Your buyer’s guide to our top luxury watch brands at Leonard Dews
Finding the perfect luxury watch is often a process that takes some time, and with good reason. If you’re new to the world of luxury watches, you might be surprised to learn just how much of a watch’s value is subjective; experienced collectors will base their decisions far more frequently on their personal preference and sentimental values than on the pure financial worth of each watch.
That’s why the most worthwhile luxury watch collections don’t start with the flashiest, or most expensive, or most complicated timepieces right off the bat. Rather, they’re curated through discovery and personal passion, mirroring the interests and personality of their owners.
So when you’re looking for luxury watches, bear in mind that each one you buy should be a reflection of you. It should be a timepiece you feel a sincere personal connection to, and it’s easier to foster that connection when you know exactly what’s gone into the making of your purchase, including its individual history and provenance. All luxury watch manufacturers pour their hearts and souls into their creations, making each one as personal as a fingerprint – which is one of the many reasons why each luxury watch is defined by its heritage.
Today, the choice between them is almost endless, giving you the freedom to find luxury watches made by craftsmen who share the same passions and priorities as you – whether that’s a love for aviation or motorsport, or an ambition for pushing boundaries in the realms of personal style or accomplishment. So to help you take the first step on that journey, here is our buyer’s guide to our top luxury watch brands here at Leonard Dews, and what each one is all about.
Patek Philippe is, quite simply, one of the most prestigious watchmakers on the face of the planet, and regarded by many to be the world’s best watchmaker, period. Its influence over the world of watchmaking is unparalleled, and over more than 180 years it’s cultivated a reputation for peerless innovation, opulence, and exclusivity. It’s the crown jewel in Switzerland’s centuries of proud watchmaking history, and today it’s known as the last family-owned independent watch manufacturer left in Geneva.
That continuous family ownership is particularly significant, as it’s allowed the brand to maintain focus on that core set of values throughout its long history. In particular, its emphasis on innovation, combined with its aptitude for cutting edge-technology, has given Patek Philippe an enviable ability to adapt to the times. Its master craftsmen show unparalleled skill at reinventing established designs in accordance with modern tastes and sensibilities, and crucially, without losing that sense of tradition and heritage which has become the very soul of the brand.
Patek Philippe’s luxury watches have also long been distinguished by their scarcity and exclusivity. Less than 1 million watches have been created since 1839; less than what some watchmakers produce in a year! Plus, some of its Collections have some fascinating stories behind them…
With more than 170 years of history behind it, OMEGA is unquestionably one of the most successful wristwatch brands in the world. Few brands can lay claim to quite the same calibre of historical and cultural significance as OMEGA; its watches have played an active part in many monumental events in human history. As you may already know from our post on the story of OMEGA, these luxury watches have gone to the hostile wastes of the North Pole, they’ve gone to the darkest depths of our planet, and they’ve even left it entirely – in 1969, an OMEGA Speedmaster could be glimpsed on the wrist of Buzz Aldrin as he set foot on the surface of another world.
OMEGA watches have serious pop culture credibility too, serving as an undeniable status symbol for people like Tom Hanks, Mark Knopfler, and John F Kennedy. It’s also a notable favourite of fictional characters, particularly super-suave style icons like Don Draper and James Bond.
Of course, the beauty of OMEGA is more than just skin-deep. OMEGA watches have broken multiple precision records – a big part of why they were chosen for the moon mission in the first place – and they’re the paragon of sophisticated technology, history and heritage. In 1999, the brand worked with British watchmaker George Daniels to release a luxury watch with his patented co-axial escapement, which was widely considered to be the most significant horological development since as far back as 1755, when the lever escarpment was first invented!
A renowned favourite of petrolheads everywhere, Tag Heuer distinguishes itself with the slogan ‘don’t crack under pressure’. It’s a fitting tagline, intended to reinforce the brand’s commitment to pushing boundaries, both in terms of its cutting-edge technology and the boldness of its distinctive designs. Almost since its inception, Tag Heuer has treasured a long and active association with motorsport, which has become almost inextricably linked with the brand. Like OMEGA, it has its own complement of world-famous figures who’ve become loyal Tag Heuer connoisseurs, especially amongst racing drivers. Amongst them was legendary competitor Ayrton Senna, and at one point, the entirety of the Ferrari Formula One team. Not all of its fans are racing drivers – former president Barack Obama has been frequently spotted with one around his wrist.
Tag Heuer watches have made some high profile appearances on the big and little screens too, famously on the wrist of Steve McQueen’s character in the 1970 movie Le Mans, and more recently, gifted to fictional drug kingpin Walter White, the protagonist of Breaking Bad.
Tag Heuer timepieces are easily distinguishable by their daring designs, many of them developed specifically to break apart established expectations for how luxury watches should look and feel. Its instantly recognisable Monaco Collection exemplifies this approach; it might not be for everyone, but there’s no denying it’s a design that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.
One of the first things you might notice about Longines is that it may not command the same price tag of its fellow high-end luxury watch manufacturers, but it’s more than capable of keeping pace with them at the premium end of the market. Longines luxury watches are notably more affordable, and it’s a particularly prolific manufacturer, with more than 2700 different models available to choose from.
