With all the Fitbits, Samsung and Apple smart watches, and other digital wrist gadgets technology brings us, it can be easy to forget about classic luxury watch brands. Sure, technology ridden watches/gadgets and the brands behind them are nice. But there is something to be said about a luxury watch brand that provides innovation while continuing to keep the traditional concept alive.
These classic luxury watch brands and the timepieces they create provide us with something technology simply can’t, no matter how hard it tries. From crowns to hands, escapements and jewels -- there are an endless amount of components that go into forging these timeless pieces of art. They tell us a story of skill and craftsmanship in the design and even more about the individual wearing it. A timepiece gives insight to your taste, style, and character - making it one of the best accessories for personal branding. If you’re a man who appreciates branding yourself with original tradition and class, these are the 6 best luxury watch brands for you.
Showcasing some of the most impeccable timepieces, Breguet is one of the oldest abiding luxury watchmaking brands in the world. Founded in Paris, France in 1775 by Abraham Louis Breguet, this high end watch brand holds a vast, extensive history. Always being bought and worn by members of high society and the French Court, their clientele list has included people such as Queen Marie-Antoinette, Louis XVI, Napoleon Bonaparte and Winston Churchill.
As one of the top luxury watch brands, Breguet also pioneered various watchmaking technologies and continues their groundbreaking ingenuity today. Their best known invention was the tourbillon, one of the finest horological devices ever made. Others would include self-winding, the pare-chute, the Breguet balance spring and most recently, the magnetic pivot. Widely recognized for their coin-edge cases, Breguet timepieces have many unmistakable signs that assure you you’re wearing their exclusive luxury watch brand. With engine turned dials, screw-pin lugs, fluted case bands and the “secret signature”, their style is in a class of its own. Even though new inventions and improvements are made, Breguet remains connected to it’s classic heritage.
With over two centuries in the books, it’s easy to see why this luxury watch brand is a legend in the watchmaking industry. You can fetch a timepiece from this top luxury watch brand for anywhere from $7,000 - $400,000+ and their greatest classical collection is the Classique Collection.
Not only is this one of the top luxury watch brands, it is also one of the most iconic watchmakers of all time. Oozing with style, elegance, and luxury, Cartier timepieces are known to have a sophisticated, classic design. Initiated in Paris, France in 1847 by Louis-Francois Cartier, this luxury watch brand has always been a front runner in the watchmaking industry. Being so, Forbes ranked them 61st on their “World’s Most Valuable Brands” list.
Each timepiece derives from a consonance between mechanical perfection and prestigious aesthetics. Making them some of the finest haute horlogerie watches on the market. Due to their innovative thinking and high quality, Cartier served as crown jeweler to 19 royal houses throughout its history. However, catching the eye of an impressive clientele is something they will never have to worry about ceasing to exist. Their expensive luxury watch brand continues to gain popularity among the wealthy and (especially) celebrity culture today.
With high end materials, traditional elegance, and a timeless classic look, Cartier timepieces uphold the selective standards of luxury with little to no effort. When slipping on a Cartier watch, you’re brought on a voyage through time where each movement bears the memory of those who helped create it. At that moment, you know you hold an exceptional piece of art that deserves to be honored for posterity. All of their collections display classical elegance, but some of the most traditional ones are the Tortue Collection and the Tank Collection.
When hearing or seeing the term “luxury watch brands”, the name Patek Philippe is likely to follow. Patek Philippe & Co. is a Swiss luxury watch manufacturer founded in 1851 and located in Geneva, Switzerland. One of the founders, Antoni Patek, first started his career making pocket watches in Geneva. In 1845, Patek met French watchmaker Adrien Philippe and they quickly became partners to forge one of the most prestigious luxury watch brands of all time. Besides being a watchmaker, Philippe was also the inventor of the keyless winding mechanism, one of the greatest inventions in watchmaking history.
Alongside that invention, Patek Philippe went on to patent more than 100 watch functions and has won numerous awards for their technological triumphs. They even created the first ever real wristwatch for Countess Koscowicz of Hungary in 1868. Through time, Patek Philippe continues to stay true to their roots in making traditional, everlasting timepieces.
With grand complications and elegant designs remaining strong, this luxury watch brand is known for it’s classic and traditional look with highly functional mechanics. Their Swiss luxury watches aren’t overbearing or gaudy and they definitely don’t need to be. As every component is crafted with aesthetic precision, they provide the most elegant and highest quality of watches. With less than 1 million made since their fabrication, it’s easy to know why they are very expensive watches and sought out by true timepiece lovers and collectors alike. Though many of this brands collections are inspired by their beginnings, one of the best classical collections they possess is the Calatrava Collection.
