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30 Oldest Watch Brands

The oldest watch brands date back almost three hundred years, while some have even older roots in the world of clock-making or the creation of internal mechanisms. The realm of horology is populated with some of the oldest watch brands that are still creating memorable timepieces today. These venerable manufacturers have set the foundation for modern watchmaking. Their journey traces back to a time when watches were not just tools for timekeeping but symbols of innovation and status.

World's oldest watch manufacturers
The oldest watch brands set enduring standards for horology and watchmaking.

The earliest watchmakers combined technical skill with artistic craftsmanship, creating timepieces that were as much works of art as they were functional objects. These early years of watchmaking saw the birth of numerous watch companies that would go on to define and refine the standards of quality watchmaking.

Among these historic brands, several stand out for their enduring legacy and contributions to the watch industry. These long-lasting watchmakers have weathered political, economic, and technological upheavals, adapting and evolving while maintaining a steadfast commitment to the art of watchmaking. Their resilience is mirrored in the enduring quality and timeless appeal of their products. These watchmakers introduced innovations like the tourbillon, chronograph, and waterproof cases, which were revolutionary in their time and remain significant in modern horology. The prestige of owning a piece from one of these oldest watch companies goes beyond mere timekeeping. Even the most modern watches in their line represent a mechanical triumph that long predates its construction. Wearing one of the iconic brands represents a piece of horological history.

Today, the oldest watch companies continue to thrive, blending their rich heritage with modern technology and trends. Many have successfully navigated the transition from mechanical to quartz movements, while some continue to hold true to the power of purely mechanical watches. Digital technology altered the horology landscape, but these champions of timekeeping adopted this while preserving the craftsmanship and tradition that define their brands. The collections offered by the oldest watch brands range from classic, elegant timepieces reminiscent of their early history to bold, innovative designs that push the boundaries of contemporary watchmaking. The legacy of these companies extends beyond the products they create; it lies in their enduring influence on the craft of watchmaking and their ability to embody the evolution of time itself.

The following are the thirty oldest watch brands in the world.

  1. Blancpain
  2. Gallet
  3. Haldimann
  4. Graham
  5. Favre-Leuba
  6. Jaquet Droz
  7. Ellicott
  8. Vacheron Constantin
  9. Breguet
  10. Girard-Perregaux
  11. Baume et Mercier
  12. Longines
  13. Jaeger-LeCoultre
  14. Patek Philippe
  15. Ulysse-Nardin
  16. Cartier
  17. Omega
  18. Tissot
  19. TAG Heuer
  20. Zenith
  21. IWC Schaffhausen
  22. Piaget
  23. Audemars Piguet
  24. Seiko
  25. Bvlgari
  26. Breitling
  27. Certina
  28. Carl F. Bucherer
  29. Jeanrichard
  30. Rolex

Below is a comprehensive overview of the origins, history, and significance of the world’s 30 oldest watch brands.

1. Blancpain

Blancpain holds the title of the world’s oldest registered watchmaking company after being founded by Jehan-Jacques in Villeret, Switzerland, in 1735. The company’s early watch models set the groundwork for future success, but the pre-1800 watches are lost to time due to a lack of branding used.

Blancpain watch brand
Blancpain was registered in 1735

Blancpain’s position in the watch industry is due to its dedication to mechanical watchmaking. Unlike many luxury watch brands, Blancpain has never produced quartz watches, a testament to its commitment to traditional horology. Their enduring focus on mechanical movements, especially challenging complications like perpetual calendars and tourbillons, sets Blancpain apart.

The company is still a distinguished brand because it sticks to conventional watchmaking techniques while still experimenting with modern trends and technological advancements. Blancpain’s commitment to producing only mechanical watches, each featuring an individual serial number, is further evidence of its respect for tradition. This approach ensures that each timepiece is a unique work of art that honors the brand’s storied heritage.

2. Gallet

Swiss watchmaker Gallet claims the company dates back to 1466 when Humbertus Gallet founded the company in Geneva. The brand’s first watch model, characterized by innovative design and functionality, set a high standard for precision and durability in watchmaking.

Gallet watch brand
Gallet was founded in 1466

Gallet’s uniqueness in the watch industry lies in its pioneering contributions. For example, the brand played a significant role in the early development of chronographs and pilot’s watches. Moreover, it has a rich history of producing timepieces for professional and military use. This showcases its expertise in creating durable and functional watches. Gallet’s focus on specialized timepieces distinguishes it from other luxury watch brands.

Gallet consistently upholds the principles of fine watchmaking and maintains its long-standing reputation while exploring new technologies. The brand’s ingenuity ensures Gallet’s continued relevance and respect against the new watch companies on the market.

3. Haldimann

Haldimann was established in 1642 by Ulrich Haldimann in Thun, Switzerland. The first watch model sold under the Haldimann name was recorded in a bill of sale from 1642. The official Haldimann Horology company was founded in 1991 and continues to shape the future of the craft.

