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Breguet Classique La Musical 7800BB/11/9YV
TOP
Breguet Classique La Musical 7800BB/11/9YV
AU$ 85,216
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
236
UK
H.Moser & Cie. Pioneer Centre Seconds
TOP
H.Moser & Cie. Pioneer Centre Seconds
AU$ 14,920
Seller
chronostars
12
AT
Zenith CAPTAIN WINSOR
TOP
Zenith CAPTAIN WINSOR
AU$ 31,917
Seller
LUXE WARE (HK) LIMITED
81
HK
Jaeger-LeCoultre Gyrotourbillon 2 Platinum seems unworn full set
TOP
Jaeger-LeCoultre Gyrotourbillon 2 Platinum seems unworn full set
Price on request
Free shipping
Seller
M J GILLAN LTD
10
UK
Richard Mille RM 011 03 Rose Gold TI
TOP
Richard Mille RM 011 03 Rose Gold TI
AU$ 326,971
Free shipping
Seller
Express Watches
6
US
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Chronograph
TOP
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Chronograph
AU$ 9,500
Seller
Private Seller
 
AU
IWC Portuguese Chronograph
TOP
IWC Portuguese Chronograph
AU$ 9,950
Seller
Private Seller
 
AU
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 1887
TOP
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 1887
AU$ 4,250
Seller
Private Seller
 
AU
Chopard L’heure Du Diamant Medium Oval – 139383-1001
TOP
Chopard L’heure Du Diamant Medium Oval – 139383-1001
AU$ 85,606
Seller
Mall of the Watch
866
MC
Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph
TOP
Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph
AU$ 12,963
Seller
CANTELI JOYEROS SL
14
ES
Rolex Datejust II
Rolex Datejust II
AU$ 8,950
Seller
Master Watchmaking P/L
AU
Longines Elegant
TOP
Longines Elegant
AU$ 1,900
Seller
Private Seller
 
AU
Rolex GMT-Master II
Rolex GMT-Master II
AU$ 14,600
Seller
Private Seller
AU
Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch
Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch
AU$ 5,000
Seller
Private Seller
AU
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra
TOP
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra
AU$ 9,951
Seller
Private Seller
 
AU
Omega Geneve Seamaster  Case Number 28112670,
Omega Geneve Seamaster Case Number 28112670,
AU$ 790
Seller
Private Seller
AU
Richard Mille RM 011 Ivory
TOP
Richard Mille RM 011 Ivory
AU$ 284,322
Free shipping
Seller
Express Watches
6
US
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5 500M
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5 500M
AU$ 1,600
Seller
Private Seller
AU
Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch
Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch
AU$ 15,000
Seller
Private Seller
AU
Frederique Constant FC-310WHF2PD4B3
Frederique Constant FC-310WHF2PD4B3
AU$ 4,450
Seller
JOYCE JEWELLERY
10
AU
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 6
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 6
AU$ 3,100
Seller
Private Seller
AU
Frederique Constant Vintage Rally
Frederique Constant Vintage Rally
AU$ 3,050
Seller
Private Seller
AU
IWC Portofino Chronograph
IWC Portofino Chronograph
AU$ 5,500
Seller
Private Seller
AU
IWC Portuguese Chronograph
IWC Portuguese Chronograph
AU$ 8,200
Seller
Master Watchmaking P/L
AU
Zenith ACADEMY CHRISTOPHE COLOMB EQUATION OF TIME
TOP
Zenith ACADEMY CHRISTOPHE COLOMB EQUATION OF TIME
AU$ 214,261
Seller
ZEGG & CERLATI
53
MC
Rolex Explorer 1016
Rolex Explorer 1016
AU$ 23,000
Seller
Private Seller
AU
Omega Speedmaster Day Date
Omega Speedmaster Day Date
AU$ 2,900
Seller
Private Seller
AU
Frederique Constant FC-270M4P6 Classics Business Timer
Frederique Constant FC-270M4P6 Classics Business Timer
AU$ 800
Seller
Private Seller
 
AU
Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic
Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic
AU$ 2,000
Seller
JOYCE JEWELLERY
10
AU
Rolex Submariner (No Date)
Rolex Submariner (No Date)
AU$ 10,700
Seller
Private Seller
 
