The most stylish, elegant and reliable timepieces are the ones with tourbillon features, several complications and with gemstones surrounding the watch. People usually prefer the likes of Rolex, Tag Heuer, Omega and other expensive watches. They are not exactly the most elite however as this category is reserved for those that manufacture mostly limited edition watches or design timepieces for royalty. Here is a list of the top 10 most elite watch brands in the world.
10. Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet is a manufacturer of Swiss watches. The timepiece company was established in 1875 after a partnership was formed between Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet. Audemars produced component parts for movements while Piguet was in charged of the final regulation. The watch is endorsed by the likes of Lionel Messi, Lebron James, Michael Schumacher and Novak Djokovic.
Known for its reliability and simplicity, Officine Panerai is an Italian timepiece maker that was established in 1860. It used to make watches exclusively for the Marina Militare of italy. The company concentrated on making and designing cases, even as it relied on Rolex SA to provide the movement. Its watches are mostly limited in production and have an issue number at the back of the case.
8. Vacheron Constantin
Jean Marc Vacheron established the company in 1755, making it one of the oldest timepiece makers in the world. Francois Constantin joined the business in 1819 after being recruited by Vacheron’s grandson to handle the company’s marketing. The watch is manufactured in Geneva and Vallee de Joux in Switzerland. Among its famous users include the likes of former French ruler Napoleon Bonaparte, Pope Pius XI, the Duke of Windsor from England and former US President Harry S. Truman.
7. Louis Moinet
Louis Moinet was a horologist from France who is known for his genius in watchmaking. He created several amazing watches that are considered unequalled even to this day. Among the historical figures that he made watches for include Napoleon Bonaparte, US President Thomas Jefferson, US President James Monroe, England’s King George IV, Naples’ King Marshal Murat, the Russian Tsar Alexander I and Marshal Ney.
Blancpain has been making watches since 1735. Jehan Jaques Blancpain established the company in the Swiss town of Villeret. It prides itself with its limited edition watches, each of which is done by a single watchmaker. It has also declared that it will never make quartz watches. It is responsible for one of the most complicated watches ever made, the Blancpain 1735, that boasted of a tourbillon, minute repeater, perpetual calendar and split chronograph, making it a true grand complication watch. It had the world’s smallest movement in 1984 and the world’s thinnest movement in 1989. Jacques Yves Coasteau, the world famous explorer and oceanographer, wears the watch. The Swatch group now owns the company.
5. Jaeger LeCoultre
Antoine LeCoultre started the company in 1833 in Le Sentier in Switzerland. He developed a system that removed the need to rewind and set watches using keys. During the early part of the 20th century, the company was responsible for the movement blanks of Patek Philippe. The company became Jaeger LeCoultre after Edmond Jaeger of Paris helped design a collection of ultra thin pocket watches in the early 1900s. The new name became official in 1937. Cartier, the famed jeweler from France, also sought to sign an exclusive deal with the company that gave Cartier the rights to all of Jaeger LeCoultre’s movement designs for a period of 15 years.
Abraham Louis Breguet was the man responsible for the company that was founded in Paris in 1775. Breguet is credited with the invention of the tourbillon, a technology in timepiece making that proved to be a major breakthrough for the industry. Breguet also created the first wristwatch in 1810. Its watches can be easily identified because of the iconic Breguet hands that feature blue pomme arms. Its cases are always made of coin edge cases with guilloche dials. It is considered to be one of the oldest timepiece manufacturers in the world. Breguet is also responsible for a line of writing instruments that serve as a tribute to writers who feature or mention the watch brand in their works. The company is now owned by the Swatch group, making it a sister company of Blancpain.
In 1874, Georges Edouard Piaget established a timepiece manufacturing company that focused on watch movements. The company was based in the small Swiss village of La Cote aux Fees. At first Piaget concentrated on creating high precision clock movements for other prestigious brands. It was not until the 20th century that it started to market its own line of elegant timepieces. The company is responsible for the first ultra thin hand wound mechanical movement. Piaget is actually known as the “watchmaker jeweler.” The Richemont group from Switzerland now owns the company.
In 1860, Louis Ulysse Chopard established a luxury watch, jewelry and accessories company in Geneva. Chopard prides itself with the development of precision-inclined pocket watches and chronometers using creative ideas. The company’s watches are regarded as a manufacture because both the watch and movement are made in-house. it does not make use of the basic movements of other timepiece companies. Chopard actually almost closed down in the late 1950s, but it was re-energized by the entry of the Scheufele family. The company quickly re-established its reputation in the field of precision luxury watches.
1. Patek Philippe
Patek Philippe was established in 1851, though it can trace its roots to as early as 1839 when Antoni Patek began producing pocket watches in Geneva. After a fallout with his partner Franciszek Czapek, Patek went on to join forces with Adrien Philippe, a French watchmaker credited with the invention of the keyless winding mechanism. The company is known for pioneering the inclusion of features like perpetual calendar, split seconds hand, minute repeater and chronograph in wristwatches. Some of its creations have turned out to be the most expensive watches in the world.
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