Haldimann watch brand
Haldimann was founded in 1642

Haldimann holds its own in the watch industry by choosing to break from traditions and experiment with avant-garde elements to add a new coat of paint to classic silhouettes. The Haldimann brand is revered for its minimalist design philosophy and for creating watches with an emphasis on mechanical innovation. Haldimann is distinguishable from other luxury watchmakers for their ability to simplify mechanical complexity while still making masterful timepieces.

To maintain its reputation, Haldimann ensures it adheres to its core values of traditional watchmaking while subtly embracing advancements in technology. The company integrates modern technology where and when it enhances the watch’s mechanical and aesthetic quality without compromising its classic ethos. This approach ensures Haldimann’s timepieces remain sought-after by those who appreciate the meticulous work that goes into expert horology.

4. Jeanrichard

Jeanrichard is a Swiss brand that was founded in 1681 by Daniel Jeanrichard. The brand is one of the oldest in history, and its inception marked the beginning of a new era in Swiss watchmaking.

Jeanrichard watch brand
Jeanrichard was founded in 1681

Jeanrichard set itself apart in the watchmaking industry through its focus on contemporary design and versatility. The Jeanrichard brand is known for having a wide range of watches, from dive watches to more professional dress watches. This approach gives clients more options to express themselves or satisfy their need for a timepiece.

The Jeanrichard company was sold to the Kering Company in 2011. It relaunched in 2012 as a way to pay respects to Daniel Jeanrichard’s efforts in watchmaking. Despite the company’s centuries run as an esteemed watch manufacturer, the company was put in hibernation indefinitely.

5. Graham

George Graham established the Graham company as a clockmaker in 1695. Graham was a prominent watchmaker in his time and is known for laying the foundations for the modern chronograph. His achievements and influence have led to improvements in pendulum clocks and the success of future clock masters like Thomas Mudge, who invented the lever escapement.

Graham watch brand
Graham was established in 1695

Graham’s position in the watch industry is attributed to its original approach to chronograph designs. For example, the Chronofighter watch features a trigger function that allows for easy, frequent use of the stopwatch function. The brand is renowned for its bold and oversized watches, which combine traditional British watchmaking with a contemporary flair. This bold fusion of progression and appreciation for history set Graham apart from other luxury watchmakers.

Graham maintains its reputation by continually embracing the pioneering spirit of its founder. The company’s dedication to high-quality craftsmanship and innovation has not waivered through the centuries. This allows the company to preserve its heritage while aligning with modern horological advancements.

6. Favre-Leuba

Favre-Leuba was founded in 1737 by Abraham Favre in Le Locle, Switzerland. It is one of the oldest watch brands in the world and has made a mark on the industry with its legendary contributions. For example, the Bivouac from Favre-Leuba was the world’s first mechanical wristwatch, which included an aneroid barometer and air pressure measurement.

Favre-Lueba watch brand
Favre-Lueba was founded in 1737

Favre-Leuba uses over 270 years of horological expertise to craft complications that continue to change the course of the watch industry. The brand is renowned for its pioneering achievements, particularly in developing functional watches for adventurers and professionals. This focus on creating technically advanced and practical timepieces differentiates Favre-Leuba from its nearest competitors.

Favre-Leuba maintains its reputation through continuous evolution while staying true to its heritage. The company has proven its ability to adapt to new generations and their needs with models like the Water Deep from 1960, the very first dive watch. The Favre-Leuba brand understands the importance of evolving with the times while respecting the tried and true methods that produce great watches time and time again.

7. Jaquet Droz

Jaquet Droz is a Swiss luxury watch brand that was established in 1738 by Pierre Jaquet-Droz. The brand gained notoriety through the production of watches, clocks, and automata machines, which were self-operating and intended to help generate sales of the timepieces.

Jaquet-Droz watch brand
Jaquet-Droz was founded in 1738

Jaquet Droz stands out in the watch industry for its artistic approach as much as it does for the mechanical complexity of its timepieces. The Jaquet Droz brand is renowned for its exquisite enamel work, intricate automata, and the use of rare materials, which makes each watch they produce that much more than just another timepiece. The amalgamation of horological expertise and artistic craftsmanship is evident in creations like the Tourbillon Skelet Sapphire Opal.

The company maintains its esteemed reputation by continuing to disrupt the watch industry with a philosophy etched in strategic progression and abstract expression of the norms. This approach enables Jaquet Droz to appeal to contemporary audiences while ensuring the brand stays true to its legacy.

8. Ellicott

Ellicott was a British brand that was founded in 1738 by John Ellicott in London. Ellicott quickly earned a reputation for excellence in watchmaking. John Ellicott was a Fellow of the Royal Society of London for his contributions to horology.

