The Watch Brands You Should Know
You can derive a lot from the name on the dial: The history of the brand during the time they were used as a tool, a unique design cue that has become a trademark in today’s fashion, or perhaps a rare complication that they pioneered. There are many watch brands that have had their named solidified in history and in today’s households for these very reasons, but there are tens of hundreds of different luxury watch brands to choose from. Here at Richter & Phillips Jewelers, we have curated some of our favorite and most renowned watch brands and why you should consider them when making your next watch purchase.
One of the oldest and most well-known watch brands in the luxury Swiss watch industry, OMEGA has been making watches since the mid 1800s. OMEGA has been at the forefront of the watchmaking industry since their founding. Known for their craftsmanship and innovation, they were the world’s first watch brand to develop a minute repeater wristwatch and specifically chosen by NASA to have their watches as essential tools for the Apollo program after rigorous testing. Today, you may better know them as the timekeepers for the Olympics, as well as the signature watch adorned by everyone’s favorite British spy, James Bond (aka 007).
A great place to start when purchasing an OMEGA watch is with their signature Speedmaster and Seamaster collections. The Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional was, as you can guess, the first watch worn on the moon. Its design has largely remained the same for those watch collectors that like to have a part of history on their wrist. If you are looking for something that incorporates more modern functions such as magnetic resistance and a ceramic bezel, the Seamaster Professional 300M may be a better fit for you. Famously worn by James Bond, it can handle the daily needs of a spy while looking great in a suit or at the beach (action sequences and explosions may vary with use).
A few of our handpicked favorites
Considered a staple among Swiss watch manufacturers, Breitling has been making watches since the 1880s. Breitling is known for their innovations with the chronograph complication, a mechanical function that allows the wearer to time certain tasks by starting, stopping, or resetting to zero; this function was made famous for its use during WWI by the Royal Air Force. Many professional pilots in the 1940s also used this functionality in addition to a side rule calculator that allowed them to measure distance traveled, average speed, and fuel consumption, all conveniently available right on their watch.
These innovations are the beginning of what would be known today as the Navitimer collection. First commissioned to the AOPA (Aircraft Owners Pilots Association) and later introduced to the public, the Navitimer is a watch that perfectly incapsulates the functional purpose of its heritage in an elegant design for the modern watch collector. It is an icon in the Swiss luxury watch segment and was just recently updated at Breitling’s 2022 novelty showcase to celebrate the Navitimer’s 70th anniversary. Breitling’s successes in the aeronautical and military fields have made it a staple among such professionals.
Hot off the Bench
Founded in the early 1900s by Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex, TUDOR was created to offer an alternative and more affordable Swiss luxury watch that also upheld the standard and dependability for which Rolex is famous for. Beginning their debut with classic wristwatches for both men and women in the 1930s-1940s, TUDOR later introduced the Oyster Prince Submariners in 1954 and the Oysterdate Chronographs in 1971, thus solidifying TUDOR’s legacy as one of the premier watch brands for professionals at an affordable price.
Today, TUDOR has once again, set its own mark in the luxury watch segment. With the introduction of the Black Bay in 2012, TUDOR has skyrocketed in popularity among professionals and watch collectors alike. The Black Bay collection pays tribute to the brand’s diving heritage by incorporating styling cues and features from past models. In 2015, TUDOR introduced a new in-house movement with modern materials that allows their watches to run for 70-hours at a time. This gives the wearer the ability to take off the watch Friday evening and pick up Monday morning without skipping a beat. These continued innovations and achievements have established TUDOR as a timeless, staple watch brand for any horologist’s collection.
Classics from TUDOR
Quickly growing in popularity over the past few years, Grand Seiko is a Japanese watch brand created by Seiko in the 1960s, with their main goal being to build the “ideal watch” – a watch that would specialize in precision, durability, beauty, and would compete against its counterparts in Switzerland. Grand Seiko introduced this concept with their first watch in 1960 and over time, has developed more accurate and reliable mechanical watches that hold their own against Swiss watch brands in competitions.
To this day, Grand Seiko is still at the forefront of watch development. Most known for their breakthrough with Spring Drive which is, to put it briefly, a movement that combines the energy of mechanics with the precision of a quartz watch. Moreover, their unique and beautiful designs are inspired by what we find in nature, thus creating a sense of simplicity and elegance that makes reading a watch a unique and more memorable experience.
Nestled within the mountains in Germany, lies a small town by the name of Glashütte that has specialized in watchmaking for over 175 years. This is the place NOMOS calls home, and where 95% of their timepiece movements are handcrafted. Known for their minimalistic yet unique designs, NOMOS is also renowned for their attention to detail and their precision in crafting.
Previously, a single Swiss producer had been the only supplier of escapements for nearly the entire watchmaking industry. That is, until NOMOS engineered their own, which they refer to as the “swing system.” This ingenuity has enabled NOMOS Glashütte to stop relying on third party supply, allowing them to grow independently in addition to keeping their pricing fair and affordable, especially for their quality of work.
NOMOS Glashütte, while one of our newer brands, has quickly become a fan favorite at our store, which is no surprise given their renown within the watchmaking industry. Learn more about them in our blog!
We hope that getting to know some of the top watch brands in the horology industry aids you in choosing which timepiece is best for you. There are so many great brands out there, including ones we did not mention, that it’s very important to take the time to explore and develop your own impressions. No matter what you are looking for, there is certainly a watch out there for you.