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Rolex Explorer 114270 Very good Steel 36mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Explorer 1 36mm Modèle 114270 Full Set 2007
7 150 
Professional dealer
8
FR
Omega Seamaster Diver 300 M 25318000 Good Steel 41mm Automatic
TOP
Omega Seamaster 25318000 Box and Papers 2001
2 879 
Professional dealer
148
UK
Rolex Datejust 126300 New Steel 41mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Datejust 41 BLUE DIAL 126300 December 2020 UK Model Full...
8 350 
Professional dealer
 
UK
Rolex Datejust 126200 New Steel 36mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Datejust 126200 36MM Blue Dial Full Stickers New Unworn
7 400 
Free shipping
Professional dealer
ES
Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea 116660 New Steel 44mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Deepsea - Greensofi - Limited edition /5 - Black Venom...
15 347 
Professional dealer
80
IT
Jaeger-LeCoultre AMVOX 190.8.97 Very good Steel 42mm Automatic
TOP
Jaeger-LeCoultre Aston Martin Amvox
5 500 
Professional dealer
232
IT
Patek Philippe Calatrava 5196 Very good Yellow gold 37mm Manual winding
TOP
Patek Philippe Calatrava ref 5196 18K Gold Gelbgold Handaufzug...
15 990 
Professional dealer
631
DE
Rolex Daytona 6265 Very good Steel 37mm Manual winding
TOP
Rolex Daytona Handaufzug, Sigma-Dial, Ref. 6265
59 980 
Professional dealer
521
DE
Rolex Datejust 126300 New Steel 41mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Datejust 41mm Iced Out Ref. 126300 full Diamond NEW
19 900 
Free shipping
Professional dealer
20
DE
Breitling Navitimer World A24322 Very good Steel 46mm Automatic
TOP
Breitling Navitimer World Revisioniert
5 250 
Professional dealer
128
DE
Rolex Sea-Dweller 126603 New Gold/Steel 43mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Sea-Dweller
15 500 
Professional dealer
86
ES
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 CBK2115.BA0715 New Steel 41mm Automatic
TOP
TAG Heuer CARRERA Calibre 16 Chronograph Dark Blue
2 995 
Professional dealer
346
DE
Chopard Classic 10/6115-23 Very good White gold 23mm Quartz
TOP
Chopard Classic Diamond White Gold 10/6115-23
10 850 
Professional dealer
1050
NL
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph 25940 New Steel 42mm Automatic
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore - Limited Edition /1 Black...
24 617 
Professional dealer
80
IT
Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph 1503-151-3/92 New Steel 44mm Automatic
TOP
Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph - 1503-151-3/92 - BLACK Dial -...
8 449 
Professional dealer
385
DE
Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch 145.022-68ST Very good Steel 42mm Manual winding
TOP
Omega Speedmaster Professional Pre Moon Moonwatch CAL. 861...
7 990 
Professional dealer
631
DE
Franck Muller Crazy Hours 5850 Very good White gold 38.5mm Automatic
Franck Muller Crazy Hours 18K (0,750) Weissgold Automatik...
9 550 

Sold by Chrono24

DE
Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster DM2036A-SCAJ-WH New Steel 41.5mm Automatic
TOP
Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster
2 299 
Free shipping
Professional dealer
107
JP
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Grande Taille 270.1.62 Very good Yellow gold 26mm Manual winding
TOP
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Grande Taille
7 500 
Professional dealer
128
DE
TAG Heuer Aquaracer 300M WAY201A.BA0927 Very good Steel 43mm Automatic Finland, Helsinki
TAG Heuer WAY201A.BA0927 Aquaracer Calibre 5 Automatic
1 290 
Private Seller
FI
Breitling Superocean Heritage II Chronographe A13313121B1A1 New Steel 44mm Automatic
TOP
Breitling Superocean Héritage II Chronograph 44 Volcano Schwarz
4 560 
Professional dealer
346
DE
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 15450ST.OO.1256ST.02 New Steel 37mm Automatic
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding GREY DIAL 37 MM STEEL...
25 900 
Professional dealer
276
IT
Rolex Daytona 116520 New Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona - Rainbow MK1- Limited edition /5...
30 797 
Professional dealer
80
IT
Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse 4183 Fair White gold 25mm Manual winding
TOP
Patek Philippe Zodiac Constellation Golden Ellipse 18k white gold
3 999 
Free shipping
Professional dealer
231
NL
Breitling Galactic Unitime WB3510U4-BD94-435X New Steel 44mm Automatic
TOP
Breitling Galactic Unitime Men's Watch WB3510U4/BD94-435X
2 600 
Free shipping
Professional dealer
534
US
Vacheron Constantin Historiques 49003 Very good Yellow gold 38mm Automatic
Vacheron Constantin Historiques Chronograph 18K Gold Automatik...
7 850 

