Luxury watch brands exhibit their legacy, mission, craftsmanship, and price as defining characteristics. More often than not, they are the ones who set the bar for trends and designs in watchmaking. But it is important to remember that the best luxury watchmakers will see their timepieces as more than timekeeping devices. Their offerings are expressions of what makes their brand unique.


Location:Bienne, Switzerland
Popular Models:Speedmaster, Seamaster, Constellation
Design Style:Ranging from dress to tool watch
Price Range:$3,750 – $30,500

Precision and cultural impact have always been the guiding compasses for Omega. In 1848, a watchmaker named Louis Brandt started his modest watchmaking operation called “Louis Brandt & Fils” in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Then, 45 years later, Brandt’s sons (Louis Paul and Cesar) would take what their father started and cultivate his vision into one of the best luxury watch brands in existence.

The two brothers saw the potential in what their father created, and they moved the company to Bienne, Switzerland, to produce the movement that would change everything. This incredibly accurate (for the time) movement offered the ability to wind the mechanism manually and set the time from the main crown.

That movement had such a cultural impact and grew their business to such new heights of success that the brothers decided to change the name of their entire watchmaking operation to the name of that revolutionary movement. The movement was called OMEGA.

Omega’s influence on our culture continued through several milestones, including its role as the official timekeeper for the Olympics, the watch brand of NASA, and the current James Bond watch. Additionally, Omega continues to push the limits of horological technology by being the first brand to create the bi-directional automatic movement rotor and popularize the Co-Axial Escapement movement.

An Omega would be a great brand for someone who wanted a high-end luxury timepiece with deep roots in Swiss horological history but with a legacy of pushing limits, innovating, and always trying to live the spirit of pushing forward while also being reverend towards the past.


Location:Geneva, Switzerland
Popular Models:Submariner, Explorer, Explorer II, Daytona
Design Style:Ranging from dress to tool watch
Price Range:$7000 – $80,000

With humble beginnings and high aspirations, the small company that would eventually become Rolex Watches was founded in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis. Originally established in London, the company moved to Geneva in 1919, where it continues to operate.

Rolex Watches is the most well-known brand of Swiss luxury watches today, but their focus on creating reliable and functional tool watches first put them on the map. In fact, Rolex created the first water-resistant watch in 1926. Rolex also developed the first self-winding chronometer with a date window in 1945. Then, between 1950 and 1960, Rolex began hitting its stride as a tool watch manufacturer with the following iconic releases:

  • Rolex Explorer (1953)
  • Submariner (1953)
  • Milgauss (1956)
  • GMT Master (1959)
  • Cosmograph Daytona (1963)

Rolex maintains its reputation for producing reliable watches with exceptional attention to detail, even as it has become known as a luxury watch brand. They are often still regarded as the pinnacle of consumer product reliability.

A Rolex would be ideal for someone who wants something classic that works with shorts, a T-shirt, or a suit.

Patek Philippe

Photo: Patek Philippe
Location:Geneva, Switzerland
Popular Models:Nautilus, Grand Complications, Calatrava, and Aquanaut
Design Style:Classic, elegant, and vintage
Price Range:$15,000 – $400,00+

With a history going back to 1839, Patek Philippe is easily one of the oldest luxury watch brands today – they’re also one of the last independent and family-owned brands left. Named after the company’s two founders (Antoni Patek and Ardien Philipp), Patek Philippe has always had a history associated with refined luxury fit for royalty. In 1851, the United Kingdom’s Queen Victoria purchased one of the Swiss watchmakers’ keyless pendant watches in London. She also had another broach-style timepiece exclusively made for her by Patek Philippe.

Patek Philippe holds many “firsts” that have contributed to their reverence in the world of horology:

  • 1845 | Patent for a keyless movement, which meant that the movement could be wound and the time could be set without a key.
  • 1868 | Created the first Swiss Wristwatch
  • 1889 | Patent for the first perpetual calendar complication in a pocket watch
  • 1902 | Patent for the first split chronograph (also known as a “double chronograph”)
  • 1956 | Introduced the first entirely electrical clock

Known for expressing its brand vision through elegance and intricate craftsmanship, Patek Philippe is often a luxury brand synonymous with highly elaborated complications like split-second chronographs, minute repeaters, and perpetual calendars.

