Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

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 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 Seamaster on model

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

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 Avenger pilot on a wrist

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.


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.


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

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.

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…
We’re not sure which of these new Frederique Constant watches we like more
Which of these gorgeous new Frederique Constant watches is your favorite?
Chronograph Automatic watch

Although Frederique Constant is barely celebrating its 25th anniversary on its showcase collection, the watch company is already well known throughout the watch community for its stellar and sleek designs. One in particular, the 41-mm Chronograph Automatic, has already charted a name for itself and is a modern option for those looking for a luxurious and new style. Besides the intricate details in the dial, the watch’s functionality is perfect for day-to-day activities. While containing a mechanical chronograph, this watch can track hours, minutes, seconds, and the date. On its own, the 41-mm Chronograph Automatic is a wonderful addition to any collection; the upcoming celebration calls for two special editions of this sports watch that’ll complete any watch lineup. Each of these new variations is meant to invoke a different meaning of luxury to this sporty watch. 
Rose gold Chronograph Automatic watches

For the celebration, Frederique Constant has released two new variations of the Chronograph Automatic watches, sure to dazzle every watch lover. The first of the variations is a rose gold edition that gives a unique touch to your collection. Instead of the typical silver or gold materials, the rose gold variation gives you a small pop of color that’s different from most. 

Read more
6 mistakes beginners make when they start their first watch collection
Don't start off your watch collection the wrong way
man in suit wearing a watch

There are milestones in every man's life that become the moments we look back on fondly as our coming of age or maturing moments. One of those milestones is buying your first watch. We all had one of those cheap, make-it-look-like-it's-expensive watches we wore with our prom suits in high school, but this is that moment when we are buying the first of what we hope to be an epic watch collection.

A lot is said about having the right watch for the right moment. Some men believe that their smartwatch is all they will ever need. Not only do you need a dumb watch just as much, if not more. But you need a whole collection of watches to ensure you always have what you need. Just like building a suit wardrobe. there are starting points and landmines to look out for. When it comes to building your perfect watch collection, there are many mistakes you should avoid.

Read more
G-SHOCK’s latest G-LIDE watches are a smaller take on surfing timepieces
It is more than a woman's watch
GShock G-lide on surf board

The Euro was introduced. Eminem dropped the Slim Shady LP. Keanu Reeves first appeared as Neo. Lance Armstrong won his first Tour de France. 1999 was a big year in a lot of ways. But for the surfing community, it got the first of a line of watches that would transform the sport from the wrist out. G-SHOCK introduced the G-LIDE, GL-100, with a low-temperature resistance that made it perfect for those early morning waves while the rest of the world missed out in their beds.

Since the end of the millennium, G-SHOCK has gone back to the line to add more features over and over again. That included solar power, sunset and sunrise times, and a tough square case perfect for standing up to the wipeouts. But, what made the G-LIDE perfect for surfers was the addition of the moon phase data and the tide data. All of this was packed into a slimmer package that appeared in the newest model last year in the GLX-S5600. But now, G-SHOCK is adding to the line again with two new women's versions.

Read more