Ellicott watch brand
Ellicott was founded in 1738

What sets Ellicott apart in the watch industry is its legacy surrounding the development of precision timekeeping. The brand is known for its sophisticated escapements and for being a leader in the realm of groundbreaking technologies. Ellicott’s focus on technical advancement and precision, combined with the innate elegance of its watches, helped it maintain its prominence through the years. For example, in 1853, the company became Dent & Co. until the brand was sold in 2008 and revived as Ellicott S.A.

The new Ellicott company was dissolved in 2021 after centuries of high-quality watch manufacturing. The name is now synonymous with luxury watches because of John Ellicott’s inventions and years of dedication to the craft.

9. Vacheron Constantin

Vacheron Constantin was established by Jean-Marc Vacheron in 1755. The brand’s first timepiece, crafted by Vacheron, was a silver pocket watch with intricate gold hands.

Vacheron Constantin watch brand
Vacheron Constantin was founded in 1755

Jean-Marc Vacheron’s grandson, Jacques Barthélémi Vacheron, took over the family business and joined forces with François Constantin, which inspired the company name. The Vacheron Constantin brand is a combination of business savvy and horological expertise. Each timepiece is considered a work of art, highlighted by the willingness to create custom watches that showcase a level of personalization and attention to detail rarely displayed by competitors.

Vacheron Constantin has maintained its reputation over time through a relentless focus on quality. The company’s dedication to preserving age-old techniques while incorporating contemporary advancements ensures its watches are timeless and technologically advanced. Vacheron Constantin has a portfolio of watches that speak to haute horology and pay tribute to the models from the company’s past. The brand’s foray into digital platforms and its embrace of contemporary design elements exemplify its ability to stay relevant in an evolving market.

10. Breguet

Breguet, founded by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1775, is one of the oldest watch brands and is credited with creating the first wristwatch. Breguet’s ingenuity led to multiple horological advancements, such as the practical implementation of tourbillons and the first self-winding watch.

Breguet watch brand
Breguet was founded in 1775

Breguet’s distinctiveness in the watch industry is attributed to its historical contributions and association with technological progress. The brand paved the way for watchmakers with Breguet’s inventions in use. Moreover, it made a name for itself among the aristocracy, with many notable figures requesting commissions. For example, Caroline Bonaparte, the Queen of Naples, received the Breguet No.2639 in 1810, which is considered the world’s first wristwatch. Breguet’s legacy for innovation, combined with elegant designs and intricate craftsmanship, continues to attract esteemed patrons.

Breguet’s ethos is to stay true to cultural heritage and the emotion behind fine watchmaking. The future of Breguet is as bright as the stones shimmering in each grand complication, expertly crafted with precision. The brand continues to produce new, sophisticated models with modernized mechanisms and cutting-edge materials while respecting its past.

11. Girard-Perregaux

Girard-Perregaux, one of the oldest Swiss watch brands, traces its origins back to 1791. The brand’s first models stem from Jean-François Bautte’s manufacturing company in Geneva. His dedication to the craft brought all the necessary watchmaking elements together in one place for the first time.

Girard-Perregaux watch brand
Girard-Perregaux was founded in 1791

Girard-Perregaux didn’t become the name it is today until Constant Girard married Marie Perregaux. The brand is renowned for its iconic Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges, a design that merges technical ingenuity with aesthetic elegance and goes a long way to differentiating Girard-Perregaux from the rest of the field.

Girard-Perregaux continues to delight enthusiasts with recent releases like the Laureato collection, showcasing the dexterity of the brand. Girard-Perregaux integrates centuries of manufacturing advancements to craft lavish timepieces that grace the wrists of notable figures such as Kobe Bryant and Hugh Jackman.

12. Baume et Mercier

Baume et Mercier was founded in 1830 by brothers Louis-Victor and Célestin Baume in the Jura region of Switzerland. The brand is known for producing high-quality Swiss watches between different collections, including the Riviera, Clifton, and Classima lines. The success of its modern collections was possible because of its horological heritage and commitment to the craft.

Baume & Mercier watch brand
Baume-et-Mercier was founded in 1830

Baume et Mercier offers high-quality, elegant timepieces at a mid-range price point, which opens them up to a great portion of the watch-wearing market. The brand’s motto to “accept only perfection, only manufacture watches of the highest quality” is an ethos that’s clearly perpetuated in each collection. Baume et Mercier further separates itself from competitors by embodying an appreciation for functionality and style with its chronographs and dress watches.

Baume et Mercier watches are the product of hard work and diligent effort to produce the best timepieces that consistently honor the company standard. The brand regularly updates its collections to reflect contemporary trends while preserving the timeless elegance and high craftsmanship standards upon which its reputation was built.

13. Longines

Longines, a historic luxury watch brand, was founded in 1832 by Auguste Agassiz. Agassiz’s nephew, Ernest Francillon, established the first Longines factory in 1867 and chose the iconic winged hourglass logo. The brand began manufacturing chronograph pocket watches, with the first produced in 1878.

