We are squarely in the age of the smartphone, but even though our mobile devices are inextricable for our daily lives, there is no reason to abandon a practical and efficient—and mechanical—time-telling tool. Yes, we are talking about watches. And not just any watches, but the best luxury watches from the biggest watch brands in the world. Not only are these pieces glamorous accessories, they're also status symbols and a way for us to silently project identity. And, of course, watches can also be heirlooms passed down several generations. If you want to get down to the details, there's the option to look into the best men's luxury watch brands as well as the best watches for women. But if you're just figuring out where to start, we have a comprehensive list of the best brands in the world to buy a timepiece.
Finding yourself interested in horology? We have you covered. Here, the top luxury watch brands on the market today. And don't sweat it if you need a few pronunciation lessons before purchasing—we’ve got you covered on that front too.
Fine state-of-the-art craftsmanship is at the heart of every Montblanc timepiece, and especially in the Montblanc 1858 collection, which is a reinterpretation of 1920s and '30s Minerva watches used for military exploration.
Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels' Alhambra motif has been a coveted status symbol since its invention in 1968. This watch is the best of both worlds: an elegant timepiece and stunning piece of jewelry, all in one.
Established in 1833 in the Swiss Jura Mountains, Jaeger-LeCoultre is known for its clever designs. One of its most notable—and coveted—styles, the Reverso, features a face that flips over to protect itself within the watch casing.
Founded by childhood friends Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward-Auguste Piguet in 1875, Audemars Piguet is perhaps most famous for its Royal Oak collection, which since its debut in 1972, has become an obligatory status symbol for every A-lister from hip hop legends to elite athletes. Now it has some competition: In 2019, the brand released a new collection, Code 11.59.
Founded in 1988 by Dutch couple Peter Stas and Aletta Stas-Bax, Frédérique Constant's mission statement is to craft fine luxury watches using Swiss techniques but sold at a relatively accessible price point.
Georges-Édouard Piaget set up his first workshop on his family farm in the village of La Côte-aux-Fées in the Swiss mountains in 1874, launching the brand that is now famous for offering the thinnest automatic watch in the world.
Louis-François Cartier founded the jewelry brand in Paris in 1847. Seventy years later, his grandson Louis Cartier invented the famous Tank Watch, which was modeled after a military tank. Several iconic watch models have followed since, including this Baignoire Allongée.
Jeweler Harry Winston is relatively new to the watch game compared to other longer established brands out of Europe. Nevertheless, the same spirit of innovation that drives the brand's fantastical gems also applies to its timepieces. Take this avant-garde creation, the latest to join the Project Z collection—only 300 of them were made.
Founded in 1735, Blancpain enjoys the esteemed distinction of being the oldest surviving watch brand in the world. In the 1950s, it introduced the Fifty Fathoms diving watches, which were crafted in collaboration with the French Navy's combat swimmers and soon became the standard issue of the US Navy SEALs.
Longines was founded in 1832 by Auguste Agassiz and two partners in Saint-Imier, Switzerland, where the company is still headquartered. Its iconic winged hourglass logo is the oldest logo of its kind still being used in its original form.
Georges Favre-Jacot was just 22 when he founded his eponymous watch company in 1865, eventually renaming it Zenith. In the century and half since, the brand has amassed a number of high profile wearers, including Mahatma Gandhi.
If you think Tudor watches look like Rolexes, you're not seeing things: the brand is a subsidiary of the luxury watch giant and its timepieces are especially perfect for those who want the look and feel of a Rolex—without the high price tag.
Founded in 1848, Omega holds the unparalleled title of being the first watch on the moon thanks to Buzz Aldrin, who wore the Speedmaster for his history-making feat. Today it may be most famous as the preferred timepiece of England's deadliest weapon: James Bond.
Arguably the most well-known watch brand, Rolex has many firsts under its belt, among them the first-ever waterproof watch, appropriately called the Oyster, which was created in 1926.
Patek Philippe consistently tops the list of best watch brands in the world and is a status symbol like no other. Founded in 1839, the Swiss company is the last family-owned independent watch manufacturer in Geneva.
"Techniques d'Avant Garde" is what the TAG in TAG Heuer has stood for since Edouard Heuer launched the Swiss brand in 1860. In 1962, John Glenn wore a Heuer stopwatch on the Mercury-Atlas 6 flight, giving the Swiss watchmaker the distinction of being the first in space. Now well-known for their sporty silhouettes, TAG Heuer has an illustrious list of celebrity ambassadors, both official and not, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith, Matt Damon, and Tom Brady.
Founded as Officine Panerai in Florence in 1860, this Italian watchmaker has become known for its bold, sporty cases. From its former role as the official supplier to the Royal Italian Navy to its partnership with Ferrari, Panerai's timepieces guarantee the finest Italian craftsmanship.
