Designer watches are products of true craftsmanship, merging luxury and reliability. Top luxury brands create quality timepieces that showcase great design and optimal quality, designed to last you a lifetime. With luxury watches selling for thousands and sometimes even millions of dollars, these timepieces are a considerable expenditure. Let’s look at some of the most popular watch brands currently on the market.
1. PATEK PHILLIPPE
Patek Phillippe produce some of the most coveted and high-end timepieces in the world, fetching millions of dollars for some of their rarer models. This prestigious watch brand with a history of innovative designs, has long been favored by royalty.
Famous wearers: Queen Victoria, Ellen DeGeneres, Robert Downey Jnr, John Mayer, Nicolas Sarkozy
Price range: $15,000 – $1 million+
Most expensive Patek Philippe sold: Henry Graves Jr.’s Supercomplication watch for $24 million in 2014
2. AUDEMARS PIGUET
Still owned today by its original founding families, Audemars Piguet is one of the oldest watch manufacturers in the world.
Famous wearers: James Corden, Tom Cruise, Lebron James, Usher
Price range: $7,000 – $850,000+
Most expensive Audemars Piguet sold: Signed Audemars Piguet Geneve Leap Year Perp for $545,000 in 2015
3. VACHERON CONSTANTIN
Classic Swiss watch manufacturer Vacheron Constantin dates back to 1755 and Napoleon Bonaparte was an owner of one of their timepieces.
Famous wearers: Marlon Brando, Donald Trump, Kate Bosworth, Rick Ross
Price range: $18,000 – $6 million+
Most expensive Vacheron Constantin sold: King Fouad for $2.77 million in 2005
4. TAG HEUER
Like many high-end watch companies, Tag Heuer was established in Switzerland. Popular among racecar drivers, Tag Heuer was also the first watch brand to go into space.
Famous wearers: Patrick Demsey, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Barack Obama
Price range: $1,500 – $10,000+
Most expensive Tag Heuer sold: Steve McQueen’s Heuer for $799,500 in 2012
5. A. LANGE & SÖHNE
Founded in 1845 in Germany, A. Lange & Sohne closed its doors 1948 after the post-war Soviet administration municipalized the company’s property. However, they went back into business in 1990 and have gone on to make their mark on the watchmaking industry with their highly complicated timepieces.
Famous wearers: Vladimir Putin, Carmelo Anthony
Price range: $15,000 – $1 million+
Most expensive A. Lange & Söhne sold: The Platinum Tourbillon for $333,000 in 2005
Famous for its intricate designs, Jaeger-LeCoultre is famed for creating the world’s smallest watch caliber.
Famous wearers: Robert Downey Jr., January Jones, Matt Damon, Queen Elizabeth II
Price range: $5,000 – $2 million+
Most expensive Jaeger-LeCoultre sold: Atmos 561 for $425,000 in 2013
Despite the soaring popularity of Rolex’s iconic womens and mens watches, each timepiece is still made by hand. Internationally recognized as a status symbol, Rolex watches are forever in high demand. Especially Rolex Daytona and Rolex Submariner.
Famous wearers: Justin Timberlake, Mark Wahlberg, Orlando Bloom, David Beckham, Kanye West
Price range: $5,000 – $650,000+
Most expensive Rolex sold: Bao Dai Rolex for $5 million in 2017
Part of the LVMH group, Hublot is one of the younger watch brands, established in 1980. In 2010 they were appointed the official Watchmaker of Formula 1.
Famous wearers: Kylie Jenner, Kobe Bryant, Jay Z
Price range: $4,200 – $5 million+
Most expensive Hublot sold: Hublot King Power Model Limited Edition Tourbillon for $191,723 in 2014
9. BREGUET & FILS
Founded in 1775, Breguet is one of the oldest watchmaking companies in the world, famed for their coin-edge cases.