AU
Raymond Weil WR 3ATM, Collection Don Giovanni,  V650331
Raymond Weil WR 3ATM, Collection Don Giovanni, V650331
AU$ 1,500
Seller
Private Seller
AU
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Rose Gold Selfwinding
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Rose Gold Selfwinding
AU$ 40,400
Seller
Private Seller
AU
Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronographe
Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronographe
AU$ 2,200
Seller
Private Seller
AU
Rolex Datejust Turn-O-Graph
Rolex Datejust Turn-O-Graph
AU$ 4,900
Seller
Master Watchmaking P/L
AU
Richard Mille RM 055 Bubba Watson Asia Edition
TOP
Richard Mille RM 055 Bubba Watson Asia Edition
AU$ 213,242
Free shipping
Seller
Express Watches
6
US
Patek Philippe Calatrava Oman 18K Gold Manual Service 04.2018
TOP
Patek Philippe Calatrava Oman 18K Gold Manual Service 04.2018
AU$ 12,213
Seller
Timeless Watches GmbH
248
DE
Baume & Mercier Classima
Baume & Mercier Classima
AU$ 1,000
Seller
MTS Watches & Repairs
AU
Alpina Alpiner
Alpina Alpiner
AU$ 2,200
Seller
JOYCE JEWELLERY
10
AU
Breitling Superocean 44
Breitling Superocean 44
AU$ 4,000
Seller
Private Seller
AU
Baume & Mercier Capeland
Baume & Mercier Capeland
AU$ 2,500
Seller
Private Seller
AU
Rolex Air King
Rolex Air King
AU$ 4,500
Seller
Private Seller
 
AU
Omega Seamaster Diver 300 M
Omega Seamaster Diver 300 M
AU$ 2,250
Seller
Private Seller
 
AU
Breitling Cockpit
Breitling Cockpit
AU$ 2,995
Seller
Private Seller
AU
Rolex Oyster Perpetual
Rolex Oyster Perpetual
AU$ 5,450
Seller
Master Watchmaking P/L
AU
Zenith PILOT AERONEF 48 MM TYPE XX TOURBILLON
TOP
Zenith PILOT AERONEF 48 MM TYPE XX TOURBILLON
AU$ 65,746
Seller
ZEGG & CERLATI
53
MC
Baume & Mercier Classima
Baume & Mercier Classima
AU$ 1,200
Seller
MTS Watches & Repairs
AU
Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch
Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch
AU$ 1,300
Seller
Private Seller
AU
TAG Heuer Tag Professioanl 2000
TAG Heuer Tag Professioanl 2000
AU$ 750
Seller
Private Seller
AU
Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Chronograph Blue Dial Platinum
TOP
Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Chronograph Blue Dial Platinum
AU$ 83,000
Seller
Private Seller
AU
Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage
Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage
AU$ 1,500
Seller
JOYCE JEWELLERY
10
AU
Girard Perregaux Laureato
Girard Perregaux Laureato
AU$ 11,288
Seller
Private Seller
 
AU
Tudor Prince Date
Tudor Prince Date
AU$ 4,216
Seller
Private Seller
AU
Frederique Constant Manufacture Worldtimer
Frederique Constant Manufacture Worldtimer
AU$ 2,999
Seller
Private Seller
AU
Breitling Crosswind Racing
Breitling Crosswind Racing
AU$ 4,400
Seller
Master Watchmaking P/L
AU
Zenith EL PRIMERO CHRONOMASTER 1969
TOP
Zenith EL PRIMERO CHRONOMASTER 1969
AU$ 20,546
Seller
ZEGG & CERLATI
53
MC
Omega Seamaster Diver 300 M
Omega Seamaster Diver 300 M
AU$ 3,000
Seller
Private Seller
 
AU
Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph
Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph
AU$ 15,500
Seller
Private Seller
AU
Franck Muller Master of Complication 5850cc 18k White Gold...
Franck Muller Master of Complication 5850cc 18k White Gold...
AU$ 29,950
Seller
Private Seller
AU
Alpina Startimer Pilot Manufacture
Alpina Startimer Pilot Manufacture
AU$ 2,000
Seller
JOYCE JEWELLERY
10
AU
Baume & Mercier Hampton
Baume & Mercier Hampton
AU$ 1,800
Seller
MTS Watches & Repairs
AU
Omega Constellation
TOP
Omega Constellation
AU$ 10,351
Seller
Plus Ultra AG
 
CH
Rolex Sky-Dweller Annual Calendar on Strap Chocolate Dial
Rolex Sky-Dweller Annual Calendar on Strap Chocolate Dial
AU$ 42,258
Seller
Private Seller
AU
IWC Vintage Automatic
IWC Vintage Automatic
AU$ 3,690
Seller
Master Watchmaking P/L
AU
Zenith EL PRIMERO TOURBILLON
TOP
Zenith EL PRIMERO TOURBILLON
AU$ 51,608
Seller
ZEGG & CERLATI
53
MC
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Swiss Watches: World-Renowned Timepieces

Swiss watches are synonymous with precision and luxury. The most well-known names in the business, with few exceptions, all hail from this Alpine country. Rolex, Omega, IWC, and Breitling all represent tradition and high quality.

