Top 15 Luxury Watch Brands Ranking


Article written by Alexander – Founder and Owner of swissdiverswatches.com


Ranking The Top 15 Luxury Watch Brands In The World

Below: The Rolex Submariner is the quintessential luxury watch. It’s undoubtedly the most famous watch ever made, and indeed the cinematic James Bond’s very first wristwatch.

Rolex Submariner

(Image By hypo.physe)

Stay put if you want to read the whole article or:

The luxury watch – heirloom, status symbol and piece of art

Comparing the world’s most reputable, respected and prestigious luxury wristwatch brands fascinates quite many people, and indeed this global fascination for luxury watches, has produced this very article.

The luxury wristwatch is the ultimate example of a highly personal, wearable and portable object of value, which not only can last an entire lifetime, but can even be handed down to the next generation.

It’s pretty safe to say that the luxury wristwatch is the ultimate intricate mechanical instrument and piece of jewelry you can find on the market today, and whether you are a collector, a connoisseur, a materialist or a person with a zest for the good life, I bet you are interested in knowing how your particular brand is ranked in the luxury watch hierarchy.

Patek Philippe(Image By Rama)

Whether you’d like to know how the brands rank for your personal satisfaction of knowing that you have picked the “right brand” (there is no such thing such as the “right brand” – it’s all a matter of personal taste) or if you have a general interest in luxury watches – read on, because this article will interest you.

I do not pretend that my ranking is objective nor do I pretend that my ranking is written in stone, nor do I claim that any official institute or “The Holy Book Of How To Rank The Luxury Watch Brands” exist, but I do claim that if any ranking of the legendary and iconic luxury wristwatch brands should be meaningful, then some criteria must be used and applied. The criteria down below will give you a good idea of what exactly is the basis of my ranking.

The 14 Ranking Criteria:

  1. Long and respected history
  2. Limited supply – large demand
  3. Reputation/status/prestige
  4. Whether or not the brand is a fully independent watchmaker
  5. Pioneering spirit and innovations
  6. Impact on watchmaking history and modern culture
  7. General in-house production (meaning every aspect of the manufacture is in-house)
  8. In-house made movements
  9. Movement complications
  10. Steel grade
  11. Build quality
  12. Price range
  13. Good resale value
  14. Market presence/Market share/Market dominance

A quick note: The overarching principle of a luxury watch brand can either be to make a limited supply of exclusive watches or to achieve market share dominance. That’s why criteria 2 and criteria 14 are mutually exclusive and cannot be applied to one and the same brand.

The Top 15 Luxury Watch Brands Ranking:

The ranking is done in a rising order:


Rank 15: Cartier

Country of origin: France.

Present-day country of origin: Switzerland.

Please visit amazon.com down below for current and up to date prices



Originally a French brand, Cartier of today should be considered to be a Swiss brand, since Cartier is Swiss made and Swiss owned.

Established in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier in Paris, France. Nowadays Cartier is owned by Richemont Group.

Cartier didn’t invent the concept of the wristwatch, but it was Cartier that gave the wristwatch a universal appeal – the brand made it fashionable to wear the watch on your wrist.

Founded as a French luxury jewelry brand adapted to the tastes of the French aristocracy and social and financial elite of Paris, Cartier is today Swiss owned and relies solely and entirely on Swiss movements, which would make today Cartier a Swiss brand. Cartier is a world known jeweller that offers you exquisitely made luxury jewelry and watches. Cartier is one of the most famous and respected brands today in the luxury watch market. Cartier relies heavily on ETA movements (manufactured by Swatch Group) but does make their own movements as well.

Cartier is famous for collections such as Tank, Calibre de Cartier, Pasha and Santos de Cartier.

Cartier – The 14 Ranking Criteria:

  1. Long and respected history (Yes)
  2. Limited supply – large demand (No – large scale production & large supply)
  3. Reputation/status/prestige (Yes – highly considered & very famous)
  4. Whether or not the brand is a fully independent watchmaker (No – not independent. Cartier is owned by Richemont Group)
  5. Pioneering spirit and innovations (Very limited)
  6. Impact on watchmaking history and modern culture (Limited – except for some iconic dress watch designs)
  7. General in-house production (meaning every aspect of the manufacture is in-house) (No)
  8. In-house made movements (Limited)
  9. Movement complications (Very few)
  10. Steel grade (Very good)
  11. Build quality (Mediocre)
  12. Price range (High)
  13. Good resale value (Mediocre)
  14. Market presence/Market share/Market dominance (Yes – very large market presence)

Recommended Collections:

Back To The Ranking List


Rank 14: Panerai

Country of origin: Italy.

Present-day country of origin: Switzerland.

Please visit amazon.com down below for current and up to date prices



Originally Italian since 1860 – Swiss since 1997.

Established in 1860 by Giovanni Panerai in Florence, Italy. Nowadays Panerai is owned by Richemont Group.

Originally an Italian brand and watchmaker, Panerai is today Swiss owned and relies entirely on Swiss movements.

Panerai Radiomir, is known for having been the very first underwater military watch ever made, and the luminescent material on the dial made Panerai an excellent choice for the Italian navy’s frogmen when reading the time in murky waters.

Panerai is primarily known for having been the official supplier of military watches to the Italian Navy of the early and mid 20th century. Panerai is a cult brand which relies on a limited scale of production, and routinely makes collectible timepieces that honor Panerai’s past as the Italian Navy’s official supplier of military watches. Panerai is known for the Radiomir and Luminor collections.

Panerai has mainly relied on ETA and Valjoux movements supplied by its competitor – the Swatch Group, but Panerai has been making its own movements on a limited scale since 2002.

Hard core, die hard Panerai enthusiasts are being referred to as Paneristi.

Panerai is also known to be a “tough guy watch”. Several iconic Hollywood action movie heroes such as Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham, Terry Crews and a few others, are known to be fans of this brand, and they are known to adorn their wrists with hefty and large sized Panerai watches with burly and wide leather straps.

Panerai – The 14 Ranking Criteria:

  1. Long and respected history (Yes)
  2. Limited supply – large demand (Yes – very exclusive brand)
  3. Reputation/status/prestige (Yes – highly respected brand)
  4. Whether or not the brand is a fully independent watchmaker (No – not independent. Panerai is owned by Richemont Group)
  5. Pioneering spirit and innovations (Very few inventions, except for the luminescent dials and the unique crown protector)
  6. Impact on watchmaking history and modern culture (Very limited)
  7. General in-house production (meaning every aspect of the manufacture is in-house) (No)
  8. In-house made movements (Rather limited)
  9. Movement complications (Very few)
  10. Steel grade (Very good)
  11. Build quality (Mediocre)
  12. Price range (Very High)
  13. Good resale value (Mediocre)
  14. Market presence/Market share/Market dominance (No – marginal brand – very small market presence)

Recommended Collections:

Back To The Ranking List


Rank 13: Hublot

Country of origin: Switzerland.

Please visit amazon.com down below for current and up to date prices



Established in 1980 by Carlo Crocco. Nowadays, Hublot is owned by LVMH (Louis Vuitton/Moët Hennessy).

Hublot is indeed a Swiss brand and relies on Swiss movements although the owner is the French LVMH. However it’s not the ownership but the manufacture and the movements that determine whether or not a brand is truly Swiss.

Hublot is known for making complications and in-house movements although throughout its very short history it has mainly relied on standardized ETA movements. Hublot is known for making and developing alternative and unorthodox designs and unorthodox materials used for the case and the strap. Hublot is probably the only brand that combines a gold case with a strap made of natural rubber. Some people say that the design of Hublot’s flagship collection – Big Bang – is inspired by Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak.

Hublot’s success and fame are first and foremost attributable to the Hublot Big Bang Collection, and without this collection, Hublot would probably be an irrelevant brand. Hublot’s success basically stands and falls with the Big Bang Collection, and it’s precisely for this reason that many people refer to Hublot as a “one model brand” or “one collection brand”.

Hublot – The 14 Ranking Criteria:

  1. Long and respected history (No)
  2. Limited supply – large demand (Yes)
  3. Reputation/status/prestige (Yes – highly respected)
  4. Whether or not the brand is a fully independent watchmaker (No – not independent. Hublot is owned by LVMH)
  5. Pioneering spirit and innovations (Very limited, except for new and daring designs and materials)
  6. Impact on watchmaking history and modern culture (Extremely limited)
  7. General in-house production (meaning every aspect of the manufacture is in-house) (No)
  8. In-house made movements (Yes – to a large extent, but Hublot still relies on ETA movements from Swatch Group)
  9. Movement complications (Very few)
  10. Steel grade (Very good, but Hublot does rely on gold, ceramic and titanium as well)
  11. Build quality (Mediocre)
  12. Price range (Very pricy)
  13. Good resale value (Mediocre)
  14. Market presence/Market share/Market dominance (No – Hublot is a marginal and small brand)

Recommended Collections:

Back To The Ranking List


Rank 12: Breitling

Country of origin: Switzerland.

Please visit amazon.com down below for current and up to date prices



Established in 1884 by Léon Breitling. Breitling is an independent brand.

Breitling is routinely being referred to as “Instruments For Professionals” and specializes in making big, bulky, heavy and hefty chronograph watches in highly polished stainless steel, with instrumental and professional looking dials. Breitling is primarily known for being the Nr 1 choice for pilots and aviation around the world, and for making in-house automatic chronograph movements.

The nickname is “Big B”, and Breitling is a rival and competitor of Rolex and Omega. The flagship collection of Breitling is called Breitling Chronomat – a combined divers watch and pilots watch. 100% of Breitling’s watches are COSC certified and even their quartz movements are COSC certified – referred to by Breitling as “Super Quartz”, which implies super accuracy.

Breitling – The 14 Ranking Criteria:

  1. Long and respected history (Yes)
  2. Limited supply – large demand (No- fairly large production & fairly large supply)
  3. Reputation/status/prestige (Yes – highly respected)
  4. Whether or not the brand is a fully independent watchmaker (Yes – fully independent)
  5. Pioneering spirit and innovations (Yes – especially the chronographs)
  6. Impact on watchmaking history and modern culture (Yes – very large impact)
  7. General in-house production (meaning every aspect of the manufacture is in-house) (Yes – to a large extent)
  8. In-house made movements (Yes – to a large extent, but Breitling still relies heavily on ETA movements from Swatch Group)
  9. Movement complications (Yes – but the production is usually limited only to chronographs)
  10. Steel grade (Very good)
  11. Build quality (Good – in most cases a very solid feel)
  12. Price range (Ranging from moderate to very high)
  13. Good resale value (Mediocre)
  14. Market presence/Market share/Market dominance (Yes – Breitling has a fairly large market presence)

Recommended Collections:

Back To The Ranking List


Rank 11: IWC Schaffhausen

Country of origin: Switzerland.

Please visit amazon.com down below for current and up to date prices



Established in 1868 by Florentine Ariosto Jones. Nowadays IWC is owned by Richemont Group.

IWC is known for its engineering precision, accurate movements, complications and functional looking cases and dials with a minimalistic design. IWC is known for its divers watches – the IWC Aquatimer collection, its pilots watch collection – IWC Pilots Classic, its sports watch collection – IWC Ingenieur, and its dress watch collections – Portofino and Portuguese.

IWC Schaffhausen – The 14 Ranking Criteria:

  1. Long and respected history (Yes)
  2. Limited supply – large demand (No – IWC has a fairly large production & supply)
  3. Reputation/status/prestige (Yes – highly respected – an elite brand)
  4. Whether or not the brand is a fully independent watchmaker (No – not independent. IWC is owned by Richemont Group)
  5. Pioneering spirit and innovations (Yes – especially movement complications)
  6. Impact on watchmaking history and modern culture (Yes – quite substantial)
  7. General in-house production (meaning every aspect of the manufacture is in-house) (Some aspects of the production is in-house)
  8. In-house made movements (Yes – to a large extent, but IWC still relies heavily on ETA movements from Swatch Group)
  9. Movement complications (Yes – but they are very rare in number. Most IWC movements are still basic)
  10. Steel grade (Very good)
  11. Build quality (Mediocre)
  12. Price range (Ranging from moderate to high)
  13. Good resale value (Mediocre)
  14. Market presence/Market share/Market dominance (Fairly large production, but by no means dominant on the market)

Recommended Collection:

Back To The Ranking List


Rank 10: Zenith

Country of origin: Switzerland.

Please visit amazon.com down below for current and up to date prices



Established in 1865 by Georges Favre-Jacot. Nowadays Zenith is owned by LVMH (Louis Vuitton/Moët Hennessy).

Zenith is known for being a Swiss premium brand that offers you highly accurate in-house made movements that beat at 36,000 vph. Zenith has won over 2,000 chronometry prizes in accuracy and precision and Zenith has received over 300 patents. Zenith is know for its excellent and highly accurate Elite and El Primero movements.

Despite being owned by LVMH, Zenith is known for its independent and experimental spirit. In the past, Rolex and other brands, partially relied on Zenith’s chronograph movement El Primero.

Zenith – The 14 Ranking Criteria:

  1. Long and respected history (Yes)
  2. Limited supply – large demand (Yes – very rare and exclusive brand)
  3. Reputation/status/prestige (Yes – highly respected among connoisseurs, but is still a very anonymous brand)
  4. Whether or not the brand is a fully independent watchmaker (No – not independent. Zenith is owned by LVMH)
  5. Pioneering spirit and innovations (Yes – especially movement complications, the 36,000 vph movements (vph = vibrations per hour), more than 300 patents, and the famous El Primero chronograph movement)
  6. Impact on watchmaking history and modern Culture (Yes – did provide Rolex and other high end brands with the El Primero chronograph movement in the past)
  7. General in-house production (meaning every aspect of the manufacture is in-house) (Yes)
  8. In-house made movements (Yes)
  9. Movement complications (Yes – they do exist, but most Zenith movements are still basic)
  10. Steel grade (Very good)
  11. Build quality (Good)
  12. Price range (Ranging from moderate to very high)
  13. Good resale value (Mediocre)
  14. Market presence/Market share/Market dominance (No – Zenith is a very small brand with a marginal market presence)

Recommended Collections:

Back To The Ranking List


Rank 9: Omega

Country of origin: Switzerland.

