself as one of the finest watch-makers in the world. The Royal Oak Skeleton wristwatch is valued at almost $82 thousand, and damn if that's not the epitome of opulence.
2. Vacheron Constantin
Picture source: https://www.vacheron-constantin.com/
A highly regarded Swiss watch manufacturing company started in 1755, Vacheron Constantin has been creating antique watches including one Kallista which was valued at $11 million in 2016.
In 1901 it received the first Geneva Seal for its timepieces. Vacheron Constantin's watches are timeless pieces (not literally, of course) that have had regal owners such as Queen Elizabeth II, Napoleon Bonaparte, Pope Pius XI, Diana Princess of Wales, the Wright Brothers and so on.
So, if you happen to buy one, know that you'll be sharing your watch brand with a bunch of legends!
3. F.P. Journe
Picture source: https://www.fpjourne.com/en
Another high-end Swiss manufacture d'horlogerie, F.P. Journe was founded in 1999 by Francois-Paul Journe, an exemplary brand that focuses on complex precision chronometers. Having won the Aguille d'Or grand prize at the Grand prix d'Horlogerie, this brand is legendary, manufacturing around 800 intricately designed classy watches annually. Its Tourbillon Souverain Dead Seconds Platinum watch is valued at a whopping $102,363, placing F.P. Journe in the list of the most luxurious watch brands in the world.
4. Patek Philippe
Picture source: https://secure-journal.hautehorlogerie.org/ (© Patek Philippe)
One of the most prestigious Swiss watch manufacturers in the world, Patek Philippe watches are the leading ones in the world's top ten most expensive watches ever sold at auctions. The Patek Philippe Grand Master Chime Ref. 6300A010 holds the 2019 record for the same, having been sold for a whopping $31 million at a Geneva auction. Having digested this piece of news, you wouldn't be surprised to know that Patek Philippe patrons and owners include Pablo Picasso, Queen Victoria, Leo Tolstoy, Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, and many others. Get your name in that list now
5. Richard Mille
Picture source: https://www.richardmille.com/
Richard Mille is a relatively new luxury Swiss watchmaking brand, founded in 2001 by Dominique Guenat and Richard Mille, manufacturing a range of splendid designer watches that have a starting price of $80,000.
The philosophy behind Richard Mille watches comes from a deep study of race cars and the concept of shock resistance, which is the reason behind the brand's ability to have created more watches with rigid baseplates, reduced friction and very high shock-resistance than most brands.
One of the brand's most famous pieces include the RM 056 split seconds chronographer, whose case is the first one to be completely built from sapphire. Sapphire! Picture that glinting on your wrist.
Picture source: https://www.blancpain.com/
And here we have another beautiful Swiss luxury watch manufacturer, founded in the year 1735 and being the oldest surviving watchmaking brand in the world. Blancpain is an expert in the watchmaking industry, having been a subsidiary of the Swiss Swatch Group since 1992 and regarded as a top-tier Swatch brand. Among its famous makes are the Villeret Collection, Fifty Fathoms and the once in a year watch- the 1735 Grande Complication.
7. Piaget SA
Picture source: https://int.piaget.com/watches/rose-gold-ultra-thin-mechanical-watch-g0a42142
A Swiss luxury watchmaker and jeweller, Piaget SA was founded in the year 1874, and named after its founder, Georges Piaget. The brand is one of the greatest masterminds in the creation of ultra-thin movements. These latest innovations are brought to life in their Altiplano collection, with the Altiplano 900P being the world's thinnest hand-wound mechanical watch at 3.65 millimetres, valued between $20,000 and $30,000. Talk about sleek beauty! Another fascinating fact about Piaget is that the company owns the largest jewellery workshop in Geneva, where every stone is cut, adjusted and set by hand. Unsurprisingly, in 2005, Piaget created their own Best Jeweller Prize.
Picture source: https://www.breguet.com/en/timepieces/tradition/7047#!2382
Founded in 1775 by Abraham-Louis Breguet in Paris, Breguet is a watch, clock and jewellery manufacturer that has been a subsidiary of the Swiss Swatch Group since 1999. Breguet is one of the oldest surviving watch brands, and a pioneer of world-famous watch concepts. Abraham Breguet was the one to invent the tourbillon in 1801 and create the world's first self-winding watch, the Perpetuelle in 1780. He also created the world's first wristwatch, the Breguet No.2639, for Caroline Bonaparte. Other notable Breguet owners and patrons include Ettore Bugatti, Sir Winston Churchill, Napoleon Bonaparte, Sergei Rachmaninoff and many others. Breguet makes regal and ornate watches, and the slogan for Breguet's lady collection, Reine de Naples, says it all, "In every woman, there is a queen."