Everything to Know About Swiss Watches in This Article

  • Buying advice for Swiss-made watches
  • Watches in different price ranges
  • Manufacturers, collections, and models
  • History of the Swiss watch industry

Which Swiss Watch Should I Buy?

If you want to buy a Swiss watch, you have a wide range of options. The right way to find out which watch is best for you is to ask yourself the following question: How much do I want to spend?

A new, brand-name Swiss watch with a mechanical movement can cost as little as 1,000 euros. You can find watches from manufacturers such as Chronoswiss, Maurice Lacroix, Oris, and Raymond Weil in this price range. Some series from these manufacturers are more expensive, however. For example, Raymond Weil's Nabucco chronograph costs around 3,000 euros new with a titanium case. TAG Heuer and Tissot also have a large selection of watches available for less than 5,000 euros.

Rolex and Omega are probably the most well-known representatives of Swiss luxury watches. The legendary Omega Speedmaster Professional is available in many different variations for less than 5,000 euros. The version closest to the original Moonwatch chronograph, which you can find under reference number 311.30.42.30.01.005, costs around 3,500 euros and has a stainless steel case. The material certainly influences the price, as cases made of precious metals are much more expensive than those made of stainless steel.

An Omega diving watch from the Seamaster collection with a gold case costs around 15,000 euros. The Rolex Submariner without a date display and a stainless steel case costs around 6,500 euros new. You should be prepared to spend at least 23,000 euros for a yellow gold Submariner, and 25,000 euros for a Rolex Daytona.

Patek Philippe's Nautilus is one of the most sought-after and expensive stainless steel sports watches from Switzerland. Without any complications, the women's version costs 20,000 euros, and the men's 25,000 euros. With a white gold or platinum case, the price jumps to 140,000 euros. The Calatrava, also from Patek Philippe, is the definition of a classic, elegant dress watch. New, the most popular version costs around 15,000 euros.

If you decide to go with a watch from Breguet or Blancpain, expect prices over 100,000 euros. Cases made of precious metals, diamond-set cases and straps, and intricate complications such a tourbillon increase the value of such watches. The newcomer Hublot also has some watches in this price range. The futuristic MP-05 LaFerrari watch usually costs 200,000 euros. The version with a sapphire glass case is over double the price, costing more than 400,000 euros.

Watches: Iconic Exports

Watches are a defining part of Switzerland's cultural image. They're more iconic than the banks and the cheese; only chocolate ranked "more Swiss" than watches according to a survey of participants from 15 different countries.

About 30 million watches leave the production halls of this little Alpine country every year. The variety amongst these watches is impressive. They range from traditional gold watches with complications such as a:

  • Moon phase display
  • Perpetual calendar
  • Minute repeater
  • Double chronograph

to diving and pilot's watches. Some of the Swiss companies even produce high-tech smartwatches. Many of these watches function as status symbols, ignoring their actual intended functions. Many diving watches from the Seamaster and Submariner collections will never go underwater, and only a small number of the pilot's watches sold by IWC or Breitling are actually worn in the cockpit. These watches work equally well as a tool watch or a luxury lifestyle object.

There are also mass market affordable watches, such as the famous quartz-powered Swatch with its bright and colorful plastic case. There are now mechanical versions with a simple 51-piece movement. The typical Swatch looks somewhat cheap and is not taken seriously by many watch fans, but certain models have sold at high prices as vintage watches. Furthermore, the Swatch is significantly responsible for helping the Swiss watch industry survive the Quartz Crisis of the 1970s and 80s. The Swatch watch, trendy and colorful, broke Swiss watches out of their conservative, stuffy image and attracted a new target audience. Above all, young people were attracted to this bright and simple watch.

However, luxury watches are what people think of when they think of Swiss watches. Switzerland leads the world in watch exports if you don't rank by number of timepieces. While only about 2% of watches sold worldwide come from Switzerland, they are worth 60% of the total value.

Many well-known brands with long watchmaking traditions belong to the Swatch Group (market share: 18%) or to luxury goods concerns like Richemont (market share: 16%) or Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH, market share: 5%). Rolex is the largest independent Swiss luxury watch manufacturer (market share: 12%). Their independent status greatly contributes to their outstanding reputation.