Famous wearers: Marie Antoinette, Napoleon Bonaparte, Winston Churchill
Price range: $7,000-$400,000+
Most expensive Breguet sold: No. 2667 Precision Stop Watch from 1814 for $4.7 million in 2012
Chopard began in 1860 by creating ladies watches. In 2013, they began promoting their products as using ethically sustainable gold.
Famous wearers: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Colin Firth
Price range: $5,040 – $60,000+
Most expensive Chopard sold: Chopard 210 Karat $26 million in 2014
Established in Switzerland in 1791, Girard-Perregaux produce prestigious handcrafted watches. In 1880, Constant Girard manufactured the first major commercial production of a wristwatch.
Famous wearers: Hugh Jackman, Kobe Bryant, Quentin Tarantino, Pierce Brosnan
Price range: $5,000 – $600,000+
Most expensive Girard-Perregaux sold: 1945 Jackpot Tourbillon for $176,000 in 2013
From 1735 up until 1932, Blancpain was under the ownership of the Blancpain family. However, the final Blancpain’s daughter did not wish to go into the watch industry. It is currently part of The Swatch Group.
Famous wearers: Vladimir Putin, Francis Ford Coppola, Jacques Cousteau
Price range: $7,500 – $1.5 million+
Most expensive Blancpain sold: Marilyn Monroe’s cocktail watch for $250,000 in 2016
Cartier is a Parisian jewelry and watch company, with a history of popularity amongst celebrities and royals.
Famous wearers: John F Kennedy, Sofia Vergara, Angelina Jolie
Price range: $2,300 – $2.5 million+
Most expensive Cartier watch sold: Panther Bangle Watch for $660,000 in 2015
14. IWC SCHAFFHAUSEN
The motto of IWC Schaffhausen is Probus Scafusia, meaning “good, solid craftsmanship from Schaffhausen”.
Famous wearers: Bradley Cooper, Chris Evans
Price range: $3,950 – $750,000+
Most expensive IWC Schaffhausen watch sold: Il Destriero Scafusia for $325,000 in 2003
15. ULYSSE NARDIN
Founded in 1846, Ulysse Nardin’s headquarters have held the same location since 1865.
Famous wearers: Michael Jordan, Larry King
Price range: $2,300 – $285,000
Most expensive Ulysse Nardin watch sold: Ulysse Nardin Royal Blue Tourbillon has been known to sell for as much as $1.25 million
One of the few non-Swiss watch companies on the list, Panerai is an Italian brand. Founded in 1860, the brand entered into a partnership with legendary car manufacturer Ferrari from 2005-2010.
Famous wearers: Sylvester Stallone, Bill Clinton, Hugh Grant
Price range: $4,000 – $1 million
Most expensive Panerai watch sold: 1955 Luminor for $478,000 in 2014
Known for their delicately enameled pieces, The Luxury Institute jewelry brand study placed Piaget as the 6th most prestigious jewelry brand back in 2008.
Famous wearers: Ryan Reynolds, Olivia Palermo
Price range: $7,000 – $3.3 million
Most expensive Piaget watch sold: Retrograde Sliding Clock for $500,300 in 2014
In April this year, luxury Swiss watch makers Breitling was sold for an enormous $870 million. Breitling has long been the watch brand of choice for aviation industry for their pilot watches and has appeared in the James Bond movie “Thunderball”.
Famous wearers: John Travolta, David Beckham
Price range: $3,000 – $280,000
The Omega Speedmaster, worn by Buzz Aldrin in 1969, made history by becoming the very first watch on the moon.
Famous wearers: Daniel Craig, Elvis Presley, Steve Carrell
Price range: $1,000 – $708,742
Most expensive Omega watch sold at auction: Seamaster Planet Ocean in Casino Royale for $250,250 in 2007
Montblanc was founded in 1911 by a banker from Hamburg and an engineer from Berlin. Originally a luxury pen manufacturer, the brand now produces luxury watches and jewelry as well.
Famous wearers: Hugh Jackman,
Price range: $2,000 – $388,600