A Rolex Sea-Dweller featuring the Swiss made label at 6 o’clock
From Hip-Hop lyrics & music videos to boardrooms in downtown Manhattan, NYC to high speed car chases featuring James Bond, men’s watches made in Switzerland (termed Swiss made) are a constant presence. The iconic Swiss made label on wristwatches has become synonymous with wealth and social prestige. It should come as no surprise that Swiss watches often fall on the higher end of the price spectrum. However, this product is well worth its cost. These watches present the bearer with exquisite craftsmanship, often completely produced and assembled by hand alongside premium materials such as mother of pearl, gold, platinum and diamonds. Many of the Swiss watch manufacturers have been in business for over a century, continuing their quality manufacturing and innovating their designs successfully to become some of the most highly regarded fashion statements in the world. In this article, we discuss some of the major Swiss watch brands, their offerings and their distinguishing features.
Rolex has been synonymous with affluence and social status for over a century. Founded in 1905 in London, UK, the brand shifted its base to Geneva, Switzerland in 1920 after the first world war. Rolex is ranked as the 71st most valuable brand by Forbes Magazine (2018) and has a staggering revenue of $4.6 Billion (2016). This is more than double of its nearest swiss watch competitor. Rolexes are often treated as historical artifacts and have been passed down from generations in many cases. Rolexes have fetched massive sums at auctions, with Paul Newman Rolex Daytona being auctioned for $17.75 million! Rolex features an elegant design, with a perfect balance of curves and edges. The dial is often very minimalist, dropping unnecessary tachymeters for an elegant mother of pearl face. Rolexes tend to be very expensive, usually ranging between $8000-$50,000. The two most iconic rolex watches, the Submariner and the Daytona start at $8775.00 and $15,975.00 respectively.
TAG Heuer S.A. was founded in St-Imier, Switzerland in 1860. Today, it operates as a valuable subsidiary under the LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) banner. TAG Heuer is endorsed by numerous race car engineers and drivers. Inf act, The Formula 1 line has been a staple in TAG’s catalogue for over 35 years. TAG’s other racing themed wrist wear includes the Monaco and Grand Carrera lineups. Often, TAG has released special edition wristwear to coincide with the release of a supercar or F1 car. TAGs often cost between $1000-$3500, with the red-hinted Formula 1 Calibre 16 listing at $3200.00.
The watch of choice for the present on-screen iteration of James Bond, Omega has had a long standing position as one of the premier Swiss watch brands. Often the timekeeping choice for Britain and US military forces, an Omega holds the distinction of being the first watch on the moon, on the wrists of the astronauts from NASA’s Apollo 11 mission. Established in 1903, Omega is extremely popular among Hollywood A-listers today. Omega’s premium men’s watches range between $1500-$4000, with the iconic Speedmaster Moonwatch fetching about $4100.00.
Audemars Piguet SA has been in business since 1875. Founded in Vallée de Joux, Audemars has been at the forefront of horological pioneering. They created the first minute-repeating movement for a wristwatch in 1892. Before this, only clocks would have this feature. Today, Audemars has gained popularity with the burgeoning hip-hop community with chart-topping rappers Jay Z, Meek Mill and Rick Ross shouting-out the brand in their lyrics. In terms of design, Audemars Piguet watches are distinguished by their sleek and minimalist features and diamond sharp edges. As one of the more luxury-facing brands, Audemars watches can range between $5,000-$50,000 with some limited edition pieces fetching six figure sums at auctions. The extremely popular Audemars Piguet Royal Oak costs $17,800.00.
Founded in 1853 in Le Locle, Switzerland, Tissot has remained of the staple Swiss watch brands for over 150 years. Despite the company (now a subsidiary of the Swatch Group) commanding a revenue of over $1 billion, Tissot employs only 250 watchmakers. It is one of the more affordable Swiss watch brands, with its Seastar 1000 retailing at $695.00. Due to the lower price range, Tissot has a high availibility in retail stores across the world. The affordable price does not in any way compromise the impeccable workmanship of the watches, which feature both high durability and eternal design.