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Article: What's so great about the world's top five watch brands?

What's so great about the world's top five watch brands?

Click here to watch a video about the world's top 5 watch brands.

In this article, we will introduce the top 5 watch brands in the world.

Some of you may already know the world's top five watch brands, but what brands are included?

I'm sure there are some people who don't know this.

So, I will explain the history and main models of these five major brands, so I think you will be able to understand the general overview, so please read to the end.

So let's get started right away.

Definition of the top five brands

When people think of wristwatches, they probably think of Rolex, but Rolex is not one of the top five watch brands.

This is because, by definition, it doesn't fall into that genre.

So, what is the definition?

·Technical capabilities

・Deep history

・Brand image

It is decided based on various factors such as the above, but in reality, I think it would be more accurate to say that rather than saying "This brand is included because of this reason," it is included because that is what everyone thinks.

My impression is that the top five brands are those that have the technical ability to make beautiful watches.

So, rather than being a company that makes sports watches, it is a brand that produces dress watches using high-quality materials and has many models equipped with complicated mechanisms.

I think Rolex is lumped together with mass brands like Toyota or Volkswagen when it comes to cars, rather than being part of that category.

After all, everyone has one, and there are models that are within your reach if you try hard enough.

When it comes to the top five brands, even the cheaper models are hard to come by, so I think that prestige is also a factor.

Well, Rolex is not yet affordable for the masses, so its price is comparable to the top five watch brands, but Rolex and Omega are not included in the top five brands.

Now, let us introduce the top five watch brands.

1. Audemars Piguet

2. Vacheron Constantin

3. Audemars Piguet

4. Breguet

5. Lange & Söhne

It will be.

From there, there are the top three, which are said to be the three biggest watch brands in the world.

Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, and Audemars Piguet.

So, from here on, we will introduce the history and representative models of these three major watch brands.

Patek Philippe

Patek Philippe: The Two Founders

Patek Philippe was founded in 1839 by Antoine Norbert de Patek and François Czapek, and began by making pocket watches for royalty and high society.

Therefore, the company's name at the time of its founding was "Patek Czapek."

Then there's the third person. It was in 1844 that Patek met Adrien Philippe, who would later become an important partner of his.

It all began when Philippe won a bronze medal at the Paris Industrial Exhibition for his keyless winding and hand setting system.

Nowadays it is common to wind the mainspring with the crown, but at the time it was still common to turn it with a key, so he introduced an innovative winding method.

Patek Philippe Keyless Pocket Watch
By reaching out to Philippe, who was such a brilliant engineer, Patek agreed to make watches with him the following year in 1845, and together they established the brand "Patek Philippe."

The Patek Philippe brand was actually registered in 1851, the same year the company was founded.

What is particularly noteworthy about Patek Philippe is its "permanent repair" policy, which allows them to repair any watch, no matter how old it is.

The brand's original history dates back to making watches for royalty and aristocrats, so they have the technical ability to make such specialized watches, and the fact that they continue to do so today is why they are considered one of the world's top five watch brands.

In fact, wristwatches are sold for hundreds of millions to tens of millions of yen, and rare vintage watches that are few in number can sell for hundreds of millions of yen at auctions at Christie's or Sotheby's, and they do so with some frequency.

For men, even if they aren't very knowledgeable about watches, I think it's the second most well-known brand after Rolex.

Although it is one of the world's three biggest brands, it would not be an exaggeration to say that it is ranked higher than the other two.

It's also said to be a brand from the top.

Let's start by introducing Patek Philippe's flagship models.

Patek Philippe's representative models: Calatrava, Nautilus, Aquanaut




There are many other models, but these three are the most representative.

The first Calatrava was inspired by the Bauhaus philosophy of "less is more." This model was created based on the concept of "richer things ."

As a result, the design is simple, with all unnecessary elements removed, resulting in a model with beautiful form.

The case diameter is 31mm, a standard size for the time.

The first model was the Reference 96 from 1932, commonly known as "Kunroku."

Reference 96 9 and 6 are Kunroku.

This model has been around for about 100 years, and as of 2024, many models have been created.

The legitimate successor models to the 96 are the 3796 and 5196. The 3796 was produced from 1982 to 2000, but its appearance was almost identical to that of the original 96, and it was made in a size of 30.5mm.

The current model is the No. 5196, which has been in production since 2004, and has a case diameter of 37mm, which has been increased to meet current needs.

