Folks have been obsessed with time for thousands of years. In fact, the first timepieces to be worn were made in the 16th century in Germany. These were known as “clock-watches” and were actually attached to clothing or worn on a chain, around the neck. In fact, they were so bad at keeping the time, they would often lose or gain a couple of hours each day making them practically useless!!
Until World War II, gentlemen sported pocket watches but during the war, the wrist-watch grew in popularity due to its better functionality and usability. After WWII, the watch (as we know it now) became fashionable and highly sought after….and the luxury watch was born.
Today, choosing a watch can be tricky. On one hand, you need a functional and durable timepiece but on the other hand, you desire a watch that stands out and perfectly reflects your individual sense of style. We hope that our top 10 list of best watch brands makes your choice a little easier.
So, without further ado…..Here’s Our Top 10 List of the Best Watch Brands (with No. 10 being the best!)
SEIKO – Tokyo, Japan – Founded 1881
First in our list is the amazing Seiko. Founded in 1881 in Japan, the Japanese word “seiko” translates as “exquisite” or “success”.
In 1969, Seiko released the first ever production quartz watch. On its release, it had the same price as a family-size car!
Seiko are truly pioneers in the world of watches and are responsible for so many groundbreaking innovations. Their accolades include:
1 First kinetic watch (powered by its own movement)
2 First multi-function digital watch
3 First TV watch
4 First computerized divers watch
5 First watch designed for spacewalks
6 First GPS solar watch – the Seiko Astron can recognize all 39 world time zones….incredible!
Regarded by many as one of the top watch brands in the world, Seiko have been the official timekeeper of many sporting events including the Olympic Games, the FIFA World Cup, and the IAAF World Championships. They are also the official timekeeper of the hugely popular console racing game Gran Turismo.
Popular around the world, Seiko are truly the pinnacle of Japanese quality timepieces.
The Ape’s Pick – Seiko Excelsior Black Ion Finish Solar Chronograph Watch
If you are snappy dresser, you know the importance of having the right accessories to pull off that outfit. The Seiko SSC139 is beautifully crafted yet rugged enough for sports enthusiasts.
The multi-chronograph dial has luminous hands for easy readability and the watch is solar-powered with a 6 month power reserve.
Only weighing 14 ounces, The Seiko doesn’t feel heavy or clunky. The case has a diameter of 43 millimetres and depth of 12 millimeters, so while looking very stylish, it is not overly large.
With 363 very happy customer reviews and a score of 4.7 stars out of 5 on Amazon, we know that you’ll love the Seiko Excelsior.
MONT BLANC – Hamburg, Germany – Founded 1906
Next in our list of top 10 best watch brands is Mont Blanc, a hugely popular German manufacturer of not only watches, but writing equipment, jewelry, and leather goods. They are easily identified by their “snow peak” logo.
Founded in Hamburg Germany in 1906, Mont Blanc is a member of the Richemont Group which also includes luxury Brands Cartier and Piaget.
A Mont Banc watch is uncompromising in quality and is considered a coveted luxury item with incredible attention to detail and superb design.
Currently Mont Blanc has three ranges of timepieces
1 Their inexpensive range of watches use regular components and give companies like Tissot and Longines a good run for their money.
2 The mid-range price watches are produced in the same factory but utilize custom components.
3 The high-end watches, Villeret and 1858 are made with 100% in-house movements. These timepieces are among the highest quality watches available today.
In our opinion Mont Blanc outperform most of their competitors for a lower price. They make excellent additions to anyone’s timepiece collection.
The Ape’s Pick – Montblanc Sport Chronograph Automatic 102359
In the horology world, you get what you pay for! Although the Mont Blanc 102359 isn’t cheap, it is a spectacular timepiece that will last for decades without losing a second.
Made from stainless steel with black rubber center links, this watch features luminescent hands, a uni-directional rotating bezel, and 3 chronograph sub dials.
Mont Blanc products are covered by a 2 year warranty against manufacturer’s defects giving owners complete peace of mind.
HUBLOT – Nyon, Switzerland – Founded 1980
In the words of Hublot’s Chief Executive Officer, “Hublot’s strength resides in its clear identity –the art of fusion – this unique ability to create timepieces which combine tradition and innovation.