Lange & Sohne
The German maker of prominent luxury watches, Ferdinand Adolph Lange, founded Lange & Sohne in 1845 in Dresden, Germany. In 1948 the postwar Soviet administration nationalized the luxury watch brand's property and Lange & Sohne had to shut its doors. However, in 1990 following German reunification, Lange’s great-grandson, Walter Lange, revived Lange & Sohne from the dead with the help of a few Swiss watch manufacturers.
Known for its exemplary styling and premium quality, this manufacturer favors mechanical movements over quartz movements. Lange & Sohne boasts a distinctive appearance for its highly complicated watches, including split-seconds chronographs, chronographs, and perpetual calendars. The timepieces exhibit a Glashutte appearance, hand-engraved balance cocks, and German silver (as opposed to the plated brass normally used). With more than 150 years of watchmaking in its blood, Lange & Sohne crafts timeless wrist watches with only one mission in mind - unmitigated perfection.
Through it’s lifetime, Lange & Sohne has provided exquisite timepieces for emperors, kings and czars -- positioning it as one of the top luxury watch brands. Today they continue to be worn by some of the most well known (and wealthiest) people around the globe. Although many of Lange’s collections are adored, the face of this brand is the Lange 1 collection. However, their best traditional collection would have to be the 1815 Collection with it’s classic design elements such as Arabic numerals, railway-track minute scales, and three-quarter plates.
Jaeger-LeCoultre is one of the top luxury watch brands, and is based in Le Sentier, Switzerland. Founded by Antoine LeCoultre in 1833, it was first named LeCoultre & Cie. In 1903, Antoine’s grandson, Jacques David LeCoultre, took on a challenge by Parisian watchmaker Edmond Jaeger to develop and produce the ultra thin movements he had created. This collaboration led the two to officially combine forces and the brand was changed to Jaeger-LeCoultre in 1937.
With more than 1,000 watch calibres produced, their history holds many inventions such as the Million Metre measuring instrument, the keyless watch, the Dual-Wing concept, and the smallest watch (with the thinnest movements) ever recorded in its time. Among the watchmaking Gods, they are the perfect sculptors. Each component crafted with the utmost care, Jaeger-LeCoultre goes to great lengths to assure the decoration of its movements. With effective form movements and exquisite complications, their quest for perfection is unparalleled.
This watchmaking legend was also one of the first to manufacture, produce and assemble its own watch pallets and continues to be one of the last still doing so today. Jaeger-LeCoultre embraces unique classic elements, invariably remaining true to its original spirit. The leading collection staying true to that classical, original spirit is the Reverso Collection.
Even if you aren’t an avid watch collector, or even if you don’t know a single thing about watches, chances are you’ve heard of one of the world's most formidable luxury watch brands -- Rolex. If not, you’ve definitely seen their world famous crown logo somewhere before. Created in London in 1905, this is an internationally acclaimed brand and also the largest luxury watch brand in the world. With Forbes ranking them the 64th most powerful global brand in 2016, this luxurious watch brand is not only one of the best luxury watch brands, but one of the best brands, period.
Founders Alfred Davis and Hans Wilsdorf were brother-in-laws who took watchmaking to a whole new level. In their arsenal are many firsts including: the first waterproof watch, first automatic date window, first to display two time zones at once, and first to earn a chronometer certification for a timepiece. If that doesn’t dazzle you, Rolex was also apart of several major watchmaking innovations and has registered over 400 patents since its birth.
Like others on this list, this luxury watch brand develops, designs and produces all components and watches in house. Consistently innovating off the classics, this luxury watchmaker incontrovertibly transcends time and space with their luxurious brilliance. Several of Rolex's collections gleam with classic elegance, but one of their most traditional collections is the Oyster Perpetual line.
If you crave quality and a sense of tradition, these luxury watch brands are the best way for you to get it.
With centuries of experience, each watchmaker on this list upholds precise detailing along with traditional shapes and styling. Although any of these luxury watch brands will provide you with what you need when it comes to class, the top brand for the job would have to be Cartier. With their ageless roman numerals and distinguished design, Cartier is a pillar of tradition and class in this forever changing world. No matter the era or time, this high end watch brand keeps true to their core philosophy and values. Values of making durable, everlasting timepieces that shine with elegance and seep of pure class. Their watches never go out of style, with three of their models made before 1920 still running today! Known as “the jeweler of kings and the king of jewelers”, this luxury watch brand is the ultimate choice for those who seek to embody tradition, elegance and class.
Although Cartier is our top choice, we want to know your's! Tell us about your favorite luxury watch brands in the comments!
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