The next two models, the Nautilus and Aquanaut, were designed by the famous wristwatch designer Gerald Genta.

The first model was released in 1976, when luxury sports were in vogue, and there was a demand for models like this one with cases and bracelets made from stainless steel.

The Nautilus is The case was inspired by a ship's porthole and features a protrusion on the left side.

The next one to be born was the Aquanaut, which is quite similar to the Nautilus, but does not have the protrusions that make up the Nautilus.

These models remain popular today and are representative of Patek Philippe.

Vacheron Constantin

Vacheron Constantin is also famous as the world's oldest watch brand.

The oldest watch brand is Blancpain, but due to the quartz crisis in the 1970s, the company went on hiatus and stopped making watches for a period of time.

For this reason, Vacheron Constantin is said to be the oldest brand that is still in continuous operation to this day.

Let's take a look at its history.

The founder was Jean-Marc Vacheron.

Jean-Marc Vacheron was trained in the business by his father from an early age and established his own watchmaking workshop at the age of 24.

Vacheron founded the company on September 17, 1755, and that is where its history begins.

In 1819, Vacheron's grandson took over the business. He met François Constantin , the son of a merchant, and the two hit it off, and the name Vacheron Constantin was born, combining their names.

François sold his watches not only in France and Italy, but also in the United States, Mexico, Cuba and Asia, growing Vacheron Constantin into a global brand.

With Vacheron as the engineer and Constantin as the salesman bringing out the best in each other, the technology and style that Vacheron has inherited over the years has earned worldwide recognition.

In 1955, to commemorate the company's 200th anniversary, it created the thinnest movement ever.

It's just 1.64mm thin.

It's about as thick as a 1 yen coin.

A representative movement is the Cal. 1002, which has also been awarded the Geneva Seal, demonstrating that it meets high standards of quality.

After the quartz shock around 1970, the Ref. 222 was produced in 1977 to commemorate the 222nd anniversary of the Maison's founding, and was announced as a luxury watch that was the talk of the town at the time.

The concept and design of the 222 will be carried over to the current Overseas series, but this time the design was not done by Genta but by an outside designer, "Dino Modolo" and "Vincent Kaufman".

In 1992, after a history of producing thin movements, the brand revived a 1940s style movement for a minute repeater.

Vacheron Constantin Minute Repeater Cal.1755

The Cal. 1755 thus released was the world's thinnest minute repeater model, measuring just 3.28mm when cased.

As a company with a history spanning 250 years, its customers are not ordinary, and some of its customers have been notable figures in history, such as Queen Maria of Romania and Prince Napoleon.

Now let's take a look at some of Vacheron's flagship models.

First up is Patrimony.

Like the Patek Philippe Calatrava, this is a simple three-hand dress watch.

This is a relatively new collection, having been created in 2004, so it is only about 20 years old.

This watch also has a simple look, but with attention to detail, such as a mirror polish to the smallest details, and the hand-crafted work that cannot be seen just by looking at it, which is what makes it so appealing to Patrimony.

The Patrimony design is a modern interpretation of a piece produced by Vacheron Constantin in the 1950s.

There are also models with see-through back covers available. The movement visible from there offers a glimpse of the exquisitely beautiful parts and gear trains that demonstrate Vacheron Constantin's technical expertise.

Next is the Overseas, as mentioned earlier.

This is the successor model to the Ref. 222 mentioned earlier.

The Ref. 222 was more geared towards dressy occasions and therefore did not become an explosive hit, while the Overseas was a watch with a redesign that was much more sporty.

Although the Overseas is characterized by its sporty design , it also retains a refined and elegant taste, and has been renowned as a luxury sports watch since its release in 1997.

A distinctive feature of the design is that it incorporates the Maltese cross design, which is the brand logo.

In fact, the design of the bezel and bracelet is derived from the Maltese cross, making it a unique design that embodies the special meaning of the logo of a top brand.

This is truly a top-notch watch both inside and out.

And to match its appearance, It has high practicality, such as high water resistance and high magnetic resistance.


Audemars Piguet

Next up we have Audemars Piguet.

Audemars Piguet is the only brand that has never experienced an interruption in its history since its founding.

Let's take a look at the company's founding history.

In 1875, a small watchmaking workshop was founded in the town of Le Brassus, located in the Vallée de Joux in Switzerland.

Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet

The owner of the workshop was Jules-Louis Audemars, who was 22 years old at the time and was highly regarded in the watch world for his dexterity and talent.

