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Top 30 Luxury Watch Brands

Top luxury watch brands create quality timepieces that showcase great design and optimal quality—and are designed to last a lifetime. Because these timepieces sell for thousands (and sometimes even millions) of dollars, deciding which luxury watch brand is the best fit for you can take some research. So let’s look at the top 30 most popular luxury watch brands currently on the market.

top 30 luxury watch brands

What Are The Top 30 Luxury Watch Brands Of 2023? 

  1. Rolex
  2. Patek Philippe
  3. Audemars Piguet
  4. Vacheron Constantin
  5. Cartier
  6. Richard Mille
  7. Jaeger Lecoultre
  8. A. Lange & Sohne
  9. Breguet & Fils
  10. Tudor
  11. Piaget
  12. Chopard
  13. Omega
  14. Breitling
  15. IWC
  16. Hublot
  17. Blancpain
  18. Zenith
  19. Tag Heuer
  20. F.P. Journe
  21. Bovet Fleurier
  22. Jaquet Droz
  23. Grand Seiko
  24. Bremont
  25. Panerai
  26. Bvlgari
  27. Glashutte
  28. Ulysse Nardin
  29. H. Moser & Cie
  30. Nomos Glashhutte

1. Rolex

top luxury watch brands - rolex

Despite the soaring popularity of Rolex’s women’s and men’s watches, each timepiece is still made by hand. Internationally recognized as a status symbol, Rolex watches are forever in high demand. Especially the Rolex Daytona and Rolex Submariner.

Rolex is a clear number one brand that scores perfectly with all of the criteria applied. Born in the early twentieth century Rolex has devoted their now unparalleled manufacturing capability to creating high end watches of utmost quality and durability.

This has paid off for the company and their customers. Rolex watches hold their value across the board unlike any other watch in the marketplace. They are produced with the finest quality materials to the highest standards. As such, they are expected to be precise for a lifetime and more.

Rolex is exclusively owned by a private foundation and their decision making is consistently long term driven. This also means their sales data is not public. Based upon some public information, such as independent “chronometer” testing, Rolex produces and sells in excess of 800,000 watches per year. Ask any retailer in any country what watch sells the best, to all generations, the answer will be Rolex. 

The company identifies itself with quality, precision and achievement. Their name is respected in every corner of the globe and their presence has reached the summit of Mt. Everest as well as the greatest depths of the Pacific Ocean. 

  • Key models: Datejust, Day-Date, Submariner, Daytona, GMT-Master II, Explorer, SkyDweller
  • Price range: $5,100 – $120,000+  
  • Approximate average price: $11,800
  • Approximate annual production: 810,000 
  • Ownership: Independent and owned by the Wilsdorf Foundation
  • Company motto: A Crown for Every Achievement
  • Rolex fun fact: Other than their Cellini dress watches, all Rolex watches are in their Oyster Perpetual family and these words would be found on every dial. Oyster signifies the waterproof case and Perpetual signifies the automatic, self winding movement inside.  

2. Patek Philippe

top luxury watch brands - Patek Philippe

When it comes to craftsmanship of a watch case, and especially of a watch movement, Patek Philippe breaks to the top. They receive particularly high scores and praise from a significant group: the watchmakers themselves. In the world of high horology a complication is a good thing. And Patek Philippe is expert at producing such good things.

Many of their mechanical movements are built to go far beyond telling time. This manufacturer has the skill sets that can produce:

  • perpetual calendars
  • minute repeaters
  • world timers and handcrafted plates
  • bridges and parts that are surpassed by none

Patek Philippe produces some of the most coveted and highend timepieces in the world, fetching millions of dollars for some of their rarer models. This prestigious watch brand with a history of innovative designs, has long been favored by royalty.

“You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation” is not only an award winning campaign it is also a truism of the brand. They are generational and every year forward in time serves to prove just how special they are.

The powerhouse auction houses of the world feature historical and vintage timepieces from the Patek Philippe annually. They draw the same, if not greater success as they would from the works of art from Picasso or Rembrandt. 

  • Key models: Nautilus, Calatrava, Aquanaut, Gondolo, Twenty-4 and all Grand Complications
  • Price range: $15,000 – $300,000 
  • Approximate average price: $40,000
  • Approximate annual production: 58,000
  • Ownership: Independent and owned by the Stern Family
  • Patek fun fact: In 2021, new stainless steel Nautilus models that retail for $34,890 consistently sell in the secondary market for over $100,000. A 2021 version with an olive green dial just sold at auction for $363,600.