The Swiss luxury watchmaker was opened in 1980 by an Italian gentleman named Carlo Crocco. They are credited with the first natural rubber strap in the history of watchmaking. After 3 years of research the watch was released and earned a whopping $2m in its first year of sales.
Hublot are rising quickly and now have 80 boutiques around the world including Paris, London, New York, Las Vegas, and surprisingly Mongolia.
A big favorite with sporting events, Hublot have been a number one choice for UEFA, Formula 1, The FIS Ski Championships, and both the 2010 & 2014 World Cups.
Brand ambassadors have included Diego Maradona, Usain Bolt, Bernie Ecclestone, and the Manchester Utd soccer team.
The Ape’s Pick – Hublot Ferrari All Black Automatic
For fans of all things luxurious, Hublot have joined forces with the Italian super-car giant – Ferrari!
This gorgeous timepiece has a satin-finished black resin case. a leather strap, and a fixed black ceramic bezel.
The Hublot Ferrari All Black Automatic is water resistant to 100 meters (330 ft) and features luminescent hands / markers and a scratch resistant sapphire crystal watch face.
The Hublot is powered by automatic movement but has a handy 72 hour power reserve for those lazy weekends on your super-yacht!!!
CASIO – Tokyo, Japan – Founded 1946
Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Casio’s products include cameras, phones, calculators, musical instruments, and watches.
Founded in 1946, Casio is famous for releasing the world’s first electric compact calculator.
Casio’s flagship G-Shock range has been around for 34 years and still remains first choice for those that need a rugged watch such as the military or law enforcement.
Latest Casio models feature a built-in altimeter, navigation compass, Bluetoooth connectivity, and world class stopwatches.
Casio has surely retained its coolness as the years have gone by. Celebrities seen rocking a Casio are Eminem, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Pharrell Williams, and the list just goes on.
Caution should be taken when buying a Casio watch these days due to the huge amount of fakes flooding the market. Only buy your watch from authorized distributors to make sure your Casio lasts 10 years instead of 10 days!!
The Ape’s Pick – Casio Men’s GW-9400-1CR Master of G
G-Shock is the ultimate tough watch. It was designed to be the watch that never breaks”
The Casio Rangeman is part of the Master of G series and features altitude measurement, barometric pressure gauge, temperature display, and direction readings all at your fingertips.
The Casio GW-9400-1CR is fitted with Casio’s cutting edge solar-powered technology so to never have to the hassle of changing the batteries ever again!
The Casio Rangeman also utilises atomic timekeeping which means you will never have to set / adjust your watch!
LONGINES – Saint-Imier, Switzerland – Founded 1832
A Swiss luxury watch manufacturer, Longines was founded in 1832, making it one of the oldest brands in horology (the art of making clocks & watches). Their winged hourglass logo is actually the oldest registered trademark of any watchmaking company.
The brand has a fearsome reputation in the world of watches and amongst its many accomplishments was being made the official watch supplier for the IAF (International Aeronautics Federation). The reason being that the famous Longines Pilot watch was designed by a fellow named Charles Lindbergh. Amongst Mr. Lindbergh’s many achievements was to be the first person to complete a solo North Atlantic flight.
Many of Longines timepieces feature diamonds (most of the women’s models) and all are made with the finest materials available including stainless steel, sapphire, and rose gold.
Longines is a world leader in timekeeping and have been the official timer for the Olympics and incredible 14 times!
The Ape’s Pick – Longines HydroConquest
The Longines Hydroquest is perfect for the kind of gent that loves a classic design but still needs the strength and high performance of a diving watch.
The face is well protected by double sapphire crystal which is incredibly only 10 millimeters thick and surprisingly very light.
The wristband is fitted with a secure double folding clasp which is essential when engaging in watersports or adventurous activities.
The Longines Hydroquest is water resistant to 300 meters and can be worn on scuba-dives at 30 meters for up to two hours.
BREITLING – Grenchen, Switzerland – Founded 1884
Based in Grenchen, Switzerland and founded in 1884, Breitling is world renowned for making precision timepieces which are favored by everyone from scuba divers to aviators. In fact, Breitling chronographs were indispensible to the Royal Air Force in World War II!