Longines watch brand
Longines was founded in 1832

Longines is renowned for innovation and precision timekeeping in aviation, equestrian sports, and alpine skiing. It produced the world’s thinnest watch and collaborated with pioneers to create groundbreaking navigation timepieces. The brand offers a wide range of Swiss-made watches, from elegant dress watches to sporty models. For example, the Heritage Classic collection blends historical significance with contemporary watchmaking.

As part of the Swatch Group, Longines operates from its Saint-Imier headquarters. Its commitment to tradition, elegance, and performance remains steadfast. The brand’s archives and museum inspire modern reissues and ensure that each Heritage watch carries a piece of Longines’ acclaimed past.

14. Jaeger-LeCoultre

Jaeger-LeCoultre was established in 1833 by Antoine LeCoultre in the Swiss Jura Mountains. In 1844, LeCoultre invented the Millionomètre, the first instrument capable of measuring microns. The following year, the brand developed a keyless system to wind and set watches.

Jaeger-LeCoutre watch brand
Jaeger-LeCoutre was established in 1833

Jaeger-LeCoultre has close ties with the equestrian sports community, and it has collaborated with luxury brands like Aston Martin on special watch models. In 2000, Jaeger-LeCoultre became a fully owned subsidiary of the Swiss luxury group Richemont. It is considered one of Richemont’s top-tier brands.

The brand is particularly known for its iconic Reverso watch with a reversible case. Other notable lines include the Collectibles Collection, which features the iconic Jaeger-LeCoultre technique and 20th-century watchmaking inspiration. Jaeger-LeCoultre takes its position in watchmaking history seriously and is dedicated to fostering sustainability through the Responsible Jewellery Council, using years of lessons to ensure the next generation can flourish.

15. Patek Philippe

Patek Philippe was founded in 1839 by Antoine Norbert de Patek and Adrien Philippe in Geneva, Switzerland. The company is one of the oldest and still produces some of the world’s finest and most complicated mechanical watches. Moreover, Patek Philippe is the last family-owned independent watch manufacturer in Geneva, which gives it special creative freedom.

Patek Philippe watch brand
Patek Philippe was established in 1839

Patek Philippe’s notable watch collections include the Nautilus and Twenty-4. The brand is well-known for imaginative complications like perpetual calendars, minute repeaters, and split-second chronographs.

Patek Philippe has been involved in numerous horological breakthroughs throughout the years, which includes creating the first Swiss wristwatch in 1898. The company’s watches hold true to their historic lineage, but each breaks the mold in their own way. For example, the 5231G is a classic complication featuring a map of Southeast Asia and Oceania for a personalized touch to a traditional style timepiece.

Patek Philippe is one of the most prestigious and exclusive watch brands in the world because of its history and commitment to fine watchmaking. The brand’s watches are often passed down through generations as heirlooms and practical investments that tell time and remind the wearers of an illustrious history.

16. Ulysse-Nardin

Ulysse-Nardin was founded in 1846 in Le Locle, Switzerland, by Ulysse Nardin. The company initially gained fame for producing highly accurate marine chronometers used on ships. Ulysse Nardin’s watches are characterized by their bold, avant-garde designs that challenge traditional watchmaking norms.

Ulysse-Nardin watch brand
Ulysse-Nardin was established in 1846

Key innovations include the use of silicon technology in the iconic Freak collection, introduced in 2001. Additionally, the brand has developed advanced escapement mechanisms like the Dual Constant Escapement. Ulysse-Nardin is committed to high-quality Swiss craftsmanship and integrating its entire manufacturing process in-house. The result of this dedication is an ever-evolving company producing watches that continue to turn heads and fascinate buyers.

Ulysse Nardin uses its historic run as a watchmaker to promote its brand as a durable option for sports fans. For example, it has served as the official timing partner for sailing events like The Ocean Race (formerly the Volvo Ocean Race) and collaborated with luxury brands like Aston Martin on special watch models. In 2014, the Kering luxury group acquired Ulysse Nardin, and it continues to operate as an independent brand.

17. Cartier

Cartier was founded in Paris in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier. The Santos watch, created in 1904 for Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, marks Cartier’s first foray into watchmaking. Distinctive for its square bezel, the Santos epitomizes Cartier’s innovative approach, marrying form and function—a hallmark that distinguishes the brand in the watch industry.

Cartier watch brand
Cartier was founded in 1847

Cartier offers a wide range of luxury watches for both men and women, which are a testament to its craftsmanship and horological expertise. The brand solidified its status by designing the Tank watch in 1917, inspired by the Renault tanks seen on the Western Front during World War I, a design that remains iconic to this day.

The company maintains its reputation by ensuring consistent quality, preserving its design heritage, and engaging in meticulous craftsmanship. Cartier has conquered the rapidly changing shifts in modern technology and horology trends by incorporating state-of-the-art mechanisms into their watches without negatively impacting the elegance of its designs. The brand’s commitment to craftsmanship and attention to detail is evident in each timepiece it creates and helps to position Cartier as a timeless entity in the luxury watch market.