3. Audemars Piguet

top luxury watch brands - audemars piguet

Still owned today by its original founding families, Audemars Piguet is one of the oldest watch manufacturers in the world.

Right now the premiere model in the Audemars Piguet lineup, the Royal Oak, is so desired that it is a ghost in the marketplace. Like Patek Philippe’s Nautilus model, the Royal Oak often fetches prices well over suggested retail. Audemars has a legacy of fine watchmaking dating back to 1875. But it was in 1972 that the company shifted towards a path of greatness by introducing this iconic model.

The Royal Oak is simple, rugged, thin and highly recognized by the inner circle of enthusiasts who appreciate the brand. Audemars Piguet is also adept at grand complications and they continue to earn high credibility with annual creations that push new boundaries of what a mechanical timepiece can do. Their motto is “to break the rules, first you must master them.” 

  • Key Models: Royal Oak, Royal Oak Offshore, Millenary, CODE 11.59, Complications
  • Price range: $13,000 – $150,000+  
  • Approximate average price: $37,000
  • Approximate annual production: 42,000
  • Ownership: Independent and family owned
  • Audemars Piguet fun fact: The most expensive Audemars Piguet sold was a signed Audemars Piguet Geneve Leap Year Perpetual for $545,000 in 2015.

Amongst the global community of watch enthusiasts there are three high horology watch manufactures that do not get the same celebration as Patek Philippe but are held in special regard nonetheless. These form what many watch enthusiasts refer to as their “holy trinity.” These top luxury watch brands are Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin and A. Lange & Sohne.

4. Vacheron Constantin

top luxury watch brands - vacheron constantin

Vacheron Constantin has one of the deepest histories on this ranking, having been a master of the art of watchmaking uninterrupted since 1755. One of the esteemed members of the holy trinity of high horology, they have mastered vast complications and their cases, dials and movements are works of art.

Their current brand message is that their timepieces are “one of not many.” This means that at their core, they devote their expertise and energy to the crafting of the best timepieces possible without the need to create and sell volume. Their watches are truly rare and special. Like some of the offerings from other top luxury watch brands, Vacheron models such as the Overseas are seemingly impossible to find. 

  • Key Models: Patrimony, Overseas, Metiers d’Art, FiftySix, Historiques
  • Price range: $18,000 – $250,000+ 
  • Approximate average price: $28,500
  • Approximate annual production: 27,000
  • Ownership: Richemont Group
  • Motto: The original company motto are the words of founder François-Constantin: “Do better if possible and that is always possible.”
  • Vacheron fun fact: The Vacheron Constantin Reference 57260 introduced by Vacheron Constantin in 2015 is regarded as the most complicated watch in the world. It is a mechanical pocket watch which features 57 complications.

5. Cartier

cartier watch

The House of Cartier is world renowned for high jewelry and their exceptional watch designs. Propelled for over a century by their advanced creative touch. Their manufacturing expertise has become equally responsible for their great brand success.

Their watch models are clean and highly recognized designs that appeal to clients for possessing both simplicity and style. Through the years they have judiciously relied on outside companies for many components in their timepiece production satisfying many without necessarily drawing the interests of the elite aficionados.

This is changing as in recent years they have begun to create exceptional watches of all kinds on their own. Their production volume has become one of the highest in the category all without losing their quality standards. Their upward move on this list is an indication that Cartier is a proven powerhouse watch brand that is getting even stronger.

  • Key Models: Tank, Santos, Ballon Bleu, Ronde, Drive, Panthere, Tortue
  • Price range: $3,000 – $250,000+ 
  • Approximate average price: $5,200
  • Approximate annual production: 490,000
  • Ownership: Richemont Group
  • Motto: A Cartier motto is to “never copy, always create.” This establishes them not only as jewelers of the first rank but innovators as well.

6. Richard Mille

Richard Mille is the fastest growing manufacturer on this list landing at number 6 after only being born in 2001. With limited production their average price per unit is an impressive six figures. They build and market a specifically designed watch to a specific type of client.

To understand what makes Richard Mille wrist watches special, envision how legend Raphael Nadal wears the watch on his wrist as he strikes 110mph tennis balls. Then consider how the Richard Mille company vision is to build “a racing machine on your wrist.”

The tonneau shaped watch design is bold and modern. They are built exceptionally well inside and out, almost always showing off the beauty of their stylized movement with a skeletonized front. They have become some of the most sought after watches amongst professional sports stars and elite watch collectors around the world. 

