A word like “Luxury” says so much about itself. Especially when it comes to watches, you may know some luxury brands. We have been wearing watches for centuries, and it is believed that the wristwatch was first discovered around 1800.
Modern wristwatch companies have existed for centuries-some for longer than others. These brands have turned their business into a lucrative way to find some spot in the luxury watch industry.
Most luxury brands are Swiss-based luxury brands. Despite Rolex, which possesses 25% of the Swiss Watch Sale market, these brands have managed to rank their spot on the list of best luxury brands and their strong heritage.
In one year, one brand emerges and can be exited after a certain amount of time; another brand appears, etc. However, these brands are still shining in their own spots.
So here are the top 10 oldest luxury watch brands that are still in operation for centuries. You may not know some of them but today from this blog post you will know plenty of things about these brands.
Top 10 Oldest Luxury Watch Brands Still Operational
10. Carl F. Bucherer – Lucerne, 1888
Founded in 1888 Carl F. Bucherer remains one of the oldest luxury watch brands with around 134 operational years. Since the firm was founded in 1888, it has been owned by the Bucherer family. it is one of the oldest watch companies still owned by its actual family.
As of now the company currently sells 25,000 luxury watches a year (60% men’s and 40% women’s watches). The prices of their watches vary between USD 5,000 to USD 30,000. It’s 40% of the world market comes from Europe, 40% from Asia, and 20% from the rest of the world, which includes the US market.
They create beautiful Swiss watches inspired by their hometown, and the result is fine and timeless timepieces. Some of the popular luxury watches from the brand are Manero, Adamavi, Heritage, Patravi, etc.
Not only for men its 40% revenue comes from selling women’s watches. Some of their luxury timepieces are Pathos and Alegria.
Some interesting facts about Carl F. Bucherer:
- In Deadpool 2 the character Cable who was a time-traveling soldier played by Josh Brolin used a time machine on his wrist, this device is inscribed with the Carl F. Bucherer name and logo on it.
9. Audemars Piguet – 1875
Founded in 1875 Audemars Piguet has been manufacturing timeless and spectacular watches for more than a century and is known as one of the world’s most growing luxury watch brands.
The AP Royal Oak series combines non-precious metals with a sports design, making it an innovator in the luxury watch industry. Its market in China is very wide because the company opened its first pop-out store on WeChat in 2018. The company was able to tap into the vast potential of the luxury watch market in China through this marketing move.
Currently, its headquarter is based in Le Brassus, Switzerland. Like Carl F. Bucherer (1888), this brand is also owned by a family since its founding. Its popular luxury watch models from the collection are Royal Oak, Millenary, Master, etc.
Some interesting facts about Carl F. Bucherer:
- Their designer’s inspiration comes from the natural world around them, specifically the water, forests, rocks, and ice from their iron originates.
- In 2019, Audemars Piguet launched a new watch line in its collections called “Code 11.59”. It targeted a younger and more digitally connected generation.
8. Tissot- 1853
One of the most popular luxury watch brands was founded in 1853, giving us a heritage advantage along with its popularity. It was founded by Charles-Félicien Tissot in Switzerland and is currently based in Switzerland.
It has been 169 years of operations Tissot has managed to sell its luxury timepieces around the world. At present, it is owned by The Swatch Group
With more than 4 million watches exported each year, Tissot is the leader in traditional Swiss watchmaking. The Tissot brand stands by its motto, Innovators by Tradition. Tissot components are renowned for their high quality. It has around 250 employees as of 2022.
Facts about Tissot :
- In 1853, Tissot created the first mass-produced pocket watch and the first pocket watch with two time zones.
- In the early 1930s, Tissot also produced one of the first antimagnetic wristwatches.
7. Omega – 1848
Based in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland, and founded by La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1848, Omega remains one of the most popular luxury watch brands even after the completion of its 174 operational years.
After all these 7 watch brands on our list of top 10 oldest luxury watch brands, It is obvious that the Swiss watchmaking industry has a long and rich history, which is why some brands are well-known in 2022.
NASA choose Omega Watches for its first Apollo 11 mission in 1969. So you can guess its popularity which is tremendous. Brandirectory.com ranked it the 14th most popular individual luxury brand in the world.
Omega has estimated production of 500,000 watches in 2022 which is significant growth for a luxury watch brand despite its competitors like Rolex and Philip Patek.
