Top 10 Luxury Watch Brands That Have Stood The Test Of Time

Luxury wristwatches are not just there to tell the time. They are symbols of character, spirit and identity.  

 In order to be able to choose the right timepiece, you first need to choose the right luxury watch brand. It needs to represent who you are and what you stand for.

 Of course, it’s very difficult to narrow the choices down to just 10 considering the number of luxury watchmakers in the world. But just like how there are many great artists in the world, some just stand a foot above the rest.

 Call it what you want, but people just know and recognise certain names wherever you go.

The luxury watch brands in this article have been worn and represented by celebrities, athletes, heads of state and royalty from all over the world.

This list features a list of the top 10 luxury watch brands with a certified crème de la crème reputation globally that have stood the test of time.

10. Hublot est. 1980

A luxury watch brand that creates unique designs, which are instantly recognisable.

As a relative newcomer to the world of luxury watch brands, it’s amazing that Hublot has managed to establish itself as one of the leaders in the market.

Hublot has pioneered some of the latest watch engineering and production techniques in the world.

Its limited edition watches are some of the most sought-after timepieces in the world.

Key Figures
Notable Wearers:

Beyonce, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Usain Bolt, Kylie Jenner

Date Founded:

1980 (Geneva, Switzerland)

Most Expensive:

The Hublot (£3.75M)

9. Rolex est. 1905

Rolex watches are built using only the highest quality materials available and put together with meticulous precision.

This world-renowned luxury watch brand spares no resources when it comes to crafting timepieces of the highest standards. Make no mistake, Rolex is the most recognisable luxury watch brand in the world.

So much so that it has become synonymous with success.

Delivering excellence with each watch, Rolex really is the most desired luxury watch brand in the world.

Key Figures
Notable Wearers:

Sir Winston Churchill, John F Kennedy, Sean Connery, Roger Federer

Date Founded:

1905 (London, England)

Most Expensive:

‘Paul Newman’ Rolex Daytona (£13.35M)

8. Breitling est. 1884

There are several Breitling watches that have achieved iconic status, which has propelled them to new heights in the world of luxury watch brands.

Breitling has been at the forefront of wrist chronometer technology since the 19th century and continues to produce watches with stunning designs and extraordinary precision.

It’s worth mentioning that Breitling remains the only luxury watch brand in the world to use chronometer-certified movements that have been created in its own workshops. A real testament to precision.

Key Figures
Notable Wearers:

Simon Cowell, John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Sir Alan Sugar

Date Founded:

1884 (St-Imier, Switzerland)

Most Expensive:

Breitling Bentley Flying B (J28362) (£191K)

7. Audemars Piguet est. 1875

It’s the world’s oldest luxury watch brand still in the hands of its founding families (Audemars and Piguet).

Audemars Piguet (AP) offers some exceptional craftsmanship and quality, combined with a recognisable design. It’s 1972 Royal Oak “A Series” is an icon that changed the world of luxury watches. 

With it, AP introduced one of the most famous watch designs of all time with its recognisable octagon-shaped bezel.

Key Figures
Notable Wearers: Jay-Z, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Serena Williams, LeBron James
Date Founded: 1875 (Vallée de Joux, Switzerland)
Most Expensive: Audemars Piguet Tourbillon Openworked Only Watch Edition (£830K)

6. IWC Schaffhausen est. 1868

One of the most unique watchmaking combinations that has proved to be a long-lasting success.

 IWC Schaffhausen was founded by Florentine Aristo Jones. He was an American watchmaker who sought to bridge the gap between American manufacturing and Swiss precision.

Producing aesthetically pleasing and technically advanced timepieces, IWC Schaffhausen remains one of the world’s leading luxury watch brands.

Key Figures
Notable Wearers:

Bradley Cooper, Lewis Hamilton, Jason Statham, Zac Effron

Date Founded:

1868 (Schaffhausen, Switzerland)

Most Expensive: IWC Siderale Scafusia (£622K)

5. Omega est. 1848

Renowned for its precision, OMEGA’s slogan is  “Exact time for life”.

OMEGA is the watch brand of choice for the military, space exploration efforts, elite sports and daring adventurers.

With nearly 2 centuries of watchmaking and having produced the world’s first watch on the moon for NASA’s Apollo 11 mission, you can be certain of its prestige.

Considering its achievements, you can make a case that OMEGA has pushed the boundaries of watch innovation further than any other luxury watch brand.

Key Figures
Notable Wearers:

Buzz Aldrin, Daniel Craig, Prince William, George Clooney

Date Founded:

1848 (La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland)

Most Expensive:

Omega Speedmaster reference 2915-1 “Broad Arrow” (£307K)

4. Cartier est. 1847

Famous for being a jeweller to royalty, Cartier is one of the most well-known luxury watch brands in the world.

Its patented designs and characteristics are instantaneously recognised and stand out from the crowd.

Cartier watches are associated with elegance and sophistication – much like the brands unique manufacturing techniques. It’s the most famous watch collection remains the iconic ‘Tank’ range. 

Key Figures
Notable Wearers:

Tom Cruise, Michelle Obama, Princess Diana, Kate Middleton

Date Founded:

1847 (Paris, France)

Most Expensive:

Cartier Secret Phoenix Décor Watch (£2M)

3. Patek Philippe est. 1839

If there is one thing that all watch experts can agree on it’s that Patek Philippe produces some of the most prestigious timepieces in the world. This has made them one of the most sought-after luxury watch brands on the market to this day.

Combining artisan craftsmanship, expertise and knowledge acquired over a period of 181 years with high-tech machinery is bound to produce some phenomenal work – and that is exactly what Patek Philippe continues to do with each watch.

Key Figures
Notable Wearers:

Brad Pitt, Kevin O’Leary, Pablo Picasso, Sir Paul McCartney 

Date Founded:

1839 (Geneva, Switzerland)

Most Expensive:

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010 (£23.2M)

2. Jaeger-LeCoultre est. 1833

One of the most unique watchmaking combinations that has proved to be a long-lasting success.

 IWC Schaffhausen was founded by Florentine Aristo Jones. He was an American watchmaker who sought to bridge the gap between American manufacturing and Swiss precision.

Producing aesthetically pleasing and technically advanced timepieces, IWC Schaffhausen remains one of the world’s leading luxury watch brands.

Key Figures
Notable Wearers:

Pierce Brosnan, Leo Di Caprio, Jamie Foxx, Christian Bale

Date Founded:

1833 (Le Sentier, Le Chenit, Switzerland)

Most Expensive:

Jaeger-LeCoultre Hybris Mechanica Grande Sonnerie  (£1.87M)

1. Vacheron Constantin est. 1755

The oldest watchmaker in the world, Vacheron Constantin (VC) made its first men’s watch in 1755.

Vacheron Constantin watches are known for their timeless aesthetic and fine craftsmanship – especially when it comes to creating custom-made timepieces upon request. The brands’ clientele speaks for itself.

This is what Vacheron Constantin has done for generations and will likely continue to do so for many more.

Key Figures
Notable Wearers:

Napoleon Bonapart, Harry Truman, King Edward VIII, Donald Trump

Date Founded:

1755 (Geneva, Switzerland)

Most Expensive:

Vacheron Constantin Kallista 1979 (£8.2M)

Max Laird | Wristwatches360

Written by Max Laird

Founder of Wristwatches360 & keen watch enthusiast.