As a watch aficionado, deciding between dozens of the best watch brands might become mind-boggling. The label ‘best’ is a personal choice in most cases – unless it’s your mom’s cooking. The same applies to watches. There are so many amongst you who will vouch for a high-end Rolex any given day, while others will find pocket-friendly Fossil watches a better option.
So, which brands are truly the best?
To help you choose, we’ve assembled some of the most prominent watch brands and broken them down into two sub-categories – luxury and affordable.
Best Watch Brands for Men (Luxury)
Rolex is probably one of the most respected and valued brands in the watch industry. It manufactures robust, reliable, sturdy, and accurate watches. The brand, founded in 1905, is still going strong for more than a century.
One unique thing about the Rolex watches is that they use the 904L steel which is the best steel that a watch can be manufactured with. No one else in the watch industry uses it due to the fact that it is extremely difficult to machine.
Another notable thing about the brand is that it believes in innovation. The chronometer certification founded by Hands Wilsdorf in 1914, is still in use today for mechanical caliber watch testing. Also, it was the first company to roll out water-resistant watches, as reflected in their Oyster Perpetual.
Rolex is known for giving their watches complete human attention, meaning, their watches are hand-made which makes them really special. That’s one of the reasons why Rolex is so expensive, with the prices starting from $5000 and going up to $1.9 million (Oyster Sotto).
Audemars Piguet was founded in 1875 by childhood friends Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward-Auguste Piguet and is arguably best known for its Royal Oak series, which has been a must-have symbol of status for each and every A-lister from hip hop superstars to elite sportsmen since its introduction in 1972.
It is one of the world’s most renowned luxury watch brands. Along with other Swiss manufacturers Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe, it is one of the famed “Holy Trinity” watch brands.
Audemars Piguet is best known for their Royal Oak sports watch, which is famed for pioneering avant-garde complicated watches. The Royal Oak is deservedly regarded as a great watchmaking icon, having pioneered the concept of the luxury sports watch.
In addition, the organization has a long history of significant watch design inspirations from the field of astronomy.
Shinola is a true All-American brand, made entirely by hand in Detroit. They put a fresh sense of machismo into classic watch shapes by using surprising color schemes and rustic characteristics. Take, for example, this Runwell timepiece, which has a lovely brown leather band, a sleek navy blue face with chrome details, and brilliant yellow numerals. It’s a visual feast that’s also not too taxing on the money.
Shinola’s product catalog has varied substantially since the launch of their first watch, the Runwell, their business and expertise set has grown, and Detroit has enjoyed the advantages. They’ve gone beyond timepieces in recent times, teaming with other domestic manufacturers of American-made clothes, audio, and lifestyle goods ranging from hand-forged sharp knives to bikes and vinyl record burners.
Shinola’s devotion to attaching each and every product they manufacture to a good tale, on the other hand, does not appear to be changing. Today, we’ll look at three designs that have a lot of that distinctive x-factor: the Runwell, Cass, and Canfield.
Cartier was founded in 1847 in Paris by Louis-François Cartier. His grandson Louis Cartier created the iconic Tank Watch, which was based on a battle tank, seven decades later. Since then, a number of legendary watch designs have emerged, including this Baignoire Allongée.
Before becoming a big participant in the watch market, Cartier was a world-renowned jeweler. Their name is one of Forbes’ top global brands, and their great influence in high fashion helped to popularize timepieces at a time when everybody wore pocket timepieces. Since then, the watchmaker has released a number of well-known collections, including the renowned Tank series.
Many people think of Cartier as a fashion label rather than a luxury timepiece, which may be due to their reputation as a ritzy jeweler who loves bejeweled timepieces with diamond bezel styles. Cartier, on the other hand, has used various horological advancements and iconic timepieces to shift people’s minds about their watchmaking abilities.
You’re not seeing things if you think Tudor watches seem like Rolexes: the brand is a subsidiary of the luxury watch giant, and its timepieces are especially ideal for individuals who desire the appearance and feel of a Rolex—without the hefty price tag.
When contrasted to other wristwatch makers in the same market, Tudor clearly provides outstanding value for money. When you purchase a Tudor watch, you know you’re getting a well-made, high-quality watch. Furthermore, you will (in most cases) receive a wristwatch powered by an in-house caliber — but more on that later.
A Tudor watch’s manufacturing quality is exceptional. The timepieces are strong and robust, with no rattle or squeak.
This is predictable given that Tudor is funded by Rolex and draws from its elder sibling’s expertise.
There aren’t many rivals who can compete with Tudor in the price range of semi-luxury timepieces. As a result, Tudor is an excellent pick for a wide range of people.
Omega, established in 1848, enjoys the unrivaled distinction of becoming the first wristwatch on the moon, courtesy to Buzz Aldrin, who donned the Speedmaster for his historic feat. Today, it is perhaps best known as the favorite timepiece of England’s most lethal weapon: James Bond.
Although entry-level pricing isn’t as exorbitant as those of some other watchmakers like Rolex, a new Omega will set you back a couple of thousand dollars (or around $500 second-hand).
James Bond has been sporting an Omega since the mid-1990s, due to some advertising placement that caused him to switch from the Rolex he’d been sporting for decades. In the meantime, Omega Speedmaster watches have been worn on every Nasa space mission.
Patek Philippe & Co is a world-renowned watchmaker that invented the wristwatch. A top ten list would be incomplete without discussing this watchmaker. Because of its long history, solid market success, and technical perfection, Patek Philippe timepieces are extremely coveted among watch enthusiasts. Watch collectors like the high degree of workmanship that goes into crafting Patek Philippe watches.