The first luxury watch to rock a rubber strap, Hublot is also known for its bold cases. Fun fact: the brand's name is French for "porthole"—it's easy to see where the inspiration comes from.
Founded in 1884, Breitling is especially well-known as a particular favorite of aviators—the brand even teamed up with Scott and Mark Kelly, the only twins to have traveled in space, and employs a team of pilots who travel around the world doing acrobatic display flights in fighter jets.
In its early days, Chopard—founded by Swiss watchmaker Louis-Ulysse Chopard in 1860—was known for pocket watches and chronometers. Today, the brand's glamorous watches and jewelry are regularly seen on the red carpet at events like the Cannes Film Festival (an official Chopard partner).
One of the youngest luxury watch brands on the market, MeisterSinger was founded in 2001 and is instantly recognizable with its single-hand face design, perfect for the wearer who is less focused on the hustle and bustle and more interested in enjoying the journey.
Bulgari is mostly known for fine jewelry and luxury goods (particularly beloved by Elizabeth Taylor), but don't sleep on the watches. The brand created the first jewelry watch and its iconic snake motif, the Serpenti, is legendary. It's also a master of luxury sport watches, as evidenced here.
Abraham-Louis Breguet earned his stripes as the watchmaker commissioned to make a pocket watch for Marie Antoinette and later, to create a wristwatch for the Queen of Naples—how's that for a resume builder? That spirit of innovation, and timeless design, continues today.
Founded in 2012, Verdure Watches has a particular focus on comfort, which stems from founder Eddie Johnson's original inspiration that wristwatches should be crafted for daily use. The brand's clever motto says it all: "Time well spent."
Dania Lucero OrtizFashion and Accessories Director at Town & CountryDania Lucero Ortiz is Town & Country’s Fashion and Accessories Director, where she writes about style and jewelry.
Cassandra HoganFashion Assistant at Town & CountryCassandra Hogan is the Fashion Assistant at Town & Country where she handles all things fashion and jewelry for both print and digital.
Leena KimAssociate EditorLeena Kim is an associate editor at Town & Country, where she writes about travel, weddings, arts, and culture.
I think that for many collectors (myself included) 5-7 carefully selected watches is an ideal range, especially for those of us on a strict budget.What is the cheapest Rolex? ›
The cheapest Rolex watch on the company's website is the Oyster Perpetual, which retails for between $5,300 and $6,150, depending on which case size you choose. It's the most affordable current production Rolex because it foregoes precious metal for an all-steel finish.Is citizen a luxury watch? ›
Today, Citizen is a world-renowned luxury watch brand and owns Bulova, an American watchmaker.What is the most collectable watch? ›
The top two — Rolex and Patek Philippe are considered to be, by far, the most collectable luxury watch brands, and the most likely to hold and even appreciate in value over time. This is due to brand recognition, exclusivity, popularity, quality, etc.What watches will increase in value 2022? ›
- Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo Ref. 15202ST. ...
- Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711/1A. ...
- Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ref. 4500V. ...
- Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41 with Stella Dial. ...
- Rolex Daytona Oysterflex Ref.
Here are a few brands whose watches tend to hold their value quite well on the secondhand market: Rolex. Patek Philippe. Audemars Piguet.What does wearing a watch say about you? ›
Regardless of the style of watch, people who wear watches are seen as dependable and reliable. To others, seeing a watch on someone's wrist says that that person is punctual and values not only his or her time but other people's time. After all, time is money, friend.How big should watch collection be? ›
Six watches can encompass a whole range of styles and prices. Six watches can be rotated so that each watch gets adequate wrist time. Plus, six watches is a solid halfway point in watch-collection sizes between one watch and “all of them”.How many watches should a woman have? ›
In closing, we recommend at least three watches for women. If certain needs dictate, a fourth watch is sometimes appropriate. Feel free to invest in more if you feel your needs warrant it. You can never own too many watches.Do you wear your Rolex everyday? ›
Rolex is a tool watch. That is how they made their name. It is totally appropriate to wear it every day, or as often as you wish. It is meant to stand up to everyday use.
You should feel a bump on the convex lens across the date. A flat Cyclops means that the Rolex watch is a fake. Another way to test it is to hold the watch sideways and look at the date without the Cyclops. If the size of the date appears the same, then it's not a genuine Rolex watch.Why is Rolex expensive? ›
Generally speaking, Rolex uses the 904L stainless steel in all of their collections. This ensures that all their timepieces are exquisite, tough, and long-lasting, and is a major factor why Rolex watches are all so expensive. A good example of a watch that utilizes 904L stainless steel is the Rolex Datejust Ref.Is Fossil a luxury brand? ›
Is Fossil A Luxury Brand? No – while they offer great quality for the money, Fossil is not a luxury brand. A luxury brand watch generally exists in its own category defined by superior materials, lower production runs, proprietary functions/manufacturing practices, higher price points, and more.What is the most luxurious watch brand? ›
- Audemars Piguet.