A Patek Philippe would be the ideal brand for someone looking for the absolute ultimate expression of what a dress watch is supposed to be, with a hard lean toward timeless but nostalgic aesthetics.

Audemars Piguet

Photo: Audemars Piguet
Location:Le Brassus, Switzerland
Popular Models:Royal Oak and Code 11:59
Design Style:Mixture of bold avant garde, modern and mid-century stylings
Price Range:$12,000 – $400,000+

Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet were childhood friends who would eventually grow up together and start one of the most influential luxury brands in horological history. After taking their careers in two different directions within horology, the two friends reconnected and officially founded Audemars Piguet & Cie in 1881, basing themselves initially in Le Brassus, Switzerland.

While Audemars specialized in crafting complex watch movements, Piguet focused primarily on the regulation and accuracy-achievement of timepieces. Once fully incorporated and partnered, the brand established itself as a core luxury watch brand and a horological technology innovator.

However, the Royal Oak is their most significant and well-known contribution to the watch industry. Audemars Piguet introduced the Royal Oak in 1972 as the world’s first luxury sports watch.

Grand Seiko

Location:Iwate, Japan and Nagano, Japan
Popular Collections:Heritage, Elegance, Evolution 9, Sport
Design Style:Ranging from dress to tool watch
Price Range:$2,300 – $350,000+

In 1960, the Japanese watch manufacturer Grand Seiko made its debut. The goal that drove the conception and mission of the brand was easy to grasp but tricky to accomplish: perfection. Grand Seiko wanted to create Earth’s most accurate, reliable, comfortable, and beautiful timepieces. While some things have changed for the brand over the past six decades, they still hold to their ideals of always trying to design better, push horological technology, and reach new heights of wrist comfort for Grand Seiko Owners.

You’ll notice with Grand Seiko that while they strive for perfection, they may interpret that differently with their design than some other brands. Perfection in design for Grand Seiko generally means simplicity of form and the most precise/most aesthetically pleasing iteration of a timepiece visual inspiration. Whether it’s a timepiece to commemorate the changing of the seasons and the celebration of Cherry Blossoms (SBGA413) or a timepiece that pays homage to the wind blowing snow off the Hokkaido Mountains (SBGA211), Grand Seiko employs a deft, measured, but thoughtful hand in everything they create.

A Grand Seiko would be a great watch purchase for someone in the market who wants a timepiece under the radar but packed with subtle meaning that other enthusiasts would only recognize.


Photo: Breitling
Location:Grenchen, Switzerland
Popular Models:Navitimer, Emergency II, and Superocean
Design Style:Class tool and adventure design nuances with some bold design moments
Price Range:$3,300 – $40,000

In the late 1800s, Swiss-born Léon Breitling was intensely interested in watchmaking – specifically, complicated timekeeping mechanisms. He founded his watchmaking workshop in 1884, focusing on chronographs and intricate timekeeping instruments. These are the foundations of Breitling Watches.

As a brand, Breitling has always connected closely with performance sports, industrialized transportation, and exploration. The iconic Swiss watchmaker was pivotal in shaping the modern chronograph movement as we know it today. Breitling’s mission has always been to innovate and make the chronograph mechanism more user-friendly and practical. They achieved this by introducing the first-ever chronograph wristwatch for aviators in the early 1900s. They then progressed to separate “start/stop” pushers from the crowns in the mid-1940s/50s and later introduced the first automatic chronograph movement in the 1960s, among other notable innovations.

A Breitling timepiece would be ideal for anyone looking to express a love of auto-powered performance sports while offering a nod to horological history.


Location:Florence, Italy
Popular Model Collections:Luminor, Radiomir, and Submersible
Design Style:Bold, legible with vintage Italian Navy nuances
Price Range:$6,800 – $180,000

With deep roots in the Italian military as well as a design flair that’s undoubtedly bold, Panerai stands out among most luxury watch brands. Giovanni Panerai founded the luxury watch brand in Florence in 1860. Initially, it operated a watch repair shop and fabricated precise engineering equipment. In the early 1900s, however, Panerai began its partnership with the Royal Italian Navy, which went on to help define the brand’s identity today.

