If there’s one accessory that elevates your style with its timelessness and understated exquisiteness, it is a luxury timepiece. And altering the face of the horology landscape, one piece at a time, are various luxury watch brands. Some of which have found their eternal footing in the watch world and created an unparalleled space for themselves including Rolex, Patek Philippe, Cartier, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet.
From inventing iconic pieces followed by their iterations to developing their own movements and purposeful designs such as diving watches, aviation watches and many more, such luxury watch brands have set a benchmark for the art of watchmaking. And with constant innovation and unbound creativity they are ambitiously raising the bar higher. Their pieces are an investment that every watch collector, enthusiast and novice yearns to passionately make for how their value appreciates over time as well as the consequent scope of reselling in the pre-owned market.
While many luxury watch brands only sell their pieces through their official retailers, a lot of them can also be purchased online. If you’re one for shopping online, our list of some of the best luxury watches to buy is meant for you. Additionally, this quick guide on choosing the best one for yourself is here, especially, if you’re a beginner ready to dive into the world of tasteful watchmaking.
How to choose the best luxury watch?
While buying a luxury watch, you’ll realise that there’s a sea of options to choose from. While it might get a tad bit overwhelming for a beginner, it also leaves one spoilt for choices since there’s literally something for everyone out there. To make picking a piece easier, here are a few things to consider.
Set your budget
Whether you’re buying your first watch or your third, always figure out how much you desire spending. Luxury watches are a real investment and last you a lifetime. However, for a novice who wants to tread carefully, the market also has affordable options. Decide if you want to splurge on a premium brand or a more functional watch.
Consider your lifestyle
Are you looking for an everyday watch or one for a specific purpose? Do you want to invest in a watch that’s durable, reliable and water-resistant or a rather dressy piece to flaunt at social gatherings? Considering when you’d be wearing this watch the most helps as luxury watches are designed for specific purposes.
For instance, if you travel frequently and do business across countries, a watch that has world time function would be the best pick. If you’re looking for a watch to wear to your workplace, an understated piece makes for a better choice. Similarly, if you’re into water sports then a watch that has high water-resistance should be your go-to.
Consider the dial type
While choosing the shape of the dial that looks the most flattering on your wrist is essential, figuring out if you want to opt for a digital display or the classic analogue watch is also imperative.
Choose the strap type and material
Watch straps are usually crafted in materials like metal, leather, nylon or resin (rubber) and each strap lends a distinctive look. Consider the strap type as per your needs.
The movement type
Think about the kind of watch you want — quartz, mechanical or automatic. While quartz watches are powered by batteries, mechanical watches require winding them everyday and automatic watches wind themselves using a motion sensor. While most luxury watches are equipped with automatic movement, quartz watches also make for a popular choice.
Features to look for
Luxury watches go beyond mere time telling. From alarms and stopwatches to perpetual calendars and world time, the features of a luxury watch have touched new horizons. For that matter, watches meant specifically for people who are into diving, flying or travelling have features and complications meant to enhance their experience and efficiency.
Here are some of the top luxury watch brands to know about
(Main Image Courtesy: Antony Trivet/Pexels ; Featured Image Courtesy: Mister Mister/Pexels)
Creating powerful aesthetics and icons transcending time and trends, Cartier champions the art of both jewellery and watch making like no other. The brand has been dedicated to fashioning excellence ever since it was founded back in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier. With ethos and guiding principles like creativity, freedom, curiosity and a free spirit central to its values, Cartier’s timepieces are an opulent blend of timelessness and impeccable savoir-faire. Think of the Tank, Santos and Ballon Bleu watches that are some of the most iconic creations by the brand.
With unmatched expertise, constant innovation, top-notch quality standards ensured via over 30 tests and 100 checks and quest for continuous improvement, Cartier’s footing in the watch landscape is at par. All the watch movements including 1904 MC, 1847 MC, 1917 MC, High-Efficiency Quartz Movement, Skeleton Movement and Mysterious Movement are carefully developed, tested and approved in their own laboratory. Additionally all Cartier watches stay stable throughout the day while their patented technology shields the movement from magnetic fields to avoid chronometric errors.
Also, Cartier watches make for a great investment option for how many retain their value and how many even appreciate, especially in the pre-owned market.