  • Key Model: Tonneau
  • Price range: $80,000 – $2.5 million+ 
  • Approximate average price: $184,000
  • Approximate annual production: 4,600
  • Ownership: Independent and family owned
  • Richard Mille fun fact: Rafael Nadal is not the only Richard Mille client athlete to wear the brand while he plays. McLaren F1 drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris wear them as they race and NFL great Odell Beckham Jr. wore, at least once, a team-themed RM 11-03 as he caught sideline passes.

7. Jaeger Lecoultre

top luxury watch brands - jaeger lecoultre

Internationally renowned for its intricate designs, Jaeger-LeCoultre is also famed for creating the world’s smallest watch caliber.

In the 1930’s Jaeger-LeCoultre answered the question of how to best protect their vulnerable wristwatches with a novel model design called the Reverso. It remains their signature watch of today.

They were constructed with Polo players in mind, and the intensity with which they play. The rectangular shaped Reverso could flip over easily so that the delicate dial and crystal would face down and be protected. While a solid case back withstands the trials of the match.

Based on this now highly recognized system Jaeger has been able to invent advanced designs of complication and elegance. Such as the Reverso Duoface featuring a two in one concept. For example, one side of a Reverso Classic Duoface may have a silver arabic dial. Then when you flip it over you can transform it into a black index dial.

In one watch you possess two dials with contrasting aesthetics and functionality. The brand is strong in the world of round wristwatches too. With classic and sporty Master Compressor and Master Control models made from steel and precious metals. 

  • Key models: Reverso, Master Compressor, Master Control, Geophysic, Rendez-vous
  • Price range: $7,250 – $500,000+ 
  • Approximate average price: $11,500
  • Approximate annual production: 100,000
  • Ownership: Richemont Group
  • Jaeger Lecoultre fun fact: In an early scene of the 1999 movie “A Thomas Crowne Affair,” the lead character is a debonair billionaire and art thief played by Pierce Brosnan. While caught in 5th Avenue traffic moments before a dramatic midday museum heist, the star is purposely shown flipping his Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Duo. This is to convey his anticipation of his plan as well as to foreshadow the dual sides of his life and penchant for switching high priced works of art. 

8. A. Lange & Söhne

A. Lange & Söhne was an established and flourishing German brand for a century prior to the beginnings of WWII. The ensuing destruction of war followed by decades long occupation by Soviet forces shuttered A. Lange & Söhne along with all other fine watch manufacturers in the historic German watchmaking city of Glashutte.

As freedoms returned the brand was reawakened in the early 1990’s, a period considered to be a second founding for the brand. True enthusiasts immediately began to pursue the manufacturer’s limited timepieces for their clean and clear, distinctly German, lines. Lange Söhne watches are built to tell time with clarity and few ornate features.

Their signature oversized date windows are not for flash, it is done to more easily see the date. While case designs sway simple, the capabilities and craftsmanship of the movements reveal levels of engineering. These plant the brand firmly as the third member of the high horology holy trinity.

  • Key models: Lange 1, Saxonia, 1815, Zeitwerk, Richard Lange
  • Price range: $17,500 – $500,000
  • Approximate average price: $35,000
  • Production: 4,500
  • Ownership: Richemont GroupA company motto is “State-of-the-art Tradition” as well as an original quote from founder Ferdinand Lange “The entire pursuit of a watchmaker should be the perfection of each and every watch.”

9. Breguet

breguet watch

The discussion of the watch brand Breguet requires a discussion of watchmaking history. Abraham Louis Breguet is a legend in the world of watchmaking and is considered a father of high horology. In the late 1700’s he handmade intricate bespoke timepieces for the elites of France and Europe including special productions for Napoleon, King George IV, King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette.

Some of these commissioned pieces took decades to complete, and in the process Breguet invented mechanical capabilities never used before and still used today. His signature invention is the tourbillon, an advanced movement complication that rotates the entire escapement to offset the detrimental influence of gravity on timekeeping. Other achievements pioneered by Breguet include advances in the self winding mechanism, hairspring design, shock absorbers and artistic designs for dials and hands. He took great steps to miniaturize the mechanical movement and is widely credited with the first wristwatch in 1810.

The modern Breguet invests material and effort to design and create timepieces that rise to the standards and ambitions of their great namesake.

  • Key models: La Marine, Classique, Tradition, Classique Complications
  • Price range: $10,000-$350,000+ 
  • Approximate average price: $28,000
  • Approximate annual production: 23,000
  • Ownership: Swatch Group
  • Breguet fact: The grand complication commissioned in 1783 for Marie Antoinette did not make it on time. She met her demise in 1793 while the timepiece was finished and delivered in 1827. 