Panerai proved an invaluable partner for the Italian military by providing water-resistant and luminescent watches, specifically for the Italian “frogman,” an elite class of amphibious soldiers tasked with underwater demolition. As the Italian Navy’s need to rely on their soldiers increased during the 1900s, so did their reliance on Panerai’s ability to provide reliable and functional timepieces.


Photo: Jaeger-LeCoultre
Location:Le Sentier, Switzerland
Popular Model Collections:Reverso, Memovox, Master Control, Master Ultra, and Polaris
Design Style:Classic, intricate, and elegant with some Art Deco and modern design moments
Price Range:$5,650 – $100,000+

With a history as a horological innovator and visionary in technical watchmaking, Jaeger-LeCoultre has rightly earned its place as one of the most revered luxury watch brands in production today. The brand’s history goes back to 1833 when it was founded by Antoine LeCoultre. Even from those early beginnings, Jeager-LeCoultre was cultivating one of its more admirable traits: in-house, vertical watchmaking.

While it may have been customary in the 1800s for a timepiece to have to travel to multiple different shops for it to be complete, in 1870, Jaeger LeCoultre essentially created an early assembly line to support the creation of their technical and complicated movements. Their efforts to maintain as much of the watch crafting process in-house have endured to this day, making Jaeger LeCoultre synonymous with attention to detail and highly technical luxury watches.

Tag Heuer

Location:La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
Popular Model Collections:Monaco, Aquaracer, Link, Carrer, and Autovia
Design Style:Ranging from dress to tool watch
Price Range:$1,400 – $30,000

Tag Heuer has become inseparable from the history and the development of motorsports and performance racing. Initially founded in 1860 by Edouard Heuer in Switzerland, the brand found itself in a position to start innovating in unity with the rise of automobiles. In the late 1800s, Heuer focused their chronograph watches on the timing needs of automobile drivers. Further into the early and mid-1900s, the brand began creating automobile dashboard timers and chronographs.

As the 1960s and 1970s ushered in the advent of higher-performance automobiles and competitive motorsports, Heuer timepieces were the preferred timekeeping tool. In fact, it was in 1969 when Heuer successfully collaborated with Breitling to create the world’s first automatic chronograph. TAG acquired Heuer, a private holding company focused on aviation and motorsports, in the 1980s, which led to the birth of the current name Tag Heuer.


Photo: Cartier
Location:Paris, France
Popular Model Collections:Santos, Tank, Pasha, and Ballon
Design Style:Classic Art Deco
Price Range:$2,580 – $500,000+

Based in Paris, Cartier was founded in 1847 by Louis-Francois Cartier and focused initially on making a name for themselves by providing extravagant jewelry for royalty and high society individuals all over Europe. After Louis passed the business on to his two sons in the early 1900s, Cartier offered men’s watches.

During the early 1900s, Cartier created its most influential and iconic models.

  • 1901 | Cartier Santos – Inspired by Alberto Santos-Dumont, this model was designed to support Santos-Dumont’s ability to rely on his watch while in the cockpit.
  • 1917 | Cartier Tank – Inspired by Renault Tanks in use during WWI

A Cartier timepiece would be an incredible choice for anyone looking for something with strong horological roots outside the typical Swiss brands. Additionally, their design ethos makes them ideal for anyone inclined towards Art Deco stylings.


Location:Geneva, Switzerland
Popular Model Collections:Black Bay, Pelagos, and Heritage series
Design Style:Ranging from dress to tool watch
Price Range:$1,800 – $16,852

Tudor is best known historically as a sister company to Rolex. Initially conceived by Hans Wilsdorf (founder of Rolex) in 1926, the goal of Tudor watches was to provide Rolex quality timepieces to a larger audience of consumers by featuring lower prices. Tudor achieved this by using non-Rolex movements with Rolex cases, bracelets, and other parts.