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Based on groundbreaking craftsmanship, partnerships and its savoir-faire, the world of Hublot offers an experiential range of innovative, audacious and unique watches. Established by Italian watchmaker, Carlo Crocco, in 1980, Hublot follows a collaborative approach driven by partnerships with various brands, industry leaders, personalities and athletes including Novak Djokovic, DJ Snake, Richard Orlinski, Berluti brand and football clubs like Chelsea.
The ‘Art of Fusion’ lies at their heart and everything they do (from products and research and development to the collaborations), which also explains their diverse portfolio. In fact, Hublot is the first-ever luxury watch brand to combine gold and rubber in a watch which lends them the ‘Art of Fusion’ title. Innovation combined with passion drives the brand towards experimenting with different mechanisms, pioneering materials, eclectic aesthetics and a futuristic vision.
Staying true to their fusion-based approach, Hublot has created a range of unique movements in-house that gives them their edge. Be it the unmatched power reserve of Meca-10, MP-11 and Tourbillon calibres, the unique design of the Unico automatic chronograph or a game-changing motor approach with 11 MP-05 barrels and power reserve of 50 days, a Hublot timepiece on your wrist makes you feel like you’re in control of every second. That, combined with their high-tech and expert craftsmanship, tradition, precision and beauty of movement are some of the innumerable reasons why you should invest in their luxury watches.
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With an established reputation for Italian excellence and exquisite craftsmanship, Bvlgari is home to magnificent jewellery creations and watches for both women and men. Founded by a talented Greek silversmith Sotirio Bulgari in Rome in 1884, the brand’s cultural legacy, innovative designs and unbridled creativity is emblematic in its own.
Their watches are an exceptional blend of Italian design and Swiss watchmaking, be it the Serpenti Seduttori collection (for women), the Aluminium collection or the Octo watches. Reinventing the idea of luxury sports watches, the Bvlgari Aluminium collection is all about unconventional materials and bold design with modern-day elegance. Some of the most iconic Bvlgari Aluminium pieces include the Sorayama Special Edition, the GMT Vespucci, the classic GMT and the Aluminium Ducati.
The spirit of the Octo collection stems from the brand’s collaboration with the French-Swiss conductor Lorenzo Viotti. The iconic Octo Finissimo reflects contemporary watchmaking at its finest, owing to its octagonal design and a modern flair. Similarly, the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar is renowned for reshaping the watchmaking landscape in recent years.
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Founded in 1860 by Louis-Ulysse Chopard in Sonvilier, Switzerland, Chopard is among the last family-run watchmaking dynasties that’s currently owned by the Scheufele family (successors of Chopard family). The unique family spirit lies at their very heart and sets them apart from the rest in the world of high jewellery and watchmaking. Their independence has always been at the forefront of their development strategy that enables a free and more innovative creative expression aided by a constant quest for excellence.
Daring, creativity, emotion, generosity and ethics combined with environmental and social responsibility are some of the guiding values of the brand that helps them maintain their footing. Guaranteeing unmatched quality, precision and durability, all Chopard watches are 100 percent Swiss made and undergo various quality tests and certifications. Committed to excellence and authenticity, this Swiss brand has been crafting some of the most exquisite timepieces for over a century now.
Some of its renowned collections include the Alpine Eagle, the ever-so-iconic L.U.C and the Mille Miglia Race. Featuring a sporty-chic style and sophistication, the Alpine Eagle watches are inspired by the majestic beauty of the Alps and the eagle. While their chronometer-certified movements have been exclusively developed by the Maison Chopard, the Lucent Steel A223 was also specifically created for this collection. Similarly the L.U.C collection defines sophistication and horological mastery like no other and the watches in the 1000 Miglia collection have a sporty character with hints of classic racing accents in honour of the racing event.
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A family-owned, independent artisanal house established by Thierry Hèrmes in 1837, Hermès combines high aesthetic standards and functionality to distinguished creations. Remaining faithful to its artisanal model and humanist values, the brand outshines others in the watch industry owing to its exceptional know-how, creative freedom, timeless elegance, adaptability and quest for innovation and beautiful materials. While the entrepreneurial spirit has become the brand’s business model, dynamism is their driving force which makes them one of the best watch brands.
