When technology made a rapid entrance into our lives, many people thought that wrist watches, and specifically luxury watches, will soon become irrelevant. But they’ve been quickly proven wrong! I mean, just think about it yourself. If cared for properly, an exquisitely crafted timepiece can last for decades, while a smartphone needs to be replaced every other year or so considering that most brands these days provide limited service and updates. Not even to mention that timepieces from the world’s best luxury watch brands will also often appreciate in value over time, which makes them fabulous investments. And if you’ve been thinking of investing in a quality watch, here are the 15 best luxury watch brands in the world.
Founded in: 1905 | Country: Switzerland | Price range: $5,800 to $1,000,000+
Opening up the list of the best luxury watchmakers with the legendary Rolex. Arguably the most popular luxury watch brand in the World, Rolex was founded in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis. With many iconic timepieces under its belt, among them the first-ever waterproof watch, named appropriately the Oyster, Rolex watches are a must-have in every watch collector’s arsenal. And it goes without saying that Rolex watches hold their value incredibly well. Some models even appreciate in value over time. Among them, the ever-so-popular Daytona, GMT-Master II and Submariner.
2. Audemars Piguet
Founded in: 1875 | Country: Switzerland | Price range: $20,000 to $1,000,000+
Founded in 1875 by Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward-Auguste Piguet, Audemars Piguet is a Swiss luxury watch brand best known for its Royal Oak Collection. With its steel case, octagonal bezel, “Tapisserie” dial and integrated bracelet, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Watch is an ultra-modern take on a classic wrist watch design. Since its launch in 1972, over 500 Royal Oak models have been created, turning the watch into a true cultural icon within and beyond watchmaking. Perhaps that’s why the AP Royal Oak is one of the most popular watches among the rich and famous.
3. Patek Philippe
Founded in: 1839 | Country: Switzerland | Price range: $33,000 to $1,000,000+
If there’s one luxury watchmaker that can rival Rolex in terms of resale value, it’s Patek Philippe. Constantly topping the list as one of the best luxury watch brands in the World for both men and women, Patek Philippe is known for inventing the first-ever wristwatch and pioneering many of the design elements seen throughout the luxury watch industry today. From introducing the modern keyless winding mechanism in 1842 to successfully integrating the perpetual calendar into a wristwatch in 1925, Patek Philippe is a brand that continuously strives for excellence. Not even to mention that watches from the brand’s iconic Nautilus Collection often sell for record-breaking amounts at the auctions.
4. Vacheron Constantin
Founded in: 1755 | Country: Switzerland | Price range: $10,000 to $100,000+
Founded in Geneva by Jean-Marc Vacheron in 1755, Vacheron Constantin is among the oldest and most influential luxury watchmakers in the World. One of the few luxury watch brands with an uninterrupted history of watchmaking (267 years to be precise) and the motto of which states, “Do better if possible and that is always possible”, Vacheron Constantin watches are known for their ultra-slim calibers, complicated movements and complex designs. Worn by the likes of Napoleon Bonaparte and Harry Truman, Vacheron Constantin watches are the ultimate status symbol.
Founded in: 1775 | Country: Switzerland | Price range: $10,000 to $100,000+
Founded in 1775 by Abraham-Louis Breguet, the man considered to be one of history’s greatest watchmakers, Breguet stands out as one of the most innovative and influential luxury watch brands in the World. From the invention of tourbillon – a groundbreaking mechanism designed to enhance accuracy in mechanical watches, to the introduction of the world’s very first self-winding watch in 1780, Breguet has left an indelible mark on the world of haute horlogerie. Popular collections include Reine de Naples, Classique and Marine.
Founded in: 1735 | Country: Switzerland | Price range: $9,000 to $50,000+
If Vacheron Constantin is one of the oldest luxury watch brands in the World, Blancpain is actually the oldest. Founded in 1735, the brand is famous for producing the 1735 Grande Complications watch, which is one of the most complicated mechanical watches created to date. However, it’s not everything Blancpain is known for. The brand is also famous for producing the “Fifty Fathoms”, which is the first modern diver’s watch. So, if you are into water sports, make sure to check out this brand.
Founded in: 1833 | Country: Switzerland | Price range: $5,000 to $20,000+
Founded in 1833 and having produced 1000+ calibers to date with some of them being supplied to other heritage watchmakers, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin included, Jaeger-LeCoultre deservedly holds a title of “The Watchmaker of Watchmakers”. And it should be noticed that the brand itself has a couple of iconic watch designs under its belt, with the most iconic one being the Reverso, which since 1931 has been recognized by its reversible case and refined look.