All movements in Breitling’s timepieces are tested by the COSC (Swiss official Testing Institute) which is regarded as the highest benchmark of precision and reliability.
Breitling have also saved over a dozen lives with their watches that are fitted with an emergency beacon. The Breitling Emergency watch is fitted with a radio-transmitter which can be picked up at a range of 90 nautical miles (167km). It was reported by Reuters in 2003, that two British pilots were rescued after a helicopter crash after activating the emergency beacon fitted to their Breitling watches.
The Ape’s Pick – Breitling M7836522-L521 Professional
Available with four dial colors and three strap options, the Breitling Chronospace is fitted with ETA SuperQuartz Chronometer Certified Movement.
With functions including 1/100th of a second chronograph, alarm. calendar, GMT time, and second timezone display, the Breitling Chronospace is a favorite for everyone from trend-setters to aviators.
We really love the way that Breitling have amplified the alarm on this amazing timepiece reaching an incredible 90 decibels – perfect for when you are flying your private jet to Monaco!
TISSOT – Le Locle, Switzerland – Founded 1853
The next entry in our top 10 list of best watch brands is another Swiss watchmaker. Tissot founded back in 1853, they are famous for being the manufacturers of the first mass-produced pocket watch.
Tissot were also the first company to make watches out of plastic (2001), stone (1985), mother-of-pearl (1987), and wood (1988).
Since 1983, Tissot have been a member of the Swatch Group, who happen to be the largest watchmaker & distributor on the planet.
Tissot is a firm favorite for official timekeeping duties for a huge number of sporting events. Among the many are cycling, motorcycling, skiing, Formula 1, and ice hockey. Tissot have also sponsored the Swiss national team and the Chinese Basketball Association.
Amongst if famous wearers are Elvis (the pelvis) Presley, Grace Kelley, Nelson Mandela, and the Duchess of Cambridge. Tissot watches were also worn by Angelina Jolie in the movie Tomb Raider and James Stewart in Rear Window.
The Ape’s Pick – Tissot ‘T Touch Expert’
The Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar is one of the most popular models of Tissot seen on people’s wrists these days.
Tissot recommend this sweet timepiece for vigorous sporting activities such as diving, hiking, flying, and sailing.
The T-Touch features light power generation which means that you will never have to buy a battery again.
This watch is very easy to understand and use with many of the functions controlled by the touch screen capability.
TAG HEUER – Saint-Imier, Switzerland – Founded 1860
Founded in Switzerland in 1860 by a 20 year old named Edouard Heuer, Tag Heuer have grown an incredible reputation for their irresistible timepieces that convey a sense of power while still remaining affordable.
Tag Heuer have been very closely connected with the world of motor racing and since 2016 have been partners with the Red Bull racing team. The TAG Group are also responsible for giving the name to the Porsche engines used by McLaren in the 1980’s. TAG have now been a partner of the McLaren F1 team for more than 26 years.
Tag’s more recent models include many innovative features; the Monaco V4 uses belts instead of the typical gears. The Carrera Calibre 360 measures and displays time in 1/100 of a second. And the Monaco 69 uses a revolutionary hinged mechanism to allow wearers to flip the watch between its two separate dials / faces.
Tag’s huge list of advocates are Christiano Ronaldo, Tiger Woods, Leonardo Di Caprio, Brad Pitt, Lewis Hamilton, and Cameron Diaz.
The Ape’s Pick – TAG Heuer Formula 1
The TAG Heuer Formula 1 watch was inspired by F1 racing and this beautiful timepiece pays homage to the great tradition.
Every detail of this watch is perfect, from the scratch-resistant ceramic on the bracelet to the equally scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass.
With luminescent hands & markers, three chronograph sub-dials, and water resistance to 200 meters (660 feet), we know you will go ape for this spectacular watch!
OMEGA – Biel / Bienne, Switzerland – Founded 1903
Omega is a Swiss luxury watch manufacturer based in Biel, Switzerland. It was founded in 1903 and is now owned by the Swatch Group.
With an awesome reputation, Omega are masters of the traditional art of horology (watchmaking) and are a leader in timepieces for the world’s most adventurous folks.
