Companies and Brands

11 Best Swiss Watch Brands to Try

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What makes a watch Swiss? Why is it a big deal? What brands should you try? What should you stay away from? All ofthese questions may or may not have been circulating in your brain before you decided to read this article, and we hope to answer all of them.

Switzerland is famous for the quality of its watches. The history of this fame is something to get into on another day. Owning a Swiss watch is like being part of a super-elite, luxury, consumerist club. Swiss watches are the gold standard of accuracy, which is whythey are so sought after. Most Swiss watches are a minimum of $1,000 and can go as high as a few million. They are so accurate, in fact,that most aviation companies require pilots to have a COSC-certified Swiss watch. It’s a status symbol of superiority in the form of mastering time. So, what makes a Swiss Watch a Swiss Watch?

  • It has the words, “Swiss Made” on the dial.
  • It was manufactured and cased in Switzerland.
  • It was inspected by the manufacturer in Switzerland.
  • At least 50% of the components were exclusively made, assembled, and inspected in Switzerland.
  • The movement cannot under any circumstances exceed 50mm in diameter.
  • The Movement cannot have a thickness greater than 12mm.
  • Watchmakers in Switzerland legally have to meet a set ofvery rigid requirements to label their watches as “Swiss Made”.
  • The “Swiss Made,” logo is usually found at the six o’clock position on the face of the movement.
  • “Swiss Made” usually appears in capital letters.
  • The top 3% of all Swiss watches are certified by the COSC.

There are, of course, acouple of important things to keep in mind regarding Swiss watches: counterfeit watches and “Swiss Movt” watches.

Swiss Movt is not the same as actually being a Swiss watch. Many lower-end watch companies will advertise their timepieces as “Swiss Movt,” which means thatonly the movement was constructed in Switzerland. Although this is still more likely to be a quality piece, it doesn’t mean that it follows any of the other requirements. These watches can be much more budget-friendly, sometimes starting at around $20.

Counterfeit watches are really hardto spot and sometimes the only way you would know is by having a professional looking at the watch mechanisms under the face. Be cautious when buying Swiss watches second-hand or at flea markets if you want an authentic one.

Why Are We Talking About This?

Gears and mainspring in the mechanism of automtic watch
Source: Photocommander / Shutterstock.com
A view inside an automatic watch.

If you’re going to drop thousands of dollars on anything, you better be sure you’re getting the right product you want. How can you tell if your Swiss watch is actually Swiss, or actuallyworth how much you’re paying for it? If you have this kind of money to spend on an accessory, then you’re probably the type of personwho wants to buy the best.

#1 Baume & Mercier

Source: republica / Getty Images
A close-up of a watch face.
  • Product: Riviera 10616
  • Price: US $3,550
  • Ethics: Sustainability Strategy, Responsible Jewelry Council,

The Riviera 10616 originally debuted in 1973 but returned in 2021. It features a dodecagonal bezel, is self-winding, has an interchangeable steel bracelet, and a steel case,is water resistant, holds a 120-hour power reserve, has a sapphire crystal case back, and was manufactured in Les Brentes.

Baume & Mercier

Switzerland+skyline | Milky way over Lugano
Source: diegopianarosa / Flickr
Switzerland as seen at night.

Baume & Mercier has a “Sustainability Strategy,” which focuses on four pillars: supply chain and the environment, accessibility, ethical business practices, and community partnerships. It has been a member of the Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC) since 2011.

The Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC) is a global nonprofit that sets the standards for ethical jewelry making. 1,800 companies are members of this group which was originally started in 2005 by 14 organizations. The RJC is partnered with the UN Global Compact and is ISEAL Code compliant. It performs third-party audits of member companies and issues certifications.

#2 Blancpain

Luxury Watches Wristwatch Fashion Blue
Source: Rustic and Watches / Shutterstock.com
A photo of a luxury watch.
  • Product: Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback
  • Price:USD $18,400
  • Ethics: Blancpain Ocean Commitment

The Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback is part of the Fifty Fathoms collection. It is a diving watch that features a 50-hour power reserve, a black ceramic bezel, a ceramic insert, liquidmetal™ hour-markers, and the flyback chronograph.

Blancpain

Source: AscentXmedia / E+ via Getty Images
Rich people hanging out in Switzerland.

Blancpain is one of the oldest watchmaking companies in the world. It was established in 1735 by Jehan-Jacques Blancpain and is actuallyolder than some Countries, including the United States. Blancpain was the first watchmaker that developed a diver’s watch in 1953 which was used by the French Navy, and the U.S. military.

Blancpain has its “Blancpain Ocean Commitment,” which makes it committed to partnering with organizations that focus on raising ocean awareness, implementing ocean conservation measures, and contributing to scientific research. It is currentlypartnered with PADI and developed its Adopt The Blue™ initiative, The Sea Academy Project with The Sulubaai Environmental Foundation. And preservingThe Great Barrier Reef with Biopixel.