Founded in: 1874 | Country: Switzerland | Price range: $5,000 to $100,000+
Besides being renowned for their high jewelry, Piaget has also earned a reputation as one of the best luxury watch brands in the World. Founded in 1874 by Georges Piaget, Piaget is famous for creating the world’s thinnest mechanical and automatic watches. Having pioneered thin watch calibers since the very beginning, Piaget timepieces are known for their elegant designs and chronological excellence. Brand’s most popular collections include Polo, Altiplano and Limelight Gala. The Piaget Limelight Gala Watch specifically has been a Hollywood-favorite for decades.
Founded in: 1848 | Country: Switzerland | Price range: $2,500 to 100,000+
Founded in 1848 by a then 23-year-old watchmaker named Louis Brandt, Omega is one of the best known and most respected luxury watch brands in the world today. As the official partner of the Olympic Games and NASA, Omega watches are frequently spotted on the wrists of top athletes and astronauts. By the way, the brand’s Speedmaster Watch proudly holds the title of the first watch worn on the moon, as in 1969 Buzz Aldrin famously wore it during the Apollo 11 Mission. Needless to say that it’s now one of the most iconic chronographs on Earth. Even James Bond agrees.
Founded in: 1847 | Country: France | Price range: $4,000 to $100,000+
As you have probably already guessed, quite a few brands on this list are also famous for their jewelry. Well, this is certainly the case for Cartier. One of the most popular luxury jewelry brands in the World, Cartier has also made a name for making some of the most iconic luxury watches. Created in 1917 by Louis Cartier and inspired by the military tanks seen on the battlefields of World War 1, the Tank Watch is without a doubt one of the most iconic luxury watches created to date. Available in many different models, from the classic Tank Solo to the modern Tank Française, there is a Cartier Tank Watch out there for every taste.
11. Tag Heuer
Founded in: 1860 | Country: Switzerland | Price range: $2,000 to $50,000+
Techniques d’Avant Garde”, that’s what the TAG in Tag Heuer stands for. The luxury watchmaker has been around since 1860, creating highly functional luxury timepieces inspired by the world of sports. So, I guess it should come as no surprise that Tag Heuer today is known primarily for their sports watches. Styles like Carrera and Monaco have been gracing the wrists of famous racers for decades. Not even to mention that Tag Heuer has an impressive list of celebrity fans. Among them are Will Smith and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Founded in: 1884 | Country: Switzerland | Price range: $3,000 to $50,000+
With a rich heritage dating back to 1884, Breitling has solidified its status as one of the top luxury watch brands in the world, recognized for its robust, masculine designs and a strong association with aviation. Particularly, the brand’s classic Navitimer watch, featuring a built-in flight computer, has earned an icon status in the world of luxury watches. However, Breitling is also known for its Superocean series, which offers exceptional water resistance and durability.
Founded in: 1980 | Country: Switzerland | Price range: $5,000 to $100,000+
Hublot, a Swiss luxury watchmaker founded in 1980, has carved a distinctive niche in the world of haute horlogerie with its avant-garde designs and innovative use of materials. Renowned for its “Art of Fusion” philosophy, Hublot seamlessly combines traditional watchmaking techniques with modern, unconventional elements, resulting in bold, technologically advanced timepieces. For a signature Hublot look, go for a watch from their Big Bang collection. Or if you’re into something more refined and understated, check out the Hublot Classic Fusion series.
Founded in: 1832 | Country: Switzerland | Price range: $1,000 to $10,000+
Longines, a Swiss watchmaker with a rich heritage dating back to 1832, epitomizes timeless elegance and precision in the world of horology. Each of their watches embodies a harmonious fusion of heritage, sophistication, and enduring quality, with the brands Master, Heritage and Conquest lines beloved by watch collectors and enthusiasts alike. Longines is also one of the most affordable luxury watch brands on the list, with timepieces starting at right around $1,000.
Founded in: 1906 | Country: Germany | Price range: $1,000 to $30,000+
Since the introduction of its watchmaking division in 1997, Montblanc has consistently produced timepieces that reflect the brand’s dedication to precision and artistry. Brand’s collections, such as the Heritage, Tradition and TimeWalker, offer a diverse range of styles to suit every taste, from classic dress watches to sporty chronographs. Montblanc watches are also some of the more affordable on this list, with timepieces starting at right around the $1,500 mark.
After a watch for a special lady in your life? Well, if yes, then definitely check out my article on the best luxury watches for women.
*Last Updated: September 2023. Original article from October 2022.