To the untrained eye, at first glance, a watch looks like it simply tells the time. Of course, for time piece enthusiasts we know that they offer so much more than that. A beautifully crafted watch is an expression of your personality and a commitment to the ancient craft of horology.
With the growth of the smart watch and 47.5 million sold within three months in 2015 many of were concerned the tech trend would overtake the classic wristwatch, but thankfully this has not been the case and the luxury watch industry is as strong as ever. They are, after all, pieces of artwork you carry on your wrist, and cannot be replaced with modern fads. So, what are the top ten most popular luxury watch brands of 2016?
Cartier began as a jeweller and watch maker back in 1847 by Louis-Francois Cartier in Paris, fitting the royal families of Europe with the best in gems and watches. Their trademark items were “mystery” clocks that had elaborate designs with hidden “mystery” mechanisms. The 20th Century saw Cartier turn into the brand we recognise today, with Louis Carter, son of the founder taking over the family business. Though some of Cartier’s watch movements are made by them, much like the early hand made products that used Swiss movements; most of the mechanisms are now made in collaboration with high-end movement producers. Today Cartier is still based in Paris and holds fast as one of the best names in luxury watch and jewellery wear. Cartier has six new styles for 2016, including:
- Clé De Cartier Automatic Skeleton the skeletonised version of their Cle de Cartier which offers a new shape and a key winding crown fitted with a self-centering mechanism. Cartier watch repair should be undertaken only by expert horologists.
Tag Heuer was founded in 1860 by Edward Heuer of Switzerland and has always been identifiable by their slogan “Swiss Avant-Garde Since 1860″. The brand was known for their high level of accuracy and soon, a niche market was found in sporting events. In 1916 Heuer invents a stopwatch that is accurate to within 1/100th of a second called the micrograph, following from this; his watches are used in the 1920 Olympics held in Antwerp, Paris and Amsterdam. TAG Heuer has a long tradition of technological innovation in precision timepieces, including stopwatches and water-resistant watches. March 2016 saw the launch of the latest TAG watches including:
- Aquaracer 300m Calibre 5 was inspired by sailing and resists water up to 500m the mechanism is housed beneath a domed scratch resistant crystal sapphire glass.
Omega was founded in 1894 by Swiss watchmaker Louis Brandt, and the brand has been winning awards for quality and innovation ever since. Much like Tag Heuer, Omega has been awarded the honour of timekeeping across 21 Olympic games. Omega continued their legacy by inventing the first self-winding watch with central tourbillon which launched in 1994. The watches continue to hold their value thanks to the quality of their movements and can be found in collectors showcases throughout the world. Recent models usually carry their Omega serial number somewhere on the back but they will be in extremely small laser-etched digits requiring a magnifier to read. The most recent watches created by these horology masters are coupled with Rio 2016 Olympic Games:
- The Seamaster Bullhead, first released in 1969 has been made over to represent this year’s Olympics, recognised by its blue leather strap with multi-coloured stitching in yellow, green, red and black. Representing the famous Olympic rings, this colour theme is continued on the rotating inner-bezel to convey the unity that the rings signify.
The history of Rolex begin with Hand Wilsdorf, its founder 1905, at the age of 24, Hans Wilsdorf founded a company in London specialising in the distribution of timepieces with a vision that one day they would be worn on the wrist. In order to make them more reliable, Wilsdorf equipped his time pieces with precise movements manufactured by Swiss company Bienne. The now famous name was created in order to have a brand name that rolled off the tongue. In 1910, a Rolex watch was the first wristwatch in the world to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision, granted by the Official Watch Rating Centre in Bienne, and the brand has been masters in horology ever since. Today Rolexes latest watches include:
- Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, a remake of the iconic 1965 version is now available in steel. A key part of the model’s identity is the bezel engraved with a tachymetric scale for measuring average speeds of up to 400 miles or kilometres per hour.
- Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King has a fluted case back is hermetically screwed down with a special tool that allows only Rolex watchmakers to access the movement, guaranteeing only expert hands deal with these Rolex watch repairs.
Breitling is a specialist in technical watches and has been since 1884. Breitling is also one of the rare companies to produce its own mechanical chronograph movements, entirely developed and manufactured in its own workshop making it one of the last independent Swiss watch brands. The styling of Breitling watches through history has been characterized by polished cases, bracelets and large watch faces which are designed to improve readability. Many models have an automatic winding mechanism that is purely mechanical and has no electronic components. Today’s latest models include:
- Breitling Chronoliner, which echoes the design of the 1950-60 models, with its signature feature being a high-tec ceramic bezel. This watch enjoys Breitling’s self-winding chronograph.