- Vacheron Constantin.
- Patek Philippe.
A luxury watch is a watch that uses high-quality, premium materials, are powered by advanced and complex movements, and are often (at least partially) hand-made. Luxury watch manufacturers go above and beyond to ensure the utmost precision, performance, quality, and attention to detail.What is the most copied watch in the world? ›
1. Rolex Submariner. No other watch model has been forged as often, nor any other watch been a source of inspiration as often for other watch designs.Is Omega a luxury watch? ›
In 2022, Omega are still one of the most dominant brands in the luxury timepiece industry. They have the largest production of luxury watches in Switzerland, creating over 240,000 luxury watches every year.What watch is better than fossil? ›
Seiko watches are well-known for their price-quality ratio, and their materials are higher quality than Fossil.Is Seiko better than Citizen? ›
Citizen's concentration on quartz movements is probably the biggest. But Citizen also doesn't have the full on luxury brand like the Grand Seiko. And while Seiko has the Seiko Solar powered watches, Citizen has the technological advantage with their Eco-Drive. This movement type is definitely the industry standard.Is Timex a luxury brand? ›
Timex, however, is also a luxury brand but is also known for accommodating the affordability factor. Their watches are accessible for most people and allow many people to buy high-end watches.
I wonder where Jesse got the idea? The precise watch gifted to Walter White in the show is the Tag Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 ref. CAW2111.How many types of watch are there? ›
There are 20 types of watches. But of course, all of them are not independent of each other. In fact, most watches can be categorized into a few types (such as an automatic + analog + diver's watch). This article will list down all of the 20 types of watches, and which one you should get depending on your need.What does a diver's watch do? ›
This device could help track how long a diver was underwater, help calculate decompression stops (to avoid the bends), and help the diver keep track of how much air was in the tank. There are a few standout models in the early years of the dive watch.What is a watch collector called? ›
A collector of watches is a horologist. There are two kinds of horologists: one is a professional who works with watches and clocks and the other is someone who is fascinated by watches and clocks and has developed an understanding and appreciation for timekeepers.Do watch collectors wear their watches? ›
7 - True collectors wear their watches.
Collecting watches is fun because you'll be putting something different on your wrist each time, and you'll be doing it - mostly - for the sheer pleasure of doing it.
A watch collection can tell a very personal story. For some collectors, they may have been gifted their first luxury timepieces on a special occasion, an important birthday, achievement or milestone. This could be the start of your collection and each watch after may tell the story of an important moment in your life.What watch does Putin have? ›
The timepiece most commonly associated with the Russian president is the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Up/Down. Putin is frequently seen wearing the platinum version of this iconic watch, presented on a 36mm case finished with a black alligator strap. Powered by an L051.What watch did Steve McQueen wear? ›
Steve McQueen, a.k.a. the King of Cool, wore a Rolex Submariner 5512. While it's pretty hard to compete with the man who starred in The Great Escape (1963), Bullitt (1968), and Le Mans (1971), the vintage Submariner 5512 boasts its own swagger too.Does Walt keep Jesse's watch? ›
Bryan Cranston Explains Why Walt Left Behind Jesse's Watch In Breaking Bad Finale. Bryan Cranston gives his take on Breaking Bad's finale; specifically, Walter White's decision to leave behind the watch Jesse Pinkman gave him.What are normal watches called? ›
Simple to read with a classic feel, analog watches have an hour hand, a minute hand, and sometimes a second hand. The dial in these types of watches is simple and professional with numbers written either numerically or in roman numeral form.
Rotating the bezel is done to set a particular time of reference. The most common approach for a diver would be to rotate their bezel so that the 12 o'clock marker signifies when it is time to exit the water. A Rolex Submariner on ablue rubber Everest Bandwith its bezel rotated 19 minutes.What is a PIP on a watch? ›
A dive watch bezel is typically the "count-up" type, meaning there are marks at 5- or 10-minute intervals ascending clockwise, and a "pip" or marker to indicate zero, which is typically aligned with 12 o'clock on the watch when the bezel is not in use.Can you shower with a dive watch? ›
They are not designed to withstand warm water. When your watches cools down after the shower, moist air gets sucked into the case. Doing this repeatedly will deteriorate the movement, even if your watch is water resistant or if it's a dive watch with a depth rating of 100 m or more.