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Rolex Air King 116900 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Air King
7 900 
Professional dealer
230
FR
Patek Philippe Travel Time 7234R-001 Very good Rose gold 37.5mm Automatic
TOP
Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time
30 990 
Professional dealer
803
DE
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Lady 67651OR.ZZ.1261OR.02 Unworn Rose gold 33mm Quartz
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Lady Rose Gold 33MM 67651OR.ZZ.1261O...
46 904 
Free shipping
Professional dealer
485
US
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1R Unworn Rose gold 40mm Automatic
TOP
Patek Philippe Custom Diamond Set Patek Philippe Nautilus Rose...
118 275 
Professional dealer
131
UK
Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph 521.NO.1181.LR New Titanium 45mm Automatic
TOP
Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph 2021
10 100 
Professional dealer
225
LT
Rolex Sea-Dweller 1665 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Sea Dweller 1665 Double Red Mark V unpolished
34 000 
Professional dealer
15
MC
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph 26400AU.OO.A002CA.01 Good Carbon 44mm Automatic Finland, Helsinki
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Forged Carbon and Ceramic...
24 700 
Professional dealer
36
FI
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 03.2530.4047/78.C813 New Steel 45mm Automatic
TOP
Zenith El Primero Grande Date Full Open Chronomaster El
6 675 
Professional dealer
405
EE
Rolex Lady-Datejust 69173 Very good Gold/Steel 26mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Datejust 26 Ref. 69173
5 000 
Professional dealer
799
NL
Roger Dubuis Excalibur RDDBEX0567 New Titanium Automatic
TOP
Roger Dubuis Excalibur 45 - RDDBEX0567 - Titanium - TOP PRICE
14 999 
Professional dealer
512
DE
Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600 New Steel 43mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Sea-Dweller Red 43MM 126600 "2021"
13 500 
Professional dealer
15
NL
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 WAR201E.FC6292 New Steel 41mm Automatic
TOP
TAG Heuer Carrera Day Date Calibre 5 Blau
1 999 
Professional dealer
383
DE
Rolex Yacht-Master 40 16622 New Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Yacht-Master New With Stickers
10 800 
Professional dealer
423
ES
Rolex Daytona 116528 Very good Yellow gold 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Daytona Black Diamond dial 2018
43 000 
Professional dealer
225
LT
Rolex Daytona 16528 Very good Yellow gold 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Daytona 16528 Floating L series 1989
80 000 
Professional dealer
15
MC
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph 25721ST Unworn Steel 42mm Automatic Finland, Helsinki
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore The Beast, 2017 Service
25 500 
Professional dealer
36
FI
Zenith Defy El Primero 95.9002.9004/78.M9000 New Titanium 44mm Automatic
TOP
Zenith Blue Defy El Primero 21 Chronograph
8 225 
Professional dealer
405
EE
Rolex Submariner (No Date) 114060 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Submariner 'No Date' Ref. 114060
11 250 
Professional dealer
799
NL
Rolex Submariner Date 16610 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Submariner Date 16610 E-Serial
9 200 
Professional dealer
25
ES
Zenith El Primero 02.0500.400 Good Steel 38mm Automatic
TOP
Zenith El Primero original strap and buckle
2 700 
Professional dealer
72
IT
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 CBM2110.BA0651 New Steel 41mm Automatic
TOP
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 Automatik Chronograph
3 480 
Professional dealer
383
DE
Breitling A13315351C1P2 New Steel 42mm Automatic
TOP
Breitling Premier Chronograph 42 NEW A13315351C1P2
4 475 
Professional dealer
1179
NL
Revue Thommen 2110002 Good Steel 34mm Manual winding
TOP
Revue Thommen Revue Sport 30´s Limited Edition
1 100 
Professional dealer
1323
DE
Franck Muller Casablanca 7880 Very good Rose gold 47mm Automatic
TOP
Franck Muller Casablanca Chronographe 7880 18k pink gold
16 500 
Professional dealer
15
MC
Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch 145.022 - 69 ST Good Steel 42mm Manual winding Finland, Helsinki
Omega Speedmaster 145.022-69 Pre-Moon Pulsometer
9 990 
Professional dealer
36
FI
Zenith Defy 49.9002.670/01.R792 New Ceramic 41mm Automatic
TOP
Zenith Defy White Ceramic Classic Elite
4 825 
Professional dealer
405
EE
Rolex Datejust 16233 Very good Gold/Steel 36mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Datejust 36 Ref. 16233
7 150 
Professional dealer
799
NL
Jaeger-LeCoultre 190.8.96 Very good Steel 42mm Automatic
TOP
Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox Tribute To Polaris 1968 Limited...
12 995 
Professional dealer
699
ES
Patek Philippe Gondolo 5099RG-001 Very good Rose gold 37.5mm Manual winding
TOP
Patek Philippe Gondolo Cabriolet 5099RG-001 White Gold & Rose...
9 100 
Free shipping
Professional dealer
931
NL
Omega Speedmaster 324.30.38.50.03.001 New Steel 38mm Automatic
TOP
Omega Speedmaster 38 Co‑Axial Chronograph 38 mm
4 350 
Professional dealer
383
DE
Breitling Chronomat AB0115101C1A1 New Steel 43.5mm Automatic
TOP
Breitling Chronomat B01 Chronograph 44 NEW AB0115101C1A1
6 550 
Professional dealer
1179
NL
IWC Portuguese Chronograph IW371605 Unworn Steel 41mm Automatic
IWC Portugieser Chronograph Automatik Stahl Herrenuhr Ref....
7 260 