Omega – James Bond’s choice:

Below is the legendary Omega Speedmaster Professional – the first watch worn on the moon:

Please visit amazon.com down below for current and up to date prices



Established in 1848 by Louis Brandt. Nowadays Omega is owned by Swatch Group.

I’m very proud to include Omega in the top 15 list, since Omega is without question, and without hesitation, my favorite watch brand of all time!

Even though I love Omega with all my heart, I really can’t include this brand among say the top 3 or the top 5 brands. The reasons would be the ranking criteria which I listed above in this article. However I absolutely think Omega deserves to be ranked among the top 10 brands.

Omega has travelled farther and deeper than any other brand – to the Moon and to the bottom of the ocean! During the 20th century, Omega has won several accuracy and precision prizes, and Omega is universally known for making highly accurate and reliable movements that are in many ways comparable to Rolex’s movements.

Omega is known for its Speedmaster and Seamaster collections, and the Co-Axial escapement or Co-Axial movement – which is an extremely accurate, reliable, shock resistant and anti-magnetic modern movement technology, which has revolutionized the watchmaking industry of the past 250 years.

Most Omega watches are COSC certified, but Omega’s accuracy standards exceed by far COSC’s standards. Omega tests their watches at COSC and then Omega submits their watches to their own tests that are even more demanding than COSC. The accuracy of Omega’s in-house made Co-Axial movements is equivalent to -1/+5, which means an Omega watch can lose 1 second or gain 5 seconds maximum per day.

Omega is also known for being the official supplier of watches to the world famous, fictional, suave, and sophisticated secret British agent James Bond 007, and the Bond movies since 1995.

The Swiss watchmaking industry basically consists of several minor brands and watchmakers – and two Swiss watchmaking titans, that have defined and dominated the Swiss watchmaking industry for decades.

Rolex and Omega are these two titans, and they can probably offer you the best mass produced high quality Swiss luxury watches available on the market today. Rolex and Omega have been fierce competitors since the late 1950s and the early 1960s, and the watch enthusiast community tends to pitch these two brands against each other more often than any other brands.

Omega – The 14 Ranking Criteria:

  1. Long and respected history (Yes)
  2. Limited supply – large demand (No – the 2nd largest high end luxury watch manufacturer in Switzerland)
  3. Reputation/status/prestige (Yes – highly respected)
  4. Whether or not the brand is a fully independent watchmaker (No – not independent. Omega is owned by Swatch Group)
  5. Pioneering spirit and innovations (Yes)
  6. Impact on watchmaking history and modern culture (Yes – especially the several precision & accuracy contests won, the legendary Speedmaster/Moonwatch, the legendary Seamaster divers watch families, and the James Bond Movie franchise’s brand of choice)
  7. General in-house production (meaning every aspect of the manufacture is in-house) (Yes – to a large extent)
  8. In-house made movements (This is a tricky question to answer since Omega is owned by Swatch Group, and Omega’s in-house made Co-Axial movements are manufactured by Swatch Group – albeit manufactured exclusively for Omega)
  9. Movement complications (Very limited)
  10. Steel grade (Very good)
  11. Build quality (Very good/Excellent)
  12. Price range (Ranging from moderate to very high)
  13. Good resale value (Mediocre)
  14. Market presence/Market share/Market dominance (Yes – Omega is the 2nd largest high end luxury watch brand in Switzerland in terms of production volume)

Recommended Collections/Seamaster Collections:

Back To The Ranking List


Rank 8: Blancpain

Country of origin: Switzerland.

Please visit amazon.com down below for current and up to date prices



Established in 1735 by Jehan-Jaques Blancpain. Nowadays Blancpain is owned by Swatch Group.

One of the oldest existing watch brands. Famous for haute horlogerie (higher watchmaking – that is movement complications), handmade luxury, a very limited scale of production and of course the world’s very first modern divers watch – the legendary and mythical Blancpain Fifty Fathoms.

Blancpain’s success and fame are first and foremost attributable to the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Collection, and without this collection, Blancpain would probably be an irrelevant brand. Blancpain in fact stands and falls with the Fifty Fathoms Collection (Blancpain’s legendary divers watches, dating back to 1953) and it’s precisely for this reason that many people refer to Blancpain as a “one model brand” or “one collection brand”.

Blancpain – The 14 Ranking Criteria:

  1. Long and respected history (Yes – one of the 5 oldest luxury watch brands in the world)
  2. Limited supply – large demand (Yes – Blancpain is highly exclusive)
  3. Reputation/status/prestige (Yes – highly regarded amongst connoisseurs, but is still a very anonymous brand)
  4. Whether or not the brand is a fully independent watchmaker (No – not independent. Blancpain is owned by Swatch Group)
  5. Pioneering spirit and innovations (Yes)
  6. Impact on watchmaking history and modern culture (Yes – Blancpain invented the first modern divers watch – the legendary Blancpain Fifty Fathoms)
  7. General in-house production (meaning every aspect of the manufacture is in-house) (No – relies on Swatch Group)
  8. In-house made movements (Yes)
  9. Movement complications (Yes – but most Blancpain movements are still equipped with the basic functions)
  10. Steel grade (Very good)
  11. Build quality (Very good)
  12. Price range (Very high)
  13. Good resale value (Mediocre)
  14. Market presence/Market share/Market dominance (No – Blancpain is a very small and marginal brand in terms of production volume and is completely dependent on Swatch Group)

Recommended Collection:

Back To The Ranking List


Rank 7: Breguet

Country of origin: France.

Present-day country of origin: Switzerland.

Please visit amazon.com down below for current and up to date prices



Breguet was originally French but is nowadays a Swiss brand.

The founder Abraham-Louis Breguet was indeed a Swiss citizen, but he founded his brand in 1775 in Paris, France. Today, Breguet is Swiss owned and the movements are Swiss Made.

Established in 1775 by Abraham-Louis Breguet. Nowadays Breguet is owned by Swatch Group.

Breguet has been worn by royalties, celebrities and politicians since its early beginning. Breguet has invented much of the modern watch movement technology that we today take for granted – including the first self-winding watch, constant force escapement, the minute repeater’s gong spring, the tourbillon, and many other legendary inventions.

Did you know that Breguet invented and manufactured the first wristwatch ever? In 1810, Breguet invented the first wristwatch, and the wristwatch was ordered by the Queen of Naples – Caroline Murat. The wristwatch was completed in 1812.

Famous wearers and patrons of the Breguet brand are Queen of France Marie Antoinette, Napoléon Bonaparte, Prince of Benevento Talleyrand, Empress Josephine, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire – Selim III, Queen of Naples Caroline Murat, Tsar Alexander I of Russia, Michel Ney – Marshal of France, Count Axel von Fersen, Sir Winston Churchill – Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and Arthur Rubinstein.

Breguet – The 14 Ranking Criteria:

  1. Long and respected history (Yes)
  2. Limited supply – large demand (Yes – Breguet is a very exclusive brand)
  3. Reputation/status/prestige (Yes – an elite watchmaker and highly respected amongst connoisseurs but is in all fairness a rather anonymous brand)
  4. Whether or not the brand is a fully independent watchmaker (No – not independent. Breguet is owned by Swatch Group)
  5. Pioneering spirit and innovations (Yes – invented the tourbillon, invented the automatic movement, and made the first wristwatch in the world for the Queen of Naples – Caroline Murat in 1812)
  6. Impact on watchmaking history and modern culture (Yes – very famous wearers have worn Breguet)
  7. General in-house production (meaning every aspect of the manufacture is in-house) (No – Breguet relies on Swatch Group)
  8. In-house made movements (Yes)
  9. Movement complications (Yes – but most Breguet movements are still equipped with the basic functions)
  10. Steel grade (Very good)
  11. Build quality (Very good)
  12. Price range (Very high)
  13. Good resale value (Mediocre)
  14. Market presence/Market share/Market dominance (No – Breguet is a very small and marginal brand in terms of production volume, and is completely dependent on Swatch Group)

Recommended Collections:

Back To The Ranking List


Rank 6: Rolex

Country of origin: United Kingdom.

Present-day country of origin: Switzerland.

Below is the legendary Rolex Submariner – the most famous divers watch ever made by Rolex, quite possibly the most famous divers watch ever made, and quite possibly the most iconic luxury watch ever made:

Please visit amazon.com down below for current and up to date prices



Originally British in 1905 – Swiss since 1919.

Established as Wilsdorf and Davis in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis in London, United Kingdom. In 1908 Wilsdorf and Davis was renamed Rolex and in 1919, Rolex moved its operations to Geneva, Switzerland, where the watch manufacturer is located even today. Rolex is an independent brand.

Rolex has been an unmatched status and luxury symbol since the 1950s and the 1960s but got its legendary and mythical fame and reputation in the 1980s. That’s also when the price of Rolex watches dramatically increased.

Rolex has invented much of the modern wristwatch technology that we today take for granted:

  • That would include the modern automatic wristwatch movement.
  • The first water resistant watches – using the oyster shaped case, called the “oyster case”.
  • The screw-down-crown for divers watches.
  • Rolex was among the first brands that invented the first modern divers watches. Blancpain supposedly invented the very first modern divers watch – the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms in 1953. Rolex however launched the legendary Rolex Submariner the very same year. If Blancpain indeed was the very first, then Rolex wasn’t far behind.
  • Rolex invented the first watches equipped with a date function – the legendary Rolex Datejust, launched in 1945.
  • Rolex was the first watch manufacturer and brand to invent GMT-movements, for measuring time in a second time zone. The watch is called Rolex GMT Master and was launched in 1955.

Rolex is an interesting brand and watchmaker. Outside Swatch Group, Rolex is the only 100% independent watchmaking giant, where every aspect of the manufacture takes place in-house. Yes there are a few independent brands besides Rolex, but they are dwarves in comparison to Rolex – a true financial and industrial giant and powerhouse. Rolex alone has a 20% market share in the luxury watch industry. In 2012, Forbes decided to rank Rolex as the 57th most powerful global brand.

Rolex is famous for using the 904L stainless steel alloy – the best steel grade on the market. Rolex is famous for having an unmatched build quality, unmatched reputation and fame, unmatched resale value, extremely accurate, reliable, shock resistant and anti-magnetic 100% in-house made movements, that use the famous Rolex made parachrom hairspring which is 100% anti-magnetic and 10 times more shock resistant than ordinary hairsprings used by other brands.

Rolex is known for a plethora of collections: Submariner, Sea Dweller, GMT-Master II, Yacht-Master, Sky-Dweller, Datejust, Daytona, Explorer, Milgauss, Perpetual and Perpetual Date. Few watchmakers can boast with such a long list of legendary high quality collections.

All Rolex watches are COSC certified and Rolex’s accuracy rate is equivalent to 99.998%.

Rolex is also known for having been the luxury wristwatch of Ian Fleming’s literary creation – James Bond 007.

The Rolex Submariner was the original “James Bond Watch” throughout the 1960s, and parts of the 1970s and 1980s, and has been worn by Bond actors Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton.

Rolex – The 14 Ranking Criteria:

  1. Long and respected history (No – Rolex isn’t that old. Rolex was launched in 1905)
  2. Limited supply – large demand (No – Rolex isn’t exclusive in terms of supply and demand. Rolex is the largest high end luxury watch manufacturer in all of Switzerland in terms of production volume and supply)
  3. Reputation/status/prestige (Yes – an elite watchmaker. Rolex’s reputation and fame on the luxury watch market are unmatched)
  4. Whether or not the brand is a fully independent watchmaker (Yes – Rolex is fully independent)
  5. Pioneering spirit and innovations (Yes – Rolex is the only luxury watch brand that uses the 904L stainless steel, invented the modern automatic wristwatch movement, the first water resistant watches, invented the screw-down-crown for divers watches, made amongst the first divers watches – the Submariner in 1953, made the first automatic watch equipped with a date movement – the Rolex Datejust in 1945, and invented the first GMT watch – the Rolex GMT Master in 1955)
  6. Impact on watchmaking history and modern culture (Yes – take the above mentioned innovations, and add to them the fact that Rolex has been an unmatched status symbol since the 1950s, was James Bond’s original watch in both the Bond books and the Bond movies, and was used for the deep sea dives in 1960 and 2012)
  7. General in-house production (meaning every aspect of the manufacture is in-house) (Yes – 100% in-house made)
  8. In-house made movements (Yes – 100% in-house made)
  9. Movement complications (No – they are very rare. Maybe the Rolex Sky Dweller would qualify to be called “higher watchmaking”)
  10. Steel grade. (Excellent – 904L stainless steel is the best in the industry)
  11. Build quality (Excellent)
  12. Price range (Very high)
  13. Good resale value (Excellent – the best resale value on the market besides Patek Philippe)
  14. Market presence/Market share/Market dominance (Yes – Rolex is by far the largest high end luxury watch manufacturer in all of Switzerland in terms of production volume)

Recommended Collections:

Back To The Ranking List


Rank 5: Jaeger LeCoultre

Country of origin: Switzerland.

Below is the legendary Jaeger LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving:

Below is the legendary and iconic Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso – a small rectangular dress watch with a reversible case, released in 1931:

Please visit amazon.com down below for current and up to date prices



Established as LeCoultre in 1833 by Antoine LeCoultre. LeCoultre was renamed Jaeger LeCoultre in 1937. Nowadays Jaeger LeCoultre is owned by Richemont Group.

Jaeger LeCoultre has been early on an expert on a scientific approach to watchmaking, which would entail highly accurate equipment and tools that were revolutionary back in the mid 19th century. With those tools, Jaeger LeCoultre could back then, manufacture their watches with an unprecedented scientific accuracy.

Jaeger LeCoultre became early on an expert on accurate and reliable movements, and was early on an expert on movement complications (haute horlogerie – that is higher watchmaking)- especially movement repeaters. Jaeger LeCoultre is famous for its dress watches – Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso and Jaeger LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin and its divers watches – Jaeger LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving.

In the past, several other luxury watch brands such as Audemars Piguet, Breguet, Cartier, Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe, have purchased their movements from Jaeger LeCoultre.

If the “Holy Trinity” of watches and several other luxury brands procured and purchased their movements from Jaeger LeCoultre in the past – this definitely has to mean something! Jaeger LeCoultre’s movements are among the best.

