20 Best Swiss Watch Brands: From Affordable to Luxurious
Swiss watches are known for their precision, quality, and luxury. Switzerland has been a leader in watchmaking for centuries, with many prestigious and iconic brands originating there. In this post, we will discuss the 20 best Swiss watch brands, from affordable options to high-end luxury. We’ll cover each brand’s history, innovations, famous models, price ranges, and why they are considered among the best. Whether you’re looking for an everyday watch or a status symbol, Switzerland has something for everyone. Read on to learn about the top Swiss watchmakers and find the perfect timepiece for your needs and budget.
- – Affordable Swiss Watch Brands
- – Mid-Range Luxury Swiss Watch Brands
- – High-End Luxury Swiss Watch Brands
– Affordable Swiss Watch Brands
Founded in 1983, Swatch helped revolutionize Swiss watchmaking. The plastic Swatch watches were affordable, colorful, and stylish, appealing to a new generation. Swatch introduced fun designs and merged pop art with technology. Some iconic Swatch watches include the Sistem Black, Skin watches, and limited edition collabs with artists like Keith Haring. Swatch watches range from $50 to $200, making them an accessible Swiss watch brand.
Since its start in 1853, Tissot has specialized in accessible luxury watches. Founded by Charles-Félicien Tissot and his son Charles-Émile Tissot in the Swiss city of Le Locle, Tissot combines Swiss precision and quality with affordability.
Some of its innovations include the first mass-produced pocket watch and the first fully plastic watch “Tissot Astrolon” in 1971. Famous Tissot collections include the T-Sport, T-Lady, and Heritage. The brand is also the official timekeeper for many sports leagues and events. Tissot watch prices generally range from $200 to $1,000.
Founded in 1892 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Hamilton combines the American spirit with Swiss precision. Known for its aviation and military watches, Hamilton has a strong American aesthetic. During WWII, Hamilton watched and timed the majority of US military operations. Iconic collections include the Jazzmaster, Khaki Field, and Ventura powered by the Elvis movement.
Hamilton has carved out a niche combining Swiss ingenuity with American style. The brand has an aviation and military heritage which informs the design aesthetic. Models like the Khaki Field pay homage to Hamilton’s role in providing watches for the military. This gives the brand a historical pedigree beyond just quality watchmaking. Prices span $500 to $2,000 for most Hamilton watches.
Movado, founded in 1881 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland by Achille Ditesheim, is known for its iconic mid-century modern aesthetic. The Museum Watch with its single dot at 12 o’clock is world-famous. In addition to its bold Bauhaus-inspired design, Movado is acclaimed for its ultra-thin watches. Other trademarks include the concave dot symbol and minimalist dials.
Popular collections include the Bold, Sapphire Synergy, and 1881 Automatic. Movado has evolved from its 19th-century beginnings into one of the most iconic modernist watch brands. Movado watches generally range from $300 to $3,000.
Rado, established in 1957 in Lengnau, Switzerland by the brothers Fritz, Ernst, and Werner Schlup, pioneered scratch-resistant watches using hard metal and ceramic. Rado watches have a futuristic, minimalist style emphasizing durability and innovation.
Some of Rado’s breakthroughs include the first scratchproof watch (Rado DiaStar 1) and the first ceramic watch. Their most popular collections are Centrix, Ceramica, and HyperChrome. Rado has continually pushed the boundaries of materials and design while maintaining a signature modern aesthetic. Rado watch prices span $800 to $2,600 in general.
Part of the Swatch Group, Certina originated in 1888 in Grenchen, Switzerland by Adolf and Alfred Kurth. Certina focuses on sporty, durable watches influenced by racing and diving. Their DS concept introduced dual insurance with symmetry and security for sports watches.
Well-known Certina collections include the DS Action Diver, DS-8 Chronograph Moon Phase, and DS Eagle. Most Certina watches range between $400 and $1,000, providing versatility and Swiss precision at an accessible price point.