Sold by Chrono24

DE
Rolex Daytona 16528 Very good Yellow gold 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Daytona 16528 like new
44 000 
Professional dealer
15
MC
Zenith Defy El Primero 95.9000.9004/78.R782 Very good Titanium 44mm Automatic Finland, Helsinki
Zenith Defy El Primero 21
7 990 
Professional dealer
36
FI
Zenith Defy El Primero 95.9002.9004/78.R584 New Titanium 44mm Automatic
TOP
Zenith Blue Defy El Primero 21 One second Chronograph
7 925 
Professional dealer
405
EE
Omega Speedmaster Racing 326.30.40.50.06.001 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Omega Speedmaster Racing Ref. 326.30.40.50.06.001
3 500 
Professional dealer
799
NL
Ball Engineer Master II Diver DM3020A-SAJ-BK New Steel 42mm Automatic
TOP
Ball Engineer Master II Diver
1 729 
Free shipping
Professional dealer
129
JP
Rolex Lady-Datejust 69173 Very good Gold/Steel 26mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Datejust 26 - Gold/Steel Rare Rolex Factory, ANNIVERSARY...
5 795 
Free shipping
Professional dealer
931
NL
Omega Seamaster Diver 300 M 210.62.44.51.01.001 New Rose gold 44mm Automatic
TOP
Omega Seamaster Diver 44MM Chronograph 750 Rosegold
23 995 
Professional dealer
383
DE
Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique 158569-3001 New Steel 44.5mm Automatic
TOP
Chopard Mille Miglia Grand Prix de Monaco Historique 158569-3001
5 150 
Professional dealer
1179
NL
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony 33093/3 Very good White gold 31.5mm Manual winding
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony 18K Weissgold Handaufzug...
5 350 