10. Tudor

tudor watch

Tudor was started by Hans Wilsdorf in 1946, the same industry genius who started Rolex. Tudor is essentially a younger sibling (or cousin) brand to the great and more established manufacturing giant. Their shared DNA is clear. Tudor watches are durable and mostly sports watches with strong waterproof cases, screw down crowns and self winding movements.

There were points in decades past where Tudor watches were seen as too similar to Rolex even sharing parts such as case backs that read Rolex Oyster. Tudor of the 21st century has grown and evolved along a newer path. Guided by their motto “Born to Dare” the younger brand has license, and a mission, to build their high quality wristwatches a new way. They feature new materials like brass or titanium.

A version of their Pelagos watch has a left handed winding crown. Black Bay models with different colored bezels hit the marketplace with red hot demand. Tudor even features their own proprietary movement. The result of these design and production choices is a brand that stands apart from Rolex and delivers the best value pricing in the industry.

The world has taken notice, overall Tudor production has quietly risen to over 200,000 watches annually and the brand has landed at number 10 on this list.

  • Key models: Black Bay, Prince, Pelagos, Royal, Clair de Rose, Heritage Chrono
  • Price range: $2,000 – $16,000 
  • Approximate average price: $3,800
  • Approximate annual production: 210,000
  • Ownership: The Wilsdorf Foundation
  • Tudor fun fact: The brand has featured and maintained two distinct logos through the years. One is a knight’s shield and the other is a rose.

11. Piaget

piaget watches

Piaget watches are known for their elegance. Their watch cases are primarily gold and their profile is always thin. Piaget earned a reputation for creating the thinnest mechanical wristwatches back in 1957 when they produced the manual wind Caliber 9P which housed a 2mm thin movement inside.

They continue to earn their slim reputation with their Altiplano Ultimate 910P which is a 4.3mm thin automatic movement which has 238 components some of which are “barely thicker than a hair’s breadth.” 

  • Key models: Polo, Altiplano, Emperador
  • Price range: $15,000 – $250,000 
  • Approximate average price: $18,000
  • Approximate annual production: 19,000
  • Ownership: Richemont Group
  • Piaget fun fact: While the 910P mentioned above is the slimmest automatic the absolute slimmest mechanical watch (manual wind) is their 900P measuring just 3.65mm.

12. Chopard

top luxury watch brands - chopard

During the 1970’s and 1980’s Chopard grew beyond just watches and began creating diamond jewelry. Today they are known as a manufacturing house adept at both. As they were fathered by a watchmaker, Louis-Ulysse Chopard, the company remains strong in the watch category producing sophisticated models like the Alpine Eagle, high horology pieces in their L.U.C. line and sport models such as the Mille Miglia and Classic Racing.

Their high jewelry craftsmanship has influenced their watch designs inspiring the creation of elegant diamond covered Imperiale models and perhaps more significantly inspiring the production of popular and fanciful Happy Diamond and Happy Sport models. These watches showcase floating diamonds that move inside the crystal of the watch and often feature fun and fanciful colors and themes. 

Being an independent, private and family owned company has given Chopard the ability to be great in both of their manufacturing worlds.  

  • Key models: Alpine Eagle, Happy Sport, Classic Racing, Mille Miglia, L.U.C., Imperiale
  • Price range: $3,500 – $200,000+ 
  • Approximate average price: $6,800
  • Approximate annual production: 70,000
  • Ownership: Independent and owned by the Scheuffle family
  • Motto: “The Artisan of Emotions since 1860.”


Omega watch

Jeff Bezos just wore an Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch on his quick summer trip to space. It was his choice to embrace the legacy of the “Original Moonwatch” and bring this significant chronograph back to the place above the Earth where it was made famous. In the 1960’s, several Mercury and Apollo astronauts in training chose manual wind Omega Speedmasters as their watch to personally wear.

When it came time for mission-go, NASA judiciously made the Speedmaster an official part of a U.S. astronaut’s equipment. Omega holds triumphant claim to the fact that it has made its way to the moon and back several times over. This has made the Speedmaster Moonwatch, in all of its variations, a focal point for collectors and Omega enthusiasts.

Omega has lots more going for it back on Earth including an appealing and broad product lineup and global marketing campaigns. Seamasters and Planet Ocean models are ruggedly designed to survive the water. The De Ville line is classic and priced to be attainable. You will find Omega worn on the wrist of the modern James Bond and you will see the Omega colors and brand fly high in Olympic arenas every four years as they are the official timekeeper of the event. 

