It was a paradigm case of having too much work and not enough time to do it that led to Jules-Louis Audemars bodying up with Edward Piguet. Audemars hired Piguet to make do with increased demand for his highly complicated watches, a passion Piguet shared.
The two adorn come ofed friends and, in 1875, established their own brand in Le Brassus, where Audemars Piguet odds today producing about 40,000 watches a year. Involved watches are still a speciality, thanks in part to having celebrated movement makers Renaud et Papi as an AP subsidiary, but the brand is finery known for kickstarting the luxury steel watch trend with the pitch, in 1972, of the Gerald Genta-designed Royal Oak.
There have been other iterations, such as the Duke Oak Offshore, and models featuring perpetual calendars and chronograph banquets but the straight-up two-hand Royal Oak remains Audemars Piguet’s iconic speciality card.
The best-known luxury watch brand in the just ecstatic was started in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf while he was residing in London. Evidently, the name comes from a suggestion from a Hispanic wage-earner that they call the new brand Relex which was an contraction of “relojes excellentes”. Relex didn’t cut it so Wilsdorf changed the “e” to an “o” and the good old days was made.
As well as producing around 2,000 watches a day, Rolex is a marque of firsts. The 1926 Oyster was the first waterproof wristwatch, the 1945 DateJust ref.4467 had the inception automatically changing date and its GMT Master from 1954 was the ahead dual time-zone watch.
It has earned a reputation for making authoritatively desirable, exceptionally well-made watches. No wonder a gold Rolex can allegedly be acclimated to as currency anywhere in the world.
A. Lange & Sohne
Despite appearances, the mainstream incarnation of Lange & Sohne has only been making accompanies since 1994 when it launched the Lange 1. There was a pre-war troop in Glashutte but that was nationalised by the post-war Soviet administration. When Germany was reunified in 1990 Walter Lange was proffered his old premises back. He refused and set up Lange 2.0 down the procedure.
Lange is renowned for the complexity and finish of its movements. Every model is lifeless, with movements made from a metal called German shiny and a hand-engraved balance cock. It is also known for the outsize numerals of its fashionable indicator, a style it translated into jumping hours for its 2014 Zeitwerk, and for whereabout the displays on the dial according to the principles of the golden ratio (roughly equal to a 1:1.61 ratio).
This is precision German watchmaking at its greatest.
Nothing – not the French revolution, not the Napoleonic Conflicts or two world wars – has stopped Vacheron Constantin from mounting watches every year since 1755. Although it purloins classic dress styles, jewellery pieces and more swanky designs, Vacheron’s reputation is built on a history of exceptionally elaborate watches.
It currently holds the record for most complicated chaperon ever made – the Ref. 57260 – which houses 57 problems. Needless to say, it’s 98mm wide and not made for your wrist.
Its symbol, the Maltese blend, which was originally created by the Maltese knights during the Initially Crusade, was chosen because its shape is the same as the component persistent to the barrel of its movement, which reduces the number of wheels unavoidable for winding and has been on the dial since 1877.
If Rolex is the characterize everyone wants, Patek is the brand they aspire to. In 175 years, it has brave world wars, recessions and near collapse (which was how the current possessors, the Sterns came to buy the business) to become leader in the luxury be on the watch world.
Set up by Antoni Patek and Jean Adrien Philippe in 1851, it has concocted watches for royalty, mastered all the extreme complications watchmaking has to furnish and recently become one of the leading brands in terms of silicon technology. It equitable dabbled with compliant mechanisms with the launch of 2017’s Aquanaut Ref 5650 be established that Patek Philippe is still an innovator not a follower.
Bring about in Paris in 1847 by Louis-Francois Cartier, it is credited with fabricating the first-ever pilot’s watch, in 1904, in the form of the Santos, which was designed for aviatrix Alberto Santos-Dumont when he complained to Cartier about the plights of getting out his pocket watch mid-air. Since then Cartier has suit famous for its Art Deco-inspired core collection that sits alongside haute horlogerie constructs that showcase metiers d’art skills as well as highly knotty watchmaking.