18. Omega

Omega was established in 1848 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, by Louis Brandt. Omega’s first series of caliber watches were the Labrador, the Gurzelen, and the 19-line Omega, from which the company derived its name. The watch lines laid the foundation from which the company forged its reputation.

Omega watch brand
Omegae was founded in 1848

Omega’s defining contribution to the watch industry includes the creation of the world’s first diver’s watch, the Marine, in 1932. Omega additionally made the Speedmaster in 1957, which is most famously known as the first watch on the moon, as NASA issued Speedmasters to both Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin ahead of their 1969 mission. The Omega brand’s dedication to precision was affirmed when its caliber set the world precision record at the Kew-Teddington observatory in 1936.

Omega has been considered one of the most prestigious Swiss watch brands for nearly two centuries through consistent innovation, exemplified by the revolutionary Coaxial escapement and their willingness to embrace new materials such as ceramic and liquid metal. The brand’s watches are highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts, with many models becoming collector’s items. By balancing its rich heritage with contemporary advancements, Omega continues to secure its status as an honored watchmaker.

19. Tissot

Tissot is one of the oldest watch brands crafting luxury timepieces since it was established in 1853. Charles-Félicien Tissot and his son Charles-Émile Tissot founded Tissot in Le Locle, Switzerland and the company has been pioneering horological advancements ever since. For example, Tissot launched the world’s first mass-produced pocket watch and the first pocket watch with two time zones in 1853.

Tissot watch brand
Tissot was established in 1853

Tissot’s commitment to accessibility and ability to offer high-quality watches at competitive prices helped turn them into the company they are today. The brand established itself among high-profile clientele and industries to secure its spot on the wrists or in the pockets of the greats. The Tissot company’s introduction of the first anti-magnetic watch in 1929 led them to become associated with sports timekeeping, which served to enhance the brand’s profile for precision and durability.

Tissot maintains its global reputation by blending traditional Swiss craftsmanship with advanced technology. Tissot emphasizes craftsmanship and quality, along with embracing developments such as touch-screen technology and solar-powered timepieces. The bravery to explore new mediums and styles is the trait that will keep the Tissot company ticking.

20. TAG Heuer

TAG Heuer was first launched in 1860 under the name Heuer by Edouard Heuer in St-Imier, Switzerland. With Edouard Heuer at the reigns, TAG Heuer pioneered the first chronograph model in 1882, setting the stage for its future endeavors in the world of precision timekeeping.

Tag Heuer watch brand
Tag Heuer was established in 1860

The brand has a long history of association with sports and motorsports, serving as the official timekeeper for prestigious events like the Formula 1 racing championship. The TAG Heuer brand has long been synonymous with advancements in chronograph technology, including the creation of the Mikrograph in 1916. The Mikrograph is the first stopwatch, which is accurate to 1/100th of a second.

TAG Heuer has a long history of partnerships with renowned athletes, racing drivers, and celebrities, including Ayrton Senna, Lewis Hamilton, and Chris Hemsworth. The company’s status among celebrities and heritage keeps it at the forefront of the industry despite its age. This widely recognized brand has utilized each lesson and insight from years of iterative development to continuously produce luxurious pieces that stand up to the name’s reputation.

21. Zenith

Zenith is a historic watch brand founded in 1865 by Georges Favre-Jacot. Favre-Jacot pioneered the concept of manufacturing and brought all the major watchmaking methods under one roof to be more efficient and creative. The company flourished as a result, which helped them succeed in making the high-precision Zenith movement.

Zenith watch brand
Zenith was founded in 1865

Zenith’s most significant achievement came in 1969 with the introduction of the El Primero. It was the world’s first integrated automatic chronograph movement, which remains one of the most accurate chronograph movements ever produced.

The brand continues to push the boundaries of watchmaking technology with the unveiling of the Defy Lab in 2017 as a way to set itself apart from the competition further. Zenith’s performance and style stand out because of the brand’s ability to reshape itself in the face of industry changes.

22. IWC Schaffhausen

IWC Schaffhausen was established in 1868 by American watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. Jones traveled from Boston to Schaffhausen, Switzerland, with the intention to combine advanced American production technologies with skilled Swiss craftsmanship. The first watch model the brand released was well-regarded for its innovative design and precision. The watch laid the foundation for IWC’s future as a leader in high-quality watchmaking.

IWC Schaffhausen watch brand
IWC Schaffhausen was established in 1868

IWC started by producing pocket watches, including the innovative “Pallweber” digital display watches. The company faced financial troubles in 1880 and was taken over by the Rauschenbach family, an industrialist family from Schaffhausen. This new leadership saw IWC continue to grow and develop, with the company being passed down through four generations.