Patek Philippe is among the 3 Holy Trinity watch brands. Their most famous designs are the Calatrava, Aquanaut, Nautilus, World Time, Twenty-4, and others.
In addition to its numerous prominent designs, Patek Philippe was contracted to manufacture some of the globe’s most complicated watches for a number of high-profile individuals, including Henry Graves and James Ward Packard. The brand was formerly involved in the creation of the world’s most intricate wristwatch, the Patek Philippe Calibre 89 having 33 intricacies, in addition to being one of the leading watch brands.
The Graves Supercomplication, is one of the most valuable watches ever made. It was auctioned off for an astonishing $11,000,000 USD in 1999 in New York. It has 24 complexity and required 8 years to study and develop.
The world’s oldest continuously operating watchmaker that’s next on our rundown of prominent watch companies. It is a company with centuries of watchmaking tradition. Since 1755, this Holy Trinity Timepiece manufacturer has created some of the most astonishing and imaginative horological wonders.
With 57 complexities and an estimated worth of $8,000,000, the Vacheron Constantin reference #57260 is widely regarded as the world’s most complex timepiece. It exemplifies their mechanical ability the finest. Before this extraordinary feat, they were already considered as a top premium watchmaker.
the company was built on the principles of attaining aesthetic and functional perfection, as evidenced by their numerous horological successes and creations over the years. As a result, they’ve risen to the top of the global watch industry.
Among their important collections are the Metiers d’A, Overseas, Traditionnelle, Quai de l’ile, Harmony, Patrimony, and Les Historiques. A magnificently luxurious watch brand, and any veteran watch enthusiast would admit that it ranks among the most prestigious.
Best Watch Brands for Men (Budget)
Seiko, a Japanese manufacturer founded in the late 1800s, is unquestionably on the budget side of the luxury wearables market. It holds a unique niche in the broad world of timepieces. Seiko manufactures timepieces for everyone, regardless of price. Seiko has it all, from high-quality quartz watches to good mechanical clocks.
The 1969 Seiko Quartz Astron with its revolutionary quartz movement triggered a movement. It was far more precise than any mechanical mechanism could possibly be. The Quartz Astron’s casing is composed of 18-karat yellow gold, which is perhaps its most notable feature.
For example, they offer several of the most affordable ‘automatic’ timepieces on the marketplace, which are driven by your hand movement instead of batteries or ‘quartz.’ Starting price at $150 and goes up from there, with the most expensive Seiko being the Seiko Grand ($1,85,000)
Timepieces with a sapphire crystal and translucent coating are available at the higher end of their collection. For those unfamiliar with the terminology, this simply implies that the watch’s clear front will be sturdier and more damage resistant than inexpensive timepieces and that it will be simpler to see in broad sunlight.
Fossil has hundreds of locations around the United States, including malls and huge shopping complexes. They have a wide choice of styles and alternatives, allowing you to get practically everything you want at a reasonable price and of good quality. With a wide variety of high designs, they’ve recently burst into the smartwatch sector. This fusion solution provides all of the advantages of a smartwatch without the reputation of somebody who is always calculating their calories.
This well-known company appears to offer a watch for everyone, with designs ranging from simple formal wristwear to extravagant skeleton watches. Despite the fact that Fossil is as well-known as any other well-known brand, it is still not on par with well-known Swiss or Japanese watch brands, raising questions about its reliability.
The Fossil Group is made up of a number of well-known fashion businesses from throughout the world. Relic, Skagen Denmark, Michele Watch, Misfit, Zodiac, and WSI have all been added to the inventory over the years. Fossil smartwatches are also quite popular among watch lovers.
Other well-known brands that Fossil produces licensed accessories for include Michael Kors, Diesel, DKNY, Puma, Emporio Armani, Burberry, and Armani Exchange. So, if you own an Armani or an oversized Diesel wristwatch, you now know that it was developed, made, and marketed by none other than the Fossil Group.
Citizen, a brand known for its devotion and total commitment to meeting the demands of its clients, has been making watches since 1918. These watches have an exceptional value-to-quality ratio. The timepieces are made with high-grade materials and have excellent quality control.
Citizen’s name indicates certain accessibility and affordability because the watches created by this company are devoted to all people, from all socioeconomic milieus; the only qualification for receiving a Citizen is your great taste and understanding of genuine value.
Citizen’s status as a worldwide leader in the watch business is undeniable, as the company has always strived to manufacture watches with stunning designs and cutting-edge technical mechanisms.
The name Citizen is ample proof of the strength and dependability of a Citizen watch, and you can be certain that with every latest collection, Citizen has come up with more innovative high-tech elements that are difficult to find as key elements in other timepieces. The Citizen Eco-Drive watches are their most popular timepieces which use solar energy to operate.
The price starts at $100 and can range up to $1500.
The brands mentioned in this list are one of the most well-known in the history of watchmaking. Many other watchmakers, such as BVLGARI, Girard Perregaux, Richard Mille, Arnold & Son, Officine Panerai, Roger Dubuis, and others, should probably be mentioned in this article. However, we’re attempting to keep this as brief as possible.
Hopefully, this article helped you pick out the best watch brand for your next buy. If you have any questions, reach out to us via the comments.
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Tuba Sarosh is an electronics engineer turned content writer and editor. She combines her curiosity for the latest technology with her passion for writing, to write well-researched articles and blogs. She is also a watch aficionado. When not writing, she is either reading a classic or watching a documentary.