Luxury is something everyone craves but only a few can afford. However, it doesn’t mean you never will. That is why it is important that you are acquainted with the most luxurious ones in the world so you don’t make a hasty, erroneous decision when you plan on buying one. After all, they are not merely watches, but an investment.
Before the age of smartwatches, quartz watches, and digital watches, mechanical watches ruled the wearer market. Although there is no specific definition for luxury watches, handmade watches are considered extravagant given the amount of human energy that goes into making every single piece.
Best Luxury Watches
For our list, we chose luxury mechanical watches that are powered either by a self-winding or automatic movement. At least some of the movement of these watches is handcrafted, indicating a far greater cost of manufacturing than quartz watches created in factories.
Rolex rules the market when it comes to luxury watches.
Born out of the partnership between Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis in 1908, Rolex is a brand that produces watches that are both, masculine and sophisticated. The company received its first certificate of accuracy and durability by the British government in 1914, something that was only granted to marine chronometers.
Their greatest achievement, which was also a turning point for the company, was the production of the Rolex Oyster in 1926. It was the first truly waterproof watch in the history of timepieces. The Oyster Perpetual followed five years later and was the first self-winding wristwatch.
Rolex’s legacy is not an ordinary one. It is associated with people with great achievements. These include Mercedes Gleitze, Sir Malcolm Campbell, Edmund Hillary, and Jacques Piccard. Every Rolex is a wonder, with complicated pieces that combine with extreme precision and accomplish far more than keep time.
Rolex uses auto movements that have been verified by COSC, the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute, as chronometers. Rolex timepieces are among the finest when it comes to preserving value, due to a number of quality materials, superior manufacturing techniques, and timeless design aspects.
Some of Rolex’s most popular watches are Air King, Cosmograph Daytona, Datejust, Explorer, GMT Master, President, Submariner, and Yacht-Master. When it comes to pricing, the cheapest Rolex watch (Rolex Perpetual 34) is priced at around $5000 which is way more than most of its competitors.
Swiss watches are synonymous with luxury watches. Patek Phillippe is another such manufacturer that has been around since 1839. It was founded by Antoni Patek and Franciszek Czapek and initially manufactured only pocket watches. The company produced its first wristwatch in 1868 for Countess Koscowicz of Hungary. Even Albert Einstein bought a Patek Philippe gold pocket watch in 1915 when he completed his theory of relativity.
The Stern family acquired the watch-making firm in 1932 during the Great Depression.
The Nautilus was a 1970s classic that aided Patek Philippe’s entry into the sports watch industry in 1976.
The Aquanaut was introduced in 1997 as a more economical substitute to the Nautilus, these timepieces have become increasingly difficult to find, particularly in steel.
Patek Philippe’s Bauhaus-inspired circular dress watches, Calatrava, were initially introduced in the late 1920s. These blank canvases are typically modest and exquisite, with merely the time and date, but they are also studded with diamonds.
Patek Philippe timepieces have consistently earned high prices in auctions across the world since the 2000s. Patek Philippe watches account for seven of the top ten most expensive timepieces ever sold at auction as of 2018. Its watches make up 46 of the top 58 most pricey watches sold at auction (above 2 million dollars).
Another Swiss luxury brand, Jaeger-LeCoultre was founded in 1833. It was initially a small watch-making workshop where Antoine LeCoultre put to use his invention – a steel watch pinion cutter. He invented the World’s most precise measuring instrument in 1844. It was known as the Millionometre. In 1847, he developed a mechanization system for watches.
In 2002, Richemont acquired the company. Like most Swiss watches, Jaeger-LeCoultre also makes its watches in-house. They give special attention to quality and innovation. The company has nearly 400 patents to its name.
The Reverso is one of its most notable watch series that features a reversible case to protect the watch in rigorous conditions. Another notable creation by the brand is the Joaillerie 101 which is the world’s smallest mechanical movement watch. All of its original parts, which totals 98 today, weigh less than a gram.