In terms of status, prestige and luxury, Jaeger LeCoultre is just a few notches below “The Holy Trinity” – Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin. Personally, I think Jaeger LeCoultre is equal to “The Holy Trinity” of watches.

Jaeger LeCoultre doesn’t submit its movements to COSC in order to acquire a chronometer title. No, Jaeger LeCoultre performs its own tests that are even more demanding than COSC!

Jaeger LeCoultre subjects their timepieces to their own tests where each individual timepiece is tested for 1000 hours (roughly equivalent to 41 days) before being released to and sold by watch retailers!

This is the famous “Jaeger LeCoultre 1000-hours Control”. Imagine, testing a timepiece for 1000 hours before it’s ready to be released on the market. That’s what I call quality!

Jaeger LeCoultre – The 14 Ranking Criteria:

  1. Long and respected history (Yes)
  2. Limited supply – large demand (Yes – Jaeger LeCoultre is a very rare and exclusive brand)
  3. Reputation/status/prestige (Yes – an elite watchmaker. Highly respected amongst connoisseurs but is in all fairness a rather anonymous brand)
  4. Whether or not the brand is a fully independent watchmaker (No – not independent. Jaeger LeCoultre is owned by Richemont Group)
  5. Pioneering spirit and innovations (Yes – expert on haute horlogerie – especially movement repeaters, and the famous production quality control called “the Jaeger LeCoultre 1000-hours Control”)
  6. Impact on watchmaking history and modern culture (Yes – many high end brands such as Audemars Piguet, Breguet, Cartier, Vacheron Constantin, and Patek Philippe purchased their movements from Jaeger LeCoultre in the past)
  7. General in-house production (meaning every aspect of the manufacture is in-house) (Yes)
  8. In-house made movements (Yes)
  9. Movement complications (Yes – Jaeger LeCoultre is an expert on movement complications, but in all fairness most Jaeger LeCoultre watches are just equipped with basic functions)
  10. Steel grade (Very good)
  11. Build quality (Very good)
  12. Price range (Very high)
  13. Good resale value (Mediocre)
  14. Market presence/Market share/Market dominance (No – Jaeger LeCoultre is a small and marginal brand in terms of production volume)

Recommended Collection:

Back To The Ranking List


Rank 4: A Lange & Söhne

Country of origin: Germany. This is the only prominent non-Swiss brand listed in the ranking.

Established in 1845 by Ferdinand A. Lange in Dresden, in Saxony in Germany. Nowadays A Lange & Söhne is owned by Richemont Group. This is a German luxury watch brand and the only non-Swiss brand among the top 15.

Due to WW2, the manufacture of this brand collapsed in 1948, but in 1990, the great grandchild of Adolph Lange – Walter Lange, reestablished the brand and the manufacture through the cooperation with other watchmakers, such as IWC Schaffhausen.

As far as movement quality and decorations are concerned, A Lange & Söhne is comparable to Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe.

A Lange & Söhne is an expert on movement complications as well, and thusly this brand deservedly belongs to the category of higher watchmaking – haute horlogerie.

A Lange & Söhne is first and foremost famous for a collection of dress watches equipped with complications, called A Lange & Söhne Lange 1.

A Lange & Söhne – The 14 Ranking Criteria:

  1. Long and respected history (Yes)
  2. Limited supply – large demand (Yes – A Lange & Söhne is the very epitome of a super exclusive brand with a very limited supply of watches)
  3. Reputation/status/prestige (Yes – an elite watchmaker. Highly respected amongst connoisseurs but is in all fairness a very anonymous brand)
  4. Whether or not the brand is a fully independent watchmaker (No – not independent. A Lange & Söhne is owned by Richemont Group)
  5. Pioneering spirit and innovations (Yes – haute horlogerie – meaning handmade dress watches with movement complications)
  6. Impact on watchmaking history and modern culture (Fairly limited due to its small size)
  7. General in-house production (meaning every aspect of the manufacture is in-house) (Yes)
  8. In-house made movements (Yes)
  9. Movement complications (Yes – but in all fairness most of their watches use movements equipped with basic functions)
  10. Steel grade (Very good, but A Lange & Söhne relies to a large extent on making timepieces in 18 carat gold)
  11. Build quality (Very good)
  12. Price range (Very high)
  13. Good resale value (Mediocre)
  14. Market presence/Market share/Market dominance (No – A Lange & Söhne is a small and marginal brand in terms of production volume)

Back To The Ranking List


Rank 3: Audemars Piguet

Country of origin: Switzerland.

Please visit amazon.com down below for current and up to date prices



Established in 1875 by Jules Louis Audemars, and Edward Auguste Piguet. Audemars Piguet is a member of “The Holy Trinity” of watch brands and manufacturers. Audemars Piguet an independent family owned brand. The manufacturer is still owned by the founding family.

Audemars Piguet is one of the finest and most celebrated luxury watchmakers ever. Audemars Piguet is a member of the “Holy Trinity” of watches – the three most luxurious, and prestigious luxury watch brands offered on the watch market today. The two other members of the “Holy Trinity” are Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe.

Not only is Audemars Piguet a member of the “Holy Trinity” – it’s a pioneer in watchmaking. The brand can boast with being the first in several fields:

  • In 1892, the first minute repeater wristwatch was developed and produced.
  • In 1915, the smallest five-minute repeater movement ever made, was developed. The diameter was a tiny 15.80mm.
  • In 1921, Audemars Piguet developed the first jumping-hour wristwatch.
  • In 1925, Audemars Piguet produced the world’s thinnest pocket watch movement – 1.32 mm thick.
  • In 1934, the first skeletonised pocket watch was developed.
  • In 1946, Audemars Piguet developed the world’s thinnest wristwatch.
  • In 1957, Audemars Piguet developed the first wristwatch equipped with a perpetual calendar.
  • In 1967, Audemars Piguet developed the world’s thinnest selfwinding automatic movement with a thickness of 2.45 mm.
  • In 1972, Audemars Piguet developed the legendary Royal Oak Collection – the first collection of high-end sports watches made of steel.
  • In 1978, Audemars Piguet developed the first ultra-thin automatic wristwatch with a perpetual calendar.
  • In 1986, Audemars Piguet developed the first ultra-thin automatic tourbillon wristwatch – merely 5.3 mm thick including the case – a feat in itself!
  • In 1989, Audemars Piguet invented the smallest automatic watch equipped with a perpetual calendar.
  • In 1996, Audemars Piguet developed the first automatic Grande complication watch.
  • In 1997, the first Grande Sonnerie chiming watch equipped with a minute repeater with three gongs and three hammers.
  • In 2000, Audemars Piguet invented the first watch with an Equation of Time, perpetual calendar, sunrise and sunset times.
  • In 2006, Audemars Piguet developed the first direct-impulse escapement.
  • In 2008, Audemars Piguet developed the first watch with a carbon case and carbon movement.
  • In 2009, Audemars Piguet developed a high-frequency chronometer, equipped with an escapement, and a double balance-spring.

Audemars Piguet’s success and fame are first and foremost attributable to the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Collection, and without this collection, Audemars Piguet would probably be an irrelevant brand – despite being an old brand dating back to 1875, and despite being a member of the “Holy Trinity”.

Without question, Audemars Piguet’s success and relevance, stand and fall with the Royal Oak Collection and it’s precisely for this reason that many people refer to Audemars Piguet as a “one model brand” or “one collection brand”.

Celebrities that are known to endorse Audemars Piguet are Lebron James, Michael Schumacher and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Audemars Piguet – The 14 Ranking Criteria:

  1. Long and respected history (Yes)
  2. Limited supply – large demand (Yes – very exlusive brand)
  3. Reputation/status/prestige (Yes – an elite watchmaker)
  4. Whether or not the brand is a fully independent watchmaker (Yes – Audemars Piguet is fully independent)
  5. Pioneering spirit and innovations (Yes – Audemars Piguet is an expert on haute horlogerie – meaning higher watchmaking and movement complications)
  6. Impact on watchmaking history and modern culture (Yes – Audemars Piguet is a member of the “Holy Trinity”)
  7. General in-house production (meaning every aspect of the manufacture is in-house) (Yes)
  8. In-house made movements (Yes)
  9. Movement complications (Yes – but in all fairness most Audemars Piguet watches are just equipped with movements with basic functions)
  10. Steel grade (Very good, but Audemars Piguet relies to a large extent on making timepieces in 18 carat gold)
  11. Build quality (Very good)
  12. Price range (Very high)
  13. Good resale value (Mediocre)
  14. Market presence/Market share/Market dominance (No – Audemars Piguet is a small and marginal brand in terms of production volume)

Recommended Collection:

Back To The Ranking List


Rank 2: Vacheron Constantin

Country of origin: Switzerland.

Established in 1755 by Jean-Marc Vacheron. Vacheron Constantin is a member of “The Holy Trinity” of Watch brands and manufacturers. Nowadays Vacheron Constantin is owned by Richemont Group.

Just like Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin too is a member of the “Holy Trinity” of watches – the three most luxurious, and prestigious luxury watch brands offered on the watch market today.

Vacheron Constantin bears the Hallmark of Geneva, which is the highest quality certification a watchmaker can get. Vacheron Constantin is also a master of movement complication, movement decorations and artistic design. Out of the three members of the “Holy Trinity”, Vacheron Constantin is probably the most artistic one. Vacheron Constantin is legendary for their relief images applied on their dials, and their highly decorated watch cases, that are turned into an exquisite piece of art.

Vacheron Constantin – The 14 Ranking Criteria:

  1. Long and respected history (Yes – one of the 5 oldest luxury watch brands)
  2. Limited supply – large demand (Yes)
  3. Reputation/status/prestige (Yes – an elite watchmaker, and highly regarded amongst connoisseurs, but is in all fairness a rather anonymous brand)
  4. Whether or not the brand is a fully independent watchmaker (No – not independent. Vacheron Constantin is owned by Richemont Group)
  5. Pioneering spirit and innovations (Yes – Vacheron Constantin is an expert on haute horlogerie – meaning higher watchmaking and movement complications, and artistically made movements and cases)
  6. Impact on watchmaking history and modern culture (Yes – Vacheron Constantin is the oldest member of the “Holy Trinity”)
  7. General in-house production (meaning every aspect of the manufacture is in-house) (Yes)
  8. In-house made movements (Yes)
  9. Movement complications (Yes – Vacheron Constantin makes complicated movements, but most of their movements are just equipped with the basic functions)
  10. Steel grade (Very good, but Vacheron Constantin relies to a large extent on making timepieces in 18 carat gold)
  11. Build quality (Good)
  12. Price range (Very high)
  13. Good resale value (Mediocre)
  14. Market presence/Market share/Market dominance (No – Vacheron Constantin is a very small and marginal brand in terms of production volume)

Back To The Ranking List


Rank 1: Patek Philippe

Country of origin: Switzerland.

Below is the famous Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon:

Please visit amazon.com down below for current and up to date prices



Established in 1839 by Antoine Norbert de Patek, and Francois Czapek. Patek Philippe is a member of “The Holy Trinity” of watch brands and manufacturers. Patek Philippe is an independent and family owned watchmaker, though not by the founding family. Next to Rolex, Patek Philippe has the best resale value.

Between 1900 and 1939, Patek Philippe won more than 700 timekeeping prizes! Between 1900 and 1951, Patek Philippe won more than 300 first prizes! Patek Philippe won its awards at the Astronomical Observatory of Geneva in Switzerland.

Believe it or not, but it takes Patek Philippe 9 months to just manufacture the most basic timepieces.  All their watches are handmade by master artisans and watchmakers.

Patek Philippe is considered by many watch enthusiasts and connoisseurs to be the Nr 1 luxury wristwatch manufacturer and brand in the world. Patek Philippe bears the famous Patek Philippe Seal since 2009, which is a new and unprecedented quality standard for mechnical and automatic timepieces, and this standard goes beyond any of the standards in the Swiss watchmaking industry.

Patek Philippe is defined by words such as fine handicraftworkmanship and quality.

This legendary watchmaker manufactures their watches entirely by hand, and the manufacture and assembly are done by master artisans and watchmakers, on an extremely limited scale. Almost every single Patek Philippe watch, if not every single one, is a collectible timepiece.

Patek Philippe timepieces are meant for the connoisseurs and the collectors – Patek Philippe is not meant for mass production and mass consumption.

Patek Philippe timepieces are very rare even in comparison to other prestigious Swiss luxury watchmakers.

If you are collector, an enthusiast or if you have a slight streak of snobbery, Patek Philippe is the ultimate King of Luxury – it’s the luxury watch world’s equivalence to Rolls Royce – no expenses seem to be too great!

Patek Philippe – The 14 Ranking Criteria:

  1. Long and respected history (Yes)
  2. Limited supply – large demand (Yes – Patek Philippe is a very rare and exclusive brand with a very limited supply)
  3. Reputation/status/prestige (Yes – is an elite watchmaker. Patek Philippe is a member of the “Holy Trinity” and is consistently ranked amongst the top 3 or top 5 luxury watch brands of the world)
  4. Whether or not the brand is a fully independent watchmaker (Yes – Patek Philippe is fully independent and family owned)
  5. Pioneering spirit and innovations (Yes – Patek Philippe won more than 700 timekeeping prizes between 1900 and 1939 and won more than 300 first prizes between 1900 and 1951!)
  6. Impact on watchmaking history and modern culture (Yes – Patek Philippe is a member of the “Holy Trinity” and sets the gold standard for what luxury watches and higher watchmaking are all about)
  7. General in-house production (meaning every aspect of the manufacture is in-house) (Yes)
  8. In-house made movements (Yes)
  9. Movement complications (Yes – Patek Philippe is an expert on movement complications, but most of their watches use movements with rather basic time functions)
  10. Steel grade (Very good, but Patek Philippe relies to a large extent on making timepieces in 18 carat gold)
  11. Build quality (Very good)
  12. Price range (Very high)
  13. Good resale value (Excellent – the best resale value on the market besides Rolex)
  14. Market presence/Market share/Market dominance (No – Patek Philippe is a very small and marginal brand in terms of production volume)

Recommended Collections:

Back To The Ranking List


If you have any comments or questions please drop them below and I’ll be happy to answer them!