Overview of the Most Important Swiss Luxury Watch Manufacturers

Manufacturer Founding year Location of headquarters Parent group
Audemars Piguet 1875 Le Brassus Independent
Blancpain 1735 Le Brassus Swatch Group
Breguet 1775 L'Abbaye Swatch Group
Breitling 1884 Grenchen Independent
Chopard 1860 Geneva Independent
Hublot 1980 Nyon LVMH
IWC 1868 Schaffhausen Richemont
Jaeger-LeCoultre 1833 Le Sentier Richemont
Longines 1832 Saint-Imier Swatch Group
Omega 1848 Biel/Bienne Swatch Group
Patek Philippe 1851 Geneva Independent
Rolex 1905 Geneva Independent
TAG Heuer 1860 La Chaux-de-Fonds LVMH
Vacheron Constantin 1755 Plan-les-Ouates Richemont
Zenith 1865 Le Locle LVMH

Rolex

Rolex is number one amongst the large manufacturers. The Geneva-based manufacturer has been in business since 1905. Rolex produces some of the most famous and beloved watch models in the world, such as the Submariner, Daytona, and Datejust.

The Submariner is the definition of a diving watch, the Daytona is one of the most famous chronographs, and the Datejust embodies elegance. Rolex's pilot's watch is the Air King, and their GMT Master II displays a second time zone. With the invention of the perpetual rotor, Rolex significantly contributed to the breakthrough of the automatic watch in the 1930s. Every year, the manufacturer sells around 800,000 watches featuring their iconic five-point crown. Rolex doesn't publish any official sales numbers. However, since Rolex has their watches certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC), we can calculate how many Rolex watches are produced based on the COSC's publications.

Omega

The most famous man to wear a Rolex is undoubtedly James Bond. He completes many of his missions with a Submariner on his wrist. However, the British secret agent switched to Omega, a member of the Swatch Group, in 1995. Omega plays a central role in the Swatch Group's company strategy, as they see the brand as a strong competitor for Rolex. Rolex isn't the only manufacturer with legendary watch models; Omega has their own to be proud of. The Seamaster is a diving watch collection that's been in production since 1948. The famous French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau wore a Seamaster. Another iconic Omega watch is the Speedmaster Professional. "Speedy," as it's nicknamed by fans, was the official NASA watch on the Apollo missions, making it the first watch on the Moon in 1969. The so-called Moonwatch is available today, almost unchanged from the original version, but now features a modern Co-Axial caliber and comes in many special limited editions. There's also the De Ville series, which showcases Omega's classic side.

International Watch Company (IWC)

IWC, based in Schaffhausen, also offers elegant Swiss watches, such as the Portugieser. They're even more famous for their pilot's watches, though; their Big Pilot watch and the Mark series are considered excellent pilot's watches. The Mark 11 was the official service watch of Royal Air Force pilots for decades.

Breitling

Breitling is a strong competitor for IWC in the realm of pilot's watches. Breitling's Navitimer is considered one of the most important pilot's watches. The watch, which was introduced in 1952, has a special slide rule function. It has two logarithmic scales on the dial which you can turn to perform various calculations, such as distance and fuel consumption. Breitling also offers powerful diving watches with their Superocean series and some versions of the Avenger. Rolex, Omega, IWC, and Breitling are all considered to be on the same level, thus Breitling also has a conservative, elegant line as well, the Transocean. Besides mechanical timepieces, Breitling also offers quartz watches with refined technology, such as the Emergency with an integrated distress beacon.

Patek Philippe

One rung higher on the luxury watch ladder is Patek Philippe. It's clear from the start that this manufacturer is a bit different: Most of their cases are made of solid gold. In the Swiss watch industry, steel cases are used around 50% of the time. Precious metals like gold and platinum are only used around 2% of the time. Patek's Calatrava collection is a symbol of the company and the epitome of a stylish dress watch. This watch collection debuted in 1932 and was inspired by the Bauhaus art movement. Patek Philippe's Nautilus also has a special position in their portfolio. It's a stainless steel sports watch waterproof to 120 m (12 bar) – all unusual qualities for a Patek watch. The company has a long history of watchmaking. The independent family business has existed under this name since 1851. Until 2009, Patek Philippe used the Geneva Seal as a symbol of high Swiss quality. Now, the company uses their own seal with even stricter standards.