Sold by Chrono24

DE
Rolex Submariner Date 1680 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Submariner 1680 Red 1970
44 000 
Professional dealer
15
MC
Hublot Big Bang Unico 411.CI.1170.RX Unworn Ceramic 45mm Automatic Finland, Helsinki
Hublot Big Bang Unico Black Magic
13 700 
Professional dealer
36
FI
Patek Philippe Nautilus 3800/1 Very good Steel 37mm Automatic Finland, HELSINKI
Patek Philippe Nautilus 3800 1982 38mm Stunning condition with...
27 900 
Professional dealer
212
FI
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 34 114200 Very good Steel 34mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 34 Ref. 114200
5 400 
Professional dealer
799
NL
Fortis B-42 Official Cosmonauts 647.10.11 M New Steel 42mm Automatic
TOP
Fortis B-42 AUTOMATIC Official Cosmonauts DAY-DATE
1 572 
Free shipping
Professional dealer
129
JP
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 6619 Very good Gold/Steel 26mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex oyster perpetual, OYSTER PERPETUAL, AUTOMATIC, LADIES,...
2 350 
Free shipping
Professional dealer
931
NL
Breitling Superocean 42 A17366D81A1A1 New Steel 42mm Automatic
TOP
Breitling Superocean 42 Automatik 500M
2 999 
Professional dealer
383
DE
Omega Speedmaster 522.30.42.30.04.001 Unworn Steel 42mm Manual winding
TOP
Omega Speedmaster Tokyo Olympics 2020 Panda
11 063 
Professional dealer
87
HK
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control 140.8.89 Very good Steel 37mm Automatic
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Automatik Datum Stahl Herrenuh...
3 620 

Sold by Chrono24

DE
Rolex Sea-Dweller 126603 New Gold/Steel 43mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Sea Dweller 126603 New
16 500 
Professional dealer
15
MC
Ulysse Nardin Maxi Marine Diver 266-37LE-3B Very good Red gold Automatic Finland, Helsinki
Ulysse Nardin Maxi Marine Diver 18k Black Surf Limited Edition
10 900 
Professional dealer
36
FI
Jaquet-Droz Grande Seconde SW J029530202 New Steel 45mm Automatic
TOP
Jaquet-Droz SW Chronograph Grey
7 900 
Free shipping
Professional dealer
625
LV
Omega Speedmaster 522.30.42.30.03.001 Unworn Steel 42mm Manual winding
TOP
Omega Speedmaster Tokyo Ref. 522.30.42.30.03.001
7 950 
Professional dealer
799
NL
Ball Engineer II NM3060C-PCJ-GY New 45mm Automatic
TOP
Ball Engineer II Volcano
2 515 
Free shipping
Professional dealer
129
JP
Patek Philippe Calatrava 3442/1 Very good Yellow gold 28mm Manual winding
TOP
Patek Philippe Calatrava Full 18K Yellow Gold - Famous Caliber...
8 395 
Free shipping
Professional dealer
931
NL
Breitling Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 43 AB0121211G1P1 New Steel 43mm Automatic
TOP
Breitling Navitimer Automatik B01 Chronograph 43
6 199 
Professional dealer
383
DE
Rolex Submariner Date 168000 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic Finland, Siilinjarvi
Rolex Submariner Date
13 900 
Professional dealer
 
FI
Tudor Submariner 75090 Very good Steel 36mm Automatic
Tudor Prince Oyster Submariner Oyster Case Automatik Stahl...
5 550 

Sold by Chrono24

DE
Rolex Daytona 16520 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Daytona 16520 Zenith Patrizzi W series 1995 like new
47 000 
Professional dealer
15
MC
Hublot Classic Fusion Ultra-Thin 515.OX.0180.LR Very good Rose gold 45mm Manual winding Finland, Helsinki
Hublot Classic Fusion Skeleton Ultra Thin Rose Gold
16 900 
Professional dealer
36
FI
Rolex Lady-Datejust 6917 Very good Yellow gold 26mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Lady-Datejust
5 000 
Professional dealer
24
ES
Rolex Lady-Datejust 178240 Very good Steel 31mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Datejust 31 Ref. 178240
6 100 
Professional dealer
799
NL
Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon DM2118B-S2CJ-BK New Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Original (40mm)
2 318 
Free shipping
Professional dealer
129
JP

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.