No other fashion item in recent history has undergone such a drastic shift in purpose than the wristwatch. What started out as a utility item, has gone on to become one of the flagship luxury items of our generation.
Where watches used to be favored for their affordability and their number of functions, their value now rests on their fashionability and their uniqueness. Whether it’s going to a formal occasion or competing in a sports event, there’s now a luxury watch for all purposes. Even deep-sea diving, flying, and scaling mountains haven’t been spared.
This means that a shift in the top brands has been a frequent occurrence over the last few years. While some brands have kept their standing as a key addition to any outfit, many brands have been overtaken by emerging labels.
Each of these brands also has different ranges if watches for each of the above purposes and more. So, picking the right watch for you can be tough of you’re a big spender or someone who’s won the lotto and wants a new look.
Because of this, we put together a quick guide on luxury watch brands. This includes a list of each brand’s flagship watches to help you pick the right one for your needs, lifestyle, and occasions.
Of the watches that have held their standing over time, Rolex is the undisputed king. Since it’s inception in 1905, Rolex has transcended watches to become one of the most powerful brands in the world. Today, it’s eponymous with luxury, style, and function.
Their watches have been designed for, and survived, such activities as climbing Everest and deep dives into the Mariana Trench. All while maintaining a subtle, yet definitive, style.
Their gold and white gold design with a link bracelet are ideal for wear with both suits and casual outfits, including that in sports events. This is epitomized in their most popular watch, the Submariner. It includes a simple design of a date, rotating bezel for stopwatch function and the famous smooth perpetual second-hand motion.
Despite not having the same brand recognition as Rolex, Patek Philippe is the older of the two brands. Since 1851, Patek Philippe has been designing timepieces. As with other brands, it quickly became a luxury purchase for many. It also set the trend of watch features like the perpetual calendar and chronograph accuracy.
The difference between this luxury brand and most others on this list is its exclusivity. In 1975, the brand introduced its Nautilus collection, which requires those who want to own one to apply for the watch. As a result, only a handful of people own a Patek Philippe Nautilus sports watch. So, these watches are both expensive and hard to get.
Like the Rolex though, the Patek Philippe has a simple design that allows its wear at both formal, and informal, events.
What Patek Philippe started, Richard Mille took to a new level. Every version of the Richard Mille watches is uniquely made and in very limited supply. They are also usually sold out before even going into the market.
It’s titled the watch for the super-spender due to their extremely high price, with popular models costing around $500,000 to $1,500,000. Their unique design also makes them hard to miss by casual and hardcore watch enthusiasts alike.
So, if you’re looking for a timepiece that epitomizes both the height of luxury and exclusivity, a Richard Mille watch is the right choice for you.
This brand is one of the newest addition to the luxury watch brand market. Despite it’s shorter history, it’s arrived into the industry with a bang.
Hublot watches have quickly become the premier casual, or sports, watch. With a trendy, young style, they’ve created real competition for brands like Audemars Piguet. They’ve also made huge waves with their sponsorships, with athletes like Usain Bolt, Floyd Mayweather, and Diego Maradona all acting as brand ambassadors.
They’re natural rubber strap, trendy clasp design, and flashy nature of the Big Bang collection allow you to have a unique and trendy casual watch. This is ideal for casual dress events or for times when you’re more active.
Bringing the accuracy of the chronograph to wristwatches, Breitling has become another luxury brand associated with durability. While the Rolex has been atop Everest, Breitling is the only brand to have been to space.
The Navitimer and SuperOcean are ranges offered by the brand. The former being designed for pilots, and the latter for divers. They even offer the Breitling Emergency, complete with built-in distress radio for the most adventurous buyers.
So, if you have adventurous hobbies, like flying or diving, Breitling offers a durable luxury watch with a sleek design that fits formal occasions as much as adventure treks.