Founded in 1832 in Saint-Imier, Switzerland by Auguste Agassiz, Longines is one of the oldest Swiss watch brands still operating. Elegant and classic, Longines is known for its luxury sports watches. Some iconic collections include the Master Collection, HydroConquest, and Record. With its winged hourglass logo, Longines combines tradition with innovation. Longines watches generally cost between $1,000 to $3,000.
Oris originated in 1904 in Hölstein, Switzerland by Paul Cattin and Georges Christian. Oris makes mechanical watches focused on aviation and diving. It makes limited edition watches to support environmental causes like the Great Barrier Reef. Oris is praised for its stylish vintage-inspired designs. Signature Oris collections include the Divers Sixty-Five, Aquis, and Chronoris. Oris watches typically range from $1,000 to $5,000.
– Mid-Range Luxury Swiss Watch Brands
9. TAG Heuer
Founded in 1860 by Edouard Heuer in St-Imier, Switzerland, TAG Heuer makes Swiss chronographs renowned for aviation and sports. They use cutting-edge movement technology and avant-garde styling. The Carrera is TAG Heuer’s most iconic collection, made famous by auto racing.
TAG Heuer was a pioneer in branded sports sponsorships, including Formula 1 racing. It has also launched notable smartwatches like the TAG Heuer Connected. Combining advanced functionality with luxury styling, it exemplifies the brand’s motto “#DontCrackUnderPressure.” Popular models also include the Aquaracer, Formula 1, and Monaco. Most TAG Heuer watches cost $1,500 to $8,000.
A specialist in aviation watches, Breitling was founded in 1884 by Léon Breitling in Saint-Imier, Switzerland. Known for chronographs, Breitling works closely with aviators to create watches with cockpit instruments. The Navitimer is one of its most famous styles. Other key collections include the Chronomat, Superocean Heritage, and Exospace B55 Connected. Breitling watches typically range from $2,000 to $10,000.
11. Bell & Ross
Bell & Ross was launched in 1992 by Bruno Belamich and Carlos A. Designed to be highly legible and functional, Bell & Ross draws inspiration from airplane cockpit clocks. Notable collections are the BR S, BR-X1, BR V2-94 and BR-03. Most Bell & Ross watches sell between $2,000 to $5,000.
12. IWC Schaffhausen
IWC originated in 1868 founded by American engineer Florentine Ariosto Jones in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. It specializes in pilot watches, although it also makes elegant dress watches. Technical innovations include the Pallweber digital display and perpetual calendar.
With a motto of “Probus Scafusia,” IWC focuses on quality and craftsmanship. Engineering feats include its 7-day power reserve and perpetual calendar. Top collections from IWC include the Portugieser, Pilot’s Watch, and Portofino. Prices span from $3,000 to over $50,000.
Founded in 1860 as a watch and diving equipment supplier for the Royal Italian Navy by Giovanni Panerai in Florence, Italy, Officine Panerai now makes iconic sport luxury watches. Panerai helped develop diving and navigation wristwatches for the frogman commandos. Signature robust, masculine styles include the Luminor and Radiomir. Panerai watches range from $5,000 to $50,000 and beyond.
Founded in 1980 in Nyon, Switzerland by Carlo Crocco, Hublot combines bold style with technological innovation. The distinctive porthole shape of the Big Bang made it an instant classic. As the Official Timekeeper of Ferrari, Hublot includes racing elements. Other signatures include the Classic Fusion and Spirit of Big Bang. Hublot watches generally sell between $5,000 and $20,000.
– High-End Luxury Swiss Watch Brands
15. Patek Philippe
Established in 1839, Patek Philippe embodies traditional Swiss watchmaking at its finest. It pioneered perpetual calendar, split-second hands, chronograph, and minute repeater functions. The company is still family-owned and pairs cutting-edge innovation with old-world quality.