Its popular watch collections include Speedmaster Moonwatch, Seamaster, Constellation, and De Ville Prestige. Because of its popularity and luxury heritage I’ve included it on our list of Top 10 Oldest Luxury Watch Brands Still Operational.
Facts about Omega:
- Omega has innovated plenty of different timepieces including the world’s first minute repeating, the first mass-produced watch, the world’s first movement that is resistant to magnetic fields, etc.
6. Patek Philipp – 1848
Started in 1839 by three co-founders Patek Philippe has always been one of the most popular luxury watch brands in the world. It was one of the Swiss brands that started to make Swiss wristwatches in 1868.
Among the other luxury watch brands, Patek Philippe made a splash when it started, and they continue to do so now. Patek Philippe is extremely popular and well known among all generations today.
Having said that its popular watch models include multi-time-zone “Complication” and the extremely intricate “ Calibre 89. Currently, it is owned by the Stern family and has been generating stable revenues for a few years which shows its strong Swiss heritage.
The brand makes around 62,000 timepieces on average every year with its luxury premium pricing focusing on rich audiences with million-dollar bank balances. Because of its constant growth in the Swiss luxury watch industry, I’ve included it on our list of Top 10 Oldest Luxury Watch Brands Still Operational.
Facts about Patek Philippe.
- Eight of the ten most expensive watches sold at auction in the world came from Patek Philippe.
- Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication, which sold for US$23.98 million (23,237,000 CHF) in Geneva on November 11, 2014, is the most expensive pocket watch ever sold at auction.
5. Jaeger-LeCoultre – 1833
Known as one of the most popular luxury watch brands from the parent group Richemont; Jaeger-LeCoultre was founded in Jaeger-LeCoultre by Antoine LeCoultre. It was named after its founder and it’s been 189 years for the brand in the luxury watch industry.
More than a thousand patents, inventions, and movements have been patented under the Jaeger-LeCoultre name. Since its starting operational year, Jaeger-LeCoultre has produced over 1,242 different calibers.
At present in 2022 the luxury brand employs over 1,300 people and creates close to 100,000 watches a year which is a great achievement for a luxury watch brand because of its Swiss luxury heritage.
Among its popular watch collections are Master Ultra, Reverso Classic, Memovox Deep Sea Master, and Master Control.
Facts about Jaeger-LeCoultre:
- Since the start of the Jaeger-LeCoultre brand the company has produced 1,242 different calibers, filed approximately 400 patents, and developed hundreds of products.
4. Longines – 1832
4th oldest luxury watch brand on our list; Longines was created by Auguste Agassiz in 1832 who wanted to create a unique pocket watch using crown-wheel escapements, similar to the ones used for Swiss timepieces. Currently, it is a subsidiary of The Swatch Group and is one of the primary luxury brands in The Swatch Group.
Eventually, over time their mechanical features advanced, and they gained a reputation as one of the best luxury watch brands. Today, they produce modern interpretations of their timepiece classics for all contemporary collectors.
There are so many popular luxury timepieces created by Longines including its Classic Master, Classic Elegant, The Longines 1832, Evidence, etc. Because of its long rich heritage, I’ve included it on the list of Top 10 Oldest Luxury Watch Brands Still Operational,
Facts about Longines:
- Albert Einstein owned two Longines watches, a silver pocket watch from 1943 and a gold wristwatch from 1929. Albert Einstein’s Longines’ wristwatch, which was presented to him by Rabbi Edgar Magnin in the year of 1931, was auctioned by Antiquorum for a whopping US$596,000.
3. Gallet & Co – 1826
Gallet & Co. was founded in 1826 in Geneva, and it continues to produce some of the most iconic timepieces today. With the death of owners and subsequent changes in ownership, the company has also survived major economic events such as the Great Depression in the United States and two world wars.
In addition to being one of the oldest luxury watch brands in the world, Gallet & Co is also one of the most successful luxury brands in the world. From the early 20th century to the present day, Gallet is mostly known for its MultiChron chronograph wristwatches.
It is only one of the individual Swiss luxury watch brands still in the operation today with its rich luxury heritage. Even as Gallet has recently expanded its marketing focus to reach a broader audience of “civilians” for its upscale timepieces, the company continues to produce privately for a range of other firms in the luxury timekeeping industry.