Due to the reliability and affordability of these early Tudor timepieces, they were an excellent fit for the military. In particular, the French Marine Nationale (French Navy) was a frequent customer and collaborator with Tudor from the mid to late 1900s. In the early 2000s, Tudor began to re-imagine its product offerings by paying tribute to its models of the past and positioning its product lines within the luxury lifestyle market.

A Tudor would be an excellent watch for anyone looking for something with some history, but as a functional tool watch, it is less of a design-inspired dress watch.

Vacheron Constantin

Photo: Vacheron Constantin
Location:Canton of Genevaand Vallée de Joux, Switzerland
Popular Model Collections:Overseas, Historiques, Patrimony, and the Traditionale
Design Style:Classic, intricate, and elegant
Price Range:$15,000 – $131,000

With its history going back to 1755, Vacheron Constantin is one of the world’s oldest continually operating luxury watch brands. As such, the history of this luxury watch brand encompasses many firsts (like the first ever horological complication – the first nonmagnetic watch) as well as intersections with various artistic and political figures (like Fabergé and numerous European Monarchs).

At its core, Vacheron Constantin epitomizes what it means to be a modern Swiss luxury watch. They offer designs that are both respectful of the past but forward-thinking; they constantly strive to push the boundaries of what technical horology is capable of (in 2015, Vacheron Constantin created the most complicated watch on earth, featuring 57 complications). Most importantly, they are a brand that often operates in a vacuum and carries themselves in a way that isn’t concerned with trends of the watch world.


Photo: Zenith
Location:Le Locle, Switzerland
Popular Model Collections:El Primero and Defy
Design Style:Ranging from dress to tool watch
Price Range:$4,700 – $150,000

Founded in 1865 by Georges Favre-Jacot, Zenith was one of the first brands to promote “in-house” production from cases, dials, and movements. As such, Zenith’s legacy as a luxury watch brand is synonymous with tight fit and finish and high precision.

The most notable contribution that Zenith has brought to the world of horology is the El Primero, the world’s first automatic chronograph movement (created in collaboration with Breitling) introduced in 1969. From that moment on, Zenith’s product line and offerings would forever be influenced by the El Primero, with a core facet of the brand’s offerings being chronographs.


Location:Schaffhausen, Switzerland
Popular Model Collections:Big Pilot, Spitfire Series, Portugieser, and Aquatimer
Design Style:Classic, pilot watch designs
Price Range:$4,650 – $100,000+

Short for International Watch Company, IWC operates in Schaffhausen, in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. IWC stands out from other Swiss watch brands as an American technically founded it. In 1868, Florentine Ariosto Jones sought an economical way to create ornate pocket watches for the American market. He ended up building his operation in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, because that region was a source of skilled but affordable labor (in addition to a dependable power source from a hydroelectric plant).

While the brand’s initial aspirations were for elegant pocket watches, the growing advent of aviation would give the luxury watch brand its most significant opportunity to leave a mark on the world of horology. After collaborating with numerous air force regiments (Luftwaffe, British RAF, U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School), IWC is known for creating the most iconic pilot watch design.


Photo: Piaget
Location:Geneva, Switzerland
Popular Model Collections:Altiplano, Polo, and Limelight
Design Style:thin, elegant, and refined
Price Range:$5,000 – $88,000

Even with a robust history of watchmaking behind them, spanning back to 1874, Piaget is best known today as a pioneer in one thing: thin, elegant watches. Founded by Georges Piaget in Switzerland, Piaget focused their original efforts on producing watch movements. Eventually, after several decades, the brand began making its complete watch collections.

These watchmaking operations continued into the 1950s when Piaget introduced a watch movement that would forever define who they were. The Caliber 9P was introduced in 1957 and was an incredibly 2mm thick. A U.S. quarter is 1.75mm thick, and a typical watch movement could be anywhere from 8mm to 14mm thick.

Thinness, comfort, and elegance have since become Piaget’s defining features.


