Watches are not just used to keep up with time. It’s also a reflection of one’s taste and individuality. Those who are all for showing their personal style (and status), carefully choosing the perfect timepiece for them is a top priority. While a lot of watches can be found on the affordable side, there’s something only the posh ones can offer. First of all, it’s not just the price tag, though it certainly cannot also be the similar horological thing you just found at some bazaars or clearance sales.
Surely a fancy watch is a good starting point because it will never be called luxury if it’s not pricey in the first place. But with such a cost, you know you’ll get the best kind in return. By best, I mean the best design, best build quality and best functionality. Whether you’re up to buying one or just plainly curious, let’s start having a solid understanding of the top watch brands in the industry.
- Patek Philippe
A Swiss brand known to have been top choices by royalties like Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Patek Philippe has set the standard for luxury watches since its founding in 1851. This brand is famous for its classic, understated and traditional look with highly functional mechanics. This brand is also known for its masterful complications such as star charts, moon phases, perpetual calendars and a lot more. But if you’re the type who wants the dials to look more prestigious, this may not be for you as PP dials are much simpler than other brands. Plus it doesn’t illuminate that much in the dark. But overall, their style is to die for. No wonder Patek Philippe is the choice of most royalties or even famous personalities like Albert Einstein, Brad Pitt, Paul Mc Cartney and Pablo Picasso.
- Audemars Piguet
Founded by Swiss childhood friends Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward-Auguste Piguet in 1881, this brand is known for producing the best, innovative watches for over 150 years. They are known for being the first to create the first repeater wristwatch in 1882, first jumping second-hand watch, the world’s thinnest wristwatch, first oversized watch ( under the brand name Royal Oak offshore), the first steel luxury sports watch and more. If you are looking for a timepiece that has stood the test of time, the AP brand is a perfect choice. Even brands like Tiffany & Co. and Bulgari use AP’s movements. Now we know why LeBron James, Tom Cruise, Serena Williams, Jay-Z and Kylie Jenner love wearing them. Just be careful not be too careless when having it for everyday use as the crown does have a tendency to get easily busted when you get a tad too careless.
- Vacheron Constantin
Vacheron Constantin is one of the oldest manufacturers of luxury watches. It was founded by Jean-Marc Vacheron in 1755. It is known for precise detailing, complicated designs, and craftsmanship, truly reflecting its heritage. In 1770, Jean-Marc Vacheron’s company built the first complication, which in horology, refers to any feature in a mechanical watch that displays more than just the simple hours and minutes (A watch that only indicates the hours and minutes is known as the simple movement). Years later, he created the first engine-turned dials.
Currently, Vacheron Constantin is owned by Richemont group, a Switzerland-based luxury goods holding company. And this is why Marlon Brando, Donald Trump, Kate Bosworth and Rick Rose are known wearing this brand proudly.
Highly-coveted Rolex is perhaps one of the most identifiable and most popular luxury watch brand worldwide. While this was founded in London, United Kingdom, it has moved its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. For many people, wearing Rolex is a status symbol and people always associate wearing this super pricey watch for being successful, although the brand proves otherwise. It’s actually beyond that. Surely, it has such a price tag, but the cutting-edge designs and masterfully crafted mechanics make it all worth it.
For sure, James Bond, Martin Luther King, Dalai Lama, Elvis Presley and Manny Pacquiao love Rolex for its quality. Unfortunately, popularity has its price as Rolex is arguably the most faked timepiece in the market. Be careful with the knockoffs, especially those found on eBay and if the price is too low to be true, I can almost guarantee that those are counterfeits.
If you want exclusivity, Blancpain is the top choice. This company only produces around 30 timepieces per day. Blancpain is a subsidiary of the Swatch Group and is known for its wide range of watches available: from simple, minimalistic designs to more sophisticated styles. This is the oldest but still active luxury watch brand in the world and it maintains its commitment to producing high-quality watches, at the same time, updating and innovating their designs.
And those are the reasons why Vladimir Putin, Francis Ford Coppola, and Jacques Cousteau are also famous for wearing these pieces.
Another Swiss brand of luxury timepieces, Jaeger-LeCoultre is known for its hundreds of inventions and over a thousand movements or calibers. (In horology, a caliber or movement is known as the mechanism of a clock or watch that encompasses and secures the movement and the face which displays the time.) Jaeger-LeCoultre has also been acknowledged for its contributions to watch industry, such as the invention of the keyless watch in 1845. But beyond its exquisite build, there are beautifully designed and jeweled watches that keep this brand’s timeless appeal. And so has Robert Downey Jr., January Jones, Matt Damon and Queen Elizabeth II’s appeal become timeless for choosing to wear this brand.
- A. Lange & Söhne
Lange & Söhne is a German brand of high quality and prestige watches. Founded by Ferdinand Adolf Lange, in 1845, this company was known for its quality pocket watches often worn by the royalties in Europe. Later on, they also produced oversized wristwatches. After so many decades, the company was requisitioned by the East German government in 1948.
However, in 1990, the founder’s great-grandson Walter Lange brought the company back with the help of several Swiss watch manufacturers like IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre. Today, the Richemont group owns Lange and their wrist watches are sold globally. Vladimir Putin must really love expensive watches as he is also known for wearing this brand, as well as Carmelo Anthony.
This brand is known not only manufacturing watches but also jewelries. The company was founded by Louis-Ulysse Chopard and was later known for making ladies’ watches and pocket watches. Their timepieces are known to have unique, sophisticated and classic, elaborate designs. In fact, in 1976, they made watches that have their “signature free-floating diamond behind sapphire glass”. ** During the 80’s era, they began producing “sports watches for men and diamond jewelries for women.”** This is most probably the reason Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Lawrence, Reese Witherspoon and Simon Cowell prefer this brand. Watch out for duplicate products as this brand is highly coveted.
- IWC Schaffhausen
If you are looking for a quality timepiece that has a combination of durability, precision engineering and classic, elegant designs, maybe the IWC Schaffhausen watches are what you’re looking for. The brand has a long existence, dating back to 1868. It is a product of a high-end, top-notch German-meets-Swiss watch manufacturer, easily identified by their classic shape. Among the features of their watches are minute repeater, moon phase display and perpetual calendar.
No wonder, high flying celebs like Robert De Niro, Orlando Bloom and Channing Tatum, iconic boxing star Muhammed Ali, supermodel Adriana Lima, and retired footballer Luis Figo are known to have collections of this classic brand.
Sometimes, though, IWC tends to look like other luxury brands. I hope they would bring back the fire by embracing their heritage – that same IWC brand known for having slightly off-beat designs.
For those who want bold style combined with simple numeral and design elements, Panerai is the perfect timepiece for you. Founded in Florence, Italy in 1860, this brand rose to fame when they began producing watches and precision instruments for the Royal Italian Navy. Later on, they became known for producing military dive watches.
Onscreen “tough guys” like Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Tom Cruise, Hugh Grant, Bill Clinton, Russell Crowe, Pierce Brosnan, Jerry Ferrara, and even supermodel Heidi Klum are known for loving this watch brand.
But I have to warn you to look at the back and check the movements. It’s been said that Panerai accidently put in unfinished ETA movements in some batches. Also, some of their models are sort of mass produced so you might see some of your neighbors wear the same stuff you do. Not that it’s bad, but you know.