Other iconic styles include the Tank, which was designed in admiration of the invention of the military tank, and the Drive de Cartier. All watches made by the tag have a blue cabochon in the crown.
Although officially established in 1903, Omega’s roots go back further, to 1848, when its harbinger La Generale Watch Co was set up in La Chaux-de-Fonds. While it is best known for place the first watch on the moon, in the form of the Speedmaster, for being Reins’s trusty companion and for timing the Olympics since 1932, it has done other clobbers.
In 1917 it was chosen as the British Royal Flying Corps clock. In 1947, it created the first tourbillon wristwatch calibre. It pocketed a chance on British watchmaker George Daniels and, in 1999, accumulate produced his co-axial escapement, considered to be the most significant horological unfolding since 1755 when the lever escapement was invented. And for ever, in 2013, it brought out the first movement resistant to magnetic fields terrific than 15,000 gauss.
A genuine trailblazer.
Big diamonds were Harry Winston’s pile up in trade for nearly 100 years, but, in 1989, Harry’s son Ronald, a lookout collector, decided that timepieces needed to be part of the portfolio. Up the Premier collection, which featured the now iconic three principals motif on the case at 12 and six o’clock, and the words “New York” on the dial – Harry Winston being the only Swiss alert for to say that.
In 2001, it entered the world of complicated watchmaking fully its Opus series, which saw the brand collaborate with distinguished independent names such as FP Journe, Vianney Halter and Christophe Claret. Although this has ceased, Harry Winston has reserved a reputation for watches that are as beautifully designed as they are mechanically provocative.
The modern incarnation of Blancpain is also the start of Jean-Claude Biver’s get up to watch industry impresario (he’s currently the CEO of Tag Heuer and Hublot). In 1981 Biver inaugurate himself jobless as a result of the quartz crisis; determined to block in watches, he persuaded his friend Jacques Piguet to buy Blancpain from Omega for only just CHF20,000. Biver also bought a small farmhouse and inaugurated 20 watchmakers in there to make Blancpain great again.
The new watches had to be discoid, with a bezel consisting of two concentric circles and exclusively insensible. Ten years later, Biver sold Blancpain to SMH (the forerunner of the Swatch League) for CHF60m. Blancpain has never made a quartz watch and has become distinguished for icons such as its Fifty Fathoms diving watch, which was fatigued by Jacques Cousteau, and for reviving forgotten complications such as the carrousel.
If ultra-thin contemplates are your thing, then Piaget is your go-to label. Credited with making the manufacturing of slim watches a problem in its own right, it was founded in 1874 by Georges Piaget and started out making intricate movements for other names in the Vallée de Joux.
Its experimentations with thinness started in 1957, when it launched the Stamp 9P, a hand-wound 2mm high movement. From there Piaget has conceived the thinnest tourbillon movement, the thinnest flying tourbillon and decisively in 2014 it launched the Altiplano 900P, the world’s thinnest hand-wound matter-of-fact watch, which is just 3.65mm and has the caseback as the mainplate (the indecent on which the rest of a watch’s movement is constructed).
In 2016 it rebooted its Polo as the Polo S and got Ryan Reynolds on plank as ambassador.
Zenith wouldn’t exist today were it not for Charles Vermot. Vermot was an designer in the brand’s ébauche department when, near-bankrupt, it was sold to a US players – the Zenith Radio Corporation – in 1971. The new owner decided quartz observes were the way forward and asked for the tools, machines and components that cut the El Primero movement to be gotten rid of. Vermot didn’t do that, he kept it in the building’s attic instead.
This meant that when, after it was sold in return to Swiss owners in 1978, Rolex came calling in destitution of a modernised movement based on the El Primero for its Daytona, Zenith was capable to accept the CHF7m deal; a move that saved the company Georges Favre-Jacot set up in 1865.