#3 Patek Philippe

Source: extravagantni / iStock via Getty Images
A view of beautiful Switzerland.
  • Product: 5327R Grand Complications
  • Price: $103,460
  • Ethics: Unspecified

The 5327R Grand Complications is a perpetual calendar that shows the day, date, month, leap year, and 24-hour indications. It is a self-winding timepiece. It features moon phases, ivory lacquered dials, a sapphire crystal case back, an interchangeable solid-gold back, is water resistant up to 30 meters, an alligator leather strap,

Patek Philippe

Source: Julien Viry / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
Restaurants in Switzerland.

Patek Philippe is part of the “Holy Trinity of Watchmaking.” It touts itself as “The last independent, family-owned Genevan manufacturer.” It developed the first split-second chronograph and the first perpetual calendar wristwatch. Patek Philippe is considered one of the top luxury watch brands.

#4 Richard Mille

Source: AleksandarGeorgiev / Getty Images
An aerial view of a city in Switzerland.
  • Product: RM 52-05 Manual Winding Tourbillon Pharrell Williams
  • Price: Price on Request
  • Ethics: Pre-Owned Program

The RM 52-05 collaboration with Pharrell is out of this world. Pharrell is a Star Trek, cosmos, and outer space fan, and this watch reflects that passion. The face depicts an astronaut helmet with a reflection of the Earth from a faraway planet. It also features a grade five titanium baseplate and bridges, a free-sprung balance, a fast-rotating barrel, a 6.40mm thick movement, and a sapphire case.

Richard Mille

Source: Janoka82 / iStock via Getty Images
A beautiful view of the Matterhorn.

Richard Mille was founded in 2001 that focuses on producinghigh-end, lightweight, luxury watches. Richard Mille is a favorite among celebrities, and elite athletes, and often collaborates with different artists. Besides Pharrell, some other collaborative stars have been Boucheron, Rafael Nadal, Roberto Mancini, Bubba Watson, Maria Vicente, Aurora Straus, Michelle Yeoh, Serena Aoki, Yusaku Miyazato, and Felipe Massa.

Richard Mille has a certified pre-owned program. Previously owned timepieces are restored to their original condition and are in full compliance with its requirements. This is also a way to re-use and upcycle pre-loved products.

#5 MB&F (Maximilian Büsser & Friends)

Source: AleksandarGeorgiev / E+ via Getty Images
Beautiful Aerial View Of Zurich, Switzerland.
  • Product: Horological Machine No. 7 Aquapod
  • Price: USD $152,000
  • Ethics: Pre-owned Program

The Horological Machine No. 7 Aquapod is part of a line that is unlike anything I’ve personally ever seen. Machine No. 7 has a jellyfish-inspired design and is glow-in-the-dark. It also features a tentacle-like winding rotor, a 303-component engine, a 60-second flying tourbillon top, a grade five titanium case, water resistance up to 165 feet, and sapphire crystals.

MB&F (Maximilian Büsser & Friends)

Source: VogelSP / iStock via Getty Images
The train of Rhaetian Railway running on the famous Landwasser Viaduct.

Maximilian Busser & Friends (MB&F) is known for creating unique “Horological Machines.” It is at the forefront of horological innovation using a novel approach to what constitutes a watch. It turns “traditional watchmaking of the highest craftmanship into futuristic, fiercely unconventional timekeeping machines. These sculpted, three-dimensional cases and beautifully finished engines are called ‘Machines.”

MB&F also has a pre-owned program where customers can acquire rare pieces, or at a lower price. It comes with a certification and guarantee that the pre-owned pieces are 100% legitimate, in working condition, and under a two-year warranty.

#6 Vacheron Constantin

Source: Sanga Park / iStock via Getty Images
Thun city with the Alps and lake in Switzerland.
  • Product: Overseas Tourbillon
  • Price: Price on Request
  • Ethics: Apprenticeship Program, Fair Working Environment, Responsible Jewelry Council

The Overseas Tourbillon comes in four differentvariants: titanium, white gold, pink gold, and steel. It features an ultra-slim movement, a 22k 3N yellow gold peripheral rotor, a three-day power reserve, three interchangeable bracelets, a transparent sapphire crystal case-back, and a 10.39 mm thick case.

Vacheron Constantin

Source: swisshippo / iStock via Getty Images
Oberhofen castle on the lake Thun, Switzerland.

Vacheron Constantin is the second member of the “Holy Trinity of Watchmaking.” It was founded in 1755 by Jean-Marc Vacheron and Francois Constantin. It is committed to ethical sourcing and has been a member of the RJC since 2010. It is FJC Code of Practices Certified. It also requires all suppliers to sign its Group Supplier Code of Conduct and promotes a transparent supply chain by publishing its Supply Chain Policy and an annual report. The headquarters and manufacturers of Vacheron Constantin are powered by 100% renewable electricity.