Apart from apparel and accessories, Hermès particularly excels in creating watches that transcends time and generations. For instance, the iconic Arceau and Slim d’Hermès timepieces or their signature saddle-stitched leather strap watches. Not to forget their bold and innovative partnership with Apple that was initiated in 2015.
Intended to arouse emotions and deviate to the path less travelled, their watches depict contemporary finery that’s aesthetic and extraordinary in every way.
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Baume & Mercier
The tale of Baume & Mercier began back in 1830, when brothers Louis-Victor and Célestin Baume opened a watch dealership in Les Bois. While their business grew rapidly, it was in 1918, when William Baume partnered with Paul Mercier and founded the brand as we know it today. Creativity, innovation and artistry form their ethos while their logo (Greek letter Phi) symbolises equilibrium that drives the brand. Their timepieces exemplify Swiss-made excellence and promise quality and precision since every step of watch development is controlled in-house.
This brand was the first to launch imaginatively shaped watches (for women) in the 1970s including Galaxie and Stardust post which they launched one of the world’s first steel sports watches — the Riviera. Other classics in their repertoire for men include the various Clifftons, Classimas and Hamptons.
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Making some of the finest watches for over 160 years now, Tissot is known for meticulously manufacturing timepieces that are meant to last ages. What makes the brand stand out is the availability of a wide range of faces and wristbands that one can choose from to suit their own personal style aesthetic. Whether you’re looking for a sports watch, a piece with a vintage finish, a sleek modern-day design or a traditional wristwatch in stainless steel or leather, there’s a lot to discover.
While Tissot was the first brand to create a non-magnetic wristwatch in 1930, they have also been well acclaimed for their racing watches, a story that began in 1958 with Swiss driver Harry Zweifel. Tissot’s list of ambassadors is a testament to its legacy with basketball players including Damian Lillard, Klay thompson and Clint Capella, Grand Prix motorcycle racer Marc Márquez, Chinese actors including Huang Xiaoming and Liu Yifei and cycling champion Primož Roglič.
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Tag Heuer was established in 1860 by Edouard Heuer and the brand has been crafting memorable timepieces ever since. Swathed in avant-garde inspiration, innovation, bold style and precision, this luxury watch brand has imprinted the world of watch history in its own way. A blend of premium materials and modern, sporty detailing with luminescent detailing and mother-of-pearl dials, these luxury watches make it possible to capture every fraction of a second of a performance with impeccable precision.
The brand’s timepieces stem from technological innovations and cutting-edge research which led them to create the world’s most accurate timing instruments infused in each piece of every collection. A combination of luxury and practicality, the watches are purpose-driven as they are curated for specific sports and lifestyles.
For instance, while the Carrera range is perfect for racers, the Aquaracer models are some of the most reliable pieces for exploring the ocean depths. While the Formula 1 chronographs can be worn everyday to do everything, the square-face Monaco models are iconic to the brand’s heritage.
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Breitling was founded in 1884 by Léon Breitling, and it is a luxury watch brand that’s been creating top-notch chronographs coveted by sports enthusiasts, aviation pioneers and athletes alike. Its pieces are known to be reliable, sturdy and high in performance further marked by unmatched precision. With its collections centred around concepts of land, air and sea, Breitling houses some of the best sports, aviation and diving watches in its repertoire.
Timepieces like the Superocean (diving watch), Navitimer (ultimate wrist-worn instrument for pilots), Co-Pilot (chronograph for military pilots) and Chronomat (special chronograph) have their names registered in the watch history with many iterations over the years. The brand is also touted for various partnerships including the ones with Six Nations Rugby, Deus Ex Machina, Qhubeka and Outerknown respectively.
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This story first appeared on Augustman Malaysia.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: Some of the best affordable luxury watch brands include Tissot, Seiko, Citizen, Breitling, G-Shock and Tag Heuer.
Answer: Almost every luxury watch brand has some sports pieces in their repertoire made with the most durable materials. They are reliable and tough like a tank.
Answer: Whether a luxury watch is expensive or worth the price is subjective and depends from person to person. However, various factors also contribute to it being highly priced like the technology and time that goes into its development, the movement type, its complications and purpose, the materials used, high quality control and rarity, limited production and the legacy the brand has created.
Answer: Citizen is a luxury brand, however, when compared to the likes of Rolex, Patek Philippe and others, the brand falls under the affordable luxury bracket.