Swiss Made is not only origin, but also labels and quality feature. Today more than half of the world’s luxury watches are sold in Switzerland. In terms of quality, it is usually only the finest nuances that distinguish the Swiss watchmakers from each other. This is the reason why we do not usually decide on the basis of objective criteria for or against a specific watchmark but rather on “soft” factors such as the radiance or the image with which a manufacturer is associated.
The following list of the top 10 Swiss watch brands is just as subjective, so we take you on a small journey to the motherland of mechanical timekeeping. It not only introduces us to the watch metropolis of Geneva, where two of the most famous and prestigious brands are located, but also in sparsely populated valleys where almost as many watchmakers as residents seem to be.
10. Iwc (Schaffhausen)
We begin our journey in Schaffhausen. In 1868, the International Watch Company was established in the capital of the canton of the same name, which was located just a few kilometers before the German border, and has always stood for watches of the highest technical standard.
With the Destriero Scafusia one built in 1993 one of the most complicated watches of history. As one of only a few manufacturers IWC manufactured clocks with housing sizes of more than four centimeters already in the 1950s. Pocket watch calibers were used because of the higher speed and reliability. This means that IWC is still in the trend today without having to adapt itself to this. As far as the current collection is concerned, the range is bigger than ever, ranging from elegant timepieces from the Portuguese or Portofino to diving watches (Aquatimer) and, of course, to the aviator watch genre with which the IWC has been inextricably linked since the 1930s.
Most popular models: Portuguese, Mark, Big Pilot, Portofino, Aquatimer, Engineer
9. Breitling (Grenchen)
We continue our tour in the canton of Solothurn. We are still in the northern part of the country, but now a good way further west, about 80 kilometers south of Basel. We reach the town of Grenchen at the foot of the Jura mountain range, the mountain range that stretches to the north-west of the Swiss Alps along the Swiss-French border, where the majority of all Swiss watchmaking companies are located.
Breitling stands for high-quality aviator chronographs with a wide range of additional applications that can be implemented via a rotatable bezel, as in the case of the Navitimer. Fans of the brand value above all the detail richness of the dials and the sporty-archaic basic character of the watches. The moving history of Breitling began as early as 1884, when the brand of Léon Breitling was founded.Since then, much has happened. Despite a temporary ending and a subsequent takeover of the trademark rights by the manufacturer Sicura, Breitling still operates as an independent company. Whether it is a quartz, manual lift or automatic – all models are certified by the COSC and are officially designated as chronometers. Breitling has always stood for multifunctional and precision instruments at the highest level. With the legendary Navitimer not only accurate times can be stopped, but also numerous arithmetic operations can be carried out, and the Emergency has already saved a good dozen lives with its emergency call transmitter.
Most popular models: Chronomat, Navitimer, Superocean, Transocean , Emergency ,Breitling for Bentley, Avenger
8. Omega (Biel / Bienne)
If you travel further from Grenchen along the sun-saturated nostrils of the south-facing Albwiesen, you will soon reach the eastern end of Lake Biel and with it the city of Biel / Bienne. Biel was once a German-speaking country, which should only change with the influx of francophone watchmakers, so the city is now bilingual.
Above all, Biel / Bienne is the home town of Omega, and is perhaps the most famous luxury watch market in the world next to Rolex. Omega is not only the official partner of NASA but also the watch of the choice of James Bond and George Clooney. One also stands for the scientificization of the wristwatch, whose characteristics, in the service of technical progress, are often broken down to metric data. The Omega Speedmaster Professional is not only the first watch on the moon, but also the most tested watch in history. Regarding the design, the watches of Omega characterize the concept of the modern sporty-elegant men’s watch as no second brand. One can also well and gladly claim that in the last few years hardly any other manufacturer was so media-effective and attracted the attention of the professional world and the public. The names of the collections are now no less illustrious than those of Rolex. In addition to the Speedmaster, the Seamaster and its subcollections Planet Ocean and Aqua Terra as well as De Ville are also part of the portfolio.