Photo: Blancpain
Location:Brassus, Switzerland
Popular Model Collections:Fifty Fathoms
Design Style:classic stylings with quintessential early dive watch aesthetics
Price Range:$9,600 – $135,700

The title of the Oldest Watch Brand in Existence goes to Blancpain. In 1735, Jehan-Jacques Blancpain founded the iconic luxury watch brand in Villeret, Switzerland. For the first two hundred years of Blancpain’s operations, it functioned as one of many Swiss horological workshops, trying to push technological boundaries and keep their business afloat.

After passing out of the family’s hands in the early 1900s, it was in the 1950s when Blancpain left its most consequential mark on the world of horology: the first modern dive watch. During the era when advanced diving techniques were taking the world by storm, Blancpain developed the Fifty-Fathoms. With these new advancements in diving came the need for a more reliable, nuanced type of device to help divers keep track of how much air they’ve used while diving. The Fifty Fathoms fulfilled the need for a modern dive watch and paved the way for all subsequent dive watches.

If you’re considering purchasing a Blancpain, then you’re only looking at a Fifty Fathoms. If you’re looking at a Fifty Fathoms, then you’re someone who is looking to wear dive watch royalty on your wrist.

A. Lange & Söhne

Photo: A. Lange & Söhne
Location:Glashütte, Germany
Popular Model Collections:Lange 1, Zeitwerk, and Odysseus
Design Style:Classic, intricate, and elegant
Price Range:$19,700 – $2,600,000

A. Lange & Söhne serves as the highest standard of excellence that most German (and non-German) brands hold themselves against. The brand established Glashütte as the heart of Germany’s watchmaking culture after Ferdinand Adolph Lange opened his workshop there in 1845.

While the brand initially started crafting elegant pocket watches, A. Lange & Söhne had to pivot towards producing timepieces and equipment for the military during WWII. In the final days of WWII, the Glashütte factory’s destruction brought an end to A. Lange & Söhne.

Decades later, in 1990, the great-grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange, Walter Lange, revived the brand. His and his team’s hard work and dedication transformed A. Lange & Söhne into the best luxury watch brands ever.

Ulysse Nardin

Photo: Ulysse Nardin
Location:Le Locle, Switzerland
Popular Model Collections:Freak, Marine, Diver
Design Style:Ranges from nautical inspired to concept-driven avant garde
Price Range:$6,700 – $432,600

While The Ulysse Nardin we know today is synonymous with bold, progressive, and sometimes modern avant-garde designs, this luxury watch brand made a name for itself by providing dozens of the world’s Navy fleets with the most accurate and dependable marine chronometers from 1846 to 1975. The practice of creating highly accurate, complex, and sea-worthy chronometers is in the DNA of Ulysse Nardin.

However, with the advent of the Quartz Crisis in the 1970s, the need for the type of mechanical horology that the brand practiced fell out of popular fashion. As such, Ulysse Nardin faded into obscurity until Rolf Schnyder eventually purchased it. Rolf and his team revived the brand by honoring its history and working to ensure it was always forward-thinking and innovative on complications and the materials they used.

During this time, Ulysse Nardin introduced the first “Freak” in 2001. The Freak was a revolutionary technological achievement in movement manufacturing. It created an entirely new type of escapement and helped pioneer the use of silicon in watchmaking. While the brand is now under new ownership and does feature a roster of new models (like the Marine and the Diver), the Freak remains the brand’s most influential contribution to the world of watchmaking.


Photo: Hublot
Location:Nyon, Switzerland
Popular Models:Big Bang Chronograph
Design Style:Port-hole inspired with avant garde, bold, and modern design iterations
Price Range:$5,000 – $422,000

Some luxury watch brands have become a force to be reckoned with without needing hundreds of years of history behind them. Hublot is proof of that. Only emerging on the scene in 1980, Hublot is the brainchild of Carlo Crocco, who spent three years working to research and create the world’s first watch with an integrated, natural rubber strap. As Hublot’s success grew into the 2000s, Crocco eventually partnered with Jean-Claude Biver, who became the brand’s CEO. In 2004, Biver pioneered and oversaw the watch that would change everything for Hublot: The Big Bang Chronograph.

