When you talk about classic watches, the first thing which immediately pops up in the mind is Swiss watches brands. They have been at the pinnacle of watch industry since centuries. That’s why I thought what could have been a better topic for the first post of this blog than listing the top 10 Swiss Watches Brands which have defined ‘time’ over the years. Be it innovation, luxury, precision, class or quality, no other country comes even remotely close to Switzerland when it comes to watches. The brands which I am going to name in this list mean business. They have stood the test of time and have acted as the benchmark of perfection for all the other watch brands. Let’s take a dig at the 400 year old Swiss watch industry and find out which are the best brands among them.
Founded by Georges Piaget in the year 1874, this brand flourished in the mid 20th century. Owned by Georges’ grandsons during the period of the Second World War, Piaget experimented with some very thin watches. They became an instant hit among the masses, specially the women section. There was a time when they had the maximum number of women clients in the world, outweighing the likes of Audemars Piguet and Breguet. Piaget got International fame as a virtue of some highly precise watch models; these had ultra thin movements and were studded with costly gemstones. Even today when it comes to ultra thin movements, Piaget is always been looked upon.
I know you may be surprised seeing Franck Muller rank among the top 10 Swiss Watch brands but it is in for a reason. It is youngest brand in list, established in the year 1991, Franck Muller has climbed the charts at a fanatic pace. This brand paved its way into the luxury Swiss watches section within no time. A lot of credit should be given to the design team of this brand which managed to Cintre Curvex, a case shape which didn’t exist before. This new three dimensional case helped this brand in gaining recognition among the heavyweights of this industry. I love the fact that most of its watches are uniquely designed. They always have something new in store for the watch enthusiasts. One of its most famous models is Franck Muller Giga Tourbillon, a symbol of shear brilliance.
Established almost 150 years ago, IWC has emerged as one of the finest producer of Swiss watches in the past decade or so. This luxury watch brand is based in Schaffhausen, Switzerland but it’s surprising to know that it was founded by an American engineer rather than a Swiss. Currently owned by the Richemont Group, IWC is a brand which likes to keep things neat and elegant. Most of the watches produced by this brand are very traditional and classy. If you are man who likes to keep things sophisticated then IWC is the brand for you. IWC has produced some very famous series in the past. To name a few, they are Pilot, Portuguese, Aqua line and many more.
Founded by Jehan-Jacques Blancpain in the year 1735, Blancpain has its headquarters in Biel and it comes under the Swatch Group. Blancpain is a company which believes in exquisite quality and not in quantity, this is the reason why only 10,000 pieces are being manufactured by this company every year. You have to be a little lucky to own your favourite model of this brand as they are always limited. Blancpain pain produces some exclusive luxury watches like Toubillon Diamants which has as many as 238 components neatly crafted within a 40 mm watch. In spite of some financial difficulties, this brand never seized to produce its line of ‘grand compilation’ watches which have their symbol of excellence and supreme quality over the years.
Named after the founder Antoine-LeCoultre, this brand is credited for some ground breaking ideas and discoveries over the past hundred years. Antoine-LeCoultre has been one of the sharpest minds that the watch industry has ever seen. He eliminated the concept of key which were required earlier in order to reset the watches. He discovered the instrument Millionometre which helped the future generations in maintaining utmost accuracy in the watches. Some of the most famous models by this brand are Hybris Mechanica Grande Sonnerie, Reverso Complication a triptyque and Master Grand Tourbillon. They use some of the most advanced chiming movements in their watches which make the overall mechanism even more complex. The number of complications goes up to 26 in some of its watches, which I must tell you are a lot by any standards.
#5 Audemars Piguet
Founded by Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet, Audemars Piguet has been providing some of the finest watches of the world ever since 1874. Their meticulous nature in watch making instantly made them a popular name in Switzerland initially and later on, all around the world. Watch industry was always huge in Switzerland, and after the inception of this brand it took even bigger leap than before. Audemars Piguet became the largest employers in this industry. Luxury jewellery brands like Cartier, Tiffany & Co. and Bulgari have collaborated with Audemars Piguet in the past to dish out some masterpieces in front of this world. Some of its famous models are Millenary, Jules Audemars and Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph.
Vacheron Constantin is one of the oldest names in this list of top 10 Swiss watches brands. Some of the greats like Napolean Bonaparte and Pope Pius XI used to sport watches manufactured by this brand. I always get fascinated by the legacy of this brand, Vacheron Constantin has so much history behind itself. This brand has a huge fascination towards diamonds and it is very much evident by the way they explicitly use so many diamonds their watches. With this potential which this brand possesses, it could have been ranked even higher among the best Swiss watches brands. I think where it lacked was the marketing section, if it were to have a better promotional strategy then sky will be the limit for Vacheron Constantin.
All the brands which I have mentioned may be a symbol of luxury and class but Girard-Perregaux is the brand which exemplifies innovation. This was the first company in the history of watches to manufacture each and every small part of a watch on its own. Modern ideas like the ‘three bridges concept’ has helped this luxury Swiss brand in gaining critical acclaim as well as commercial success. Girard-Perregaux has almost 80 patents to its name, clearly giving an idea of what a revelation this brand has been to the watch industry. Most of the models released by this brand are limited edition models. Men who truly appreciate the fine craftsmanship of these watches can get their hands on it.
Founded by Abraham-Louis Breguet in the year 1775, Breguet is a company with a very strong history. It’s not just the history which makes this brand so special; it’s the perfection in the watches which actually makes them stand apart. Breguet watches has its signature Breguet hands along with the pomme arms. One feature which really stands out for me in most of the Breguet watches is the guilloche dial which is inscribed in a coin edged case. Some of the great names who used to adore Breguet watches include George III, Lous Philippe I, Queen Victoria, Napolean Bonaparte and many more. This is one brand which has an equally great collection in the women’s section as in men’s section. One fine example of that is Reine de Naples Ladies watch, a timepiece with more than 400 diamonds beautifully studded in it.
#1 Patek Philippe
The first spot in the list of top 10 Swiss watch brands goes to none other than the magnanimous Patek Philippe. Any man on earth who has an appetite for quality luxury watches has got to have a Patek Philippe timepiece. This Swiss brand is famous for producing some very rare and exclusive watches. It is one of the most prestigious watch brands in the world, the reason of it being the way it is produced. The watches are being crafted by old world artisans, who have an expertise in micromechanical engineering, and all this is done by hand. You will find a perfect blend of expensive metals, sapphires and diamonds in its watches so that they appear to be completely soaked in luxury.
These were some of the best Swiss watches brands in the world, every watch enthusiast wishes to have a piece of it. All the brands which I mentioned above are dipped in luxury top to bottom, if you are planning on buying them then be ready to shed a huge chunk of your bank balance. The journey from the beautiful glass case to your wrist is as expensive one. All these companies are growing at a great pace, let’s see what more they can offer in the coming few years.