Founded by Louis-Ulysse Chopard in the year 1860, Chopard is another Swiss manufacturer and retailer of luxury watches, jewellery and accessories. Chopard produces around 750,00 timepieces and 750,000 accessories annually, and is an active member of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH. Chopard creates luxury jewelled watches that emanate sophistication and grandeur. A 'happy diamond' wristwatch was sold in auction by Christie's for around $1.67 million at Geneva. The said watch has quartz movement, and is set with a pink marquise-cut diamond and a blue marquise-cut diamond. Imagine owning such a stunning little watch.
A highly popular Swiss luxury watch manufacturer, Rolex was initially founded as Wilsdorf and Davis by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis in London, England in 1905. To avoid heavy taxation from recovering post-war Britain after the first World War, Wilsdorf and Davis moved its operations to Geneva, Switzerland and later registered the name Rolex. Rolex is the biggest manufacturer of Swiss made certified chronometers. One of the company's slogans include, 'A crown for every achievement'. Rolex has a very powerful and influential brand image, meaning that when you buy a Rolex watch, you know it's not just a watch you're buying, you're buying a Rolex. It's the real deal.
The perfect French luxury and utility commingling, Cartier designs, manufactures, distributes and sells jewellery and watches. Founded in 1847 by Louis-Francois Cartier in Paris, Cartier is regarded as one of the most prestigious jewellery manufacturers in the world. It can be inferred that Cartier is a true luxury brand as King Edward VII of England described Cartier as "the jeweller of kings and the kings of jewellers." Cartier has a long history of serving royalty. In 1902, King Edward VII ordered 27 tiaras and issued a royal warrant to Cartier in 1904. Warrants such as these soon followed from the courts of Spain, Portugal, Russia, The House of Orleans, and so on.
Your Cartier's going be a real piece of royalty to possess.
You must've figured out by now that the Swiss are watchmaking experts. Another Swiss watch and clock manufacturer, Jaeger-LeCoultre was founded by Antoine LeCoultre in 1833, and is a fully owned subsidiary of the Swiss luxury group Richemont.
It is renowned for having the world's smallest movement, one of the world's most complicated watches (Grande Complication) and a time-piece of near perpetual movement (the Atmos clock).
A noteworthy model includes the 'Reverso', created in 1931, whose name is Latin for 'I turn around'. Its case was capable of swivelling in its carrier to protect the watch glass, which meant no polo game, however violent, could damage the Reverso. It continues to be manufactured till date.
How cool will it be to possess a rotating watch?!
13. Ulysse Nardin
Ulysse Nardin founded his own company at 23 in the year 1846 in Le Locle, Switzerland. Remarkable models of the brand include the Freak wristwatches and the Trilogy of Time. The Freak wristwatches were a first for the watchmaking industry as they contained silicon escapement components. Two other unique features include the launch of the 'Freak Diamond Heart' watch, which contained escapement made from synthetic diamonds. They also invented a new material called 'Diamonsil', which combines silicon and diamonds.
The Trilogy of Time collection incorporated three different astronomical pieces, each watch named after astronomers Galileo Galilei, Copernicus and Johannes Kepler respectively. Celestial fans-get one immediately!
The Trilogy of Time
Picture source: https://www.panerai.com/en/new-panerai-submersible-bronzo.html
A luxury Italian watch manufacturer, Panerai became the official supplier to the Royal Italian Navy. Except the GPF 2/56, all other Panerai watches were designed and manufactured by Rolex SA. Panerai dials are unique, and some are rendered luminous with radioactive compounds like Radiomir and Luminor. An interesting fact about Panerai is that it entered into a five-year agreement with Ferrari to design, manufacture and distribute its watches carrying the Ferrari trademark in 2005. 'Ferrari engineered by Panerai' contains 11 models priced between $5,000 and $30,000. Panerai is definitely a force to reckon with.