  • Key models: Seamaster, Speedmaster, Planet Ocean, Aqua Terra, De Ville
  • Price range: $2,500 – $125,000
  • Approximate average price: $5,800
  • Approximate annual production: 500,000
  • Ownership: Swatch Group
  • Company motto:  “Omega-Exact time for life.”
  • Omega fact: While the Omega Speedmaster is most famous for being worn by Buzz Aldrin in 1969 as he walked on the moon, its greatest impact made by this watch on the Apollo program was the assist that the chronograph gave to the Apollo 13 crew during their heroic efforts to return to Earth in a broken spacecraft. With major systems including clocks inoperable, Jack Swigert timed an exact 14 seconds of rocket burn on the Speedmaster while Jim Lovell visually piloted the craft at just the right angle and speed. Any second of difference could have resulted in failure.

14. Breitling

breitling watch

Breitling has been tied to the world of aviation for over a century due to their watch designs and strategic partnerships. Born in 1884, the manufacturer soon began pioneering chronograph watches as early as 1915. The functionality of this stop watch style benefited soldiers and would soon be adopted as a necessary tool by early pilots.

Breitling has contributed many patents and innovations for the chronograph steadily through the decades and their strength in this category remains high. The design works well for Breitling as this type of watch with three smaller dials running while the outer hands tell time visually mimics the dashboard of an airplane. 

  • Key models: Navitimer, Chronomat, Emergency, Breitling for Bentley
  • Price range: $2,000 – $100,000 
  • Approximate average price: $5,800
  • Approximate annual production: 140,000
  • Ownership: Private equity group CVC Capital Partners 
  • Motto: “Instruments for Professionals.” 

15. IWC

iwc luxury watch

IWC has been identified for their Pilot style watches from their start. Like Breitling, IWC was born at the end of the 19th century during a period when their timepiece production immediately served the demands of soldiers and soon thereafter pilots. Their design choice was to make a watch bold and legible so that it could be easily seen by the active pilot. That is why their models then, and today, typically feature clear white numbers and markings against a large and clean black background.

Their line now has broadened to feature several models with different characteristics such as the classic Portofino, the Portugieser chronograph, the diver’s Aquatimer.

  • Key models: Pilot, Portofino, Portugieser, Aquatimer. Ingenier
  • Price range: $4,000 – $250,000+ 
  • Approximate average price: $8,000
  • Approximate annual production: 150,000
  • Ownership: Richemont Group
  • Company motto: “Probus Scafusia” or “good, solid craftsmanship from Schaffhausen.”
  • IWC fun fact: The founder of IWC Florentine Ariosto Jones was born in New Hampshire and learned the watchmaking trade in Boston. He started IWC in Schaffhausen Switzerland with the idea that he could utilize their high skilled and, at that time, low wage watchmaking workforce to produce great watches for the American market.

16. Hublot

top luxury watch brands - hublot

In 2004, the then young watch company Hublot reinvented itself and stormed to higher significance and sales success truly with a “Big Bang.” They purposely positioned themselves in contrast to a very traditional and conformist watch world by using non traditional styles, materials and messaging. Their Big Bang line had a personality that was bold and brash and quickly matched the desires of customers around the world who shared this temperament.

For Hublot, watches were no longer just made from steel or gold, they could be made from carbon fiber, ceramic, tantalum and their straps were almost always their signature rubber. Most were made to be big with case frames as large as 48 millimeters wide. Hublot watches would not be found in local retailers but exclusively in boutiques and high retailers in the poshest of locations around the world. 

  • Key models: Big Bang, Classic Fusion, King Power, MP Collection
  • Price range: $8,000 – $1,000.000+ 
  • Approximate average price: $22,500
  • Approximate annual production: 45,000
  • Ownership: LVMH 
  • Company motto: “The Art of Fusion.”
  • Hublot Fun fact: Hublot is known to be a step ahead with their marketing. Hublot banners and outdoor advertising can be found in key NBA arenas around the US even where the public cannot see it. It is positioned in the locker room hallways and tunnels where only the players can. For Hublot, the players are prized partners and clients.

17. Blancpain

blaancpain watch

Blancpain is a pure and traditional watch brand. While many companies in the category are able to claim hundreds of years of age, Blancpain’s origination year 1735 stands recognized as the earliest date on record. Traditional watches come from a traditional company.

The Villeret is slim, steel or gold, and can have various complication levels starting with just the simple date. Variations can build to include complete calendars, moon phases and tourbillons as movement manufacture has been the company’s strength for centuries.

The other Blancpain model of significance is their diver’s watch, the Fifty Fathoms. This watch began diving 200 meters beneath the water’s surface back in 1953 and continues to rank with the Seamaster and Submariner as the most iconic diver’s watches ever made. 

