Breitling is a company that has specialized in technical watches since 1884. All of its timepieces are equipped with chronometer-certified movements, which means the ultimate in precision. The company also developed its own mechanical chronograph movement which is still being produced in its Swiss workshops.
Cartier is a French high-jeweler known for leading-edge style, quality and elegant jewelry, home accessories and watches. The company is cited as inventing the first wristwatch and was the pioneer that introduced the rectangular dial in the early 1900s. These luxury timepieces are a perfect blend of class and technology.
Chopard is a Switzerland-based high-jeweler, watch and accessory company that was founded by Louis-Ulysse Chopard in 1860. Chopard’s watches gained in popularity in the early 1900s and the company found international buyers from eastern Europe, Russia and Scandanavia. The company was sold to Karl Scheufele, a descendant of a family of expert watchmakers and jewelers from Germany. The combination in expertise has made Chopard the luxe-watch brand it is today.
#4 Christian Dior
Christian Dior was founded by the French fashion designer in 1905. Still one of the world’s top fashion houses, it is now owned by LVMH, world leader and owner of over 60 prestigious brands. There are four watch collections: Dior VIII, La D De Dior, Dior Crystal and Chiffre Rouge and each includes exceptional options that are Dior-unique, sophisticated and fine timepieces.
#5 Franck Muller
Franck Muller is a Swiss watchmaker and promotes themselves as the “master of complications”. The company is known for its fusion fashion timepieces that combine modern elements with those of the early 1900s. The manufacturer holds a World Premier each year to introduce a new line of wristwatches and always features something spectacular and unique. Muller graduated from the Watchmaking School of Geneva and has since become of the top timepiece companies in the world.
Hermes is a French manufacturer of luxury and high-end goods and was founded in 1837. The line of high-jewelry includes seven different wristwatch lines and a variety of models within each line. Each line is inspired by something specific- for example, the Arceau line uses elegant characteristics from horses. The Clipper line is designed as an elite sports watch and the Kelly line is designed after the famous Hermes Kelly bag with padlock from the 70s. The company’s products are relevant and modern.
#7 Harry Winston
Harry Winston is nearly 100-years-old and was founded in New York City. The company is known for exceptional and rare luxury styling in both jewelry and watches. The diamond-studded Avenue and High Jewelry Timepieces lines are two of the most exquisite of their eight timepiece collections. All of the watches use sophisticated technology which adds value and prestige. The Harry Winston name has become coupled with red carpet events throughout the world, particularly Hollywood.
In 1832, Auguste Agassiz and two partners recreated the crown-wheel escapements to work similarly to the Swiss watchmaking industry. Today the company is still located in Saint-Imier in Switzerland and is still producing world-class timepieces. The company’s excellent reputation for manufacturing high-end, elegant timespieces also includes being used by several world champions.
#9 Louis Moinet
Louis Moinet, known as an extremely bright student growing up, invented the chronograph. In the early 1800s, Louis designed and created clocks for important dignitaries, including Napoleon Bonaparte, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. Those timepieces are still considered works of art and some are kept in museums around the world. Louis Moinet was truly a master at his craft and his art was passed down successfully. The company lived on and became one of the most prestigious watchmakers.
#10 Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton Malletier founded Louis Vuitton in 1854 as a French fashion house. Through the years, the label has added several luxury product categories to its prestigious inventory, including wristwatches. The brand manufactures eight spectacular timepiece collections that are considered simple, yet extremely distinctive. Many of the designs are available with different case material options: steel, precious stones and gold.
Montblanc International was founded in 1906 by stationer Claus-Johannes Voss, banker Alfred Nehemias and engineer August Eberstein as the Simplot Filler Pen company producing upscale pens in Hamburg, Germany. The company was purchased by Dunhill and the additional luxury products were added, such as watches, leather goods, fragrances and eyewear.
Omega SA is a high-end, Swiss watchmaker based out of Beil, Switzerland. The Omega watch holds many historical records, including being the first watch on the moon in 1969. It’s also been the official timekeeping device of the Olympic Games since 1932. James Bond has worn one since 1995. Originally, the company was founded in 1848 by Louis Brandt and he will be forever known as the builder of the Omega company.
#13 Parmigiani Fleurier
The Swiss company was founded in 1996 by Michel Parmigiani who had previous watchmaking experience in 1976 as an expert in historical mechanical clocks and watches. The company makes every element of their timepieces, in-house and has over 130 models from which to choose. Parmigiani developed the Bugatti 370 – a watch modeled after the famous Bugatti Veyron supercar – and won the 2006 “Watch of the Year Award” from the Japanese press.
#14 Patek Philippe
Patek Philippe & Co. was founded in 1851 as a Swiss luxury watch manufacturer in Geneva. The brand is among the most prestigious by watch enthusiasts and professionals worldwide. That is partly because the timepieces are some of the most complicated and expensive available. The other reason is because of their use of incredible components and state-of-the-art designs and techniques.
In 1874 Georges Piaget founded his luxury watch and jewelry company in the village of La Cote-aux-Fees, Switzerland. What started as a manufacturer of watch movements became one of the industry’s top-of-the-line brands. In fact, in 2008 a study by the Luxury Institute ranked Piaget as the 6th most prestigious brand. It is also one of the pioneers of the ultra-thin movements.
Founded in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis under Wilsdorf and Davis, the company moved to Geneva, Switzerland in 1919 and later adopted the company name Rolex. Forbes ranks Rolex number 57 (2012) on the list of the world’s most powerful global brands. It is the largest luxury watch brand today and known the world over.
Seiko is a Japanese company that designs and manufactures watches, clocks and other electronic devices. It was founded in 1881 by Kintaro Hattori who opened his watch and jewelry shop in Tokyo’s Ginza area. Seiko is now a well-known luxury label that was known for its precision in making every necessary item in-house. Some parts have since been out-sourced to companies who specialize in specific instruments. So the Seiko brand has maintained its stellar reputation.
TAGHeuer has been a forerunner in technological innovation in precision watches since its inception in 1860 when Edouard Heuer opened the company’s first workshop in St.-Imier, Switzerland. In 1882 it patented a chronograph mechanism and in 2004 revolutionized the industry with its automatic movement on the Monaco V4. The company’s Haute Horlogerie and Manifesto lines are sporty, trendy and contemporary while showing off a sophisticated side.
#19 Van Cleef & Arpels
The Van Cleef & Arpels is a French jewelry, watch and perfume company that was founded in 1896 by Alfred Van Cleef and his uncle Salomon Arpels. At this time there are five different collections, such as the Poetic Complication’s line which includes additional moving parts, as can be seen in this photograph. They are decadently unique, as are all of the Van Cleef & Arpels timepieces.
Zenith SA was founded in 1865 by Georges Favre-Jacot in Le Locle, Neuchatel, Switzerland. It’s long-standing positive reputation for designing and manufacturing high-end luxury watches is partially because it continues to produce movements in-house. The company has won over 1,500 precision awards to date. Zenith was acquired by LVMH in 1999 and added to their watch and jewelry division.