If you’re new to the world of luxury watches, you’re probably at least familiar with the major players in the industry. Rolex, Tudor, and TAG Heuer are some commonly boasted names in the luxury watch industry that most people gravitate toward when looking for their first luxury timepiece.
Before you invest in one of those big brand names, consider some of the equally talented designers that don’t have the same brand recognition. You might be surprised at how much you’d love their pieces. Here are five luxury watch brands you probably hadn’t considered.
Jaeger LeCoultre does have some brand recognition around the world, though for some reason it rarely gets listed in the top five for luxury watch brands. Like many of the top luxury watch brands, Jaeger Lecoultre boasts that all-too-important Swiss Made label that people flock toward. Their design history dates back to 1833 when watchmaker Antione LeCoultre formed a workshop in Switzerland.
Jaeger LeCoultre pieces are most recognized for their iconic art deco designs and innovations. Jaeger LeCoultre created what was, at the time, the world’s thinnest watch movement and also holds the honor of creating the world’s first automatic watch. Their heritage, quality, and stunning designs make them a top contender when considering a luxury timepiece.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a watch needs to have a Swiss Made stamp to offer the highest possible quality in craftsmanship. Seiko watches date back to the late 1800s, stemming from a long line of clockmakers. To be able to compete with the Swiss Made watches, Seiko invited a master watchmaker to teach them the Swiss techniques, so that they’d have a competitive edge despite not fitting the requirements for the label.
Seiko is a leader in innovation and offers luxury watches at a variety of price points for those who are budget-minded. The Grand Seiko line offers pristine watches that are both eye-catching and elegant, offering a blend of Swiss-inspired techniques and Japanese technological advances.
Bell & Ross
Despite having an Americanized brand name and falling outside of the Swiss Made requirements, Bell & Ross are a powerful French luxury watch brand worth noting. Launched in 1992 by Bruno Belamich and Carlos A. Rosillo, Bell & Ross watches are modern and heavily-laden with military-inspired design schemes. Despite their modernized approach to design and technology, they retain a flair for the vintage watch design schemes and never detract from the overall quality.
In recent years, the Bell & Ross experimental models have been attracting a lot of attention. The BR-X2, in particular, has caught the eye of many collectors, as the designers have decided to forgo the traditional watch face and place the dials directly over the movements. Rather than seeing numbers, you see the entire inner workings of the watch at all times. Hence, the alternative model name for the BR-X2 is the Skeleton.
You may recognize the name Montblanc from their collection of fountain pens. It’s a little-known fact that they also make incredible luxury watches. Montblanc offers a diverse array of products and is known for their luxury smartwatches that appeal to those looking for a balance between fashion and function.
The Summit 2 is neutral, appealing to both men and women. It offers a traditional watch face that changes to a smartwatch display with the click of a button. There, you can track your steps and heart rate as you proceed through your career, travels, and health goals.
Montblanc is one of the few luxury watchmakers that manages to toe the line between classic designs and modern features.
Like Bell & Ross, Roger Dubuis is fairly new to the luxury watchmaking business, becoming an overnight success in the mid-1990s. His practices fit the requirements to boast that Swiss Made label, but his inspiration comes from around the globe. The quality offered only by traditional watchmaking practices, combined with abstract designs creates beautiful timepieces that stand out in a crowd.
Partnerships with Lamborghini and Pirelli have taken Roger Dubuis watches to unprecedented heights. The Excalibur design gives wearers the impression of staring into the back of a giant clock, whereas the Hyperwatch collection somehow manages to look vintage and futuristic simultaneously. Sometimes it’s not enough to own a luxury watch. Sometimes you want to start a conversation. If this sounds like you, go with Roger Dubuis.
Choosing Your Timepiece
There are a lot of talented luxury watchmakers to consider when investing in a timepiece, both in Switzerland and elsewhere around the world. To assess quality, you must look for well-designed precision movements, strong sapphire crystal domes, high-quality materials, and an overall look and feel that fits with your lifestyle and image.
Remember to think beyond the oft-touted brands and look for something unique and edgy. It’s thinking outside the box that put you in a position to purchase a luxury timepiece; why should the shopping process be any different?