Well-known models: Seamaster Planet Ocean, Seamaster Aquaterra , Seamaster 300M “Diver”, Constellation, Speedmaster Professional, De Ville
7. DAY Heuer (La Chaux-De-Fonds)
From the bilingual Solothurn it continues into the canton of Neuchâtel. In this way we reach Romandy, the French-speaking western part of Switzerland.
The city of La Chaux-de-Fonds, headquarter of TAG Heuer, lies at 992 meters above sea level. Even if the manufacturer still feels the same in the elegant watch genre, the true core competence lies in the disciplines department of the sporty chronograph recommended by Petsinclude.com. The models Monaco, Carrera and Autavia have long been classics and among the vintage fans are among the most popular chronograph models.The heritage is maintained with numerous retro references, which are especially reminiscent of the close connection to racing, especially Formula One. Recent examples of this are the resumption of the Heuer Monaco Caliber 11 and the Heuer Autavia. With the introduction of a Tourbillon model at a price of under EUR 15,000, and as the first luxury watch manufacturer to launch a Smartwatch, the company is also proud to be a future-oriented innovator, who is keen to track down paths that have not yet occurred before.
Most popular models: Carrera, Monaco, Formula 1, Aquaracer, Monza
6. Zenith (Le Locle)
In Le Locle, in the middle of the Jura mountain plateau, close to the Swiss-French border, clocks have been constantly being produced in one and the same production facility since 1865. The “Fabrique des Billodes”, founded by the only 22-year-old young entrepreneur George Favre-Jacot, caused a paradigm shift at that time. Up to this point, clocks were predominantly manufactured proto-industrially, which means that several watch manufacturers divided the different tasks of the manufacturing process among themselves. It was only since the founding of Zenith that the company has paved the way for other manufacturers such as Longines and Rolex, which today are regarded as pioneers of an industrialized luxury watch industry.
Zenith is famous today for the presentation of the El Primero, the world’s first automatic chronograph. Even today, with a high frequency of 36,000 oscillations per minute, the movement is regarded as an absolute reference in terms of its precision. It is therefore no coincidence that Rolex’s long-standing El Primero caliber for the Daytona collection also came back. Zenith is still one of the few “genuine” manufactures that produce all the movements themselves and which at the same time have an extremely wide watchmaking repertoire.
Most popular models: El Primero Chronomaster , El Primero Synopsis , Captain , Pilot
5. Blancpain (Le Brassus)
We now make a comparatively rich leap, and after about an hour and a half of an hour drive, we reach a land where the time seems to run more slowly than elsewhere – almost at the instantaneous pace of a mechanical watch before it comes to a halt. The talk is of the Vallée de Joux, the valley of clocks and rural counterpart to the German Glashütte.
In the small village of Le Brassus, Blancpain celebrates its 300th anniversary in less than two decades. This makes Blancpain the oldest still active watch producer in the world. It is remarkable that not a single quartz watch left the factory, but all the Blancpain models are mechanical. This mantra-attested confession of the mechanical watch is the result of a passion for luxury watches that has always existed. This even went so far that even during the quartz crisis on mechanical clocks, while almost all others manufactured at least partially battery-operated watches. This perseverance was ultimately to put the manufacturer in a state of misery at a time when the practicability of the battery, in the vast majority of cases, was superior to the purism of gear and armature. Jean-Claude Biver, today’s CEO of TAG Heuer, was the one who restored the life of the traditional company at the beginning of the nineties and put it back on the road to success.Today, Blancpain is again mixing in the concert of all the big ones, where the factory with the model classics Fifty Fathoms and Villeret also belongs.
Most popular models: Le Brassus, Villeret, Fifty Fathoms
4. Jaeger-Lecoultre (Le Sentier)
On sunny days, when the sun is still high enough before it finally disappears on the west side behind the shadow of the Jura massif, it is really warm in Le Sentier.The neighboring village of Le Brassus is located at an altitude of almost 1,000 meters and is thus so high that the sun’s striking force is not yet overlaid by the coolness of even higher mountain peaks.