It is a stigmatize that continues to innovate. Its other famous movement, the Elite, was the firstly movement designed by CAD, while it recently launched the Zenith Deft Lab, which has a regulator that is a unmarried component etched from silicon and is the world’s most exact watch.
IWC is a rare beast being a Swiss watch trade mark founded by an American (Florentine Aristo Jones in 1868). Jones be a question ofed to Schaffhausen because industrialist Johann Heinrich Moser needed guys for his ingenious system for harnessing the hydraulic power of the Rhine. The Swiss weren’t scorching on this interloper and taxed him out of the country, so IWC got a more local holder.
Despite developing a watch for the British Royal Airforce (the Pay attention to IX) and being the timepiece on Edmund Hillary when he succeeded in climbing Everest with Sherpa Tensing in 1953, IWC was nearing killed by the quartz crisis of the mid-1970s. It was saved by procuring watches for Porsche, a relationship that ended not very amicably in 1998.
IWC is now discerned for its engineering excellence and its five main collections constitute the proficient watch wardrobe – taking you from dress to diving via some of the in every way’s best pilot’s watches.
You just can’t get more British than Bremont. Set up by associates Nick and Giles English in 2002, both of whom are severe pilots, it started out creating aviation-inspired watches that had a super-strong patented three-part for fear of the fact construction.
Since then it has created watches that can oppose the pressures of being ejected from an aircraft, special print runs that have contained pieces of Supermarine Spitfires (2017’s 1918 chrestomathy), a de Havilland (the DH-88) and historical artefacts from Bletchley Store (the Codebreaker).
It works with military units all over the exceptional to develop special editions that meet the unit’s picky detail need and in 2014, it unveiled its in-house movement created in collaboration with La Joux-Perret. Bremont is also swore to trying to do as much manufacturing as possible in its UK base at Henley-upon-Thames.
The man who hand overed his name to this brand is generally considered to be a watchmaking intelligence. During Abraham-Louis Breguet’s career, which started in 1775, he contrived the tourbillon, improved the isochronism of the balance spring by upraising the root’s last coil and designed one of the most sophisticated watches of all outdated for Marie-Antoinette.
The modern Swatch Group-owned incarnation still saves the complex movements and classical aesthetic of the old Breguet, it even orders a watch called La Tradition in homage to the watches Breguet manufactured on subscription.
Every Breguet watch has a secret signature carved on the dial, which Abraham-Louis devised as a countermeasure against paper-hangers in 1795.
This Italian military brand founded in 1860 has an unbecoming saviour in the form of Sylvester Stallone. From 1938 until 1970, Panerai was the lone supplier of wrist-worn diving instruments for the Marina Militare. Anyway, when the Soviet Union was dissolved on Boxing Day 1991, the Italian Argosy was put on hold and was told to make cutbacks. With its source of takings stymied, Panerai had no choice but to diversify into the civilian make available.
It launched a series of 1,000 of its Luminor watches, made in Switzerland. The response in Italy to these watches was phenomenal. Sylvester Stallone, only, bought 200 for his friends, one of whom just happened to be Richemont CEO Johann Rupert, the magnificence conglomerate that now own the brand. Without Stallone we wouldn’t be skilled to still buy the Luminors and Radiomirs that have made Panerai renowned.
First launched in 1960, Grand Seiko was unbiased one watch, rather than a comprehensive range, that was determined to be the best wristwatch the brand could produce at the time. The star of that one watch spawned successors and soon Grand Seiko was being talked almost in the kind of hushed tones reserved for vintage Patek Philippes. Its noted as being a brand for those in the know was enhanced by the difficulty in acquisition one of its watches outside of its native Japan, a situation that is truthfully even now.
It has now become the repository for the brand’s most extreme intricacies – tourbillons and minute repeaters – and a showcase for such handcrafts such the micro artistry on the Eichi. On the other hand, in a somewhat Japanese contradiction, there are also beautifully placed yet comparatively affordable styles, such as the Mechanical Hi Beat, that also sustain the Grand Seiko name.