For more than 100 years, Omega have been an integral part of the precision timing of numerous sporting events from swimming & sailing to athletics and golf.
Interesting fact…the Omega Speedmaster was the first watch on the moon! Worn by Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo 11 space mission, the watch was sadly stolen from his personal effects as mentioned in his book “Return to Earth”.
The list of Omega loving celebs is immense and features such names as George Clooney, Nicole Kidman, Michael Phelps, Prince William, and JFK!!
Over the years, James Bond has favored few watch brands but Omega appear to be 007’s favorite. Mr. Bond can be seen sporting an Omega timepiece in Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is not Enough, Die another Day, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and SPECTRE!
The Ape’s Pick – Omega Seamaster
OMEGA’S Seamaster Collection is a tribute to their great maritime associations. This esquisite timepiece pays homage to Omega’s diving-watch heritage and adventurous spirit.
This masterpiece features a distinctive blue dial which is safely secured behind scratch resistant sapphire crystal.
Functions include chronometer, date, helium escape valve, screw in crown, and a uni-directional bezel.
The watch is water resistant to 30 bar / 300 m / 1000 ft and is self-winding with a power reserve of 48 hours.
Omega are happy to cover this bargain timepiece with a 3-year international warranty.
ROLEX – Geneva, Switzerland – Founded 1905
The top of the tree in our top 10 list of best watch brands was ranked by Forbes in 2016 as 64th on the list of most powerful brands in the world, Rolex is by far the biggest and best luxury watch brand on Earth! They are currently producing about 2,000 watches per day at their base in Geneva Switzerland.
Rolex was founded 112 years ago in London before moving to Switzerland in 1919. They moved to avoid increasing operating costs in the UK at that time and the company now operates as a private trust that donates generously to various charities.
A list of Rolex’s innovations could get lengthy so here are a few highlights;
1 The 1st watchmaker to get chronometer certificate for a watch in 1910.
2 The 1st waterproof watch in 1926.
3 The 1st watch to automatically change the date on the face in 1945.
4 The 1st watch to be waterproof to 100 meters in 1953.
5 The 1st watch to display two time zones in 1954.
Rolex’s quality is legendary. While most wrist watches these days are produced from a metal grade known as 316L, Rolex uses a much higher grade metal known as 904L, which has significantly higher amounts of chromium and nickel. This has made the watches very popular with salwater enthusiasts such as sailors, scuba divers, water-skiers, and surfers.
As with most luxury watch brands, fakes are everywhere…an easy way to tell if you’re looking at the eal thing is too look carefully at the second hand; if it ticks it is a fake and if it sweeps gracefully, it’s probably a genuine Rolex.
Rolex has been the symbol of POW’s (prisoners of war) since WWII. British pilots wore Rolex watches during the war and when captured, the Nazi’s would purloin the watches (knowing the huge value). When World War II was over and the POW’s were released, Rolex very kindly offered replacements to the soldiers based on “their word” alone…hence Rolex becoming a symbol of POW’s!
Nowadays, the Rolex has become a “must have” item and the rich & famous are clambering over themselves to grab the latest models. The list of celebrities that have worn a Rolex are Tom Cruise, Robert Downy Jr., Mark Wahlberg, Sandra Bullock, and the notorious Kim Kardashian.
The price to join this exclusive club can vary wildly from approx $7500 for a steel cased Rolex Submariner and rising to about $500,000 for the Rolex GMT 116769TBR which is made from white gold and encrusted with 76 round diamonds!!!
The Ape’s Pick – Rolex Daytona
The Rolex Daytona was first introduced in 1963 to meet the needs of pro-racing drivers. This watch continues to allow drivers to perfectly measure their speeds using the highly reliable chronograph and bezel.
This stunning timepiece is fitted with the famous Rolex 4130 movement which features greater resistance to all kinds of shocks and temperature changes.
Rolex uses high grade 950 Platinum to painstakingly craft each watch and the addition of the Oyster bracelet makes this timepiece a perfect combo of form and function.
Let’s face it…..WHO WOULDN’T BUY ONE IF THEY HAD THE DOUGH….We can all but dream!!!