IWC is now part of the Richemont luxury group, which allowed the brand to expand its watch families with precision engineering and exclusive design. IWC has maintained its reputation for ingenuity and responsible manufacturing, becoming the first Swiss luxury watchmaker to produce a sustainability report, an effort that shows its continued commitment to innovation.

23. Piaget

Piaget, a luxury watchmaking and jewelry brand, was founded in 1874 by Georges-Édouard Piaget in La Côte-aux-Fées, Switzerland. Initially, the company focused on manufacturing high-precision watch movements and components. Due to its focus on components, the Piaget brand didn’t produce a complete wristwatch until 1911.

PIaget watch brand
Piaget was established in 1874

Piaget evolved from a movement supplier to a prestigious luxury brand known for its dual expertise in fine watchmaking and high-end jewelry. The brand is characterized by elegance, sophistication, and a “touch of folly” in its watch designs. Piaget embraces a spirit of “extraleganza,” an apt combination of elegance and extravagance that describes the brand’s approach to design.

The company has integrated its entire manufacturing process, from movements to jewelry, under one roof, which allows for a high level of creativity and technical problem-solving. Piaget is also known for creating unconventional watch designs that challenge traditional symmetry and aesthetics, with a focus on objet d’art. Regular introductions of new technology into their groundbreaking designs and movements have reinforced Piaget’s status in the luxury watch market.

24. Audemars Piguet

Audemars Piguet was founded in 1875 and is still under the control of its founding families. The company was established by childhood friends Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet in the Vallée de Joux region of Switzerland. Their combined efforts in watchmaking set a precedent by introducing the world’s first minute-repeating movement for a wristwatch in 1892.

Audemars Piguet watch brand
Audemars Piguet was founded in 1875

The dominance of Audemars Piguet in the watch industry stems from its mastery of complex mechanical watches and its iconic model, the Royal Oak, which was first introduced in 1972. The Royal Oak was the first luxury sports watch made with stainless steel. The move revolutionized the watch design for everybody, with its octagonal bezel and integrated bracelet becoming a symbol of the brand’s innovative spirit.

Audemars Piguet preserves its reputation by consistently producing avant-garde designs and movements while limiting what is available through controlled production in order to maintain exclusivity. The company adapts to modern technology and consumer trends with new materials, such as forged carbon and ceramic, while continuing to honor traditional watchmaking techniques. Audemars Piguet is part of the “Holy Trinity” of Swiss watchmaking, and it repeatedly earns its position at the top with each new release.

25. Seiko

Seiko watch brand
Seiko was founded in 1881

The Seiko brand was established in 1881 by Kintaro Hattori in Tokyo, Japan, as a watch and jewelry shop. The company’s first watch model, the Seiko Laurel, was introduced in 1913 and marked Japan’s entry into the wristwatch market.

Seiko’s position in the watch industry is characterized by its pioneering endeavors, such as the introduction of the world’s first quartz watch, the Seiko Quartz Astron, in 1969. This monumental moment revolutionized the industry by changing the way manufacturers approached watchmaking.

The Seiko company’s technological advancements and broad market reach keep it secure in its place as a horological giant. Seiko is established for its ability to make everything from affordable timepieces to luxury watches. The company adapts to modern technological advancements by heavily investing in research and development to bring customers models like the Spring Drive and Kinetic watches. By continuing to offer a wide range of timepieces and leading industry advancements, Seiko maintains a prominent and respected presence in the global watch market.

26. Bvlgari

Bvlgari, an Italian luxury fashion house, was founded in 1884 by Sotirios Voulgaris in Rome, Italy. The brand made its initial mark with the Bvlgari Bvlgari watch in 1977, an iconic piece characterized by its bold, engraved bezel.

Bvlgari watch brand
Bvlgari was established in 1884

What sets Bvlgari apart in the watch industry is its distinctive fusion of Italian design and Swiss watchmaking precision. Known for its daring aesthetics and innovation, Bvlgari is globally recognized and acknowledged for creating some of the thinnest watches and movements available.

Bvlgari’s spirit revolves around exceptional design skills, attention to detail, and a commitment to producing beautiful jewelry and accessories. The watches that come for Bvlgari honor the brand’s ideals by featuring bold designs and fine craftsmanship. Modern creations, such as the Serpenti Tubogas Watch, from the brand are as remarkable as the historic models that defined the early days of the company.

27. Breitling

Breitling was established in 1884 by Léon Breitling and gained early recognition with its first watch. The chronograph watch showcased innovative features that laid the foundation for Breitling’s future as a pioneer in the field of wrist chronographs.

Breitling watch brand
Breiting was established in 1884

Since its inception, Breitling has focused on creating precise, functional, and innovative “instruments for professionals.” This focus has made it where Breitling has strong ties to aviation, sports, and adventure and need reliable timepieces.

Breitling has led the way in chronograph development, introducing groundbreaking innovations like the first independent chronograph pusher. The brand’s watches have showcased such superior artistry that the reputation for precision and technical excellence has lasted through the years.