Sold by Chrono24

DE
Ball Engineer II Magneto S NM3022C-N1CJ-BK New Steel 42mm Automatic
TOP
Ball Engineer II Magneto S
2 935 
Free shipping
Professional dealer
107
JP
Rolex Lady-Datejust 178383 Very good Gold/Steel 31mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Datejust Brillant Stahl Gold Uhr 178383 Papiere Box 2012
15 900 
Professional dealer
117
DE
Omega Genève 1660174 Good Steel 36mm Automatic Finland, Oulu
Omega Genève
720 
Private Seller
FI
Breitling Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 43 AB0121211C1P1 New Steel 43mm Automatic
TOP
Breitling Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 43 Blue
6 090 
Professional dealer
346
DE
Omega Seamaster Diver 300 M 210.30.42.20.06.001 New Steel Automatic
TOP
Omega Seamaster Diver 300 M NEW 21030422006001
4 050 
Professional dealer
276
IT
Rolex Datejust II 116300 New Steel 41mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Datejust II - Rainbow Limited edition /5 Black Venom Dlc...
17 407 
Professional dealer
80
IT
Maurice Lacroix Pontos S Diver PT6248-PVB01-332-1 Good Steel 43mm Automatic
TOP
Maurice Lacroix Pontos S Diver Automatic 600M PVD- Rubber and...
845 
Professional dealer
209
US
Breguet Tradition 7027 Very good White gold 38mm Manual winding
TOP
Breguet Tradition Classique 18k Weissgold Handaufzug Ref. 7027
10 750 
Professional dealer
3915
DE
Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea 116660 Very good Steel 44mm Automatic
Rolex Sea Dwelller Automatik Edelstahl Herrenuhr Ref. 116660...
10 450 

Sold by Chrono24

DE
Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Deepquest DM3002A-SC-BK New Titanium 42mm Automatic
TOP
Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon DeepQUEST II
2 935 
Free shipping
Professional dealer
107
JP
Frederique Constant Manufacture Worldtimer FC-718DGWM4H4 New Gold/Steel 42mm Automatic
TOP
Frederique Constant Classic Worldtimer Manufacture (Limited...
2 400 
Free shipping
Professional dealer
582
LV
Omega Seamaster Diver 300 M 212.30.41.20.03.001 Good Steel 41mm Automatic Finland, Helsinki
Omega Seamaster Diver 300 M
2 890 
Private Seller
 
FI
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 CV2A1S.FC6236 New Steel 43mm Automatic
TOP
TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Day Date Brown Special Offer
3 595 
Professional dealer
346
DE
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 15403IP.OO.1220IP.01 Very good Titanium 41mm Automatic
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Cup Titanium 15403IP
44 500 
Professional dealer
276
IT
Rolex Submariner (No Date) 114060 New Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Submariner - 114060 - James Bond - Limited Edition /10...
18 025 
Professional dealer
80
IT
Maurice Lacroix Pontos S Diver PT6248-SS002-330 New Steel Automatic
TOP
Maurice Lacroix Automatik Pontos S Diver PT6248-SS002-330 Neu OVP
1 499 
Professional dealer
1001
DE
Ulysse Nardin San Marco 223-88 Very good Steel 39.5mm Automatic
TOP
Ulysse Nardin San Marco Dual Time Gmt Automatik Stahl Herrenuh...
2 050 
Professional dealer
3915
DE
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony 81180 Very good White gold 40mm Manual winding
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony 18K Weissgold Handaufzug...
9 850 