Each Patek Philippe watch can take up to a year to craft by hand. Among its iconic watches, the Calatrava and Nautilus display the most exemplary craftsmanship. Top Patek Philippe timepieces easily sell for over $100,000. The Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication pocket watch sold for $24 million in 2014, making it the world’s most expensive watch ever auctioned.
16. Audemars Piguet
Founded in 1875, Audemars Piguet produces complex mechanical watches renowned for their craftsmanship. Best known for the modern icon Royal Oak released in 1972, AP combines bold style with technical mastery. Other signature Audemars Piguet collections include the Code 11:59 and Millenary. These luxury watches start around $20,000 but can cost hundreds of thousands.
17. Vacheron Constantin
With origins dating back to 1755, Vacheron Constantin is one of the oldest Swiss watch manufacturers still in operation. It is acclaimed for making the world’s most complicated timepieces, with a heritage of bespoke watchmaking for royalty and celebrities.
Vacheron Constantin’s incredible expertise includes mastery of Grand Complications like the perpetual calendar, chronograph, and minute repeater. Flagship collections include the Patrimony, Traditionnelle, and Overseas. Watches sell for $10,000 to over $1 million. The Reference 57260 watch made for its 260th anniversary in 2015 is the world’s most complicated watch ever made, integrating 57 complications.
Dating back to 1833, Jaeger-LeCoultre has over 1,200 mechanical calibers. That exceptional expertise translates into “the watchmaker’s watchmaker.” Famed for inventions including the Reverso and Atmos clock, JLC combines craft mastery and elegance. Iconic models include the Reverso, Master, and Polaris. Most JLC watches cost between $5,000 to $50,000.
Founded in 1848, Omega helped pioneer chronograph watches. As the official timekeeper of the Olympics and NASA, it has an important history in sports and science. For example, the Omega Speedmaster was the first watch certified for spaceflight and worn on the moon. Omega is also renowned for its iconic Seamaster dive watches.
While vintage models can fetch high values at auction, most new Omega watches cost $2,000 to $10,000. With a mix of cutting-edge engineering and classical style, Omega demonstrates the best of Swiss watchmaking.
No Swiss watch brand rivals Rolex for prestige, status, and brand recognition. Since 1905, Rolex achieved groundbreaking innovations—including the first waterproof watch. Some of its most iconic models include the Submariner, GMT-Master, Daytona, and Datejust. While entry-level Rolexes start around $5,000, luxury models can cost over $75,000. Beyond the cost, finding one requires getting on a waitlist.
Swiss watches remain unmatched in terms of craftsmanship, prestige, and cutting-edge technology. From centuries-old luxury brands to modern innovators, Switzerland produces some of the finest timepieces. While brands like Rolex come with hefty price tags, Swiss watches can also accommodate many budgets. Affordable brands like Swatch and Tissot offer quality Swiss engineering starting at around $200. For those seeking luxury status symbols, Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Omega sit at the peak. Whatever your needs, the top Swiss watch brands provide dedication to their craft and rich heritage.
Frequently Asked Questions
A Swiss-made watch must have at least 60% Swiss components and a final inspection done in Switzerland. The movement must be Swiss.
Swiss watches are renowned for their precision, quality craftsmanship, innovation, and heritage of watchmaking expertise dating back centuries.
Patek Philippe is generally the most expensive Swiss watch brand, with timepieces ranging from tens of thousands to millions of dollars.
Tissot and Hamilton offer very high quality and craftsmanship at accessible price points starting around $200-500.
In 1926, Rolex invented the first water-resistant and dustproof watch with the Rolex Oyster.
Top Swiss dive watch brands include Omega (Seamaster), Rolex (Submariner), Breitling (Superocean), and TAG Heuer (Aquaracer).
Great first Swiss watches include the Rolex Datejust, Omega Seamaster, Breitling Navitimer, TAG Heuer Carrera, and Tissot LeLocle.