A German manufacturer of premium and luxury timepieces, Lange Uhren GmbH, owns the trademark A. Lange & Söhne. Ferdinand Adolph Lange established the business in Glashütte, Germany, in 1845. After the Soviet Union’s invasion of Germany after World War II, the original A. Lange & Söhne was nationalised and stopped to operate in 1948.
When Walter Lange, the great-grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange, formed Lange Uhren GmbH in 1990, the present A. Lange & Söhne trademark was re-registered.
The luxury watchmaker only makes a few thousand watches every year, with in-house mechanisms that are handmade and artistically ornamented, as well as some of the most incredible complexity ever devised.
Lange & Söhne released their most complex timepiece in 2013: the Grand Complication, which was inspired by the Grande Complication No. 42500, a pocket watch that goes back to 1902. An intricate tiny strike, a minute repeater, a calendar, and a rattrapante-chronograph option with floating seconds are all present in this magnificent watch.
Only one watch of this kind can be made per year, and only six of these marvels will be constructed in total due to the complexity of the construction and tuning of the movements.
The triple-split chronograph was introduced in January 2018 as the world’s 1st mechanical split-seconds chronograph, allowing for multi-hour comparison time readings. It also includes A. Lange & Söhne’s proprietary isolator framework, which maintains the amplitude of the alignment wheel while the chronograph is operating, ensuring high accuracy.
Many regard Audemars Piguet to be the pinnacle of exquisite watchmaking, and the company has demonstrated to be one of the top luxury watchmakers of its time by launching some of the world’s most innovative timepieces.
Audemars Piguet, just like many other Swiss watches manufacturers, has a rich and illustrious history that continues to this day. Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet, two well-known watch companies at the period, created Audemars Piguet, which was initially offered to the public in 1875. Piguet was famous for his thorough adjustment of watch movements, whereas Audemars was known for his attention to intricate timepiece movements with intricacies.
The Royal Oak was the first steel-cased premium sports watch. Its first version was made of white gold. This was done in order to save money. White gold was quite inexpensive relative to other forms of gold, which may seem unusual. The Royal Oak had a preposterous market value at the time, and for the equivalent money, you could have ten Rolex Submariners instead.
Zenith has been the acme of horological métiers since 1865 and is one of the few Swiss companies to successfully commemorate a sesquicentennial jubilee. However, even after 152 years, there are aspects of the company that are less well-known and concealed behind the veil of discretion. Zenith holds the record for the most timekeeping precision honors with 2,333.
To accomplish such a record, the brand began its undefeated streak when it was still fairly young. In 1902, Zenith received its first award for quality manufacturing. The Swiss brand’s invention of the first automatic chronograph watch, among many others, has to be the most significant.
The year 1969 was marked by numerous firsts, but two, in particular, stood out: man’s arrival on the moon and Zenith’s El Primero chronograph introduction. The watch, which was created many years ago, is still known for its precise movement in the history of horology.
Omega, the first Swatch Group brand on our list, has been offering horophiles and watch enthusiasts beautiful premium timepieces for almost 170 years.
The Omega watches have been to the North Pole, propelled into space, and dived to the ocean’s abyss in subs. Consequently, Omega has established itself as one of the most prominent wristwatch firms in the world.
Under the title Louis Brandt & Fil, the business was established in 1848 in a tiny Swiss town, and its debut series-produced caliber, the ‘Labrador,’ was introduced in 1885. They were the first to release a minute-repeating timepiece to the world in 1892. The caliber was introduced in 1894, and its success led to the business’s renaming as the Omega Watch Company.
Omega’s rate of accomplishment has barely dropped since then. The timepieces have set a number of precision benchmarks. It took first place in all six areas at the 1931 Geneva observatory tests, dubbed the “Olympics of Watchmaking.”
Furthermore, Buzz Aldrin wore the Omega Speedmaster Professional as the first wristwatch to be donned on the moon. Most American astronauts will continue to sport only the Speedmaster. The company certainly gives a tough competition to Rolex.
