Unsurprisingly, Rolex is seen in 30 to 40 percent of watch collections globally. But, a number of other brands stand out:
Independent watchmakers like F.P. Journe and H. Moser & Cie, who build their brands on rarity, are well-positioned in both the primary and secondary markets. Their watches are often sought after by collectors from all around the world.
Tissot is a highly versatile brand that has mastered the art of creating a wide array of designs. This allows them to appeal to a broad audience without sacrificing quality or design. Their watches are also known for their durability and quality craftsmanship. Many models are created using high-quality materials such as sapphire crystal and stainless steel. The company’s long history of experimentation with different materials has helped them discover what works best for their timepieces. The resulting designs are sleek, modern, and durable.
The brand’s commitment to innovation has shaped its legacy. They were among the first to embrace mass production, allowing them to bring their meticulously crafted timepieces to a wider market while retaining their integrity and quality. The result was a series of iconic watches that have left their mark on horological history. These include the Antimagnetique, which was the world’s first antimagnetic watch released in 1930, and the Astrolon, aka IDEA 2001, which was the world’s first plastic mechanical watch.
One of the most distinctive features of Tissot watches is their use of mother of pearl. The material is used to create a number of different functions and dials on their watches, including the hour markers, date window, and minute tracker. Mother of pearl is a tough material that is highly resistant to scratches, and it’s easy to clean. It’s also a hypoallergenic material, making it an ideal choice for women who want a stylish and durable watch.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Tissot introduced a series of adventurous designs that were meant to appeal to the free-spirited youth of those times. The PRX, Seastar, and Camping collections were among the most notable. These designs were meant to evoke the precision engineering and speed of modern sports cars, with their thin slab-sided cases and metal bracelets that had a regular pattern of holes reminiscent of the metal-and-leather steering wheel on a racecar.
While Tissot’s timepieces may not be as impressive as the other top Swiss brands, they are still worthy of a collector’s attention. Their affordable price points make them a great option for new watch enthusiasts who are looking to expand their collection.
The brand’s unique watch designs are what draw the attention of collectors. They are crafted from precious metals such as gold and platinum, and some of them have a very complicated design that requires specialized knowledge to understand. In addition, Journe’s meticulous and fastidious attitude is reflected in his watches, making them more appealing to watch purists. In this age of slick marketing campaigns and commercial agendas, the commitment of independent watchmakers like Journe to their craft has a strong appeal.
One of the most interesting watches from the brand is the Sonnerie Souveraine, which features a minute repeater in a case made from stainless steel. This is a significant departure for the company, which normally works with precious metals. The reason for the switch was to create a striking tone that would stand out against other watches. In addition, the stainless steel case is more durable and lighter than most other cases. The Sonnerie Souveraine was a huge success and was followed by the Repetition Souveraine, which is another impressive timepiece from the brand.
Another popular watch from the brand is the Chronomètre Bleu, which is a beautiful timepiece that features a case made of tantalum, a difficult material to work with. The Chronomètre Bleu has a very simple look, but it still packs in many amazing features, including a power reserve indicator, a dual-zone date, and a beautiful blue dial. The watch also has a unique feature that allows you to set a timer that will remind you when to change your batteries.
FP Journe produces limited runs of its watches, and each has a long waiting list. The company’s facilities are located in central Geneva, where they house a variety of watchmakers, from casemakers and engineers to research and development designers. Their work is complemented by a large team of polishers and bevellers who spend hours ensuring that each piece meets the highest standards.
Remi Guillemin, head of watches for Christie’s Europe, says that FP Journe “redefines what rarity is” by producing very small numbers of each model. For example, while other luxury brands will produce 100 limited edition pieces of a single model, FP Journe may only make 10. This approach has helped the brand become so popular among collectors.
As the guardian of high-end watchmaking artistry, Patek Philippe crafts some of the world’s most prestigious timepieces. Its wristwatches reverberate with the legacy of its artisans, blending exquisite craftsmanship with aesthetic finesse to transcend the functional and evoke emotions. From the understated elegance of the Calatrava to the sporty yet refined Nautilus, Patek Philippe’s legacy is rooted in revolutionary inventions and timeless design.
Patek’s artisanship extends to the internal components of its watches, with meticulous finishing and a commitment to excellence. Its watchmakers use age-old techniques that elevate even the simplest timepieces to works of art. Engraving and enameling transform dials into miniature canvases, while gem-setting elevates gemstones into mesmerizing sculptures. In keeping with its heritage, Patek produces most of its mechanical movements in-house rather than relying on external suppliers. This enables them to maintain tight quality control and meet rigorous standards, even for the most complex watches such as the Calibre 89.
The brand is also known for its innovative materials. In 2002, Patek Philippe launched a department dedicated to developing avant-garde technologies and novel materials. This new department was a natural extension of the company’s ethos, which combines tradition and innovation. Its first major achievement was the development of the first self-winding movement to use monocrystalline silicon for its escape wheel, which was lightweight, corrosion-resistant and anti-magnetic.
While Patek’s innovations are often hidden beneath the hood, they are what makes its watches so unique. Its commitment to perfection is reflected in the meticulous way it finishes its watches, including hand-applied gold plating. Its in-house production allows the company to ensure quality, and it uses only precious metals that are hypoallergenic and corrosion-resistant.
As a result, Patek’s timepieces are among the most durable and reliable on the market. In addition, many of its watches feature a self-winding movement, which eliminates the need for manual winding and reduces wear on the movement.
Although Patek’s timepieces are expensive, they offer great value for the money and can increase in value over time. They also come with a guarantee against mechanical failure and damage.
In a world where brand identities are confined to their products, Audemars Piguet stands as a beacon of true luxury. Its legacy isn’t limited to crafting prestigious timepieces, but also in giving back and impacting lives with its global initiatives. Its story reflects the resilience of time, intertwined with stories of change and progress.
Its history is interwoven with tales of resiliency, innovation and compassion. These pillars remain the core of what makes Audemars Piguet so coveted today. Whether you’re an ardent watch enthusiast or a collector captivated by stories of excellence, it’s impossible to overlook the power of this iconic Swiss manufacturer.
Known as one of the “big three” of Swiss watchmaking (along with Rolex and Patek Philippe), Audemars Piguet is a symbol of wealth, prestige and exclusivity. Its timepieces aren’t just utilitarian accessories; they’re pieces of movable art that reflect the wearer’s taste and personality. The company’s timepieces have graced countless ballrooms and red carpets around the globe, and their sleek designs have made them staples of the business world.
Audemars Piguet’s first big hit was the Royal Oak, a luxury sports watch with a tonneau-shaped case that broke from tradition at the time. Its daring design helped the brand cement itself in the watch industry and inspired many other watches to come. In the years that followed, the brand continued to push the boundaries with innovations in complexity and finish, creating a whole new genre of watches.
In the 20th century, Audemars Piguet’s growth was fueled by its unwavering commitment to quality and craftsmanship. Its craftspeople meticulously shaped and polished every part of its timepieces, making them truly works of art. The firm’s philosophy was that the finest watch should be a perfect balance of form and function. This approach to design was reflected in its meticulous movements and exquisite details, and the firm’s masterful artisans earned worldwide acclaim for their work.
As a testament to the quality of its products, the Royal Oak became a hallmark of the watchmaking industry and was awarded the prestigious Grand Prix de Montres des Chronographes in 1921. Since then, the brand has expanded its manufacturing facilities and established a world-renowned watchmaking school in Le Brassus. Today, the company continues to build upon its rich heritage by offering a wide range of sophisticated and elegant watches.