What are the Top Watch Brands?

What are the Top Watch Brands?

If you purchase a luxury watch, you want a ›real‹ luxury watch, not just some ridiculously expensive watch. And there are not so many top shelf luxury watch manufacturers as you might expect.

The top three watchmakers of this world are ironically called the ›holy trinity‹, they are: PP, AP and VC. That is:

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  • Patek Phillippe
  • Audemars Piguet
  • Vacheron Constantin

If you’d like to put it like that, this is Rolls Royce, Ferrari and Aston Martin of the watch industry. These are the holy ones, the apex, the absolute top – and they are in this position for a very long time already.

Perhaps you wonder that you never heard these names before. Perhaps you even wonder where Rolex is on that list. Think of it that way: »Every watch enthusiast must have at least one watch from a watchmaker he cannot pronounce the name properly.«

The truth is: compared to these, a Rolex is literally cheap. The holy trinity members do not sell watches below \$20,000 – that is per piece. And that might be why you never heard of them before, as their customer base is rather narrow. Partly they have that price because these manufacturers do not offer watches that are made from materials other than massive gold, whitegold or platinum.

There is always an exception to every rule: AP shocked the world of watchmaking in the early 1970s with their model ›Royal Oak‹ that was made of stainless steel. A sacrilege, als all luxury watches up to that time had to be made from gold.

And that is why the today highly appreciated Rolex steel sports models from the 1960s had back then not been considered being luxury watches at all. They were just ‘tool watches’. They were made for a purpose, like, giving a diver the right time under water. A place where other watches usually ceased working and took major damage due to the sea water. These today considered ‘vintage’ Rolex models were never conceived to be luxury pieces but are today considered to be. A Rolex Daytona from that era today is sold for about \$30,000 to \$100,000, even if it could be purchased back then for \$200 – and nobody really wanted it. It basically was sold so seldomly that it today is scarce enough to be a real collectors item.

But to be honest, despite its lesser material of steel, even the Royal Oak wasn’t much cheaper than the others – and still isn’t today.

In the row behind the holy trinity there are watchmakers that do not have exactly the reputation of the three leading brands, but do quite well either. These might be:

  • A. Lange
  • Jaeger-LeCoultre

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