It’s tempting to get caught up in the finer points of a luxury watch, such as the gears and intricate mechanical mechanisms. But, at the end of the day, you must also consider whether it appears to be attractive. Is it a good match for your individual style?
An IWC Schaffhausen timepiece is a one-of-a-kind luxury accessory that combines impeccable functioning with outstanding aesthetics.
IWC Schaffhausen: making a sustainable product, responsibly
Florentine Ariosto Jones, a Bostonian, founded the International Watch Company (IWC) in 1868. The firm rose to fame by combining innovative new American watch technology with master Swiss watchmakers’ traditional ones.
The end result?
Watches of the finest quality and high accuracy stand out both visually and in terms of dependability.
Pilot’s Watches, Portugieser, Ingenieur, Aquatimer, Da Vinci, and Portofino are the six IWC watch lines. This collection includes ordinary clocks, sports timepieces, and watches that can only be described as miniature works of art, all of which are sure to provoke debate.
IWC watches are the ideal combination of elegance and dependability. They are among the greatest in the industry because it combines effortless elegance with unrivaled durability and accuracy. While the bulk of Swiss watchmakers is based in the country’s west, IWC Schaffhausen is situated in the country’s east, where it uses electricity from the Rhine River.
Indeed, for environmentally concerned customers, IWC Schaffhausen’s focus on sustainability is a strong selling point. They were the first Swiss timepiece to produce a sustainability analysis that outlined their sustainability goals in compliance with the Global Reporting Initiative Standards.
Chopard offers a sophisticated and innovative watch for style-savvy buyers, known for its modern and whimsical models. The company is the luxury watch manufacturer you need to hear about if you want to wear a premium dress timepiece that will draw everyone’s attention to your wrist.
Chopard was established in 1860 and is best known for its ladies’ and pocket watches. In addition to timepieces, the business now produces high-end jewelry for affluent customers.
Its Happy Diamonds Line, which premiered in 1976 and is one of the business’s most desired and famous collections, is one of the most desired and recognizable in the watch industry.
Check out the L’Heure du Diamant line if you’re looking for a sparkling watch. These opulent timepieces represent the pinnacle of luxury. Without a doubt, it’s a diamond hour.
A Chopard timepiece, on the other hand, is more than just a piece of jewelry. Some L.U.C. motions, for example, have a 65-hour power reserve, allowing them to run continuously for a prolonged period of time.
The Mille Miglia collection, for example, has been designed in conjunction with the Mille Miglia race in Italy. Or the label’s new sporty Alpine Eagle line, which has the fracture toughness of a raptor and was inspired by the Alps.
Many luxury watches are on the thicker side of the spectrum. Many people prefer something more subdued, subtle, and unobtrusive on the wrist. Piaget took the challenge gracefully.
Piaget is most popular for being a trailblazer in the field of ultra-thin watch movements. This company produces both the world’s finest manual wind wristwatch and the world’s thinnest automated timepiece. Piaget, today, is famous for its clean, uncluttered designs, which are the height of horological elegance.
Piaget creates both watches and jewelry, which may explain the brand’s intrinsic aesthetic sense.
In reality, a Piaget watch is distinguishable by its embracing of powerful and distinctive design. Piaget pays just as much consideration to the outward allure of their watches as it does to the inner mechanics, exhibiting an ideal combination of beauty and function. Although a Piaget watch is not as well-known as a Rolex, it is no less legendary.
That’s not all, though. Piaget is also popular for their meticulous regard for precision and accuracy engineering, both of which are essential to produce immaculate micro-mechanics on such a large scale. A Piaget watch exemplifies the fact that a wristwatch is more than just a timepiece: it’s a showcase of human creativity.
Wrapping Up Best Luxury Watches
Hopefully, this article has proved to be an informative one and left you aching to own a luxury watch for yourself too. Our favorite is undoubted, the Rolex, which has a number of achievements and innovations to its name. Is there a personal favorite for you? What do you like about it? Let us know 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.