Luxury Pocket Watch


Article written by Alexander – Founder and Owner of swissdiverswatches.com

Founder of Swiss Divers Watches5

 


Buy Exclusive Watches Online


 

106 thoughts on “Top 15 Luxury Watch Brands Ranking

  1. Dmitriy

    Hi, Alexander
    As I’ve as dress watches Patek Philippe ref.5109 and as sport watches Breguet Marine ref.5817, I’m looking for daily watches. From listed below what could be your choice and why
    JLC Reverso Classic Large Duo
    Rolex DJII
    Blancpain Villeret 40 manual
    VC Overseas

    What is you opinion about VC Patrimony 81180, I know this is dress watches, but my concern about reliability and
    resale value on second hand market

    Thanks in advance
    Dmitriy

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hi Dmitriy and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.

      Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Classic Large Duo, and Blancpain Villeret 40 Manual, are dress watches, while Rolex DJII (Rolex Datejust II) and Vacheron Constantin Overseas are metal sports watches, so they are basically very different in styles and aesthetics.

      If you’re looking for more sturdy and robust quality/luxury watches for daily wear, I’d definitely pick either Rolex Datejust II or Vacheron Constantin Overseas. For pure build quality and robustness and ruggedness, I’d pick Rolex Datejust II. Despite being branded as a luxury brand, Rolex watches are built for daily wear.

      Vacheron Constantin Patrimony is one of VCs most respected collections. If by “reliability” you are referring to movement accuracy, that shouldn’t unduly concern you since Vacheron Constantin makes accurate movements.

      As far as resale value is concerned, it’s basically Rolex and Patek Philippe that are unmatched in the resale value market, but if I were you, I wouldn’t purchase a watch for the sake of “investment” but rather regard it as a family heirloom that you’ll wear an entire lifetime that can be handed down to the next generation.

      Just like cars, luxury watches lose value over time, so therefore they aren’t ideal for investment. If investments interest you, then I’d recommend real estate, stocks and shares.
      Buy a watch because you love it and because you intend to wear it, and forget altogether about investments and resale value.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  2. Dennis

    Hi Alexander,

    A really nice article and it gave me a lot of advice.

    I am going to get my first watch in my life for myself but struggling between a Rolex GMT or Submariner.

    Maybe your advice could help me out a bit.

    Thanks for your time.

    PS I really enjoy reading your article.

    Cheers,

    Dennis

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hi Dennis and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.

      Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate it.

      Comparing the Rolex GMT Master to the Rolex Submariner hinges on three questions:

      1) Do you need the Submariner’s 300 m/1000 feet water resistance, or is the 100 m water resistance of the GMT Master sufficient?

      2) Do you need a time indicator for a 2nd time zone?

      3) Do you think it’s aesthetically speaking more pleasing to the eye to have a more crowded dial (GMT Master) or a more minimalistic/clean dial (Submariner)?

      Putting these questions aside, it’s the same brand and manufacturer, they use the same steel grade (904 L stainless steel), their movements are keeping pretty much the same level of accuracy and the build quality is the same of both timepieces.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  3. Andy

    Hello Alexander,

    I am curious to read about your opinion on NOMOS Glashutte, especially since in the past few years, they have developed their own in-house escapement (my apologies if someone already asked you this question on this blog).

    Hypothetically, if you were to further add more brands onto your list, at what place would you put NOMOS? And if you don’t mind, can you make a list to fit your 14 criteria for NOMOS, i’m curious to learn more about this brand since they are also based in the same town as Lange & Sohne (I assume there’s certain standard to follow in the footstep of Lange).

    Thanks in advance for your time and sharing your opinion.

    Best regards.

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Andy and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.

      NOMOS Glashütte is a very new brand which was established in January 1990, specialized in ultra thin dress watches with in-house made movements made according to the very exacting, strict and stringent regulations and standards of the Glashütte wristwatch industry – Germany’s equivalent to Switzerland’s Geneva.

      According to the Glashütte’s wristwatch manufacturing standards and regulations, at least 50% of each individual movement needs to be in-house made, which NOMOS Glashütte exceeds by far since 95% of each movement is built in-house by NOMOS Glashütte.

      This is a very small, peripheral niche brand, very new with hardly any history and with a minimal impact on the luxury wristwatch industry, hardly any presence on the commercial market, and is known by almost noone outside of the wristwatch community.

      To my knowledge NOMOS makes excellent quality timepieces but due to their lack of fame, short history, minimal impact on the the watchmaking industry and minimal impact on watchmaking history, extremely limited production and poor name recognition, I’d rank it among say the top 20-40.

      The original Glashütte on the other hand is a completely different story. This brand probably deserves to be ranked among say the top 16-30.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  4. Rayya

    Hey Alexander,

    I would like your thoughts on Baume et Mercier vs. Raymond Weil vs. Longines.
    My price range is about 2500$

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Rayya and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com

      All three brands are Swiss, all three rely on and use either ETA movements or Valjoux movements, and all three to my knowledge rely on 316L stainless steel.

      As far as build quality and the movements’ time keeping accuracy are concerned, I see no major difference between Baume & Mercier, Raymond Weil and Longines.

      The rest is aesthetics, design and personal preference, and only you can know for certain what you should purchase. There is no right and wrong here. It’s simply a matter of personal taste.
      Trust your own instincts Rayya.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  5. Eli

    Hello, Alexander!
    I love this article. How enlightening it is! And I’m really sorry to bother you with my problem, but since you know a great deal about luxury watches, I have to try.. Could you please find men’s wrist watches for me that satisfy conditions below?

    1. I’d like to wear them everyday, which means ‘casual’ for me.
    2. non-metallic bracelet
    3. simple but not boring unlike, with respect, Patrimony or Calatrava, yes, they are dress watches.
    4. price range: 8k – 20k dollars

    I hope you could suggest as many watches as possible. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Eli and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.

      And thank you for your kind words.

      I’m not sure which “style” you’re looking for, aesthetically speaking, but you could try (1) Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore with a leather strap.

      You could potentially go with (2) Patek Philippe Nautilus on a leather strap. You could also opt for a (3) Patek Philippe Aquanaut on a rubber strap.

      Another alternative would be to purchase a (4) Rolex Submariner in stainless steel, remove the metal bracelet and replace it with a NATO strap or a Rolex made rubber strap.

      An additional alternative would be to purchase a (5) Rolex Sea Dweller 4000, and just like in the previous example above, replace the metal bracelet with either a NATO strap or a Rolex made rubber strap.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  6. Antonio

    Hello Alexander!
    I’ve been following your blog for a considerable time now and your ranking of the top luxury watch brands is the very best that I’ve come across so far. I agree with you on most of the ranking except Panerai and Omega. Don’t you think that Panerai should be ranked higher than Omega due to the premium prices that Panerai charges their customers?

    Antonio

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Antonio and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.

      And many thanks to your kind comments. I appreciate it.

      Appearances might deceive people.

      The marketing and the premium prices might tempt people to believe, that the collective commercialized “image” of a particular brand would automatically imply that the product in question is a premium quality product.

      It’s not the actual price tag on a luxury wristwatch that determines its excellence but rather the inherent mechanical, technical features and qualities of the watch, such as the accuracy of the movement, power reserve, amount of jewels, shock resistance, resistance to magnetism, water resistance, and practical user friendly functions, that make life a lot easier for the bearer of the watch.

      We can of course also refer to quality controls and quality manufacturing criteria in the factories, innovation, and impact on watch making history, and impact on general history, and impact on popular culture, and within all, or at least within almost all of these fields, Omega outperforms Panerai by a large margin.

      There is no comparison between Omega and Panerai.
      Omega is considerably more affordable but offers you a lot more for the money you pay, and considering the mediocre nature of Panerai I fail to see why their price tags can be justified.

      Simply put: Panerai is marketing and image, Omega is quality and reliability.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  7. Tony

    This is a great list…probably the best I’ve found on the web so good job!

    I agree with all except the last 3:

    Cartier – more of a fashion company and therefore more of a fashion watch in my opinion
    Panerai – decent brand but also a bit of a fashion watch and doesn’t have a long history nor are they known for their movements.
    Hublot – honestly I think this brand is a joke. They have barely been around, copied AP’s style, and just rely on heavy marketing.

    Would love to get your thoughts on those and also what would your next 5 be?

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Tony and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.

      Cartier – I agree. This brand is famous largely due to marketing, and there really isn’t anything special with regards to their movements, their technology or their impact on watchmaking. However due to the brand’s fame and it’s prevalence on the commercial market, I think Cartier deserves to be ranked among the top 15.

      Panerai – I both agree and disagree. Panerai’s history is old and dates back to 1860 in Florence, Italy. It’s older than Rolex for example. Panerai’s impact on watchmaking has been indeed minimal, their movements are to a large extent generic ETA movements from Swatch Group, which Panerai for obvious reasons, cannot take credit for, and their in-house made movements are decent but definitely not earth-shattering.
      Panerai, I believe deserves to be ranked among the top 15 due to its long history, its unique design, its popularity amongst Hollywood action movie heroes, and the brand’s historical connection to the Italian navy of the early and mid 20th century.

      Hublot – I largely agree. It’s a young and immature brand that has profiled itself mainly through its extreme designs and unorthodox materials. Hublot is basically known for one thing only: its design. They quite recently started making their own in-house movements, but Hublot needs time to prove itself as a brand. Due to its popularity, I think it deserves to be ranked among the top 15.

      The next 5 in my mind would probably be Piaget, Ulysse Nardin, Chopard, Richard Mille and Roger Dubuis.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  8. Sean

    Hi there,
    If I am buying a used watch and also considering a resale later, should I go for Blancpain 50 fathoms or Rolex submariner?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Sean and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.

      They both have a good resale value although the Rolex Submariner is more famous, has a larger fan club, and is considerably more popular and can be resold anywhere on the planet at a good price.

      It would be a lot easier to resell the Submariner than the 50 Fathoms, due to the market’s demand for this timepiece. The Rolex Submariner would typically appeal to a much larger contingent of customers, while the 50 Fathoms is more of a “niche watch” which appeals primarily to connoisseurs.

      My recommendation to you however, is that you should buy a watch because you love it and you intend to keep it, and not merely because a timepiece has a good resale value. If you know deep down in your heart that you have some doubts about the timepiece – any timepice – don’t buy it.

      Only buy a timepiece if you are absolutely smitten with love for it.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  9. Deniz

    Hi Alexander and thank you for a very informative post, I truly enjoyed reading it.

    One question regarding world timers…
    I’m about to buy one and trying to make a decision between “Lange 1 Time Zone” and Patek worldtimer 5230G-001. How would you compare these two and what would be your pick?

    Many thanks once again.

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Deniz and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.

      Both watches belong to, and are examples of, premium luxury elite watchmakers – Patek Philippe and A Lange & Söhne. Regardless of which watch you decide on, you have still picked excellent handmade dresswatches, made in the old Swiss and German traditions.

      Both watches will, if properly serviced, serve you well an entire lifetime. Definitely the epitome of Swiss and German luxury artisanship. However, these timepieces are quite fragile, since dress watches, and especially those equipped with movement complications, tend to be very fragile. They are pieces of art but may not necessarily be optimal for everyday use. If you on the other have a desk job, then this won’t be a problem.

      But nonetheless, expensive handmade dresswatches of that nature require extra care.

      In order for me to answer your question, let me ask you a counter-question: what about these two timepieces appeals to your heart? What made you decide on these two timepieces?

      Essentially you need to ask yourself three questions:

      1) Which timepiece truly appeals to my feelings?
      2) What do I need in and expect from a timepiece?
      3) Will I wear the timepiece every day or almost every single day?

      If you know the answer to all three questions, then you’ll know which timepiece you should decide on.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
      1. Deniz

        Thank you for your reply Alexander,
        Both watches are beautiful with no doubt. But they still offer a bit of different styles and functions.

        In my opinion, Patek is much smaller and looks a bit more of a classic dresswatch while Lange looks a bit more contemporary because of its size, both the thickness and the dial.
        Lange has the date but no date Patek. But all timezones are readable at one look on Patek while only two time zones are visible at one look on Lange. Also Patek is self winding, while Lange is all manual.

        I think I like Lange more, because of its quite extra ordinary design with its decentered dials. It appeals the feelings for sure.
        When it comes to need and expectations, I think Patek is better due to all timezones readable but no deal breaker.
        And I will wear it probably 1/3 – 1/2 of the time.

        So since you confirm the quality and craftsmanship of both watches, and out of your questions, I think there’s nothing to worry about and go for Lange this time 🙂

        My next question would be regarding the prices globally.
        Is it really true that i.e Dubai offers better prices than other countries? Is it really worth traveling to Hong Kong, US or Middle East for a premium watch or should we just trust the authorised dealer that they will give us the best price available possible globally? (I’m thinking all prices duty free)

        Many thanks once again, and keep up the good work. What you do is really appreciated!
        Deniz

        Reply
        1. Alexander Post author

          Hi Deniz,

          I can confirm the quality and craftsmanship of A. Lange & Söhne and Patek Philippe – not just these two particular models that you mentioned.

          I usually tell my readers to trust their own feelings and instincts. So basically you already knew which timepiece you wanted. There is no need for me recommending you a timepiece since you already knew which timepiece you intended to buy.

          As far as prices are concerned: terribly sorry Deniz but unfortunately I can’t help you with that.

          Cheers
          Alexander

          Reply
  10. tim

    What are your comments about the Jules Audemars models?
    I know that Royal Oak is their signature model and I’m wondering why jules series is not so popular. As a matter of fact, I heard it was discontinued in some websites.
    The reason I’m asking you this is because I’m considering buying either Jules Audemars Automatic Chronograph Titanium Men’s Watch or Jules Audemars Chronograph Automatic Men’s Watch. I feel like I may be making a wrong decision. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Tim and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.

      It’s a very good question why the Jules Audemars isn’t that popular. There is nothing wrong with the timepiece. It’s handmade, it contains complications and is a prime example of what higher watchmaking is all about.
      My recommendation is that you contact Audemars Piguet at their website and ask them all the relevant questions.

      Since the 1970s, Audemars Piguet’s signature model has always been the Royal Oak.

