One of the great things about luxury watch brands is the reputation and tradition associated with each brand. When purchasing a watch, many find one of the most important factors to be the brand of the watch. The name that is engraved on the dial or on the caseback tells a lot about a watch. A brand name can tell the potential purchaser that this watch will be dependable and long-lasting because of the brand name stamped on the front. Watch enthusiasts want a watch that will be valuable for a long time. Here are some of the oldest watch brands that are still creating incredible pieces today:
The oldest uninterrupted luxury watch brand is Vacheron Constantin. Founded in 1755 by independent watchmaker, Jean-Marc Vacheron, Vacheron Constantin has remained a leader in the luxury watch industry. . In 1819, Jacques-Barthelemy Vacheron decided to take on a partner, Francios Constantin, changing the name of the brand to Vacherona & Constantin (the “&” was dropped in 1970). Now owned by Richemont with headquarters located in Geneva, Switzerland, Vacheorn Constantin has continued the company’s success as it continues to create beautiful watches. The brand is known for its innovative watches and classic designs. In 1770, Vacheron Constantin created the first complication, followed by the creation of the first engine-turned dials nine-years later. In addition to these achievements, Vacheron Constantin can also claim to have created the world’s thinnest mechanical watch with the release of its Patrimony collection. In 1979, Vacheron Constantin created the “Kallista,” which it claims is one of the world’s most expensive watches, initially selling for $5 million. The year 2005 marked the 250th anniversary of Vacheron Constantin. As a way to commemorate this anniversary, the brand created the “Tour de I’Ile,” one of the most complicated wristwatches in the world. Vacheron Constantin has kept true to its reputation throughout its 250+ year history. It continues to create beautiful and innovative watches that appeal to all luxury watch lovers.
Another storied watch brand is Breguet. Breguet was founded in 1775 by Abraham-Louis Breguet. Breguet is known for several of its innovative creations, including the creation of the first wristwatch in 1810 as well as the first tourbillon. Around 1795, Breguet created the tourbillon in an effort to counter the effects of gravity. The tourbillon is still offered today in many high-end luxury watches. Breguet began gaining notoriety when Queen Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI grew fascinated by Breguet’s creations and ordered several of his watches. For Marie Antoinette, Brequet created what he called the “Marie Antoinette” masterpiece, which included every watch complication that was known at that time. He also sold pieces to Bonaparte, as well as Queen of Naples, Caroline Murat. After Breguet’s death in 1823, the company was passed to members of the Breguet family. In the 1850s, Edward Brown became a partner in the company and the watch brand is now owned by members of the Brown family.
Started in 1839, Patek Philippe is known for its beautiful and prestigious watches. It was originally founded by two Polish immigrants, Antoni Patek and Francois Czapek, when Patek serving as the business-minded partner and Czapek as the watchmaker. In 1844, Patek made the acquaintance of watchmaker Jean-Adrien Philippe and decided to continue his business efforts with Philippe, creating “Patek & Cie.” In 1932, brothers Charles and Jean Stern, owners of a fine dial manufacture in Geneva, purchased the company and renamed it “Patek Philippe S.A.” One of the most innovative creations from Patek Philippe is the “Complication.” Watchmaker Louis Cottier created the first complication that displayed the time in local time and other various cities. Soon after, Cottier began making complications for Patek Philippe. Patek Philippe has created watches for many members of various royal families, including Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, as well as the king of queen of Denmark. To celebrate is 150th anniversary, Patek Philippe created one of the most complicated watches ever made, the Calibre 89. This watch houses 39 complications, including the time of sunrise, the date of Easter, and can account for leap years. Patek Philippe made history again in 2008 when its platinum tourbillon wristwatch Ref. 5002P Sky Moon Tourbillon sold for $1.49 million USD at a Sotheby’s auction, making it the most expensive wristwatch. Patek Philippe continues to wow the watch industry with every new watch that it creates.
Blancpain is another brand with a long and successful history. Founded in 1735, Blancpain is most famous for its Blancpain 1735, which is one of the most complicated mechanical watches. This watch includes a tourbillon, perpetual calendar, and many other complication. Only 30 pieces were made. Blancpain also boasts that it is the creator of both the smallest and thinnest watch movements. Another thing that sets Blancpain apart is the number of watches that it creates. Each Blancpain watch is created by a single watchmaker and the brand only produces around 10,000 watches a year. This fact helps to add to the rarity and uniqueness of each Blancpain watch. Owned by The Swatch Group, Blancpain in headquartered in Biel, Switzerland. (Thanks to Kyle from Perpetuelle for the suggestion to add Blancpain to the list!)