Picture source: https://www.omegawatches.com/watches/speedmaster/moonwatch/professional/product
Founded in the year 1848, Omega is a well-known Swiss watch brand. Chosen in the past by the Britain's Royal Flying Corps, U.S. Army and the Olympic Games as official timekeeping device, Omega is considerably revered. It was also the choice of NASA, and was the first watch on the Moon in 1969. Other Omega customers include George Clooney,
Omega has additionally created various world records, including records for manufacturing the world's first minute repeating wristwatch in collaboration with Audemars Piguet and made history by introducing the first ever mass-produced watch incorporating the coaxial escapement. Omega will definitely be the alpha on your list of watch choices.
16. Louis Moinet
Louis Moinet was a French horologist, sculptor painter, and the one to invent the chronograph.
He created several impressive and extraordinary clocks for eminent personalities such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Thomas Jefferson, King George IV of England, and many others. The founder, Louis Moinet, wrote and published a celebrated watch making encyclopaedia in 1848. Louis Moinet watches are world famous, and are some of the most expensive ones out there. Got some spare millions lying around? Go purchase a Louis Moinet.
Corum is a Swiss luxury watchmaking company which is well known for its 'World Premieres', the limited-edition collections it releases annually. Corum's fame began when it fashioned a watch out of a $20 coin, and ever since, Corum has been extremely popular. Its models include the unique Bubble watch with an unusual sapphire glass face and a bold design, the Admiral's Cup watch, the Buckingham watch and many more.
Girard-Perregaux is a Swiss luxury watch manufacturing brand whose origins date back to 1791. Regarded as a top-tier Kering brand, one of its historic watches, the Tourbillon, was awarded a Gold Medal at the 1889 International Exposition in Paris almost immediately after its launch. Some of its famous models include the Vintage 1945, the Girard-Perregaux 1966 and the Tourbillon with three golden bridges, valued at around $85,000.
19. Maurice Lacroix
A Swiss luxury watch brand, Maurice Lacroix has been manufacturing sophisticated and stylish high-end watches since 1889. Its 'Masterpiece' line is a collection with historical and heritage-based movements. These are limited edition watches that are created with utter perfection, and have prices around $13,900.
Picture source: https://www.hublot.com/en/collection/big-bang/big-bang-unico-sang-bleu-ii-king-gold-45mm?serie=253
Another high-end Swiss luxury watch manufacturing company, Hublot was founded in 1980. The brand has been time-keeper of the FIFA World Cup, Formula 1, the FIS Nordic Ski Championships, and many such revered organisations. Hublot entered a long-time partnership with Ferrari, coming up with two impressive pieces, the Hublot Big Bang Ferrari Magic Gold and Big Bang Ferrari Titanium.
21. Glashuette Original
Glashutte Original is a distinguished German luxury watchmaking firm founded in 1994. The company produces classic watches that provide a distinguished look and a sophisticated touch.
22. Baume & Mercier
Baume & Mercier is a Swiss luxury watch making brand, founded in 1830, and a subsidiary of luxury conglomerate Richemont. The brand swept away the crowds during the Roaring Twenties with a collection of modern watches, and continue to make watches for both men and women. In 2015, it partnered with the renowned American race car maker Carroll Shelby International, kickstarting its sports collection with its limited edition 'Shelby Cobra' models.
23. IWC Schaffhausen
IWC Schaffhausen luxury Swiss watch manufacturer founded by an American watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones in 1868. A subsidiary of the luxury Swiss Richemont group, the brand is highly well-known for its high-quality production and usage of titanium as a material in watches.
Breitling SA is a Swiss luxury watch brand founded in 1884, and its strengths are creating polished cases, bracelets and large watch faces aimed at improving readability. Breitling also has an 'Emergency' range of watches which contain radio transmitters for Civil Aviation use. Another great achievement of the brand is having created the dashboard for the Bentley Continental GT.
25. TAG Heuer
TAG Heuer is a Swiss luxury brand founded in 1860 that not only manufactures watches and accessories, but also eyewear and mobile phones.
The Company's well-known models include the Formula One, Aquaracer, Link, Carrera, and many others.
These are just a fraction of brands in the sea of luxury watch brands in the universe, so if any of these don't appeal to you, don't worry! Look around a bit more, and you will definitely find the overpriced watch meant for you. Just keep looking, and keep those millions ready!
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