      Before Audemars Piguet released the Royal Oak in the 70s, the company was on the brink of becoming bankrupt. The existing models didn’t appeal to the customers, so the brand made a bold new move and released the somewhat unusual Royal Oak. Audemars Piguet stands and falls today with the Royal Oak.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
      1. tim

        Thank you so much for the comment.
        I’ve actually narrowed down my choices to JaegerLecoultre Geophysics Universal time, Rolex Submariner Black with Date, Blancpain moonphase, and Jules Audemars.
        Jules, in this case, gave a huge discount. I guess that is because Jules series is unpopular that they are willing to give such an offer.
        Could you tell me what your preferences would be in rank for the four I’ve mentioned, and any other watch models you would recommend that is below $10,000? Thank you!

        Reply
        1. Alexander Post author

          Hello again Tim.
          One word: Submariner
          This is my honest advice to you: forget the other timepieces. You’ll keep your Submariner all your life. It’s elegant and sporty, versatile, robust and built like a tank, anti-magnetic, shock resistant, and the movement is extremely accurate and reliable. And on top of that, the Submariner is water resistant and uses the 904L stainless steel. The Submariner can be used for any and every occasion imaginable. You can dress it up with a suit, and you can dress it down with a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.

          No matter the environment and the context of the situation – be it an ordinary everyday situation or festivities and ceremonies, a visit to the beach, a dive in the ocean, a meeting at the CEO’s office or a black tie event – you can never go wrong with the Submariner.

          Ultimately you need to pick a watch that you love regardless of my recommendations. If you love one of the other abovementioned timepieces, then you should absolutely get it. But my personal opinion is, that you should go with the Submariner.

          Cheers
          Alexander

          Reply
          1. tim

            thanks for the feedback.
            The reason that I am hesitant about Rolex Submariner are two reasons:
            1. Too many fake Rolex submariners out there.
            2. There are too many people who has this. So it takes away the sort of “uniqueness”

            And just wondering, where would you put Submariner in rank when you look at simply the movement only?

          2. Alexander Post author

            I understand your hesitation, but if you purchase from an authorized dealer or from Amazon.com there is no need to worry. You’ll get an authentic Rolex Submariner.

            Yes, naturally are Submariners more commonly seen on people’s wrists than other even more expensive high end brands. Rolex is an industrial and financial powerhouse, whereas the other brands you mentioned – Audemars Piguet, Jaeger LeCoultre and Blancpain, are small marginal brands specialized in higher watchmaking and hand made dress watches meant primarily for connoisseurs.

            However, the fact that a large amount of people have the Submariner does not in the slightest detract from its historical importance and technical and mechanical excellence.

            If you look at things from a perspective, you’ll see that most people don’t even wear a Rolex, and cannot afford a Rolex. Everything is relative of course, but my point is that the Submariner isn’t that “common” at all – unless of course you’re comparing it to Audemars Piguet, Blancpain and Jaeger LeCoultre – handmade higher end dress watches manufactured on a very small scale for connoisseurs.

            As far as accuracy goes, Rolex isn’t any worse than Blancpain, JLC or AP. Rolex’s movements aren’t pretty to look at – they are workhorses, but they work exceptionally well. The movements made by AP and Blancpain and JLC are beautiful pieces of art, but also very delicate.

            Ultimately you need to ask yourself three questions:
            1) Which timepiece truly appeals to my feelings?
            2) What do I need in and expect from a timepiece?
            3) Will I wear the timepiece every day or almost every single day?

            If you know the answer to all three questions,you’ll know which timepiece you should pick.

            Cheers
            Alexander

          3. tim

            I ended up buying an IWC Portuguese Chronograph Black dial. (so no submariner)
            It was the watch that I liked most and also fit my lifestyle.
            I just want to say thank you so much for your help.

          4. Alexander Post author

            Great to hear you’ve made a decision Tim. Glad I could help.

  11. CK

    Hello, Alexander,

    I have read your expert analysis with much interest and admiration. May I have your comparison of the following, say in terms of value for money? I would like to choose one for daily use.

    1) PP Calatrava 5296R-001
    2) VC Oveaseas 4500V/110a-B128
    3) VC Quai De L’Lile 4500S/000A-B195
    4) AP Royal Oak 15400ST.OO.1220ST.03
    5) Piaget Polo S chrono GoA41006

    Many thanks,

    CK

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello CK and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.
      Kudos to you – your support is much appreciated.

      Nr 1 (Patek Philippe Calatrava 5296R-001), and nr 3 (Vacheron Constantin Quai De L’Lile 4500S/000A-B195) are dress watches.

      Nr 2 (Vacheron Constantin Oveaseas 4500V/110a-B128), nr 4 (Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15400ST.OO.1220ST.03) and nr 5 (Piaget Polo S chrono GoA41006) are steel sports watches.

      So the first question I need to ask you is: are you interested in dress watches or steel sports watches?

      1) Patek Philippe Calatrava (a dress watch) offers you the most basic time functions, and the movement is equipped with 29 jewels, a power reserve ranging from 35 – 45 hours, and beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour

      2) Vacheron Constantin Overseas (a steel sports watch) too is equipped with just the basic time functions, but offers a considerably more robust movement: 37 jewels, approximately 60 hours of power reserve and a frequency of 28,800 vph (the same as PP Calatrava).

      3) Vacheron Constantin Quai De L’Lile (a dress watch with a cushion shaped case) also offers the most basic time functions, and in similarity to the VC Overseas, its movement has the following performance data: 37 jewels, approximately 60 hours of power reserve and a frequency of 28,800 vph (the same as PP Calatrava).

      4) Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is a legendary steel sports watch – the flagship product of Audemars Piguet. This model too offers you just the basic time functions, but the movement is considerably different from the first three: while AP Royal Oak offers you a 60 hour power reserve, and 40 jewels, it only beats at 3 Hz (21,600 vph), which means the sweep of the second hand is visibly slower and considerably more jerky. It doesn’t affect the function per se, but the second hand is indeed visibly slower and jerkier due to a slower speed. Some people are bothered by the aesthetics of the slower and jerkier movement of the second hand, while others aren’t in the slightest bothered by it.

      5) Piaget Polo S chrono GoA41006 is a steel sports watch with a chronograph movement. The movement: 35 jewels, 50 hour Power reserve and beats at 28,800 vph (vibrations per hour).

      My personal verdict: all 5 watches are extremely prestigious and expensive timepieces made by premium Swiss luxury watch brands in the finest Swiss tradition.

      In terms of value for money, meaning which timepiece offers you a maximum amount of features and functions, in conjunction with an accurate movement, with a high number of jewels and a considerable power reserve, for the amount of money you pay for the timepiece, I’d say Piaget Polo S chrono GoA41006 is the right choice.

      Value for money: Piaget Polo S chrono GoA41006.

      Most prestigious model and brand out of these 5 above mentioned models: Patek Philippe Calatrava.

      Which timepiece you should pick: the particular timepiece that sings to your heart. Which timepiece appeals to you the most?

      Ultimately, you should pick a timepice that appeals to your feelings, regardless of the technical specifications or such subjective concepts such as “prestige” or “ranking”. If you purchase a watch you truly love to wear every single day, you’ve made the right choice.
      Only you can know which of these 5 models suits your personality the best.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
      1. CK

        Thank you, Alexander, for your helpful advice and information.

        With regards,
        CK

        Reply
          1. CK

            Hello again, Alexander,

            I have, after further checking, shortlisted the following two, and would like to hear your advice before firming up my mind:

            (1) VC Quai de L’ile (steel), and
            (2) JLC Master Geographic (steel).

            How would you compare the two? I thank you in advance.

            With regards,
            CK

          2. Alexander Post author

            Hello again CK,

            Both VC Quai de L’ile (steel) and JLC Master Geographic (steel) are dress watches, both are handmade in the finest Swiss tradition, and both brands are ranked amongst the top 10 luxury watch brands of the world. As a brand, Vacheron Constantin is (usually) ranked higher than JLC, although the difference in ranking is negligible.

            I’m not really sure what criteria you are using. Some of the VC Quai de L’ile models have a moon phase indicator, month indicator and a date indicator, whilst most of their models have a date indicator.

            Most of the JLC Master Geographic models are equipped with a power reserve indicator, month indicator and date indicator.

            The rest is aesthetical CK. You need to decide for yourself what functions you need and which model’s aesthetics appeals to you the most.

            Cheers
            Alexander

    1. Alexander Post author

      Hi George and a warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.

      The ranking is subjective of course, but I would probably rank Ulysse Nardin amongst say the top 16-20 luxury wristwatch brands.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  12. Akhil

    Hello,

    I would like to first thank you for this wonderful list! I am looking for a large dial (42mm+) watch with a budget of about $4,000.00. I need it for everyday, I generally wear formal (tie) on an everyday basis. This will be my first watch. I am not a fan of watches with big basels. Do you have any suggestions? The ones I had in mind were below:

    Baume & Mercier Capeland 10000
    Baume & Mercier Capeland 10063
    Baume & Mercier Capeland 10064 (favorite out of this series)
    Breitling Navitimer (Love the entire series but puts me way out of budget)
    Many of the Longines watches fall into this category as well (Large dial minimal to no Basel)

    Do you have any suggestions for others?

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Akhil, and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.
      Thank you for visiting the blog – I appreciate it.

      There really is no need to ask me which watch you should pick. Only you can know which watch you truly like. It doesn’t really matter how I rank the brands or what I personally think of the brands. If you like Baume & Mercier and their combined chronograph and dress watches, it means you have found a design that appeals to your feelings, so there really is no need to ask me what I think how you should spend your money Akhil.

      The questions you need to ask yourselves are:
      1) Do you genuinely like the watch?
      2) Will you wear it everyday? This is an important question because this reveals how much you desire it.
      3) Does it have the proper functions and aesthetics that suit your personal taste and lifestyle?

      If the answer is yes to all questions, you’ve found the right timepiece.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  13. Hans

    I would think Piaget should be ranked ahead of some on your list, for sure.

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Hans,
      Yes the ranking is naturally subjective and certainly not set in stone but if it were up to me, Piaget would probably be ranked amongst the top 15-20 luxury wristwatch brands.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  14. Manuel Betancourth

    Well detailed article, enjoyed it. I’d like to know what are your thoughts on Longines and TAG Heuer? I’m debating between an TAG Aquaracer Calibre 5 300 m. and a Longines HydroConquest. What is your opinion on both models?

    Regards.

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Manuel and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.

      They are both excellent Swiss Made divers watches enjoying a legendary reputation really. Both models – the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5 300 m, and Longines HydroConquest, have a decent build quality – not as good as the Rolex Submariner, Rolex Sea Dweller, the various iterations and versions of the Omega Seamasters and the Breitling Chronomat, but not as flimsy as say Seiko, Victorinox, Tissot and Certina.

      Both TAG Heuer and Longines use standard stainless steel – 316 L (the same one used by Omega and Breitling).
      Both the TAG Heuer Aquaracer 300m and the Longines HydroConquest are water resistant at 30 bar/300 meters/1000 feet.

      And both brands have lost their independence back in the 1980s, and are nowadays owned by major corporate groups: TAG Heuer is a wholly owned subsidiary of LVMH (Louis Vuitton/Moët Hennessy) and Longines is a wholly owned subsidiary of Swatch Group.

      TAG Heuer uses a fold over clasp just like the Longines.
      TAG Heuer is more famous due to marketing while Longines is a brand considerably more appreciated by connoisseurs (due to Longines’ long and respectable history).

      Let’s compare the movements of TAG Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5 300m and the Longines HydroConquest: The TAG Heuer Calibre 5 300m, if I’m not mistaken, relies on an in-house made TAG Heuer movement, while the Longines HydroConquest relies on Longines automatic movement L633, which is simply Swatch Group’s generic but excellent ETA 2428-2 base movement.
      Both movements have 25 jewels, a vph of 28,800 (28,800 vibrations per hour), and a 38 hour power reserve.

      Technically and mechanically speaking, I wouldn’t consider any of these two models “better” or “worse”.

      What it really comes down to Manuel is personal taste. TAG Heuer is sportier and Longines has this elegant and classic timeless quality about it.

      My personal favorite, based on design and aesthetics alone, would be the Longines HydroConquest.

      You can purchase the TAG Heuer Aquaracer here: http://swissdiverswatches.com/tag-heuer-aquaracer-for-sale
      You can purchase the Longines HydroConquest here: http://swissdiverswatches.com/longines-hydroconquest-watches

      Feel free to ask more questions and I hope this helps.
      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
      1. Manuel Betancourth

        Thank you Alexander, looking forward to another great article.

        Regards.

        Reply
        1. Alexander Post author

          You’re most welcome Manuel. I’m glad I could help.

          Cheers
          Alexander

          Reply
  15. Lynn Rivera

    Hello Alexander.

    I am currently in the market to purchase a watch very soon for my husband. I have narrowed it down to one brand Breitling. The watch that I’m currently looking at is the Colt 41 automatic. I know that Breitling is famously known for its chronograph watches . What are your thoughts on that particular watch versus a chronograph watch do you think it something that I should definitely consider ? I don’t want to spend an excessive amount either. He is a business man however he doesn’t engage in sports like diving etc.
    Just so that I am clear, could you also explain to me the difference between an automatic vs quartz.

    Thank you in advance,
    Lynn

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Lynn and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.

      I want to commend you on an excellent choice – you can’t wrong with Breitling Colt. You do get a lot considering what you’re paying for it.

      Yes, Breitling is famous for its professional chronograph watches used primarily by pilots and divers. These watches have a distinct professional, industrial and instrumental “look” to them.

      Breitling offers both “ordinary” watches and chronographs, and both the non-chronograph watches and the chronographs are COSC certified (meaning they are very accurate watches) and both the non-chronograph watches, and the chronographs, come either in quartz or automatic movements.

      So essentially what you need to ask yourself is whether or not your husband needs a chronograph function in his timepiece, or if he likes to stick to the basics – meaning hour-, minute-, and second hands, and a date window. There is no “right” and “wrong” here – just his personal preference.

      Does he like a clean minimalistic look? Then he should go with the non-chronograph Breitling Colt.
      Does he like technical and mechanical complications (many guys do) and additional features? Then he should go with Breitling Colt Chronograph.