  • Key models: Villeret, Fifty Fathoms
  • Price range: $7,500 – $500,000+
  • Approximate average price: $18,500
  • Approximate annual production: 23,000
  • Ownership: Swatch GroupBlancpain fun fact: In 1991 Blancpain created a Grand Complication called The Blancpain 1735. The complex design included a minute repeater, moon phase indicator, perpetual calendar, a split seconds chronograph and a tourbillon.  

18. Zenith

top luxury watch brand Zenith

El Primero is a model name given to Zenith’s chronograph watch and it is also the name of the very important movement inside. This movement has been respected by watchmaking engineers as well as watch enthusiasts for several decades, ever since the movement was first produced in 1969. It is considered by most in-the-know to be the best chronograph movement in the industry. It is, after all, the first to be a fully integrated automatic chronograph movement.

Previous chronographs were manual wind or modular in construction. The movement is so respected, that when Rolex returned to chronograph production in 1988, they contracted with Zenith to use the El Primero base plate as the foundational component of their first automatic chronograph. This cooperation lasted about 12 years and the Daytona models from this period hold an even higher premium than others. The respect earned by this movement gives Zenith credibility and a permanently high status within the watch world.  

  • Key models: El Primero, Defy, Elite, Pilot
  • Price range: $4,000 – $125,000+ 
  • Approximate average price: $9,000
  • Approximate annual production: 15,000
  • Ownership: LVMH 
  • Company slogan: “Legends Live Forever.”

19. Tag Heuer

top luxury watch brands - tag heuer

Tag Heuer is a ubiquitous and very popular high volume brand that has thrived through the decades with well priced stainless steel sports models. The original brand created by Jack Heuer established itself in the 1960’s with racing style chronograph watches marketed alongside autoracing teams and iconic stars such as Steve McQueen. This original company was later purchased by TAG (Techniques d’Avante Garde) and continues to produce diverse and successful models.

  • Key Models: Aquaracer, Monaco, Formula 1, Carrera
  • Price range: $1,500 – $30,000+ 
  • Approximate average price: $2,900
  • Approximate annual production: 500,000
  • Ownership: LVMH 
  • Motto: “Don’t Crack Under Pressure.”

20. F.P. Journe

In recent years F.P. Journe has become a hot brand within the inner, inner circle of watchmaking enthusiasts. With all of his production within the city limits of Geneva, Francoise Paul Journe strives to be the link between the golden age of horological science and contemporary watchmaking.

Founded in 1999 they are young and their production is low and mindful of the outcome for each watch produced. They create about 750 per year and have yielded only 10,000 pieces in their 20 years of service. The watches are high quality and uncommon and this has turned the brand into a magnet for the modern collector looking for something good and truly independent in style and thinking.

  • Key models: Classique, Linesport, Elegante, Black Label
  • Price range: $30,000 – $250,000
  • Approximate average price: $65,000
  • Approximate annual production: 750
  • Ownership: Independent (20% has been owned by Chanel, another independent,  since 2018)
  • Motto: “Invenit et fecit” or “He invented it and made it.”Good quote: In a July 2021 edition of the Wall Street Journal stated that Francoise-Paul Journe, the founder of the watch brand bearing his name, “has earned a reputation as a mercurial (watchmaking) maestro.”

21. Bovet Fleurier

Hold a Bovet in your hand and you will see their commitment to watch craftsmanship and dial artistry. If you cannot, because they are so rare, find some images and read what they have to say about their manufacturing passion.

On their website you will discover that it is their mission to achieve “supremacy in the decorative arts of watchmaking.” With time, effort and high human touch, they carefully produce complete timepieces that have a mechanical excellence but with a concentration on such decorative arts as engraving, enameling and miniature painting.

The owner of the brand, Pascal Raffy, contributes to the passion for excellence by championing the traditions of inhouse components and personalized handcrafting. This, combined with low annual production makes the brand truly exclusive.

  • Key models: The Fleurier Collection, The Dimier Collection 
  • Price range: $8,500 – $250,000
  • Approximate average price: $28,000
  • Approximate annual production: 800
  • Ownership: Independent and owned by Pascal Raffy as of 2003
  • Motto: “Bovet 1822 Engineering Brilliance.”
  • Bovet fun fact: The official company name is Bovet Fleurier S.A. Fleurier is the name of the Swiss town in which it is headquartered and made. Parmiaganni Fleurier, another historic watch manufacturer from the same town, purchased the brand in 1989 then sold it to investors in 1990. 