They are particularly skilled in complex mechanisms such as chronographs and repeaters, and soon after the establishment of their workshop, they received job offers from many famous watch manufacturers.

The amount was too much for one person to handle.

Finding himself so busy, he decides to find another watchmaker.

That's co-founder Edouard-Auguste Piguet.

Edouard is two years older than Jules and is a childhood friend who attended the same elementary school.

The combined talents of these two men led to the creation of even more complex movements from the small workshop in the Vallée de Joux, which were then supplied to a wider range of watchmakers.

Then in 1881, the two made a big decision.

The idea was to establish our own brand rather than being a subcontractor for a manufacturer.

Thus, the following year, in 1882, the name "Audemars Piguet", which is still famous today, was officially born in Le Brassus.

Because of this historical background, it is not widely known, but the company was originally a movement manufacturing company.

It looks like Jaeger-LeCoultre.

Now let's take a look at some representative models.

The Royal Oak was born in 1972.

This Royal Oak is also a model designed by Gerald Genta, as introduced earlier.

The name Royal Oak is associated with events during the English Civil War in 1651.

It is said that the name comes from the English oak tree where Charles (Charles II), the then Prince of England and Scotland, hid while fleeing from the Parliamentarian army after being defeated in battle.

The name Royal Oak is also said to come from the battleship Royal Oak, built by the British Navy during World War I.

Royal Navy battleship "Royal Oak"

The design motif was based on the portholes on this battleship, and the Royal Oak's distinctive octagonal bezel comes from this.

Genta may be a porthole enthusiast.

I think the Royal Oak's design is more masculine and cool than any other watch model.

This model was also born during the luxury sports boom in 1972, and various models have been created since then.

Throughout its history, it has been available in a wide range of sizes, from small to quite large, so it is appealing for us men as it offers a wide range of options.

Therefore, there is no doubt that it is popular with men, but actress and model Haruna Kawaguchi also owns several pairs, making it a model that is sought after by both men and women.

If you are interested in the watch that Kawaguchi owns, please watch this video for more details.


Founded by the watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet, who is said to have accelerated the history of watches by 200 years, the brand Breguet produces first-class watches in both design and technology, and has a history of being favored by French aristocrats.

The company's founder, Breguet, is known as a watchmaker who invented many mechanisms that are still used to this day, and who accelerated the history of watches by 200 years.

For example, Breguet was responsible for the development of the tourbillon, perpetual calendar, lever-type cylinder escapement, and firing mechanism.

Breguet's development was not limited to the mechanism; he also designed Breguet hands with small holes at the tip, Breguet numerals with a classic yet unique index design, and guilloche engraving.

Many of the mechanisms developed and improved by Breguet are still widely used in modern watches, and it is said that 70% of the mechanisms used in modern watches were developed by Breguet.

This is a brand that also places great emphasis on chronograph movements.

There was once a brand in Switzerland called Lemania, and Breguet acquired the company and established it as Manufacture Breguet, placing it exclusively in charge of movements for chronograph models.

The company Lemania is a brand with a long history that grew alongside the Royal Air Force, and their watches are still sought after by many people today.

If you want to know more about Lemania, click here.

Now let me introduce some representative models.

The first one is Marine.

As I mentioned briefly earlier in the section on Lemania, the company Breguet actually had close ties with the French military in the past.

The Marine series was launched in the 1990s as a tribute to Breguet's production of marine chronometers (precision timepieces for navigation) for the French Navy in the 18th century.

What makes this watch so appealing is that it inherits Breguet's traditional designs, such as the guilloche dial and coin edge, but also incorporates a sporty touch to create a beautiful and stylish finish.

Although it is a simple three-hand watch, when you look closely you can see that it is well-made and can be said to be a flawless watch that combines tradition and innovation.

The second is Aeronaval.

Breguet's Aéronavale is a chronograph developed in the 1950s for the French Naval Air Service.

Not only does it have chronograph functions, it is also highly practical, and you can feel the simplicity and beauty that Breguet creates.

The more commonly known version is the Type XX for the Air Force, but there is also a model exclusive to the French Navy.

The French Navy limited edition has a black bezel, giving it a more refined look.

This model has remained almost unchanged since its creation in the 1950s.

It looks really cool when you actually wear it on your wrist, and although it's not a brand that everyone knows like Rolex or Omega, just wearing a Breguet gives the impression of someone who has a deep understanding of watches.