      Quartz means it’s a battery movement – it takes care of itself. It’s the cheapest, most reliable and most user friendly movement out there. Roughly 80-85% of all watches out there on the commercial market, are quartz (battery driven), and this would include dozens if not hundreds of brands – not just Breitling.

      Automatic movement means a mechanical movement (no battery involved) which automatically winds up itself due to the person’s or the wearer’s natural hand, and arm movements.
      This means that as long as you use your automatic watch every day or almost every single day , the watch takes care of itself: your hand and arm movements will naturally and automatically wind up the mechanical movement (hence the name – “automatic movement”), and there is no need to manually wind up the watch.

      The only scenarios in which you need to manually wind an automatic watch: If you have just unboxed a brand new automatic watch that you need manually wind up the first time (in order to activate it), or when you haven’t used the watch for a couple of days and the watch stops, and you need manually wind it up again in order to activate the watch’s movement.

      You can purchase Breitling Colt online here: http://swissdiverswatches.com/breitling-colt-watches

      Feel free to ask additional questions.
      I hope this helps.
      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  16. Jae

    Hello,
    Thank you for the detailed article- I really enjoyed reading it.
    I am planning to buy a watch in the 2000-4000 dollar range, and I was wondering if you could recommend me around 5 brands according to your categories, and possibly their models as well.
    Also, would it be best to buy watches from each brand’s official website, or is there a better way?
    Thank you so much!

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Jae and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.

      I can recommend you 5 brands in the given price range:
      1) Bell & Ross
      2) Breitling
      3) Tudor
      4) Omega
      5) Oris

      I’m not sure what sort of watch you are looking for. Are you looking for a dress watch, pilot watch or divers watch? Since you didn’t state what sort of watch you are looking for I can’t recommend a specific model.

      You could either make your purchase at your local authorized retailers or online, since online retailers can offer you luxury watches at reduced prices.

      Swiss Divers Watches.com does contain a shopping area as well: http://swissdiverswatches.com/buy-a-luxury-watch-online

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
      1. Jae

        Oh, I’m looking for a watch that works as a dress watch and also as a casual watch.
        I was also wondering how Longines compares to the brands you stated above?
        And lastly, you wouldn’t recommend gray market, would you?

        Thank you!

        Reply
          1. Alexander Post author

            “Gray market” simply means online watch retailers who do not have an official agreement to sell and repair the timepieces of the respective brands. That’s the reason they offer 100% authentic Swiss luxury watches at reduced prices.

            Since the price of the timepiece is the nr 1 priority of most luxury watch buyers, they are willing to purchase Swiss luxury watches online – even though many of the online retailers may not be “authorized” in the strictest sense. Each Swiss brand has its very own policy of what is allowed, and when and if their official warranty is applicable or not.

            What it really boils down to is the warranty. If you make your purchase at an authorized dealer, the warranty will cover all costs and expenses of the service and the repairs, but once the warranty period has expired, the individual watch owner needs to pay himself/herself for the service and the repairs of the watch.

            Authorized dealers are relevant with regards to the official warranty offered the first 1-5 years depending on the brand.

            Even when the warranty period has expired I still recommend you to service and repair your watch at authorized dealers.

            The online retailers – many of them unauthorized, might instead offer you their own specific warranty. This means that the watch is covered by their own warranty and not by the brand’s official warranty which applies only to authorized dealers. This means that if you purchase a watch online, you cannot approach your local authorized dealer and invoke the online retailer’s warranty because their warranty won’t be accepted by authorized dealers.

            People purchase watches online due to heavily reduced prices, but at the same time they are taking chances when they are not being given the brand’s official warranty. But on the other hand, the risk that a brand new Swiss luxury watch will break down during the first 3-5 years is quite slim to be honest, and even if you purchase a watch at an authorized dealer, once the warranty period has expired, the watch owner is at his own.

          2. Alexander Post author

            If you’re looking for a combined dress watch and casual watch, I’d recommend the Swiss brands that I mentioned above. More specifically I’d recommend their divers watches.

            This website is dedicated to Swiss Made divers watches, so just have a look around, take a look at the brands, and their collections and see if you like something. Bell & Ross might have a very unconventional and sporty look, but the divers watches offered by Breitling, Tudor, Omega and Oris are very versatile: they are elegant and sporty at the same time.

            Longines is a very good brand. I can highly recommend it, and the reason I didn’t mention it in the listing above is because most Longines watches are a lot more affordable than the price range you stated. Most Longines watches can be found in the $1000-$2000 range.

            1) Bell & Ross: http://swissdiverswatches.com/buy-a-bell-ross-watch
            2) Breitling: http://swissdiverswatches.com/buy-a-breitling-watch
            3) Tudor: http://swissdiverswatches.com/buy-a-tudor-watch
            4) Omega: http://swissdiverswatches.com/buy-an-omega-watch
            5) Oris: http://swissdiverswatches.com/buy-an-oris-watch
            6) Longines: http://swissdiverswatches.com/buy-a-longines-watch

            Cheers
            Alexander

  17. Paul C.

    Hello Alexander,

    I want to commend you on a great article very in depth and very informative. I’m at the cross roads of purchasing either a IWC portuguese grande complication 377402 or a Patek Phillipe 5970J. The IWC is attract because the of price and what you receive (minute repeater, etc.) IWC seems to have come along way. Additionally, I know Patek Phillipe is considered the “holy grail” of watch makers. Which would you recommend? Any insight would be appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Paul C.

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Paul and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.

      Let me commend you on your good taste in watches – IWC Portuguese grande complication 377402, and Patek Phillipe 5970J, are the very epitome of higher watchmaking.

      So let’s compare the watches.

      Function wise, both the IWC grande complication and the Patek Philippe grand complication are very similar if not identical: moonphase, chronograph, day of the week, date of the month, month, year indicator, perpetual calendar. I believe that the Patek Philippe is in addition, equipped with a tachymeter. So, with the Patek Philippe you’ll get an extra added function.

      The movement: Patek Philippe is powered by a manual hand wind movement while the IWC is powered by an automatic movement. For daily use, the IWC is without question, a lot more comfortable to use and wear.

      Case material: Patek Philippe relies on yellow gold, while IWC relies either on red gold or platinum. This is just a matter of personal preference.

      As far as aesthetics is concerned, both the IWC Portuguese grande complication and the Patek Philippe grande complication are very similar, in fact almost identical, with the minor difference that the IWC Portuguese moon phase is indicated at the top of the dial and the Patek Philippe moon phase is indicated at the very bottom of the dial.

      As far as price is concerned: they are both found in roughly the same price range.

      As far as brand recognition, status and ranking are concerned: yes Patek Philippe (alongside Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet) is considered by many to belong to the “top three luxury wristwatch brands” of the world: meaning the “The Holy Grail” or “The Holy Trinity” – whatever terminology people prefer.

      I’d assume that the main reasons why Patek Philippe is consistently ranked higher than IWC, is due to the fact that Patek Philippe is an independent family owned firm while IWC is owned by Richemont Group, Patek Philippe has won more than 700 timekeeping prizes between 1900 and 1939, and more than 300 first prizes between 1900 and 1951, and in 2009, Patek Philippe released the Patek Philippe Seal, which is a quality benchmark for Patek Philippe’s mechanical watches, and a quality benchmark which stands above the rest of the Swiss Watch industry.

      On top of that, 100% of Patek’s movements are in-house made, while IWC by contrast, relies mostly on generic ETA and Valjoux movements by Swatch Group. Very few of IWC’s models and collections rely on in-house made IWC movements.

      The real reason why IWC should still be accepted into the “big boys’ club” is because IWC’s higher end timepieces, are very much comparable to the grande complications by Patek Philippe, Jaeger LeCoultre, Breguet etc.

      So I guess you could say that as a brand, IWC is most definitely not comparable to Patek Philippe, but on the other hand, as a private person and as a consumer, it’s really the individual timepiece or the individual model, that truly matters, from a purely practical, utilitarian, quality and luxury point of view. Seen from this perspective, I don’t see any real reason as to why the Patek Philippe grand complication would be “preferable” to the IWC Portuguese grand complication.

      As far as I am concerned, I would consider the IWC grand complication to be on par with the Patek Philippe grand complication, even though IWC as a brand and as a company, may not be on par with Patek.

      My recommendation to you is to go with the particular timepiece that appeals to your feelings the most.
      Either choice is a great choice and you can’t go wrong with either of them.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  18. Ryan

    Alexander,

    Fantastic and informative article, thank you. I have a few questions, I am a novice when it comes to watches. I have a smaller wrist (6.3″) and I’ve only owned a few store brand models that were always too big/bulky, which turned me off to wearing watches for many years. However, I’d like your opinion a brand that has options for smaller wrists. I am looking for an everyday, business casual watch (not Tuxedo attire accessory at this point) that would be a step up from the store brands. I am open to any suggestions and appreciate your time and response.

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hi Ryan and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.
      You asked very good questions. Since this website is dedicated to Swiss Made divers watches, and since these kind of watches are, in all earnest, the most practical, robust and versatile all-round watches that money can buy today on the luxury watch market, I’d recommend you a small assortment and picks of divers watches/sports watches – some of these brands are Swiss and some aren’t.

      I’m not sure what budget you are looking at, but I ‘ve taken your criteria into consideration:
      1) Small wrists, and
      2) Business casual watches. I’d assume that you mean that the watch can be used for both everyday life and festive and formal occasions.

      Based on your criteria I’d recommend:

      1) Rolex Submariner
      2) Omega Seamaster Professional 300
      3) Oris Aquis Date 40mm
      4) Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 600
      5) MKII Nassau
      6) TAG Heuer Aquaracer
      7) Longines HydroConquest
      8) Longines Legend Diver
      9) Certina DS Action Diver
      10) Steinhart Ocean One (a homage to Rolex Submariner)

      They are all very versatile watches that can both be dressed up with tuxedoes and business suits, and be dressed down with jeans and t-shirts.

      Feel free to ask more questions and I hope this helps.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
      1. Ryan

        Hello again Alexander,

        I wanted to thank you for your information and let you know that I went with the 38mm Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro. Not only is it a perfect fit, but a beautiful timepiece as well. I am extremely happy and wanted to again thank you for your assistance.

        Reply
  19. Anthony Wang

    would like to know your view on Louis Moinet, Piaget, blanpain and breguet.

    really into skeleton style

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hi Anthony and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.

      I’ve mentioned Blancpain and Breguet in the blog article above. They are ranked as nr 8 and nr 7 respectively.
      Piaget – I would rank it among the top 15-20 brands.

      Louis Moinet is an elite French luxury watchmaker specialized in handmade dress watches – usually with either embellished dials with exotic and highly unconventional artistic motives – or skeletonized dials, and movements equipped with chronographs, tourbillons and movement complications. Louis Moinet invented the chronograph in 1816, which means that this manufacturer no doubt has left its mark on the luxury wristwatch industry, but due to the brand’s relatively small size and its anonymity amongs most people, I’d probably rank Louis Moinet amongst say the top 20-30 brands.

      Please note that this is merely my personal evaluation and assessment of the brands and my opinions are by no means objective and by no means the Gospels.

      I hope this helps.
      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  20. Penny

    Hi Alex,

    How about Fortis? What is your view and opinions on fortis?

    Best regards
    Penny

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hi Penny and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.
      I’m terribly sorry for my late reply – I’ve been on a 7 day long vacation.

      Fortis is a well made and respectable Swiss Made brand which offers quality watches at reasonable prices, but since they almost exclusively rely on a third party to make their movements (Swatch Group) and since Fortis almost exclusively relies on generic ETA and Valjoux movements, I wouldn’t personally rank Fortis among the top 15 brands.

      So how should Fortis be ranked? This is a good question since there are many brands of similar price range that in similarity to Fortis rely on generic ETA and Valjoux movements.

      Fortis should maybe be ranked among say the top 30-40 brands. This is quite difficult to say really because the more “generic” the brands are, the higher the competition will be. The top 15 brands which I have ranked here on this blog are exceptional brands that are anything but generic.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hi Joe. I’m glad you like the article. Yes, the research behind the article took indeed a lot of time.
      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  21. Peyman

    Hi Alexander,
    Wonderful blog and really enjoyed reading, not only the article, but also your comprehensive and in-depth replies to most of the comments (I actually read the whole comments section under the article!)
    I have a question regarding purchase of a new watch. I bought my first automatic watch in 2013, when I did not know enough about watches (and I though I was buying a decent-for-the price watch with in-house movement that was bound to be a future classic! 🙂
    It was a Frederique Constant Maxime Manufacture (which I’ve still kept b/c I can only sell it dirt cheap…and I still like certain things about it).
    After getting more into watches through reading forums and websites, last year I got myself a Rolex GMT BLNR (Batman as they call it). Now I intend to buy a decent dressy watch or dressy chrono, which won’t break my bank account (in the sub 10K$ region). I really like the simple and elegant look of the Zenith El Primero Chronograph Classic released last year but Zenith’s current uncertain brand status kind of worries me; can you recommend some alternatives?
    Thanks in advance.
    Cheers,
    Peyman

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Peyman and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.
      I’m delighted to hear that you enjoy reading my blog.

      I’m not quite sure why you would consider Zenith’s brand status to be uncertain – it’s one of the primary Swiss elite luxury watchmakers on the market today. There’s nothing wrong with Zenith. Maybe you’re referring to Zenith’s lack of fame? Well, indeed, Zenith isn’t famous but they sure are excellent. There’s nothing wrong with Zenith El Primero Chronograph. This is actually an excellent choice Peyman.

      However, if you want a combined dress watch and chronograph watch, as an alternative, to Zenith El Primero Chronograph, you might take a look at:
      1) Omega De Ville Co-Axial Chronograph 431.13.42.51.02.001,
      2) Omega De Ville Co-Axial Chronograph 431.13.42.51.03.001,
      3) Omega De Ville Co-Axial Chronograph 431.13.42.51.01.001,
      4) IWC Portofino Chronograph IW391008,
      5) IWC Portuguese IW371445,
      6) IWC Portuguese IW371447,
      7) and IWC Portuguese IW371446.

      I hope this helps and if you’ve got more questions feel free to ask them.
      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  22. Ben

    Greetings.

    As a a relatively new watch aficionado, Glaschutte is mentioned only once in passing.

    Where does Glaschutte stand in your personal rankings?