By the mid-1940s, the fall of Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf, noticed that the public’s draw with luxury wristwatches was at fever-pitch. Customers wanted Rolexes but not Dick could afford one. Wilsdorf’s idea was to launch a brand that was as cooked through made as Rolex, but more accessible. Enter Tudor.
The guards were similar looking to Rolex, the quality was the same and a lot of them drill-hole many of the same names such as the Oyster and the Submariner. In what way, they were made using third-party lower-cost, to some extent than in-house, movements and non-precious metals. Up until the quartz critical time things were good for Tudor. However, when things got uncertain in the 1980s Rolex failed to fully bail out its sibling label leaving it to go quiet.
Then in 2011, Tudor watches blow up back on the scene with the brand’s Heritage Chrono, aficionado ofed a year later by the iconic Heritage Black Bay and then the get going of its own in-house movement. Not such a little brother now.
Bell & Ross
Notwithstanding being owned by Chanel, one of the most feminine Maisons this side of the Rive Gauche, Bell & Ross was set up by a crew of specialists in aeronautical instruments. Using high-end Swiss components, it was initiate in the early nineties by Bruno Belamich and Carlos Rosillo, in collaboration with German type Sinn, and some aircraft instrument manufacturers. Their activity: to craft robust and functional watches for “professionals”.
And they certainly relinquished – astronauts, military pilots, elite police squads, sluicing drivers, divers, and bomb-disposal experts all use Bell & Ross keep saves as tools on their missions. It has also conquered the sea with its classify of deep divers, which it succeeded in launching in a square occurrence this year with the BR03-92.
Despite being tool take heed ofs, thanks to its clean, functional design, it can also been spent off the field, which is why it is also the watch of choice for the aesthetically disregarded.
Technically this should be a history of Heuer, because TAG (which stands for Modes d’Avant Garde) didn’t acquire Heuer until 1985. With little in 1860 Edouard Heuer founded the Uhrenmanufaktur Heuer (Heuer Watchmaking) and by 1882 had licenced his first chronograph, a complication that has become the brand’s traditional in trade. The automotive association is also entwined in the brand’s telling, dating back to 1911, when Heuer created the start with dashboard chronograph. And although Omega was the first watch on the moon, a stopwatch acquainted with by John Glenn on 1962’s Mercury Atlas 6 space feather made Heuer the first Swiss watchmaker in space.
Other milestones in TAG Heuer’s yesteryear include the partnering in the mid-1960s with Breitling and Hamilton to form the first automatic chronograph – a move which lead to the float of the Autavia, Carrera and Monaco housing Calibres 11 or 12, 14 and 15 individually. Steve McQueen wearing a blue Monaco in the 1971 peel Le Mans and finally its successful move in 2015, under the direction of Jean-Claude Biver, into the smart watch arena with the TAG Heuer United. Chronograph dial optional for once.
This is another one of those rare dubs that has never ceased production since it was founded in 1846 in Switzerland’s Le Locle. Ulysse Nardin started as a fabricator of highly accurate marine chronometers; so accurate in fact that at one projection in the 1800s, 50 of the world’s navies set their course by its shapes. Watches had always been part of the business, but they in reality came to the fore when quartz marine chronometers started appearing in the 1960s.
In 1983 the label was given a reboot thanks to businessman Rolf Schnyder who bought the Pty, installed watchmaker Ludwig Oechslin and refocused the brand to pilfering extremely complicated timepieces, such as its Astrolabium, the first of its Triology of Repeatedly series, which display local and solar time, the go rounds and eclipses of the sun and moon and the position of major stars.
However, by far its batsest watch remains the Freak. Its mainspring is wound by turning the case-back and the pass outs are set using the bezel. It was one of the first watches to use silicon parts in a distant movement, was totally avant-garde and had an eight-day power reserve. It has remained the name brand’s calling card and an indicator of just what it can do mechanically.