Because of its rich heritage I’ve included it on the list of Top 10 Oldest Watch Brands in the World 2022.
Facts about Longines:
- While serving as the 33rd president (1945-1953), Truman wore a Gallet Flight Officer.
- It makes privately produced components and timepieces for a number of other entities within the luxury-class timekeeping industry.
2. Vacheron Constantin – 1755
Vacheron Constantin is a Swiss brand founded in 1755 by Jean-Marc Vacheron. It is one of the most popular subsidiary brands of The Richemont. In addition to its popularity, it employs 1,200 and has a production output of 20,000 luxury timepieces.
The company has over 265 years of experience in the luxury industry giving us a historical luxury watch heritage, which has given them plenty of time to perfect and then reinvent watchmaking.
A variety of luxury timepieces can be found in the collection, such as Historique, Overseas, Patrimony, Fiftysix, and many more. Both their expertise and passion can be seen not only in the watches of the past but also in those produced today for modern audiences.
Facts about Vacheron Constantin:
- King Fuad I of Egypt owned Vacheron Constantin pocket watch No. 402833 (1929), one of the most expensive watches ever sold at auction, fetching a whopping amount of $2.77 million.
1. Blancpain – 1755
One of the most popular and oldest luxury watch brands Blancpain was founded in 1755 by Jehan-Jacques Blancpain. The brand has been operated by a family since its inception.
By adding new features to the traditional way of making watches at the time the company was founded, this company changed the game. Luxury watch lovers loved its traditional style watches.
The annual production of Blancpain has reached a whopping 10,000-20,000 luxury timepieces a year. Some of its popular luxury timepieces are Fifty Fathoms, Air Command, Villeret, Ladybird, etc.
Facts about Vacheron Constantin:
- Neither the company produces quartz watches, nor has it ever done so in the past, nor has it ever produced watches with digital displays.
- Each watch by the brand Blancpain is made by a single watchmaker.
Wrap up on Top 10 Oldest Luxury Watch Brands Still Operational:
I have included these 10 brands on our list of 10 oldest luxury watch brands on the bases of popularity along with their age. I know that there are other luxury brands exist that were founded back in the 15s and 14s.
Some of those brands are as follows:
- Gallet – 1466
- Haldimann – 1642
- Jeanrichard – 1681
- Graham- 1695
- Raketa – 1721
- IWC Schaffhausen – 1868
One of the most important and popular oldest watch brands in the world is IWC which was founded back in 1868.
IWC Schaffhausen – 1868
IWC Schaffhausen (International Watch Company) is known for producing high-quality pilot/aviation watches and was founded in 1868, 154 years ago which means operational for more than one and a half-century.
Based in Schaffhausen, Switzerland it was founded by American watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones. At percent, it is a subsidiary of Swiss Richemont Group.
It is an example of a modern-day luxury watchmaking master with its popular luxury watches including PORTOFINO, PILOT, CARATANIUM, DA VINCI, etc.
In 1991, IWC director Günter Blümlein founded the LMH group with some prominent luxury watchmaking brands, including Jaeger-LeCoultre, Audemars Piguet, A. Lange & Söhne. etc. In the year of 2000, LMH was acquired by Swiss Richemont Group
What is the oldest watch brand?
Gallet Watch is the oldest watch brand that exists today and was founded back in 1466. It was founded by the Gallet family in Switzerland. Currently, its headquarters are based in Switzerland.
What is the most luxurious brand of the watch?
Starting in 1839 Patek Philippe has always been the first choice for some luxury lovers having millions in their pockets. 8 out of the 10 most expensive luxury watches sold in the world are by Patek Phillippe.
Is Blancpain the oldest watch brand?
No, Blancpain is not the oldest watch brand. People used to believe that Blancpain is the oldest watch brand in the world but there are others on the list of oldest watch brands that were founded way back before Blancpain even existed like Gallet – 1466, Haldimann – 1642, Jeanrichard – 1681, Graham- 1695, Raketa – 1721, etc.
What are the Swiss watch brands that no longer exist?
Some of the forgotten Swiss watch brands are Cortébert, Elgin, Thomas Frederick Cooper, Gruen Watch Co., and plenty more on the list.
So this is the list of the top 10 oldest luxury watch brands in the world. If you have found any of your answers on this blog post do visit these posts too!