If you’re new to the world of Swiss watches, you’re probably uncertain of what companies to look at. You’ve heard of Cartier, Tag Heuer, Rolex, and some of the others, but who are they?
What have these companies done to stand apart, and what makes their products so much better than everybody else’s?
Each Swiss watch company that we look at below has a rich history of world changing technology, certifications, world’s firsts, and other qualities that help demonstrate why they stand out from the pack.
Tag Heuer has been around for about 160 years. The company first began in 1860, when the founder, Edouard Heuer opened shop in Saint Imier, Switzerland. Heuer patented his first chronograph in 1882, and followed that up in 1887 with a patent for his oscillating pinion.
His technology is still used in watchmaking today, and has set the foundation for watchmaking in many ways.
Heuer created timekeeping pieces that were used in dashboards for automobiles, boats, and aircraft. He introduced his first wrist chronograph in 1914. His son, Charles Auguste, worked in the company, and in 1916 introduced the first stopwatch accurate to 1/100 of a second.
Tag Heuer watches and time pieces have been advancing since then, and now are available in a variety of venues and shopping locations. A Tag watch can be purchased online, at shows, or a variety of retail stores across the world.
Audemars Piguet began in 1875, in Vallee de Joux. The company was created by Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet, and has remained a family owned Swiss watch company since that day.
The most well-known AP watch is the Royal Oak, a beautiful series of watches made from a variety of materials.
While Audemars Piguet does make quartz watches, they are most famous for their intricately made self winding and manual watches.
The Rolex company was founded in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf. He was only 24 years old at the time, and lived in London, but he strongly believed that wristwatches could be accurate and attractive.
At that time, he was a distributor of timepieces, and worked with a Swiss watchmaking company in Bienne.
Wilsdorf’s vision for precision time telling on a convenient and attractive wristwatch paid off in 1910, when his wristwatch received the first Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision. His watches became synonymous with precise time-telling, and as time has passed, nearly everyone has heard of Rolex watches and knows of their quality.
Cartier is a well-known luxury jewelry company that was founded in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier.
Their long history has involved many celebrities and royal family members owning and wearing their luxury items, and their name has become rather synonymous with wealth and luxury. It took three generations of Cartier to become world famous, but once Louis, Pierre, and Jacques Cartier took on the business, the name has become one of the most famous the world over.
Cartier has more than 200 stores worldwide, in 125 countries. Their more famous watch collections include the Tank, and the Santos de Cartier collections for both men and women.
Omega is based out of Bienne, Switzerland, and has been making luxury watches since 1848. The company was originally named La Generale Watch Company, but incorporated to Omega in 1903.
A significant moment in Omega’s history was in 1917, when Britain’s Royal Flying Corps had chosen Omega to be the official timekeeping pieces of their combat units. One year later, the United States Army did the same.
Another significant moment in Omega’s history was in 1969, when an Omega watch became the first watch on the moon.
Omega has also been the official timekeeper for the Olympic Games since 1932, and has been seen in James Bond films since 1995, when 007 began wearing them.
If their history doesn’t say enough about their quality, Omega released the world’s first certified marine chronometer in 1974. They have continued to set standards for the watch industry throughout their entire history.
Patek Philippe & Company has been around since 1851. They’re located in Vallée de Joux and Geneva. The company was started by a Polish watchmaker named Antoni Patek, when he began making pocket watches in Geneva in 1839 with a partner.
In 1844, their partnership dissolved, but Patek found the French watch maker Adrien Philippe the following year, and they formed the company in 1851. Adrien Philippe is the inventor of the keyless winding mechanism.
Patek Philippe watches are considered to be some of the most complicated, finest Swiss watches in the world, and therefore, they are celebrated as some of the most prestigious watchmakers in existence.
Choosing Your Swiss Watch
Each company has a history of excellence. Each company, has advanced technology, and practical applications.
As you look through Swiss watches, let the history, precision, and beauty speak to you. You’ll know the right one when you see it.