Chopard is another of the great watchmakers of Swiss origin, founded in 1860 by Louis-Ulysse Chopard, who originally rose to prominence making ladies’ pocketwatches. Known or their reliability and unparalleled precision the crafted watches were soon being sold throughout Europe and Russia. The establishment was passed through the generations and survived a move to Geneva in 1937, but after the latest Chopard successor had no children and no wish to carry the business it was sold in 1974. In 1976 the company began making their making watches that contained its signature free-floating diamond behind sapphire glass and in the 1980s expanded into the wide range of sports watches and diamond jewelry we see today. Chopard’s latest masterpieces include:
- The Imperial Collection – Rainbow watch an 18ct rose gold watch entirely set with baguette-cut sapphires. the Chopard 01.03-C caliber powering the Imperiale Joaillerie beats at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hertz) and has a barrel ensuring an excellent 60-hour power reserve
Zénith was founded in 1865 in Switzerland and their watches have continued to be made in the same location ever since and today Zenith is one of the few watchmakers who still produce all their watch components under one roof. Each watch typically takes nine months to manufacture and will touch the hands of 80 craftspeople before completion. What’s more, the precision and reliability of these watches are so exceptional that Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who was the first person to reach the South Pole and the North Pole in the early twentieth century, wore Zenith watches on his expeditions. Today, Zenith’s latest watches include:
- El Primero 8804 which acts as a tribute to the rolling stones. This timepiece features a patented Gravity Control gyroscopic module and a high frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour. This piece is a special limited edition release and only 5 units have been produced.
Hublot is a relatively new kid on the watch block, with its dawn in 1980 by Italian founder Carlo Crocco. His watches featured the first all rubber natural strap in watch making history, which took three years to create. The innovation did not stop there however and in 2009 the brand unveiled their WiseKey, a method to detect counterfeit watches. Today Hublot has 50 boutiques throughout the world and their newest creations include:
- Big Bang Unico Retrograde Chronograph in association with Uefa 2016 where 100 watches, all in red, white and blue, will be issued. These timepieces feature a “one click” interchangeable trap. The HUB1261 movement is visible through a sapphire case-back finished with the UEFA Euro 2016TM or UEFA Champions LeagueTM emblem
Jaeger Le Coultre
One of the earliest adopters of watchmaking in our collection, this ancient brand began in 1740 making movement blanks and dials which are delivered to Geneva. In 1933 Antoine Le Coultre prospers and invents revolutionary tools which allow for breakthroughs that change the watch industry forever, these include a crown winding system eliminating the need for a key. By 1877 the company had over 200 employees and the business is handed to Le Coultre’s three sons where the innovations continue. By 1958 the company has over 800 employees and has invented the first alarm wristwatch. In 2002 in tribute to the 200th anniversary of the birth of its founder, the Manufacture creates 200 exclusive timekeepers carrying his signature engraved on the case and movement. Today, their most recent watches include:
- Grande Reverso Calendar – This iconic watch features a simple yet effective lunar cycle. The watch is a Mechanical manually-wound movement comprising of 231 parts, 21,600 vibrations per hour and a 45-hour power-reserve.
Baume et Mercier
Baume & Mercier’s begins in 1830 as a Swiss watch dealership, but this quickly developed and the family began making exceptional watch models. At the beginning of the 1920s, the company director William Baume joined forces with Paul Mercier by 1919, they were awarded the highest international distinction of the time in the shape of the “Poinçon de Genève” quality hallmark – a token of exceptional craftsmanship and quality. Known for femininity and innovation they developed elegant and contemporary shapes which won international awards throughout the 1970s. Today their latest watches include:
- Clifton Collection- 10054 is water-resistant at up to 50 meters, is driven by a Swiss-made mechanical self-winding caliber all visible through the sapphire crystal case back.
When the proud owner of a luxury watch, it’s vital they are kept in optimum condition to ensure you can enjoy it for years to come. Here at Repairs by Post, we offer watch repairs online that fit in with even the busiest lifestyle. Contact us today for more information.
Tags: luxury watches, top 10 watches, watch brands
This post was written by The Repairs By Post Team