Patek Philippe SA is a Swiss luxury watch and clock manufacturer founded in 1839, located in Canton of Geneva and the Vallée de Joux. Since 1932, it has been owned by the Stern family in Switzerland. Patek Philippe is one of the oldest watch manufacturers in the world with an uninterrupted watchmaking history since its founding. It designs and manufactures timepieces as well as movements, including some of the most complicated mechanical watches. The company maintains over 400 retail locations globally and over a dozen distribution centers across Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania, and in
2001 it opened the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva.
Patek Philippe is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious watch manufacturers in the world.Over the years, notable Patek Philippe patrons and timepieces owners include Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth II, Pope Pius IX, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, Pablo Picasso, Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Leo Tolstoy. As of 2018, among the world’s top ten most expensive watches ever sold at auctions, seven are Patek Philippe watches. In particular, Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication, the world’s most complicated mechanical watch until 1989, currently holds the title of the most expensive watch ever sold at auction, fetching 24 million US dollars (23,237,000 CHF) in Geneva on November 11, 2014.
Audemars Piguet Holding SA is a Swiss manufacturer of luxury mechanical watches and clocks, headquartered in Le Brassus, Switzerland. The company was founded by Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet in the Vallée de Joux in 1875, acquiring the name Audemars Piguet & Cie in 1881. The company has been family-owned since its founding.
Audemars Piguet is a highly regarded watch manufacturer. The company is best known for introducing the Royal Oak wristwatch in 1972, which helped the brand rise to prominence within the watchmaking industry. One of Audemars Piguet’s early achievements was creating the world’s first minute-repeating movement for wristwatches in 1892. In addition, the company developed the first skeleton watch in 1934 and has manufactured some of the thinnest watches in the world, such as the 1986 ultra-thin automatic tourbillon wristwatch (Calibre 2870).
Vacheron Constantin SA is a Swiss luxury watch and clock manufacturer founded in 1755. Since 1996, it has been a subsidiary of the Swiss Richemont Group. Vacheron Constantin is one of the oldest watch manufacturers in the world with an uninterrupted watchmaking history since its founding. It employs around 1,200 people worldwide as of 2018, most of whom are based in the company’s manufacturing plants in Canton of Geneva and Vallée de Joux in Switzerland.
Vacheron Constantin is a highly regarded watch manufacturer. Over the years, notable Vacheron Constantin patrons and timepieces owners include Queen Elizabeth II, Pope Pius XI, Napoléon Bonaparte, Marlon Brando, William James, John D. Rockefeller, Diana Princess of Wales, Harry S. Truman, Wright brothers, and so on. The Vacheron Constantin pocket watch No. 402833 (1929), which was owned by King Fuad I of Egypt, ranks as one of the most expensive watches ever sold at auction, fetching US$2.77 million (3,306,250 CHF) in Geneva on April 3, 2005. In 2015, Vacheron Constantain introduced the pocket watch Reference 57260, which currently holds the title of the most complicated mechanical watch ever made in the world, with 57 horological complications.
4. Tag Heuer
TAG Heuer S.A. is a Swiss luxury manufacturing company that designs, manufactures and markets watches and fashion accessories, as well as eyewear and mobile phones manufactured under license by other companies and carrying the Tag Heuer brand name.
TAG Heuer began as Uhrenmanufaktur Heuer AG, founded in 1860 by Edouard Heuer in St-Imier, Switzerland. In 1985 TAG Group purchased a majority stake in the company, forming TAG Heuer. In 1999 French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH bought nearly 100 percent of the Swiss company.
The name TAG Heuer combines the initials of “Techniques d’Avant Garde” and the founder’s surname.
A. Lange & Söhne is a trademark of Lange Uhren GmbH, a German manufacturer of luxury and prestige watches. The company was originally founded by Ferdinand Adolph Lange in Glashütte, Germany in 1845. The original A. Lange & Söhne was nationalized and ceased to exist in 1948, following the occupation by the Soviet Union after World War II. The current A. Lange & Söhne trademark was re-registered when Lange Uhren GmbH was founded in 1990 by Walter Lange, the great-grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange.
A. Lange & Söhne is a highly regarded watch manufacturer. Since 2000, it has been a subsidiary of the Swiss Richemont Group. Lange watches boast distinctive Glashütte style in appearance and design, which is closer to the classic British style and is different from Swiss styles. The company’s flagship models include Lange 1 and Lange 1815.
Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre SA, or simply Jaeger-LeCoultre is a Swiss luxury watch and clock manufacturer founded by Antoine LeCoultre in 1833 and is based in Le Sentier, Switzerland. Since 2000, the company has been a fully owned subsidiary of the Swiss luxury group Richemont.
Jaeger-LeCoultre is regarded as a top-tier Richemont brand. It has hundreds of inventions, patents and over one thousand movements to its name, including the world’s smallest movement, one of the world’s most complicated wristwatches (Grande Complication), and a timepiece of near-perpetual movement (the Atmos clock).
Rolex SA is a Swiss luxury watch manufacturer based in Geneva, Switzerland. Originally founded as Wilsdorf and Davisby Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis in London, England in 1905, the company registered Rolex as the brand name of its watches in 1908 and became Rolex Watch Co. Ltd. in 1915. After World War I, the company moved its base of operations to Geneva, Switzerland in order to avoid heavy taxation from a recovering post-war Britain, and in 1920 Hans Wilsdorf registered Montres Rolex SAin Geneva as the new company name which eventually became Rolex SA in later years. Since 1960, the company has been owned by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, a private family trust.
Rolex SA and its subsidiary Montres Tudor SA design, manufacture, distribute and service wristwatches sold under the Rolex and Tudor brands. In 2018, Forbes ranked Rolex as the world’s 71st most valuable brand. As of 2018, among the world’s top ten most expensive watches ever sold at auctions, three are Rolex watches. In particular, Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona currently holds the title of the most expensive wristwatch and the second most expensive watch ever sold at auction, fetching 17.75 million US dollars in New York on October 26, 2017.
Hublot is a Swiss luxury watchmaker founded in 1980 by Italian Carlo Crocco. The company currently operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of France’s LVMH. In 1980, it also marked the birth of the ‘Fusion’concept a few months after being founded.
A scion of the Italian Binda Group dynasty, best known for making Breil watches, Carlo Crocco left the company in 1976 to strike out on his own and create a new watch company. Moving to Switzerland he formed MDM Geneve and set about designing a watch that he named the Hublot after the French word for “porthole”. The watch that he created featured the first natural rubber strap in the history of watchmaking. It took 3 years of research to create the strap. Despite failing to attract a single potential customer on the first day of its debut at the 1980 Basel Watch Fair, the watch quickly proved to be a commercial success with sales in excess of $2m in its first year.
Breguet is a luxury watch, clock and jewelry manufacturer founded by Abraham-Louis Breguet in Paris, France in 1775. Since 1999, it has been a subsidiary of the Swiss Swatch Group. Headquartered in L’Abbaye, Switzerland, Breguet is one of the oldest surviving watchmaking brands and a pioneer of numerous watchmaking technologies such as the tourbillon, which was invented by Abraham Breguet in 1801. Abraham Breguet also invented and produced the world’s first self-winding watch (the Perpétuelle) in 1780, as well as the world’s first wristwatch in 1810 (the Breguet No.2639, for Caroline Bonaparte, Queen of Naples).
Breguet is a highly regarded watch manufacturer. Over the years, notable Breguet patrons and timepieces owners include King George III, Queen Victoria, Alexandre I of Russia, Napoléon Bonaparte, Ettore Bugatti, Sir Winston Churchill, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Gioachino Rossini, Arthur Rubinstein and so on. In particular, the Breguet & Fils, Paris No. 2667 (1814) pocket watch ranks as one of the world’s most expensive watch ever sold at auction, fetching US$4.69 million (4,339,000 CHF) in Geneva on May 14, 2012. The Breguet Sympathique Clock No.128 & 5009 (Duc d’Orléans Breguet Sympathique), on the other hand, currently holds the title of the most expensive Breguet timepiece ever sold at auction, fetching 6.80 million US dollars in New York on December 4, 2012.
Chopard is a Swiss manufacturer of luxury jewellery and watches. Founded in 1860 in Sonvilier, Switzerland by Louis-Ulysse Chopard, Chopard has been owned by the Scheufele family in Germany since 1963.
Chopard is best known for making high-quality ladies’ watches and jewellery, but its patrons also include Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. The company is headquartered in Geneva and has a site in Fleurier, Canton of Neuchâtel that manufactures watch movements.