Models like the Chronomat, Navitimer, and Emergency have become highly coveted by collectors and enthusiasts. Moreover, Breitling’s commitment to innovation, quality, and its rich heritage has made it a respected and admired Swiss watch manufacturer for over 135 years.

28. Certina

Certina was founded in 1888 by Adolf and Alfred Kurth in Grenchen, Switzerland. The brand’s first watch model set the tone for Certina’s commitment to quality in watchmaking. The watches have been characterized for their reliability and precision ever since.

Certina watch brand
Certina was established in 1888

What distinguishes Certina in the watch industry is its focus on building sound machines. The brand is particularly known for its Double Security concept, which they introduced in the 1960s. Double Security greatly enhances the shock resistance and water resistance of its watches. Certina places great emphasis on creating sturdy, reliable timepieces suitable for adventurous and demanding activities. This mindset sets Certina apart from all other luxury watch manufacturers.

Certina maintains its reputation by continuously innovating and readily adopting new materials and technologies without sacrificing its core values of quality and reliability. Moreover, the brand has enlisted various global ambassadors from the world of sports, such as Finnish Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas, which keeps the company in the modern spotlight. Certina’s ability to adapt to contemporary design trends while preserving its heritage ensures its ongoing relevance and appeal in the evolving world of watchmaking.

29. Carl F. Bucherer

Carl Friedrich Bucherer founded the watch company under his own name in 1888 in Lucerne, Switzerland. The company has a rich heritage and a long-standing tradition of producing high-quality timepieces that combine functionality with elegance. The first release from Carl F. Bucherer was an art deco ladies watch launched in 1919.

Carl F Bucherer watch brand
Carl F. Bucherer was established in 1888

Carl F. Bucherer distinguishes itself in the watch industry with its innovative technical advancements, particularly in developing peripheral rotor automatic movements. The Bucherer brand is known for its intricate aesthetics that blend traditional Swiss craftsmanship with contemporary elements.

The company maintains its reputation by readily embracing new technologies and trends, ensuring its timepieces are both modern and timeless. Carl F. Bucherer integrates cutting-edge materials and mechanisms into its designs to provide a wide range of designs to cater to all tastes.

30. Rolex

Rolex has a longstanding history as one of the oldest watch brands since established in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis in London. The company launched its first model, the Rolex Oyster, in 1926, which marked the beginning of a new era in watchmaking history. The Oyster was the world’s first waterproof wristwatch and set Rolex apart from competitors and marked it as a brand synonymous with durability and precision.

Rolex watch brand
Rolex was founded in 1905

Rolex’s sustained reputation in the watch industry lies in its consistent production of firsts. For example, it introduced the first wristwatch with an automatically changing date on the dial with the Rolex Datejust in 1945. The company’s reputation for high-quality timepieces and its inventive mindset have held firm over time as a result of stringent quality control processes and the in-house manufacturing of virtually all of its watch components. Rolex is known as a leader among luxury brands and has maintained its aesthetic despite the rise and fall of cultural trends.

Standing at the forefront of the horology niche, Rolex continually incorporates cutting-edge technology into its manufacturing process. Through a combination of traditional craftsmanship and modern technology, Rolex continues to set benchmarks in the watchmaking industry and remains a symbol of excellence and reliability.

What is the significance of the oldest watch brands in history?

The oldest watch brands in history are significant because of the lasting legacy they left on the industry. The oldest watch brands set benchmarks for quality and innovation that continue to be driving forces in modern horology. This longevity and unbroken lineage represent a deep-rooted tradition and heritage in the art of watchmaking, which is highly valued in the luxury watch industry.

Many of these oldest watch brands were at the forefront of horological innovations. For example, Patek Philippe developed the first Swiss wristwatch, and Zenith created the first integrated automatic chronograph movement. These developments changed the course of history for watchmakers and advanced timekeeping methods along a promising evolutionary path.

Brands like Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet are considered among the most prestigious and exclusive in the luxury watch market because they cater to collectors and enthusiasts. The meticulous work they put into their watches comes from only the most expert of craftsmen, which takes centuries of training to develop.

Throughout their history, many of the oldest watch brands have weathered various challenges, such as the quartz crisis of the 1970s-80s. They have managed to adapt and reinvent themselves to remain relevant in the modern era. This ability to adapt while preserving their core values is a testament to the resilience of these brands.

What is the oldest watch brand in the world?

Blancpain, founded in 1735 by Jehan-Jacques Blancpain in Villeret, Switzerland, is recognized as the world’s oldest watch brand. The company’s early years were marked by artisanal craftsmanship and a focus on detailed, hand-crafted timepieces. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, Blancpain gained a reputation for inventive ideas, notably with the adoption of the cylinder escapement, which revolutionized timekeeping accuracy.