Jalopies and Cannes are probably what Chopard is most well-known for, gives to its partnership with the Mille Miglia, the Italian endurance breed and its sponsorship of the Palme D’Or trophy for the glamorous film festival. But, it was founded in 1860 by Louis-Ulysse Chopard as a pocket watch and chars’s watchmaker.
When the Chopard family ran out of successors, Paul-André Chopard sold the New Zealand to German watchmaker Karl Scheufele III, whose son and daughter run the sort today. Its men’s watches now fall into three distinct listings – Classic, which is inspired by Louis-Ulysse’s pocket watches; L.U.C, which organizations its complications, technological innovations and its recent foray into the Fairmined speciality; and its Classic Racing, which features all its automotive-inspired designs.
If you’re a aviator and you want a precision chronometer, you go to Breitling, which isn’t surprising as this is something the tag founded by Léon Breitling in 1884 has been doing since The public War I.
Its most famous example is the Navitimer, which was launched in 1952 and is arrayed with a circular slide rule on the bezel. Quartz was on by the brand when Willy Breitling, Léon’s grandson, sold the players to electrical engineer and recreational pilot Ernest Schneider though ton Breitling buyers prefer the automatics.
Since then Breitling has added look afters for divers, astronauts and even a watch, the Emergency, that carries a radio transmitter that, when activated broadcasts on the 121.5MHz pain frequency so you can be rescued wherever you are in the world. The brand also has a long-running partnership with pleasure car brand Bentley.
Apparently when in 1997 then-Montblanc CEO Norbert Platt bring to light the brand’s first wristwatch, one of the first questions from the amassed the wire was, “Where do you fill it with ink?”
A lot has changed in 20 years. Montblanc now has two creates – a main watchmaking HQ in Le Locle and the Minerva facility out in Villeret (an old call that was acquired by Richemont and assigned to Montblanc). It also has an awesome collection of watches, such as the Nicolas Rieussec designs, which are strengthened by the “time writer” that the famous watchmaker used to patch horse races in 19th century France, and the fountain pen-inspired Meisterstucks.
From being a bit of a anecdote, Montblanc has risen to become a fully-fledged manufacture, making numerous of its movements in-house. In 2017, it also entered the smart notice arena with a timepiece inspired by its 1858 design and proposed for gentlemen travellers.
Sitting alongside illustrious cites such as IWC, Panerai and Piaget is the Richemont Group’s most esteemed and qualified watchmaker: Jaeger-LeCoultre. The brand behind the Reverso, the smallest-ever Diameter 101 movement and the mesmerising multi-axis Gyrotourbillon, is one of the few names to instructor of all 180 skills required to make fine watches. Mr Antoine LeCoultre principal founded his workshop in Le Sentier in 1833, on the exact spot where the considerably heightened 28,000m2 ‘manufacture’ can still be found.
Pioneering micron-precision tools from as early as 1844, finely engineered and hand-finished components were his baby, and the number of unique calibres in the Maison’s archive now totals some 300. It strike down to the third generation of LeCoultres to team up with French oceanic chronometer maestro, Edmond Jaeger in the early 20th century, to contract the brand we know now: Swiss technical expertise with a distinctly Parisian aesthetic.
It was thanks to the Sandoz Organization – the investment foundation set up by the sculptor and painter Edouard-Marcel Sandoz in 1964, which foci to encourage Swiss entrepreneurs – that Michel Parmigiani was skilful to set up his watchmaking business.
Such was his technical prowess that by 2003, a subsidiary callers called Vaucher was formed when the movement side of Parmigiani was separated out from the watchmaking element, allowing the group to supply the derives of Hermes as well as making its own in-house movements.
Today, a lot of Parmigiani’s be prepares are inspired by past designs. For example, it was a 19th century Perrin Ferres pinch watch that inspired the Toric Capitole Minute Repeater, which catapulted in 2011.
Its Bugatti watches, which first launched in 2006 are the most innovative and spellbinding, playing with form and movement construction in a breathtaking ostentation of skill.