Blancpain, Breguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre

Blancpain and Breguet have been in business even longer. Today, they're both members of the Swatch Group. Abraham-Louis Breguet founded his company in 1775. He's responsible for countless important watchmaking inventions, such as the tourbillon. Blancpain has been around since 1735. Their most famous series is the Fifty Fathoms diving watch. Brands such as Patek Philippe, Breguet, and Blancpain, are representative of the conservative values of the Swiss watch industry. This applies to Jaeger-LeCoultre as well. This manufacturer has been producing high-quality watches since 1833. Their Reverso is one of the most popular rectangular watches.

Hublot

Hublot takes an entirely different approach. This relatively new manufacturer plays the role of the rebel most excellently. One distinctive Hublot feature is their unusual, square-edged porthole design, which occasionally borders on the bizarre. Legibility isn't Hublot's main concern. Instead, they show a preference for the use of unusual materials such as ceramic or titanium. With their patented Magic Gold alloy, Hublot broke new ground. Magic Gold is an incredibly scratch-resistant alloy composed of gold and ceramic. Magic Gold comes quite close to the ideal, everlasting case material. Hublot was founded in 1980. In 2005, under new leadership, they introduced the Big Bang series. The Big Bang caused a sharp increase in sales, catapulting this Genevan manufacturer into the same league as other well-known Swiss brands. The somewhat calmer Hublot alternative to the Big Bang is the Classic Fusion.

Audemars Piguet

Hublot is not without precedent. Audemars Piguet's Royal Oak, introduced in 1972, as well as their Royal Oak Offshore, inspired Hublot's designs. The wide bezel with visible screws was directly influenced by the Royal Oak.

TAG Heuer

When it comes to TAG Heuer, it's all about timing. They patented their first stopwatch mechanism in 1882. TAG Heuer has dedicated themselves to the art of racing ever since – it's not a coincidence that their most well-known series is called the Carrera. Even the rectangularMonaco is a legend amongst racing watches. The actor Steve McQueen wore a Monaco in the film Le Mans.

Tissot

Watches from TAG Heuer are in a moderate price range. This applies to Tissot as well. Aside from classic mechanical watches, Tissot offers modern quartz watches as well. The T-Touch Expert Solar is solar powered. It's a multi-function watch with background lighting, a second time zone display, chronograph function, timer, alarm, compass, barometer function, and many other extras. The watch has a titanium case and is waterproof to 100 m (10 bar). The T-Touch Expert Solar has features that only an electric-powered watch can offer. Such an array of functions is impossible for a mechanical watch, especially one that costs less than 1,000 euros.

Other manufacturers also combine Swiss quality with moderate prices, such as Longines, Raymond Weil, or Maurice Lacroix. These companies often use calibers from the world's largest ébauche manufacturer, ETA SA Manufacture Horlogère Suisse, which is also based in Switzerland. The Swiss company Sellita also offers movements that can be found in the watches of many famous manufacturers. Only a few brands produce their own calibers, such as Rolex and Patek Philippe. !Zenith has some of the most important automatic chronograph movements in watch history. The fast-paced El Primero caused a stir when it was released in 1969; it even had a watch named after it.

Top 10 Swiss Luxury Watch Manufacturers According to Production Numbers

Manufacturer Number of watches produced per year
Rolex 800,000
Omega 700,000
Breitling 170,000
IWC 100,000
Chopard 80,000
Jaeger-LeCoultre 75,000
Patek Philippe 60,000
Hublot 40,000
Audemars Piguet 37,000
Zenith 35,000

Post-Quartz Crisis Revival

The Swiss watch industry began in the 18th century. Up until the second half of the 19th century, Switzerland was considered a place where it was easy to produce watches affordably. IWC, with roots in the United States, based their business model on this concept.

After many successful years, the industry suffered in the 1970s and 80s during the Quartz Crisis. Cheap, mass-produced quartz watches produced in Asia endangered traditional Swiss production. Some manufacturers disappeared forever and many workers lost their jobs. Yet surprisingly, Swiss watches later experienced a renaissance which has lasted to this day. The fascination with the technical genius that goes into mechanical watches enthralls watch lovers all over the world. Many manufacturers with longer histories are no longer independent, however. Merging with a large concern, such as the Swatch Group, Richemont, or LVMH, saved many of these manufacturers from going under.

Unexpected competition has popped up since then. The German town of Glashütte was trapped behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany until 1990. Watches have been produced in Glashütte since the mid-19th century, but they were far from being luxury watches when Germany was divided. Now, other manufacturers such as A. Lange & Söhne and Glashütte Original have established themselves in Glashütte, making Glashütte watches true competition for Swiss manufacturers.

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