Guides / History

Best Luxury Swiss Watch Brands

Best Luxury Swiss Watch Brands

Swiss watches are widely regarded to be the best a watch lover can get. Just like Germany with cars, a pure and admirable passion for watchmaking runs deeply through Switzerland’s heritage. Indeed, today, the ‘Swiss-made’ label is synonymous with an exceptionally designed and high-quality timepiece. But, how did this come to be, and who are the best of the best? Today, we run through a condensed history of Swiss watchmaking and discuss the best luxury Swiss watch brands in the contemporary industry.

A Brief History of Swiss Watchmaking

Contrary to what one may assume, the Swiss were not the first watchmakers nor were they always the industry’s leaders. The foundation of its success lies in the 16th century when Geneva’s watchmaking industry began to expand. This coincided with the influx of Huguenots fleeing France to Switzerland to avoid persecution for their Protestant beliefs. With them, they brought watchmaking expertise and skills, which set the foundation for Geneva’s contemporary watchmaking reputation.

Led by French reformer John Calvin, changes to the other industries in Geneva also contributed to the growth of its watchmaking. Geneva was previously known for its jewellery makers and goldsmiths, but per Calvin’s reformations, jewellery was forbidden. As a result, these skilled workers also turned towards watchmaking too, learning from the refugees and contributing their own specialist knowledge.

Best Luxury Swiss Watch Brands

By the time these reformations were relaxed in the 17th century, Geneva had already made a name for itself in the watchmaking industry. And, its attention to skilled craftsmanship only snowballed when jewellery was no longer forbidden. Finally, they could combine their new-found watchmaking expertise with their traditionally skilful jewellery making. Swiss watches were now beginning to become renowned for their beauty above all else.

However, it wasn’t until the 1800s that Switzerland became the watchmaking powerhouse it is today. At this point, other nations like Britain and France were industry leaders. But, inventions like Abraham-Louis Perrelet’s perpetual watch and Adrien Philippe’s pendant winding watch began to put the Swiss head and shoulders above the competition. Moreover, due to its later willingness to adapt to mass production through techniques like établissage, Switzerland further overtook the others that struggled to adapt to the changing times.

The Best Luxury Swiss Watch Brands

Inspired by the history of Swiss watchmaking? Today, we have put together a list of our best luxury Swiss watch brands to highlight some of the best in the (affordable!) luxury market today.

Best Luxury Swiss Watch Brands

Raymond Weil

Founded in 1976, Mr Raymond Weil bravely established his company amongst the biggest revolution in the horological industry: the quartz revolution. Known within the Swiss industry as the ‘quartz crisis’, this was an era of rapid decline for traditional Swiss watchmaking in favour of Japanese quartz watches. However, attesting to its original design language and high-quality products, Raymond Weil both survived and thrived throughout this era. Still based in Switzerland today, the brand’s stunning portfolio has become known to draw inspiration from music culture.

Our Pick: Raymond Weil Freelancer Pop Bi-Compax Chronograph Limited Edition (43.5mm) Black & Turquoise Dial / Titanium 7780-TI-20425

Inspired by the joy of music, we love this recently released Freelancer Pop Bi-Compax chronograph model. Immediately catching the eye are the two vibrant turquoise subdials, which inject some lively colour into the black dial. The matching turquoise second hand and pulsometer scale reinforce this vibrancy while creating a cohesive design. Complementing these accents are silver-tone trimmings, such as the remaining central hands and the baton indices.

Beyond its aesthetics, this Freelancer is also very mighty. A scratch-resistant sapphire glass shields the dial, whilst its 43.5mm titanium case and bracelet provide a sturdy housing for the design. Beating within the case is the brand’s powerful RW5030 automatic mechanical movement, which has a power reserve of 56 hours. For any mechanical watch enthusiast, the movement’s beauty is viewable through the watch’s exhibition case back.

A perfect opener to our list, make sure you act quickly to get your hands on one of the 400 pieces available worldwide.

Best Luxury Swiss Watch Brands


A more historic brand, Longines actually predates industrialised watchmaking. The brand began as a comptoir founded by Auguste Agassiz and two other partners in 1832, before moving into a centralised factory building in 1867. It was the location of this factory, ‘Les Longines’ (in English: ‘the long meadows’) that prompted the company’s name change. Perhaps one of its most notable achievements is its longstanding ties to sports and the aeronautic industries. As a result of these partnerships, Longines has been part of various historic milestones in history. From accompanying the first solo female flight across the Atlantic to being the official Formula 1 timekeeper, Longines watches have been an integral part of many historical moments.