22. Jaquet-Droz

Like Bovet, Jaquet Droz stands apart in the world of watchmaking with their extraordinary and artistic craftsmanship, especially in their dials. A range of dials are artwork born directly from nature, composed of stones, crystals or minerals that possess their own unique beauty.

Many other dials feature enamel paintings, delicately carved and decorated golden sculptures and meticulously applied lines and patterns. Some even feature animation. Special Jaquet Droz timepieces of past and present display mechanically driven characters such as singing birds or a fluttering butterfly. 

  • Key models: Grande Seconde, Astrale, Petite Heure Minute, Ateliers D’Art, Automata
  • Price range: $9,000 – $350,000
  • Approximate average price: $27,900
  • Approximate annual production: 3,500
  • Ownership: Swatch Group 
  • Motto: “Some watches tell time, some tell a story.”Jaquet Droz fun fact: Their work is often linked to a rococo style of art which is characterized by an elaborately ornamental late baroque style of decoration that was prevalent in 18th century Europe.

23. Grand Seiko

This list is dominated by Swiss watchmakers with just a few that are manufactured outside. Grand Seiko is one of those few as their timepieces are fully produced in Japan. In a watch world dominated by the Swiss they have earned their credibility as a solid and well priced mechanical timepiece that chooses the path of simplicity over complexity. They are crisp and clean and easy to read. 

As the branch of the multibillion dollar electronic watch giant Seiko, Grand Seiko was given charge back in the 1960’s to build high standard mechanical chronometers with shock resisting technology. Their purpose was to create a watch that would rival the Swiss brands and be Japan’s own luxury watch brand. Presently, their design, solid construction and price point make them a recognized value. As a result the brand has witnessed considerable sales growth in Europe and the United States.

  • Key models: Heritage, Sport, Elegance, Masterpiece
  • Price range: $2,000 – $90,000
  • Approximate average price: $3,500
  • Approximate annual production: 3,500
  • Ownership: Seiko Group
  • Made in Japan

24. Bremont

bremont watch

Bremont is another non Swiss brand that is strongly competing, and excelling, against its’ Swiss competition. This British brand was born in 2002 and has steadily grown to an annual production of 10,000 watches in just under 20 years.

They are primarily aviation themed as they draw many of their product names, designs and even materials from the world of planes, modern jets and the manufacturing technology that goes with it. Their watches are built to withstand the extreme conditions of a military pilot such as vibration, high g-forces, free-falling and even freezing temperatures. 

Bremont has found success with smart limited edition series watches. They have successfully coordinated the production of limited pieces with various branches of the British and U.S. armed services.

In one creative series of models called Hercules, Bremont micro engineered original birchwood from Howard Hughes’ “Spruce Goose” directly into the rotor of the movement, which is made visible with a sapphire case back.

  • Key models: SuperMarine, Martin Baker, Boeing, U-2, Alt1, Solo
  • Price range: $3,000 – $28,000
  • Approximate average price: $4,800
  • Approximate annual production: 10,000 
  • Ownership: Nick & Giles English 
  • Made in the United Kingdom

25. Panerai

panerai watch

Giuseppe Panerai began making precision instruments and technical equipment in 1860, in Switzerland, to serve the needs of the Italian military. The company evolved and also began making wristwatches for Italian soldiers and sailors. These watches were oversized with a rugged military design.

These watches were not sold to civilians until 1993, and when they finally were, the brand captivated customers with its bold size and distinct look. Panerai watches today remain one of the most recognizable on any wrist.

  • Key models: Luminor, Radiomir
  • Price range: $4,000 – $150,000
  • Approximate average price: $10,200
  • Approximate annual production: 70,000
  • Ownership: Richemont Group
  • Panerai fun fact: The name Officine Panerai translates to “Panerai Workshops.”Panerai fun fact II: Their special Radiomir paint was invented in 1916 and it is derived from a radium based powder that gives longlasting radiance and better visibility underwater or in the dark.

26. Bvlgari

The House of Bvlgari produces and distributes an array of luxury goods from jewelry to fragrances. Their watches have found appeal and popularity through the decades mostly because they were fashionable. Their models that are being produced today are receiving considerable acclaim. They are striking, stylish, geometric and brimming with innovation.

Their recently produced Octo Finissimo holds record setting thinness across several models. A new thin standard was set for this style watch, and the industry, with the Octo Finissimo Automatic introduced in 2017 at 5.15mm thin. At the most recent Watches and Wonders trade show, Bulgari revealed an Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar that is just 5.8mm thin. These recent engineering achievements solidify Bvlgari as a brand that transcends what once may have been a fashion only label and is now firmly seen in the world of advanced watchmaking.