Sold by Chrono24

DE
Jaeger-LeCoultre E855 Fair Steel 37mm Automatic Finland, HELSINKI
Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox 37mm Automatic 1967
2 250 
Professional dealer
197
FI
Omega Genève 166.0163 Unworn Yellow gold Automatic Finland, Kirkkonummi
Omega Genève
1 685 
Professional dealer
26
FI
Omega Seamaster Diver 300 M 2221.80.00 Very good Steel 41mm Quartz Finland, Rovaniemi
Omega Seamaster Diver 300 M
2 350 
Private Seller
 
FI
TAG Heuer Formula 1 Calibre 5 WAZ2011.BA0843 New Steel 43mm Automatic
TOP
TAG Heuer Formula 1 Automatik Calibre 5
1 599 
Professional dealer
346
DE
Tudor Black Bay GMT 79830RB New Steel Automatic
TOP
Tudor HERITAGE BLACK BAY GMT 79830RB
3 750 
Professional dealer
276
IT
Rolex Daytona 116520 New Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona - Dark - Limited edition /10 Black...
28 325 
Professional dealer
80
IT
Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece MP6358-SS001-11e New Steel Automatic
TOP
Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Jours Retrograde MP6358-SS001-11e
2 149 
Professional dealer
1001
DE
Ulysse Nardin San Marco 131-77-9 Very good 36mm Automatic
TOP
Ulysse Nardin San Marco Amerigo Vespucci 18k Gold Automatik...
8 950 
Professional dealer
3915
DE
Rolex Milgauss 116400 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
Rolex Milgauss Automatik Edelstahl Herrenuhr Oyster Perpetual...
6 750 

Sold by Chrono24

DE
Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 16600 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic Finland, HELSINKI
Rolex Sea-Dweller 2007 With Rolex box & Rolex service 2017
8 890 
Professional dealer
197
FI
Patek Philippe Calatrava 3442/1 Very good Yellow gold 28mm Manual winding
TOP
Patek Philippe Calatrava Full 18K Yellow Gold RARE Bracelet...
9 450 
Free shipping
Professional dealer
860
NL
Oris Aquis Titan 01 743 7664 7253-07 8 26 75PEB Good Titanium Automatic Finland, Espoo
Oris Aquis Titan Oris Aquis Titanium Small Second 500m Diver
1 200 
Private Seller
 
FI
TAG Heuer Monaco CBL2111.FC6453 New Steel 39mm Automatic
TOP
TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Blue Heuer 02
4 640 
Professional dealer
346
DE
Eterna Super Kontiki Limited Edition 1973 1973.41.41.1230 New Steel 44mm Automatic
TOP
Eterna Super Kontiki Limited Edition 1973
2 310 
Professional dealer
177
DE
Rolex Daytona 116520 New Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona - Black Rainbow - Limited edition /5...
26 677 
Professional dealer
80
IT
Longines Conquest L3.728.4.76.6 New Steel 35mm Quartz
TOP
Longines Herren Uhr GMT Conquest VHP GMT L3.728.4.76.6 NEU OVP
949 
Professional dealer
1001
DE
Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph 363-22 Very good Steel 38mm Automatic
TOP
Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph Automatik Edelstahl Herrenuhr...
2 850 
Professional dealer
3915
DE
Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch ST145.022 Very good Gold/Steel 42mm Manual winding
Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Italy Special Limitiert Stahl /...
7 750 

Sold by Chrono24

DE
Rolex Datejust 116138 Good Yellow gold 36mm Automatic Finland, HELSINKI
Rolex Datejust 116138 36mm 18k Yellow Gold FULLSET 2005
10 250 
Professional dealer
197
FI
Hublot Classic Fusion 45, 42, 38, 33 mm 585.NX.891L.NX.1204 Very good Titanium 33mm Automatic
TOP
Hublot Classic Fusion Titanium Light Blue Bracelet Automatic...
6 350 
Free shipping
Professional dealer
860
NL

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.


This page contains information about:


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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