Our Pick: LONGINES HydroConquest GMT (41mm) Blue Sunray / Rubber Strap L37904969 / L3.790.4.96.9

Another recently released piece is this highly-anticipated HydroConquest GMT. The HydroConquest divers range has been a central part of the brand’s portfolio since its launch in 2007. Adding even more functionality to this fan favourite, this new model comes with a GMT function and an innovative anti-magnetic build. In fact, the HydroConquest GMT is 10 times more resistant to magnetic fields than the ISO 764 standard. In addition to this, it also boasts a hefty 300 metres of water resistance.

Beneath its anti-reflective and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal is a blue sunray dial. Adorning it are silver-tone indices and hands, as well as a neat 3 o’clock date display. It’s beautifully finished with a stunning blue ceramic bezel, which sits on top of the sturdy 41mm stainless steel case. Completing its design is a comfortable blue rubber strap, which fastens with a double-security folding clasp.

Innovative, timeless and incredibly durable, the Longines HydroConquest GMT is definitely one to keep your eye on.

Best Luxury Swiss Watch Brands


The humble beginnings of what would later become Rado began in a makeshift atelier in the family home of Fritz, Ernst and Werner Schlup. The three brothers began watchmaking under the name Schlup & Co in 1917, eventually opening up their own factory. By the end of World War II, it was one of the largest producers of watch movements. After 40 years of steady growth, the brothers rebranded under the name Rado, and the rest is history. Boasting many milestone models like the 1962 DiaStar, the world’s first scratch-resistant watch, Rado has leapt from strength to strength. Thanks to the reputation set by the DiaStar, Rado is widely heralded as the industry’s ‘master of materials’. Most notably, today it is famed for its exclusive high-tech ceramic technology.

Our Pick: RADO Captain Cook x Cameron Norrie Limited Edition (42mm) Green Dial / Stainless Steel (823 Pieces) R32149318 / R32.149.31.8

For any tennis fans out there, the Captain Cook x Cameron Norrie watch is a perfect choice. One of our favourite things about this watch is the level of detail, as there are several easter eggs hidden in its design. For example, in addition to its tennis-ball-green colour, the dial also has ball-shape accents at the 12, 3, 6, and 8 o’clock hour markers. Although it seems strange to accent the 8 o’clock position, it’s actually a nod to Norrie’s birthday (23/08).

There is also lots to love about this Rado’s functionality too. As well as its luminescent hands and indices, the dial also features a date display. Moreover, its durability is flawless. A sturdy 42mm stainless steel case locks in 300 metres of water resistance and protects the automatic mechanical movement within. This calibre has an exceptional power reserve, with a capacity of 80 hours.

But again, if you think this Captain Cook x Cameron Norrie is the watch for you, act fast! There are only 823 rapidly disappearing pieces available for purchase.

Best Luxury Swiss Watch Brands


Next up on our Best Luxury Swiss Brands list is Oris. The brand’s headquarters have been based in Hölstein since its first factory was opened there in 1904 by Paul Cattin and Georges Christian. Oris’s initial growth was extraordinary, and just seven years after its founding, it became the region’s largest employer. By the 1960s, Oris was one of the top ten largest Swiss watch manufacturers. After being in business for over 120 years, today Oris has successfully curated a portfolio of beautiful mechanical watches. Recently, it has branched into more playful designs, such as the ProPilot X Kermit edition. And, if that wasn’t enough to make you a fan, the brand has also been carbon-neutral since 2021.

Our Pick: ORIS Aquis Date Upcycle 41.5 mm Watch 01 733 7766 4150-SET

Embodying the Oris commitment to sustainable practices is this upcycled Aquis model. Of course, its central appeal is its unique dial. Combining sustainability with style, a mosaic of recycled PET plastic makes up the dial. As a result, each dial is unique. Upon it, luminescent indices and hands indicate the hours, minutes and seconds, whilst its ceramic bezel beautifully frames the design. As an added detail, there is also a subtle date display at the 6 o’clock position.

Housing the design is a 41.5mm stainless steel case, which locks in an impressive 300 metres of water resistance. Within it, an automatic mechanical movement powers the watch and has a 38-hour power reserve. Finally, a classic stainless steel bracelet finishes the design and gives it its timeless silhouette.

If you’re looking for a sustainably-made Swiss watch, the Oris Upcycled Aquis is a brilliant pick.

What do you think of our best luxury Swiss watch brands? Do you have a favourite? Let us know below!

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