The 20th century presented challenges for traditional watchmakers like Blancpain, particularly during the Quartz Crisis of the 1970s. This era saw a shift towards electronic quartz watches, which were more affordable and precise than mechanical ones. Despite this new trend, Blancpain remained steadfast in its commitment to mechanical watchmaking. Today, Blancpain is a subsidiary of the Swatch Group and continues to create intricate works of horological art.

Does the oldest watch brand still produce watches today?

Yes, Blancpain, the oldest watch brand in the world, still produces watches today. Blancpain endured some struggles during the 1970s but bounced back under the leadership of Jean-Claude Biver. Since then, the company has continued to produce watches and stand firm in its conviction in the quality of mechanical watches. Every watch is lovingly created by a single watchmaker, ensuring the depth of quality the brand is known for never falters.

What are the oldest luxury watch brands?

Below are the five oldest luxury watch brands in the world.

  • Blancpain (established in 1735): Blancpain is recognized as the world’s oldest watch brand, renowned for its dedication to traditional craftsmanship and mechanical watchmaking.
  • Vacheron Constantin (established in 1755): Vacheron Constantin is one of the oldest and most prestigious watch manufacturers, known for its sophisticated designs and complex timepieces.
  • Breguet (established in 1775): Breguet has a rich history characterized by innovations like the tourbillon and is celebrated for its elegant, technically advanced watches.
  • Jaeger-LeCoultre (established in 1833): Jaeger-LeCoultre has been a key player in watchmaking innovation, famous for its technical prowess and the creation of the iconic Reverso watch.
  • Patek Philippe (established in 1839): Patek Philippe is a symbol of horological excellence, offering some of the world’s most intricate and coveted timepieces.

How do I sell my old watch?

There are three broad, important steps to follow when trying to sell your old watch. Firstly, you need to have the watch appraised. Gather all of the documentation you have and head to a high-grade appraiser who will check over everything and give you a value for the old watch, which serves as a guide for potential sales figures.

Secondly, you must choose the right sales platform. The right platform will help you get the most out of your sale. This should include the ability to include sufficient high-quality images and ample space to write a strong description of the watch in order to entice buyers.

Finally, communicate with potential buyers quickly and honestly. When trying to sell an old watch, it is essential to communicate with people who reach out to you. This includes responding to queries and answering questions but also negotiating offers and discussing prices. Selling an old watch takes time and effort if you want to get the most out of the sale.

Do Old Watch Brands cost anything?

Whether an old watch brand (or a specific model) costs anything depends on the six factors below.

  • Brand prestige: Brands like Patek Philippe or Rolex often command high prices due to their esteemed heritage.
  • Rarity: The scarcity of a watch model often increases its resale value, as fewer available pieces make it more desirable to collectors.
  • Exclusivity: Watches from exclusive, limited editions or those with unique features command higher resale values due to their distinctiveness.
  • Condition: The better the condition of a watch, including its functionality and original parts, the higher its resale value.
  • Provenance: A watch with a documented history or previous ownership by notable individuals can significantly enhance its resale value.
  • Complexity: Watches with intricate mechanisms or craftsmanship, such as tourbillons, typically have higher resale values.
  • Market demand: The resale value of a watch is greatly influenced by current market trends and the level of interest among collectors and enthusiasts.

When was the first wristwatch made?

The first wristwatch (Breguet No. 2639) was made between 1810 and 1812, according to its manufacturer. Abraham-Louis Breguet, founder of the iconic brand Breguet, is credited with making this groundbreaking timepiece. Breguet created the world’s first recognized wristwatch for the Queen of Naples, a well-documented admirer of his timepieces. The Queen placed a request with Breguet for a “repeater watch for bracelet.” However, the claims are often disputed since there is no physical proof of the watch’s existence beyond the manufacturer’s commissions, manufacturing, and repairs records. The watch disappeared from record sometime after 1855, after being brought in for servicing.

However, according to the Guinness World Records, the first wristwatch is credited to Swiss firm Patek Philippe for his 1868 creation, which he made for Countess Koscowicz of Hungary. Both contenders for the title of being the first wristwatch belong to women’s watches, as during this time, the neck, ears, and wrists were restricted to feminine use only for jewelry and accessories. It wasn’t until Cartier designed the Santos Dumont in 1904 that men’s wristwatches became acceptable.

How much does the first wristwatch cost today?

It’s impossible to know how much the first wristwatch would cost today. The current location of the Breguet No. 2639 wristwatch is unknown, and as such, no value is attributed to it. Likewise, the 1868 wristwatch from Patek Philippe is currently kept for display by the Patek Philippe Museum located in Geneva, Switzerland, but it does not have an accurate published value. However, given the age and prestige of both watches and the impact their creation had on the evolution of timepieces, both of them likely carry a value that runs deep into the millions.

The Breguet No. 2639 was created as part of a double order for a value of 5,000 Francs, which was a tremendous amount of money back then. By modern standards, that equates to approximately $100,000. The figure represents only the watch’s purchase price. It does not factor in the impact of collectability and historical significance on the sale price in the current market.