Following the success of the Big Bang, Biver’s vision for Hublot proved successful after the watch had won numerous design and horology awards, eventually culminating in the acquisition of Hublot by LVMH.

To this day, the Hublot Big Bang remains an instantly recognizable design that the brand has continued to iterate and build upon. A Big Bang would be an ideal watch for someone interested in a timepiece that is forward-thinking in terms of the materials it uses and its modern, bold, and impactful design.

Richard Mille

Photo: Richard Mille
Location:Les Breuleux, Switzerland
Popular Models:RM 055 Bubba Watson, RM 40-01 McLaren Speedtail, RM 052 Skull, RM 35-02 Rafael Nadal
Design Style:Aviation and automobile inspired with modern, bold nuances
Price Range:$60,000 – $2,000,000

A relatively new luxury watch brand, Richard Mille, was established in 2001 by partners Richard Mille and Dominique Guenat. The brand has significantly impacted watchmaking by pushing the boundaries of what’s expected and traditional with movement complications, watchmaking materials, and design. Mille and Guenat imbued their passion for high-performance automobiles, aviation, and space exploration into the DNA of their brand.

Aside from the appeal of the aesthetics, one of the prominent selling features that Richard Mille promotes about their watches is their ability to withstand heavy impacts. That’s part of the reason why the brand partners with sports ambassadors from sports like Tennis (Raphael Nadal) and Golf (Bubba Watson).

In pursuit of their unique design ethos functionality, Richard Mille pioneered using many new watchmaking materials like grade 5 Titanium, graphene, Carbon TPT, and LITAL (an aluminum, copper, magnesium, and zirconium alloy).


Photo: Bulgari
Location:Rome, Italy
Popular Models:Octo Finissimo and Serpenti
Design Style:High style, intricate, elegant, and bold
Price Range:$3,000 – $60,000

With a design language that’s bold, dynamic, timeless, and quintessentially Italian, Bulgari started as a silversmith, jeweler, and curio dealer in 1884. Pioneered by Sotirios Voulgaris (a Greek immigrant who later Romanized his name to Sotirio Bulgari), it was in the 1940s that the brand began to make an impact in the world of watchmaking.

The Serpenti first debuted in the 1940s, blending horology, high fashion, and Art Deco design – a signature combination that would inform all of Bulgari’s watch designs moving forward. Bulgari also became known as a luxury watch brand specializing in extremely thin and wearable timepieces thanks to the Octo Finissimo released in 2014. Bulgari has revised the Serpenti and Octo Finissimo models with many designs, making them the brand’s most popular models.


Photo: Breguet
Location:L’Abbaye, Switzerland (originally founded in Paris, France)
Popular Models:Tradition, Classique, and Marine Collections
Design Style:Classic, intricate, and horologically-forward
Price Range:$6,000 – $400,000

Abraham-Louis Breguet founded Breguet Watches in Paris, France, in 1775, which (whether he realized it at the time or not) marked the beginning of one of the most influential legacies in horology. Breguet invented the self-winding watch (what we would call an automatic watch) when he first opened his horological operation in the late 1770s.

After that, Breguet didn’t stop making horological history. In 1783, he created the first wristwatch for Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples. As Breguet’s prestige began to grow, the iconic master watchmaker made history again by inventing the first tourbillion, which is a complication added to the escape mechanism and the balance wheel/stem of a timepiece. The idea behind this is that the tourbillion is in constant rotation-movement, which is supposed to help the timepiece maintain accuracy against gravity.

After that, Breguet continued to innovate and make history until eventually succumbing to the quartz crisis. In 1987, the brand became part of the Swatch Group, which brought in a new phase of revitalization. Today, Breguet Watches are celebrated for their timeless elegance and precision, maintaining a prominent position in Swiss watchmaking for over two centuries.

6 thoughts on “2024’s Best Luxury Watch Brands From Around The World”

    • Sorry, my comment doubled up, Breguet could have easily made that list as one of the earliest manufacturers of 1775, I was refering to ML above, which I really like ML, but some of these watches are very high end such as Breguet. Cheers


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