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Ben and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.
      I’m glad you mentioned Glashütte. This is an interesting brand and one of Germany’s finest brands next to A. Lange & Söhne.
      Yes, as you’ve seen, Glashütte isn’t mentioned in the top 15 category. So where to place Glashütte in the subjective “hierarchy”? We could potentially place Glashütte in the top 16-20 list or the top 20-25 list, but Glashütte would no doubt compete with other brands such as Piaget, Richard Mille, Roger Dubuis, Ulysse Nardin, Chopard and Girard Perregaux.

      I’d say that Glashütte probably deserves to be ranked among the top 16-25 brands, and keep in mind that there are quite literally hundreds of Swiss, Japanese, German, Italian and other brands across the world, so ranking Glashütte among the top 16-25 brands isn’t bad at all.

      The ranking itself is naturally subjective and so are the criteria I’ve chosen for the ranking. When some brands are more or less equal to each other in terms of quality, accuracy, technology and craftsmanship, it’s no doubt difficult to determine which brands should be ranker higher.

      I hope this answers your question and if you have more questions feel free to ask them.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  23. Jonathan

    Hello Alexander. Great blog. I’ve been following it for a while. I have a short question. Why would you rank Breitling above Panerai? Aren’t Panerais usually more expensive than Breitlings?

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Jonathan, and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com – and I’m delighted to hear that you’re following my blog. Kudos to you.

      You’ve raised a very valid point. Indeed, Panerais tend to be a lot more expensive than Breitlings for sure.
      A higher price tag alone doesn’t make a brand better than the other. The price itself is based on supply and demand, production costs, and labor costs, and the possible usage of precious materials. That itself however says very little of the luxury watch manufacturer’s impact on watch making history, modern history and culture, it’s innovations and technical solutions, build quality, steel grade, the level of the movement’s accuracy and reliability and the brand’s resale value and customer service.

      For a variety of reasons I’d rank Breitling higher than Panerai. One of the reasons would be impact on history and modern culture.

      Breitling Navitimer has been used in outer space in 1962 by Scott Carpenter in the Aurora 7 capsule, and Breitling has been, and pretty much still is the nr 1 aviation luxury watch brand on the market. Breitling also offers a great variety of divers watch collections. Breitling is known for their complex and complicated functions and world class chronographs. On top of that, a Breitling was used by Bond actor Sean Connery in Thunderball in 1965.

      Panerai is historically speaking known for one thing alone: Panerai was once the Italian Navy’s official supplier of military watches in the early and mid 20th century. Most Panerais offer you only the most basic functions: hour-, minute-, and second hands and a date window. Sometimes, Panerais don’t even offer you a date window. Many Panerais contain manual hand wind movements.

      On top of that, Breitling watches are chronometer certified while Panerais aren’t at all.
      Breitling offers pilot watches, chronographs and divers watches, while Panerai basically offers divers watches and water resistant sports watches. Breitling has a larger variety of collections while Panerai is much more niche oriented.

      Breitling is one of the few fully independent Swiss luxury watch manufacturers left in the industry while Panerai is owned by Richemont Group.

      Given these facts I’d give the edge to Breitling although both brands are impressive in their own right.
      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  24. Chon

    Hi Alexander.

    You’ve created a very interesting blog.

    I hope you can give an opinion on the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M James Bond Limited Edition Reference 231.10.42.21.03.004 (Blue Dial)

    I find this piece very beautiful. Is really limited edition? Have you any idea how many pieces are produce? I’ve been around Omega boutiques and other watch retailers, but found none.

    I look forward to your reply.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Chon and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.
      Yes the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra, ref nr. 231.10.42.21.03.004 is indeed a limited edition with the Omega Co-Axial 8507 movement, which is based on the 8500 movement. It can resist more than 15.000 gauss, so this is a very modern and cutting edge movement technology.
      The Aqua Terras retain the Seamaster family name but they are fundamentally different from the Planet Oceans and the Seamaster Professionals, since the Aqua Terras are the most dressy option you can get within the Seamaster family.

      This is an elegant, versatile, rugged and practical watch which has Omega written into its DNA. The Aqua Terras represent what Omega is all about: minimalist design, reliability, elegance, and a sporty and rugged exterior and a powerful engine on the inside. The Aqua Terras are sportier then say Omega De Ville but dressier than the other Seamaster collections.

      Is it a good watch? Yes, absolutely. I’ve said this for many years: it’s only a question of time before Omega is on par with Rolex as far as quality and reliability are concerned. And as far as price range is concerned, Omega is aiming to compete with Rolex.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  25. Alejandro Faccini

    Dear Alexander..
    I’m totally agree with your ranking….
    Cheers

    Alejandro

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      I’m glad you like the article Alejandro,
      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  26. Anna

    Thanks much for the informative article. I am looking for the watch for myself. I currently mostly wear Omega DeVille as I have small wrist and it both looks good and feels comfortable. I am looking to get another dress watch within the $5,000 range and am interested in your opinion. I also prefer either roman or arabic numbers in each of the clock position.
    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Anna and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.
      If you want some legendary dress watches with either arabic or roman numerals, I can recommend you Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso – most of their watches have arabic numerals. If you want a dress watch with roman numerals in a similar price range, I can recommend you Cartier Tank or Cartier Santos.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
      1. Anna

        Thanks much for suggestions! I prefer round simple clean look. Something similar to Omega DeVille. Jaeger LeCoultre Rendezvous looks great 🙂 but is over my budget.

        Reply
        1. Alexander Post author

          Hello Anna,
          Another alternative is of course the Jaeger LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin, which has a round case but no arabic or roman numerals. It’s often difficult to find a watch with all the desired aesthetic and technical details in a particular price range.
          I wish you the best of luck of finding your dream watch.
          Cheers
          Alexander

          Reply
  27. Javier

    Hello Alexander.
    Which would you recommend and why? Breitling watch or Cartier?

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Javier and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.
      If you’re interested in a dress watch then I believe you should opt for Cartier since that’s what the brand is famous for, and if you’re primarily intertested in sports watches such as chronographs, pilots watches or divers watches, then you should go with Breitling.

      I guess you could put it like this: if Cartier is all about design and aesthetics, then Breitling is all about function and performance.

      My personal favorite out of these two brands? Breitling.

      Which brand or watch I think you should pick? Well, it’s your money and your decision, but I think you should pick a watch that appeals to your feelings and makes your heart sing with joy.

      When a watch makes your heart sing with joy, then you know for sure that you have chosen the right watch. Trust your heart and your good judgement and then’ll you know which watch you should opt for.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  28. Oliver

    Hi there would you not consider oris to be anywhere in list? Good Swiss brand with a lot of history and on the up also gotta be one of the biggest players out there on the dive watch market with the pro diver and all the watches by the brand are proud to be automatic?

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Oliver and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.
      Oris is a great brand which makes amongst the very best divers watches on the market, but it lacks the market presence, fame (most people haven’t heard of Oris) resale value, history & heritage, impact on watchmaking & innovation, impact on modern culture, and the technical wizardry of the top 15 brands.

      Oris does not even make their own movements, and if they do they do so on a very limited scale. Oris relies primarily on third parties to supply the company with movements such as ETA, Valjoux and Sellita. Oris might put their stamp and name on the movements, but it’s essentially not their own technology.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  29. Amy

    Hello Alexander. I am looking for a nice watch for my husband under $5,000. I have narrowed it down to Tiffany & Co. and Cartier. Which would you recommend between those two brands and why? My husband is all about watches and name brands, although the only luxury watch he owns is Burberry. He does prefer a leather strap vs a bracelet. I love the Ronde Solo de Cartier watch and the Atlas Watch from Tiffany & Co. I really don’t know much about watches except Swiss watches are apparently the best made. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Amy and a warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.
      Both brands are respectable, both brands rely on Swiss movements and both brands are made in Switzerland. If your husband is looking for a famous and prestigious brand, then he should go with Cartier, since this brand is absolutely legendary.

      Ronde de Solo is a nice watch, and other really nice dress watch collections by Cartier would be Cartier Tank, Cartier Santos and Calibre de Cartier.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  30. Mihai

    I don’t think omega is better than zenith , zenith has a big big big history in producing watches omega history was only moon watch that wasn’t a moonwatch , zenith has the most accurate collection in the world , the El Primero with a lot of patents that have been implemented in the past 50 years and zenith tend to be more exclusive than omega even though there aren’t so many people who knows what is zenith . And finally why people buy zenith and not omega , zenith are more expensive and actually more l’haute horologie if you know what i mean. To me omega except 8500 and 9300 is very boring

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Mihai and welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.
      Naturally you’re entitled to your opinion, and I respect your opinion, and my ranking isn’t set in stone, but I respectfully disagree.

      The fame of the brand for example, is one factor that I’m taking into account when determining the ranking of the brands. Omega is known all across the world. Hardly anyone has heard of Zenith. Most of Zenith’s watches just rely on the simpliest time functions you can think of: hour-, minute-, and second hands and a date window. Very few Zenith watches are equipped with complications.

      As far as pricing is concerned: Pricing of course is one aspect to determine the overall ranking of a brand – it’s safe to assume that many expensive products are well made but that’s not always the case.

      The price of a luxury watch or any commercial product for that matter, is determined by supply and demand and production costs and labor costs, and the usage of precious materials.

      That itself says nothing of the 1) accuracy and reliability of the movements 2) movement complications 3) history and heritage and impact on watchmaking history and impact on modern culture 3) steel grade 4) build quality 5) resale value etc.

      Using Zenith’s generally speaking higher price range against Omega is like saying that Hublot is a “better” brand than Rolex because Hublot tends to be more expensive than Rolex. A higher price doesn’t necessarily make it a “better” product.

      Besides the El Primero movement, and besides the technical wizardry and innovations made by Zenith, the brand has had a very marginal impact on watchmaking history. Zenith’s impact on watchmaking history is nothing in comparison to the impact that say Omega, Rolex, Breguet, Jaeger LeCoultre, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet have had.

      Of all luxury watch brands out there, NASA picked Omega and Omega alone for the legendary journey to the moon in 1969. Omega alone passed all NASA’s demanding, exacting laboratory tests with flying colors. Rolex and Longines and other brands failed NASA’s tests miserably.

      Omega is associated with the Bond movie franchise. Prince William of the United Kingdom is known to have worn an Omega Seamaster Professional for several years. Omega has had an enormous impact on modern and popular culture, is the only watchmaking giant which is almost on par with Rolex in terms of volume of production, Omega has made amongst the best divers watches in the industry – the Seamasters, and Omega has won several accuracy contests. In 1917, the legendary luxury watch manufacturer became the official timekeeper of The British Royal Airforce. In 1918, the watchmaker became the official timekeeper of The US Army. In 1970, the legendary French naval officer, Commander, oceanographer, scientist, photographer and movie maker Jacques Cousteau requested a divers watch. Omega created the Seamaster 600 – Plongeur Professionnel (PLOPROF). That year, this watch won the record for deep-sea diving – which is another accomplishment of the Omega brand.

      Has Zenith accomplished any of Omega’s feats?

      Omega’s Co-Axial movements are used exclusively by Omega. Not even Breguet and Blancpain, that too are owned by Swatch Group, are allowed to access the Co-Axial technology.

      Omega’s 2500 movement has proven on several occasions to be even more accurate than Rolex’s 3135 movement. The Omega 8500 and 9300 movements are according to many sources the most accurate automatic movements available on the market today, which either means that they are on par with Zenith or they might even exceed Zenith.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  31. Daniel Carlos

    Great blog Alexander.

    I have a few questions though:
    1. If you were to pick up to 20 collections, what will your 16th to the 20th be?
    2. In your honest opinion, which Rolex model is better: Submariner II vs. GMT-Master II vs. DateJust II?; lastly,
    3. What are thoughts about IWC Portofino Chronograph?

    Your comments will be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Daniel and a warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.
      I’m delighted to hear that you like the blog.
      With regards to your questions I’ll try to answer them as well as I can.

      Question 1:
      Spot 16 – probably Ulysse Nardin.
      Spot 17 – probably Piaget.
      Spot 18 – probably Chopard.
      Spot 19 – probably Girard Perregaux.
      Spot 20 – probably Richard Mille.

      What characterizes all these brands is that they are handmade extreme luxury brands with a very limited production and a very limited market presence. Very few people have heard of these relatively marginal brands, but due to these brands’ technical mastery, and movement complications, I do believe they belong among the top 16-20 brands. Please remember: these are just my personal opinions. The ranking is not written in stone.

      Question 2: That’s a good question Daniel, and that might be a bit difficult to answer. When you say “better”, what criteria are you using? As far as water resistance is concerned – the Submariner wins. As far as diving is concerned, the Submariner is the best choice due to the unidirectional bezel and the 300 meter/1000 feet water resistance.

      The GMT Master has a bi-directional bezel which is suited for GMT and not for diving and the water resistance of either GMT Master II and Datejust is 100 meters.

      As far as practicality is concerned, the Submariner is the ultimate divers watch while the GMT – Master II is suitable for people who travel a good deal. Datejust is probably the least practical of the three.

      Personally I prefer the Submariner due to its history, design, comfort, accurate and reliable movement, it’s water resistance, it’s versatility and its brushed case and bracelet.

      Question 3: IWC Portofino is a legendary collection, albeit I have to admit that I’m not personally attracted to their design. I have never been a fan of IWC. Nothing wrong with the brand though. The more affordable IWC Portofino Chronographs use the Valjoux 7750 which is of course a good and reliable movement but considering what you pay for them you’d probably expect more. The more upscale IWC Portofino Chronographs use the IWC in-house movement 59210 with a 72 hour power reserve which is a respectable movement.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  32. Elena

    Dear Alexander

    Very informative ranking thank you. I am looking to buy a watch for my son who is 25 and I am confused. We have been looking at Bulgari, Chopard and TagHeuer Carrera. Yesterday I also went to the Breitling watch and I was impressed by their sports watches.
    Which brand from the above is best??

    Thanks a lot for your reply
    Elena

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Dear Elena,
      A warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com. If your son has an active lifestyle, I’d suggest a sports/divers watch either by TAG Heuer or Breitling. If you want an honest answer comparing TAG Heuer to Breitling, Breitling is without question the better brand. Breitling’s flagship watches are the Breitling Navitimer ( a legendary pilot watch) or Breitling Chronomat (combined pilot watch and divers watch). Navitimer and Chronomat are the very best that Breitling can offer you.