  • Key models: Diagono, Bvlgari Bvlgari, Serpenti, BZero1, Octo, Lvcea
  • Price range: $2,500 – $220,000
  • Approximate average pricing: $9,800
  • Approximate annual production: 58,000
  • Ownership: LVMH 
  • Motto: “Bvlgari, the magnificent Italian jeweler since 1884.”
  • Bvlgari fun fact: The company is properly known for its Italian heritage, but it’s earliest roots are in Greece where a silversmith named Sotirios Voulgaris first engaged in what would become the long standing family business. In 1881 he moved to Rome under the name Sotirios Bulgari and in 1884 he opened his first jewelry store.

27. Glashutte Original

glashutte watch

Glashutte Original is the second watch brand on this list made in Germany. (One more to follow). The company was founded in 1994 in the city that has been the longtime center of German horology for a very long time, Glashutte. This city, and region, has a wealth of watchmaking suppliers and a wealth of watchmaking talent.

This enables Glashutte Original to build their watches from the ground up under one roof, having all that they need produced directly around them and readily available. Glashutte Original today utilizes core elements of classic German watchmaking such as a three quarter movement plate (not multiple bridges) and large date windows. The result is a combination of modern and traditional German watchmaking brought to life. 

  • Key models: Senator, PanoMatic, PanoReserve
  • Price range: $4,000 – $200,000 
  • Approximate average price: $8,000
  • Approximate annual production: 13,000
  • Ownership: Swatch Group brand
  • Made in Germany
  • Glashutte fun fact: The name “Glashutte Original” refers to the original blended group of independent watchmakers and parts manufacturers that collaborated in t e town and region as far back as 1845.

28. Ulysse Nardin

ulysse nardin watch

Ulysse Nardin is another Swiss watch builder born in the mid nineteenth century and then put into high manufacturing motion to meet the timekeeping demands of the military.

The company actively supplied the navies of many nations with marine chronometers from the late 1800’s to 1950. Modern UN wrist watches continue to strongly maintain the nautical themes and essence of the brand.

However, the brand is not handcuffed by this theme nor other traditional constraints. This is evidenced by their Freak collection. These specially designed watches are unconventional and according to their website filled with “razzle dazzle.”

The Freak X for example shows the time with a rotating movement, where the central bridge serves as a minute hand and the hours are indicated on a wheel. With this range UN aims to create new timepieces that defy our understanding of what a watch can be.

  • Key models: Marine, Diver, Executive Dual-Time, Classico, Freak
  • Price range: $4,500 – $500,000 
  • Approximate average price: $11,000
  • Approximate annual production: 13,000
  • Ownership: Kering Group

29. H. Moser & Cie

This mostly undiscovered brand is independent, family owned and makes some striking looking watches with vibrant dial colors. These dials are getting them noticed. Their fume dial, a name that translates to smoke, has gradients of color that give many of their pieces a sense of depth as well as a liveliness.

A wider look at the company reveals a devotion to classic handmade watches and their own inhouse movements.

  • Key models: Endeavor, Venturer, Pioneer, Streamliner
  • Price range: $15,000 – $100,000
  • Approximate average price: $18,500
  • Approximate annual production: 1,500
  • Ownership: The Meylan family

30. Nomos Glashutte

Commonly called just Nomos, this company is the third watch brand on this list that is made in Germany and in the famed region of Glashutte. They are a young manufacturer making well priced timepieces with very quiet designs created in the Bauhaus spirit.

Their pricing is likely the lowest of any manufacturer delivering inhouse movements. They have been heavily awarded for good design, watchmaking craftsmanship as well as sustainability. Started in 1990, this company has come a long way in a very short period of time.

  • Key models: Tangente, Orion, Metro, Autobahn, Minimatik, Ludwig
  • Price range:  $1,000 – $20,000 
  • Approximate average price: $2,500
  • Approximate annual production: 20,000
  • Ownership: Independent
  • Made in Germany
  • Nomos fun fact: Nomos is the Greek word for Law

We have just ranked and reviewed 30 watch brands. Amongst these brands we have found many common threads that connect them. So many have rich histories. There are stories of partnerships, families, invention and risk.

Some companies link all the way back to the renaissance of mechanical watches in the eighteenth century while others were formed to serve the demands of an industrialized nineteenth century.

While it’s good to see so many from these eras still thriving today. It is equally rewarding to see so many new and independently thinking watch houses come to life in our modern era and bring new designs and new approaches to a traditional craft.

Some brands produce over a million watches a year while others keep it under 1,000. They all remain in the valiant service of making customers happy with the best micro engineered, time telling machines possible.


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