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We love these luxury watch brands (and you should too)

Decorate your wrist with the best luxury brands

watch laying on deck
Klickors Moe/Unsplash / Unsplash

Every man needs a good watch. While you may not need it specifically to tell time, thanks to the advent of smartphones, there is still something classically elegant about wearing a beautiful timepiece. While you may be able to grab an up-to-date smartwatch from Apple, there is also a massive benefit to dumbing it down and wearing a dumb watch. Having said that, the luxury watch world can be overwhelming, as almost all watches claim to be the next big thing in luxury watch brands.

Of course, you don’t have to ask us twice; we’ll break down our favorites to bring you a list of the best luxury watch brands. We chose these watch brands using criteria based on notoriety, longevity, quality, and a little bit of price. Without further ado, here are our picks for the best luxury watch brands on the market. These are the ones you buy for yourself that your great-grandkids will show their friends once they are passed down.

Rolex

Rolex Submariner watch in green
Rolex / Rolex

Could we start anywhere else? Nowadays, when it comes to buying a luxury watch, that conversation begins and ends with Rolex. With the distinction of being the most well-known watch brand in the world, it is no secret why it is on our list of best luxury watch brands. However, be aware that with notoriety comes risk. Rolex also holds the unwanted distinction of being the most often faked. So before you drop thousands on a Rolex, make sure it is real.

Patek Philippe

Patek Philippe on wrist
Patek Philippe

There is only one way you can compete with the likes of Rolex, and that is to be the best in the world for nearly two centuries. Keeping the same family in the ownership offices allowed Patek Phillippe to remain one of the top luxury watch brands in Switzerland for the last two hundred years.

Omega

Omega Seamaster on model
Omega

James Bond can’t be wrong. I mean, at least, we don’t think so. Omega was already one of the most popular watch brands coming out of Geneva before 007 adopted it in the 90s. Now, both Brosnan and Craig brought Omega into the forefront of people’s minds when they think of luxury watches. Sure, they don’t have the same features as Bond’s watches, but they definitely look fantastic and will last a lifetime.

IWC Schaffhausen

Tom Brady in IWC ad wearing watch
IWC

American functionality combined with Swiss expertise is what you get with the International Watch Company (IWC). Created by a Bostonian and bringing the innovation of American production to the technical brilliance of Swiss watchmaking, IWC sets itself apart from the rest of the Swiss luxury watch pack. Even geographically, as they are the only ones on the eastern side of the country using the Rhine River for hydropower…innovation in all levels of the process.

Breitling

Breitling Avenger pilot on a wrist
Breitling

Next time you are flying, try to get a peak at the pilot’s watch when he comes on board. If it is a Breitling, you know you have a good one, and you can rest easy the whole flight. There is a reason this is one of the first choices for military, pilots, and rescue personnel. They are made for the kind of situations calling for the best of the best. And, if you happen to go down, some Breitlings even have distress signals and emergency beacons…stay close to the pilot with the Breitling.

TAG Heuer

TAG Heuer Carrera gold chronograph
TAG Heuer

Another brief Bond watch, Tag Heuer, was the choice of Timothy Dalton’s Bond. Although this watch was as shortlived as Dalton’s turn as the spy, it didn’t hurt its reputation as one of the best in the business. It is known for pushing boundaries and being the go-to for the racing community. It can withstand almost anything, and just like the tagline says, it won’t crack under pressure.

Tudor

Man wearing Tudor
Courtesy of Tudor

If you are a younger sibling, always feeling like you’re living in your older sibling’s shadow, you understand a little bit about Tudor already. Founded by the same man who created Rolex, Tudor started out as the younger and more contemporary version of the more well-known brand. And just like you carved out your own piece of the world despite your sibling’s shadow, Tudor still became one of the best in the world. If you want the quality and function of a Rolex with a more stylish flare, Tudor is the one for you.

Grand Seiko

Grand Seiko SBGD213
Grand Seiko / .

Let’s take a break from the European watches and cross the opposite ocean to land in Japan. Grand Seiko, the luxury sister brand to Seiko, offers a variety of styles, while showcasing the best of Japanese watchmaking tradition.

Panerai

A close-up of a man's hand wearing a Panerai Luminor Marina.
Panerai

If you favor military-style watches, then you definitely know Panerai. With a history stretching back to the 19th century, Panerai has long made watches for the Italian military. Known for large case sizes and powerful features, Panerai watches are luxury offerings that have a strong, rugged appeal.

Audemars Piguet

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar blue ceramic
Audemars Piguet

Would any luxury watch brand list be complete without Audemars Piguet? Founded in 1875, Audemars Piguet is best known for its Royal Oak watch, which was first released in 1972 as the first luxury sports watch. The Royal Oak features an octagonal case — angular lines is something the brand is well-known for — visible screws, and the “Grande Tapisserie” dial.

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Mark McKee
Mark is a full-time freelance writer and men's coach. He spent time as a style consultant and bespoke suit salesman before…
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