      If your son is a connoisseur of unusual handmade watches maybe he should opt for dress watches by luxury brands such as Chopard. However, handmade luxury dress watches are fragile and may not be suited for an active lifestyle.

      It all depends really on what your son is interested in but given his age I’d go with sports/divers watches, and out of the brands you mentioned, I’d personally pick Breitling.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  33. Ivan

    Hey Alexander

    I don’t know if you still check on this site, but I just read your article and it was fabulous. I wanted to ask you if you could give me an in depth opinion about Longines and their watches. I like the brand but I’m worried about their accuracy, quality and the ability to adapt to different environments. By that I mean, the fact that I travel a lot and I want to have a good mechanical watch that fits the quality and price sweet spot.

    I thank you already,

    My best
    Ivan

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hey Ivan and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.
      Longines is an excellent brand – I’d rank it among say the top 20-25 brands. Considering what you pay for their watches you get excellent and accurate ETA movements, water resistant cases (among their divers watches) and generally speaking a good build quality and quality bracelets and leather straps. I have a Longines myself – a Longines HydroConquest, and it works like a charm. It does in all honesty lose a few seconds per day and it’s a good idea if you set the correct time say once every two or three weeks. After two or three weeks my watch might run 1 minute too slow. But taken as a whole, it’s not really a big deal. I can recommend you Longines for sure.

      I thank you as well.
      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  34. robbyjai

    interesting article… i own 13 of the watch brands you have listed here…. of curiosity is why you left out brands like Piaget and has the history, the innovation and prestige behind the brand…..and not to mention which are very highly regarded… having said that… which one of your existing list would i have chopped to fit the Piaget into the 15.. not sure to be honest…. as a whole i dont disagree with your list…

    on another hand your list order… i would challenge… the top 3.. i would agree with… however your ranking of breguet so lowly at number 7 is an interesting decision.

    in terms of history, complications, artistry of their watches, innovations.. prestige (you yourself mentioned the a list who’s who of breguet wearers)… many regard..Breguet to be a Holy Trinity in place of AP…. and Breguet is widely coveted in terms of everything… certain well above Rolex… unlike AP which relies heavily on its Royal Oak /Offshore line of watches.. breguet has several lines of signature pieces like the Marine, Classique, Tradition etc…… and their complication pieces rivals the Vacheron and Pateks….

    Many would say …. that Breguet, A.Lange and JLC would sit on the 2nd Tier just outside of the big 3.

    I’d like to hear your thoughts about this and why you ranked as such.. based on your criteria and your ranking I would have ranked in this particular order with no particular bias to any one brand..

    15. Cartier
    14. Breitling
    13. Hublot
    12. Panerai
    11. Omega
    10. Zenith
    9. IWC Schaffhausen
    8. Rolex
    7. Blancpain
    6. Jaeger LeCoultre
    5. A Lange & Söhne
    4. Breguet
    3. Audemars Piguet
    2. Vacheron Constantin
    1. Patek Philippe

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Robby and welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.

      You’ve raised many valid points. You’re indeed right: Piaget is without question a high end brand, but based on the 14 criteria, it lacks fame, has had a small impact on modern culture, maintains a marginal market presence (a relatively unknown brand) and the resale value isn’t equivalent to say Patek or Rolex. On top of that Piaget is no longer an independent brand – it’s nowadays a Richemont Group subsidiary. For these reasons I can’t include Piaget in the top 15 but I would include the brand in say the top 20.

      Yes I always knew that sooner or later someone would question my decision to rank Rolex above Breguet. I guess watch purists would consider that to be blasphemy? I’ll explain.

      Rolex is an independent industrial and financial giant – the only fully independent giant outside of corporate groups such as Swatch Group, Richemont Group, LVMH etc. Rolex’s steel grade, build quality, resale value, fame, prestige, market presence, technical innovations, impact on watchmaking history, impact on modern culture, general in-house production, accurate, reliable and serviceable movements, hard-wearing and robust timepieces, are almost unmatched on the commercial luxury wristwatch market today.

      Yes without question, Rolex builds mainly meat and potatoes movements while Breguet is a high end watch brand focused on dress watches and movement complications. That’s true, but that itself does not mean that Rolex doesn’t have the knowledge or knowhow to build complicated movements. The Rolex Sky Dweller is an absolute piece of art and I would definitely consider that to be higher watchmaking. However most people tend to opt for Rolex’s simplier meat and potatoes watches and movements while ignoring higher end Rolexes such as the Sky Dwellers.

      By contrast, Breguet is a commercial midget with a marginal market presence, low or poor resale value, few people have heard of this brand, and the brand has lost its independence – it’s nowadays a Swatch Group subsidiary. And like I mentioned before, Rolex is by contrast, a globally known industrial and financial giant and a powerhouse with a resale value second to none.

      I know that from a watch purist point of view, luxury watch brands that are specialized in hand made dress watches and movement complications, tend to be ranked higher in the hierarchy, but I have a very different approach and I use several criteria – many of which I’ve already mentioned in the article above.

      I sense that you believe that Breguet should be ranked higher than Rolex due to technical wizardry and movement complications. Without a doubt, technical wizardry and movement complications are a few of the criteria I use, but I also focus on resale value and market presence, whether or not the watchmaker is independent, general in-house production, quality tests performed in the factories, customer service, warranty, bang for the buck, raw, sheer and unmitigated build quality, raw performance, steel grade, accurate, serviceable and reliable movements, functional and practical timepieces etc. In that sense, I just think that Rolex is a more complete brand and manufacturer than Breguet.

      Don’t get me wrong: I love Breguet, I respect the brand, Breguet invented the tourbillon and the brand is indeed a master innovator and inventor, but if it weren’t for Swatch Group’s financial and industrial muscles I doubt very much that Breguet would even exist today.

      For the same reasons above, I’d rank Rolex above Blancpain as well.

      Well, the Jaeger LeCoultre vs Breguet comparison is a tricky one. Both brands are high end brands specialized in complications. In similarity to Swatch Group’s Breguet, Jaeger LeCoultre too has lost its independence and is nowadays a subsidiary of the Richemont Group.

      Both brands (and their founders) are absolutely brilliant with a technical wizardry that few brands can match but I would give a slight edge to Jaeger LeCoultre – mainly due to the fact that it has a considerably larger range of watch collections (and types of watches – dress watches, sports watches, divers watches etc) than Breguet. On top of that, JLC has the famous “Jaeger LeCoultre 1000-hours Quality Control”, and in the past, several other luxury watch brands such as Audemars Piguet, Breguet, Cartier, Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe, have purchased their movements from Jaeger LeCoultre. That’s why I would rank Jaeger LeCoultre higher than Breguet.

      As far as Panerai vs Hublot and Panerai vs Breitling are concerned: Based on my criteria, taking movement complications and market presence, innovation, impact on modern culture and fame into consideration, I’d definitely rank Breitling and Hublot above Panerai. Panerai is famous for their luminescent dials, unconventional crown protectors and their historical connection to the Italian Navy. Panerai’s watches pretty much look all the same – there is a very small variation in Panerai’s collections. Hublot makes some pretty serious movement complications and uses very unorthodox materials.

      Breitling is COSC certified, makes among the best chronograph movements on the market such as Breitling in-house automatic Breitling 01, and Breitling in-house automatic Breitling 04, and can boast with more than 10 collections of divers watches and in 1962, Scott Carpenter used a Breitling Navitimer for his orbital flight in the Aurora 7 capsule. Breitling can boast with the first chronograph wrist watch in space. Breitling was used in the Bond movie Thunderball (1965). I would always place Breitling above Panerai.

      With regard to Zenith vs Omega and IWC vs Omega: all three are subsidiaries and have lost their independence. Zenith is a subsidiary of LVMH, IWC Schaffhausen is a subsidiary of Richemont Group and Omega is a subsidiary of Swatch Group. As far as history and impact on modern culture are concerned: to me this is a non-brainer. Omega wins hands down.

      As far as impressive history is concerned, no watchmaker or brand beats Omega. The long lasting competition with Rolex, producing among the most accurate and reliable movements on the market, the legendary Seamaster divers watches, the connection to the Bond franchise, the Omega Speedmaster Professional – tested by NASA and qualified for space travel and first watch worn on the moon. In 1917, Omega became the official timekeeper of The British Royal Airforce, and in 1918, the watchmaker became the official timekeeper of The US Army.

      Market presence: Omega is by far more famous and well known than Zenith and IWC.
      Movements: Omega is the only brand with access to Co-Axial movements that have proven to be among the best performance machines in the luxury watch market. Omega’s Co-Axial 2500, 8500 and 9300 movements are among the most accurate automatic movements available today on the luxury watch market. Not even Blancpain and Breguet that are owned by Swatch Group, have access to Co-Axial movements and Co-Axial technology. Omega alone can boast with their Co-Axial movements.

      Zenith’s movement’s are probably, in all fairness, slightly more accurate than Omega’s, but Zenith is a marginal brand that few have heard of. Of course, that doesn’t diminish in the slightest the technical wizardry of Zenith, but this is a relatively anonymous brand which has, in all fairness, an extremely limited market presence.

      IWC relies mostly on ETA movements while very few of their watches contain movement complications. Each brand has its obvious advantages and disadvantages, but overall, I’d rank Omega above Zenith and IWC.

      I apologize for my lengthy and elaborate explanations, but I hope I’ve more or less answered your questions.
      Thank you.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  35. barry

    hello. do you have an opinion on Harry Winston mens timepieces? hoe do they compare to A long sohne?

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Barry,

      Thank you for posting your question, and let’s briefly compare the similarities and differences between the two brands.

      In short, I guess you could say that Harry Winston is all about design, while A. Lange & Söhne is about pedigree, and manufacture. A few Harry Winstons have movements made by our time’s greatest watchmakers, but the differences between these two brands are in fact very significant.

      Harry Winston started out as an American brand from New York while A. Lange & Söhne was established in Saxony in Germany.

      Harry Winston makes high-end watches with a wild and radical design, whereas A. Lange & Söhne makes high-end watches with a considerably more traditional and classic design.
      Despite these obvious differences in design, a few of their models share aesthetical similarities.

      As far as pedigree is concerned, Harry Winston doesn’t have the heritage and the history of A. Lange & Söhne. In similarity to the most obvious example of a general luxury product brand, such as Cartier, Harry Winston isn’t a true watchmaker. The brand is about luxury items and jewelry, which would include very expensive luxury wristwatches, and in similarity to Cartier, Harry Winston isn’t limited to wristwatches – they make earstuds, rings and necklaces as well. So just like Cartier, Harry Winston is a miscellaneous luxury product manufacturer.

      A. Lange & Söhne on the other hand, is a full-fledged higher watchmaking brand of the finest tradition. A. Lange & Söhne makes elite world class luxury wristwatches on an extremely limited scale – about 5000 timepieces per year, and that’s all they make. The soul of the whole company is 100% dedicated to manufacturing extreme luxury timepieces and nothing but extreme luxury timepieces. Almost 50% of their staff consists of watchmakers. A. Lange & Söhne is fully comparable to Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, Jaeger LeCoultre and Breguet.

      As far as movements are concerned, A. Lange & Söhne makes among the best mechanical movements you can find on the market today – fully comparable to the “Holy Trinity” and Jaeger LeCoultre.
      Harry Winston on the other hand, doesn’t necessarily make movements befitting of the epithet “elite mechanical movements” or “higher watchmaking”. Some of their models use complications, but that isn’t unique to Harry Winston, nor would I refer to Harry Winston as a prime example of “higher watchmaking”. Harry Winston makes elegant and luxurious precious prestige watches, and they have pretty radical designs, but the actual technology and mechanics of their timepieces aren’t anything spectacular in comparison to A. Lange & Söhne. I guess everything is relative.

      What both brands have in common is that they both have lost their independence to major corporate groups. Nowadays, Harry Winston is owned by Swatch Group and A. Lange & Söhne is owned by Richemont Group.

      Hope this helps
      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  36. Mohamed

    Thanks for your detailed explanation. Could you please let me know what are the other sources where we can see the luxury watches brand rankings? I searched on Forbes, however it only gives the over-all luxury segment ranking. I need to research on the luxury watches brand rankings for 2014 & 2015.

    Thanks so much for your help

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello there. I’m glad you find the article useful.
      Just Google “top luxury watch brands” and you’ll see a whole bunch of alternatives on the first page on Google.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  37. T K Gupta

    Thanks for your detailed, in-depth and unbiased analysis of watch brands.

    It really enlightened my understanding of luxury watches.

    I am planning to buy Omega Speedmaster DSOM. I am concerned about the brittleness of ceramic case. Is it long lasting or could break over a period of time due to small shocks?

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Thanks TK Gupta for your kind words and I’m glad you like the article.
      The Omega Speedmaster DSOM Ceramic is an excellent timepiece with a highly scratch resistant ceramic case. I don’t own such timepiece, but I haven’t heard anything bad about the quality of the case. The ceramic case of the Omega Speedmaster DSOM appears to be quite robust and strong.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply
  38. j238

    The current Blancpain operation is not related to the history described here.

    The brand was not produced for a long time. The rights to the name were purchased and its use has been revived.

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hi Jonathan and a warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com,

      In what sense is the current Blancpain brand not related to the history of Blancpain?

      This could be virtually said of every single Swiss and non-Swiss brand that has lost its independence, and has been purchased by large conglomerates, concerns and corporate groups such as Swatch Group, Richemont Group or LVMH. The exact same thing could be said of Omega, Tissot, Certina, Longines, Glasshütte Original and Breguet since they in similarity to Blancpain, are owned by Swatch Group.

      By the same token, Vacheron Constantin, Panerai, IWC, A. Lange & Söhne, Jaeger LeCoultre and Cartier for example, may not claim their respective brand history, since they are no longer independent, and are currently owned by Richemont Group.

      Indeed, Blancpain has been sold to several corporations on several occasions, but the brand name, and its venerable tradition of higher watchmaking have been restored by Swatch Group. The exact same thing could be said of Breguet as well.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*