The third one is the Breguet Classic.

The appeal of Breguet classics lies above all in their refined and simple beauty.

By eliminating unnecessary functions and design, Breguet has maximized the elegance of its designs and the functional beauty of its watches.

In particular, although guilloche dials can be seen by other brands, it can be said that Breguet's thorough handiwork stands out from the rest.

This is because, while guilloche decoration is generally done by machine, Breguet craftsmen create it using traditional methods by hand.

Guilloché engraving allows for the creation of intricate motifs on the dial, and the engraving machines used by Breguet were designed and manufactured over 100 years ago.

There are many types of guilloche, including the "Claws of Paris" pattern, the pavé de Paris pattern that resembles cobblestones, the sunbeam pattern, and the barleycorn pattern that resembles an ear of wheat, all of which are beautifully finished on Breguet products.

A. Lange & Söhne

Of the five brands, it is the only one made in Germany.

In 1845 in Saxony, Germany, The brand was founded by Ferdinand Adolph Lange.

Ferdinand Adolph Lange

At that time, Glashütte (now the state of Saxony), which had once prospered from silver mining, was suffering from poverty due to resource depletion and other factors, so the Saxon royal family sought ideas for revitalizing the town.

At that time, Adolf Lange proposed "revitalizing the town around the watchmaking industry," and his proposal was accepted.

In 1845, Lange received a large loan for the purpose of reconstruction, and moved from Dresden, where he was living at the time, to Glashütte with 15 apprentices, where he opened an independent workshop.

In 1868, Ferdinand Adolph Lange's eldest son, Richard Lange, took over the business and changed the name to A. Lange & Söhne.

By the way, "Sohne" means "sons" in German, and Lange Söhne refers to the founder Lange and his son.

In 1871, his second son, Emil Lange, also joined the business.

The company reached its peak by producing a wide variety of wristwatches from around 1871, when the Franco-Prussian War ended, until the early 1920s, when it was hit by the depression after World War I.

However, with the outbreak of World War II, the factory was converted into a munitions factory, which led to it being burned down during a Soviet air raid on May 8, 1945.

Later, when East and West Germany were reunited on October 3, 1990, the head of the steel division of the German conglomerate Mannesmann Group, who himself had experience as a watchmaker, decided to "revive the pinnacle of German watches to commemorate unification," and A. Lange & Söhne was re-registered and trademarked on December 7, 1990.

It has only been about 34 years since the new Lange was born, but when you look at the fact that it has been one of five generations of watch brands, you can see how advanced its technology is.

The defining feature of Lange & Söhne watches is their beauty.

The watches from the brands we have introduced so far are all overwhelmingly beautiful, but each part of this Lange & Söhne is also decorated with Perale Rouge Côtes de Genève, making it a work of art despite being a wristwatch.

Now let us introduce some representative models.

The most well-known and popular model is undoubtedly the Lange 1.

The history of clocks spans hundreds of years and has seen the creation of a wide variety of dial designs.

Among them, the dial design of the "Lange 1" is unique.

It features important display elements such as hours, minutes, seconds, calendar and power reserve all arranged without overlapping.

This avant-garde design stands out at first glance, but it is actually well-balanced using the golden ratio, making it extremely easy to read.

Therefore, the Lange 1 attracted attention not only for its dial design but also for its excellent balance.

Hidden within the dial is a tribute to the original Ferdinand Adolph Lange.

The large calendar is called the "outsize date."

The "Five-Minute Clock" is a mechanical digital clock on the stage of the Semper Opera House

It pays homage to the Five-Minute Clock, a mechanical digital clock that stands on the stage of the Semper Opera House in Dresden and was created by the first Lange together with his teacher Johann Friedrich Gutkaes.

The calendar has transformed from a practical mechanism into a romantic element.

Additionally, the convenience of being able to adjust the time using the push button at 10 o'clock is also part of this watch's appeal.


The representative models of the five major brands introduced here are those that are widely recognized by the public.

If you are actually familiar with the brand, you will know that there are many great models that are not listed here.

Find your favorite and wear it to improve the quality of your life.

Purchasing a watch from one of the big five brands is no easy task, but the joy you feel when you get it in your hands is something else entirely.

You may not eventually get a Crown, but work hard so that someday you will be able to own the watch you want.

I have a Patek 96, the Lange 1 here is good!

We look forward to your comments, such as:

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