#7 Cartier

Source: sam74100 / iStock via Getty Images
Aerial view of Leman lake in Geneva city in Switzerland.
  • Product: La Panthére De Cartier Watch
  • Price: $268,000
  • Ethics: RJC

The La Panthére watch has a rhodiumizedwhite cold case that is set with 136 brilliant-cut diamonds, a panther head with emerald 0.15-carat emerald eyes, spots, and a nose made from black lacquer, a 117-diamond white gold dial set, a wrapped bracelet set with 464 brilliant-cut diamonds that total 17.81 carats. It is also water-resistant up to 100 feet.

Cartier

Source: bluejayphoto / Getty Images
Panoramic view of historic Zurich city center with famous Fraumunster and Grossmunster Churches.

Cartier is a French brand that isnow owned by the Swiss Richemont Group. Considereda household luxury brand name that wasfounded in 1847 by Louis-Francois Cartier. Cartier developed what is considered to be the very first wristwatch and the first pilot’s watch. Cartier offers styles that are more on the mainstream side.

Cartier was one of the founding members of the RJC (Responsible Jewelry Council) and launched the Watch & Jewelry Initiative 2030 which aims to create an entirely sustainable watch sector.

#8 Audemars Piguet

Source: ake1150sb / iStock via Getty Images
The historic city of Thun, in the canton of Bern in Switzerland.
  • Product: Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon
  • Price:Price Upon Request
  • Ethics: Audemars Piguet Foundation

The Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon features 468 brilliant-cut colored gemstones that create a rainbow effect. It also features an 18-carat white gold case and bezel, sapphire crystal, and case back, is 11.4 mm thick, and is water resistant up to 20 meters.

Audemars Piguet

Source: SalomonCeb / Wikimedia Commons
The village of Wengen, Canton of Berne, Switzerland.

Audemars Piguet is the final member of “The Holy Trinity of Watchmakers.” It was founded in 1875 by founders Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet. The brand is known for creating the very first-minute repeater movement. It also createdthe iconic, “Royal Oak,” which isone of the most well-known watch designs globally.

The Audemars Piguet Foundation has been committed to worldwide forest conservation since 1992. It partners with not-for-profits and NGOs globally in order toachieve goals such as protecting biodiversity, encouraging family farming, planting trees, teaching organic farming practices, restoring mangroves, and reconstituting forests.

#9 Mondaine

Source: Leamus / iStock via Getty Images
A photo of Lucerne, Switzerland.
  • Product: Essence Peach
  • Price: $250
  • Ethics: Renewable Materials, Co2 Neutral

The Essence Peach is environmentally friendly and features a bracelet made from recycled textile and cork lining, other materials used in its manufacture are recycled PET bottles, natural rubber, and castor oil. It has a 32 mm diameter case with a pressed cork case back and is water resistant up to 100 feet.

Mondaine

Source: Xantana / Getty Images
Old town of Basel with red stone Munster cathedral on the Rhine river, Switzerland.

Mondaine uses only renewable materials in its Essence line such as wool, cork, and castor oil. Its FairVentures Worldwide Organization partners with local communities to implement large-scale reforestation projects designedto offset Mondain’s carbon emissions. So far, the non-profit has reforested 1,257 plots, 521 hectares, supported 1,061 smallholder farms, and distributed 1,081,553 tree seedlings.

Mondain is also partnered with One Tree Planted. It donates one tree to the National Forest Service for every watch or clock sold. One Tree Planted aims to mitigate climate change, conserve biodiversity, reduce disaster risk, and conserve water.

#10 Panerai

Source: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images
All watches are definitely mot made the same.
  • Product: Submersible Luna Rossa
  • Price: $11,000
  • Ethics: RJC

The Submersible Luna Rossa features a 42mm diameter brushed steel case, a steel with a ceramic rotating Bezel, and a brushed steel back. This watch was made for divers and is water resistant up to 300 meters.

Panerai

Source: AleksandarGeorgiev / Getty Images
Aerial view of Zurich, Switzerland.

Panerai operates under five sustainable pillars: Products, Processes, People, performance in Real Estate, and Partnerships. It is a member of the Responsible Jewelry Council.

#11 Alpina

Source: Doucefleur / iStock via Getty Images
The watch is a fun little part of any outfit.
  • Product: Alpina Heritage Carree Automatic
  • Price: $1,795
  • Ethics: Unclear

The Heritage Carree Automatic is made with a polished stainless steel two-part case, a scratch-resistant convex sapphire crystal case, an ostrich leather strap, is water resistant up to 30 meters, a 38-hour power reserve with an AL-530 caliber automatic movement comprised of 31 jewels.

Source: montipora / iStock via Getty Images
A photo of Davos, Switzerland.

 

Alpina was founded in 1883 and is a pioneer in the Swiss watchmaking industry. Alpina created the Swiss sports watch concept and is known for its iconic Alpina 4 made in 1938. Its lines feature pilot watches, outdoor adventure models, and diving models.

The sales of its Seastrong Diver Gyre model go towards protecting marine habitats. This specific model is made from 70% recycled plastic ocean debris from the Indian Ocean and a strap made from 100% recycled PET bottles.

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