Le Sentier is the home of the Tradtionmanufaktur Jaeger-LeCoultre. This has to be one of the top spots here, because perhaps the most innovative of all Swiss watchmakers is. No other can have a comparable number of patents, no other has produced so many work developments, and the expertise of no other was so in demand that even Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin used his works. In short: Jaeger-LeCoultre is a manufacturer with body and soul that understands the pursuit of perfection as a continuous and incessant process. Compared to other top notch brands, the designs are different in that the designs are often somewhat simpler. An exception is the detail-loving model classic Reverso in the style of Art Deco.
The best-known models: Reverso, Grande Reverso, Master Ultra Thin, Master Compressor
3. Breguet (L’orient)
Just a few kilometers away, not far from the south bank of Lac de Joux, is the tranquil village of L’Orient, and with it a brand that continues the heritage of the greatest watchmaking genius of history to the present day: the speech is by Abraham Louis Breguet and the According to him named watchmaker.
One can safely claim that hardly a watch brand embodies the long tradition of Swiss watchmaking as much as Breguet. In the second half of the 18th century, Breguet was already regarded as the most prestigious of all clock houses, and Marie Antoinette and Napoleon Bonaparte belonged to the illustrious clientele.Breguet, by the way, is not only the oldest Swiss watch, but probably the oldest watch ever, commissioned for Napoleon’s sister Caroline Murat, Reine de Naples.The spirit of a great past is still alive in the current models: Numerous Breguet-inspired inventions such as the Tourbillon and the Breguet spiral are still mode operandi. The designs are almost baroque in appearance and appear in their guilloched, enamelled or brillant finishes, such as minutely worked, smallest inlaid patterns. Some design features were also influential for other brands, such as Breguet pointers or Breguet numbers.
The best-known models: Reine de Naples , Classique, Héritage, Marine, Type XX
2. Rolex (Geneva / GenÈVe)
No list of best Swiss watch brands comes without Rolex. That’s why we continue our journey on Lake Geneva, to be precise in a suburb of the shimmering business and watchmaking metropolis.
An idea of Rolex is probably not necessary at this point and takes place here only as a demolition and for the sake of completeness. The strength of Rolex is the high recognition value and a brand history, in which not only the inventions themselves but also marketing and PR are an integral part of the success formula.Of course, the clocks are as good as a watch can be: while, unlike other manufacturers, you are not concentrating on the production of highly complicated clockwork mechanisms, Rolex is the main focus in the production of precise, robust and extremely low-maintenance everyday and sports watches.This with a consistency and quality, which is still unsurpassed today. As a rule, Rolex automatic systems do their work on the highest level for many decades.(We have compiled a list of the 10 most important Rolex calibers of recent years and decades.) A good dozen models are immortalized in the eternal clocks of Hall-of-Fame and are also well-known for many watch movements. Rolex never attached a meaningful pathos. It was always only a matter of producing high-quality and gear-exact watches with the quality of the receivers. If it goes to Rolex, everything else is waste.
Most popular models: Submariner , GMT-Master II , Milgauss, Datejust, Day-Date,Oysterdate, Oyster, Yacht Master
1. Patek Philippe (Geneva / GenÈVe)
If watch detectors use four-digit numbers, it is usually a conversation in which different Patek Philippe references form the basis. We are now prying into the absolute high-end squad of the luxury watch world and we are making our list of the top 10 Swiss watch brands with probably the most prestigious of all luxury watch brands: regularly Patek Philippe references record at the largest auction houses, where a clock already times against payment of a double- Owner changes. This is also the case in 2014, when Patek Philippe Henry Graves “Supercomplication” auctioned the most expensive watch of all time at a price of just under 20 million EUR. To this day, Patek has retained its exclusive image: Wartelists for certain models are the rule here, sometimes the demand exceeds the offer a lot. Need an example? The annual number of the Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon can be counted on one hand. Sometimes there are two, sometimes three or even five, which leave the manufactory. If you would like to receive the award for one of the coveted copies, you have to first present to Thierry Stern.
In addition to a large company history, Patek Philippe is characterized by a rigorous corporate philosophy, whereby the same high quality requirements apply to every model. Regardless of whether it is a Grande Complication or a more common Calatrava or Nautilus reference, Patek Philippe watches are the summit of horological creation made in Switzerland.
Most popular models: Calatrava, Nautilus, Ellipse, Gondolo, Grande Complication models (eg Ref. 2499)
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