As well as the extensive range of choices available, buyers are also drawn to Longines luxury watches for their vintage look and understated minimalist aesthetic, replete with a highly refined sense of class and elegance. Those qualities are epitomised in the winged hourglass logo, an enduring symbol which has represented the company’s character and ethos for more than 130 years.
Longines is also famous for its equestrian heritage, which parallels Tag Heuer’s longstanding association with the world of motorsport. That equestrian heritage can be traced back as far back as 1878, when the watchmaker released a chronograph lovingly engraved with a jockey and his mount. As well as its long-established links to equestrian sports such as show jumping and endurance riding, Longines has also been designated as the official timekeeper, partner and watch for a variety of other sports and events, including the Archery World Cup, French Open, and FIS Alpine Ski World Cup.
No surprise then, that Longines has successfully cultivated a reputation for itself as sporty and sophisticated – an ethos beautifully reflected in the design of its timepieces, which often incorporate pearl dials, diamond dot hour markers, and brown leather straps. Over the years it’s also developed some highly impressive complications, such as the Longines Master Collection Automatic 42mm Moon Phase Watch – a timepiece entrancing enough to make a wonderful romantic gift.
Rest assured, you can’t get more British than Bremont.
Now, it’s common knowledge that Swiss watches are almost universally considered to be the world’s gold standard when it comes to luxury timepieces, and for centuries, Switzerland has been the country at the centre of the world’s watchmaking industry. That’s what makes it all the more remarkable that in just two short decades, the beauty and ingenuity of Bremont’s designs have elevated it to rub shoulders with some of the most prestigious Swiss watch brands on the face of the planet, including Patek Philippe, TISSOT and OMEGA.
Bremont’s meteoric success story began in 2002, when it was founded by two brothers Nick and Giles English following a heartwarming encounter with a French former pilot, who ended up inspiring the British company’s distinctively Gallic name. Ever since then, Bremont has dedicated itself to high quality and impeccable precision, with heritage and tradition at the heart of the brand.
Notably, its founders are keen pilots themselves, and their passion for flying is reflected in Bremont’s lifelong association with aviation. The brand is known for its range of pilots’ watches, which form the core of the Bremont collection. The company is closely tied to the military too, and Bremont watches are the preferred option for countless military personnel in countries all over the world. In recognition of that, Bremont has a history of releasing bespoke watches and special editions exclusively designed for the armed forces.
With more than 160 years of history to its name, Chopard’s traditional sensibilities have expanded and evolved in line with changing tastes, and now the brand is well-known and well-loved for its range of contemporary and playful designs. Originally founded in 1860 by Louis-Ulysse Chopard, the company made its name with a stunning range of ladies watches and pocket watches, noted for their clever blend of artistry and functionality. Those qualities have remained hallmarks of Chopard’s timepieces all through its history, and the watchmaker’s eye for captivating design has also enabled it to successfully branch out into a range of characteristically elegant jewellery.
Chopard also treasures its longstanding links with the motoring world, rivalling those of Tag Heuer’s. This is epitomised in its Mille Miglia Collection, honouring the eponymous endurance race first held in Italy in 1927, and highly prized for their sports chic aesthetics. Today, Chopard’s timepieces can broadly be classed into three distinct categories: its Classic watches, designed in the style of Louis-Ulysse’s original pocket watches, its Classic Racing timepieces (those down-to-earth and beautifully refined automotive designs), and L.U.C., which houses its most advanced complications and impressive technical innovations.
Gucci is a brand that almost needs no introduction. One of the world’s best known high-end fashion brands, Gucci’s name has long been synonymous with luxury and glamour, to the extent that it’s even carved out its own linguistic niche in some parts of the world. If you’ve ever been Stateside for example, you might have heard some people use the word Gucci as shorthand for anything from fancy or very fashionable, to good, great or excellent. (Few brands can claim to have made the kind of impact that it’s even changed the way people speak!)
Like Bremont, Gucci is a relatively new player to the world of luxury watchmaking than some other brands on this list, having debuted its first-ever line of luxury watches in the sepia-toned year of 1997. But while the watches themselves might be comparatively young additions to the world of high-end fashion, Gucci itself is not. The company is now more than 100 years old, and brings a century of prestige and boundary-pushing enthusiasm to the design of its luxury watches. That characteristic Italian sense of playfulness and style is masterfully blended with the Swiss penchant for precision and perfection, to create striking timepieces that make unparalleled statement pieces. If you like to be the centre of attention, a Gucci luxury watch is surely the one for you.
Montblanc is a German luxury goods manufacturer which is perhaps equally famous for its range of fountain pens and writing instruments as it is for its watchmaking heritage. In fact, its watchmaking story shares some intriguing parallels to Gucci, in that both companies were strongly established names in the world of high-end luxury, before they both decided to branch out into watchmaking in the fateful year of 1997.
Though Montblanc might lack the centuries of horological experience that many of its contemporaries bring to the table, there’s no denying that the company has been immensely successful in – if you’ll pardon the pun – making up for lost time. In little over 20 years, Montblanc’s foray into the world of luxury watches has evolved into its modern range of exceptional timepieces, spanning a diverse array of styles. That characteristic predilection for German efficiency is complemented with immaculate design and superb craftsmanship, evident in everything from the cutting-edge cool of its Timewalker Collection to the peerless splendour of its Summit luxury watches.
The quality of Montblanc’s offering is particularly impressive given the initial scepticism that the company had to overcome; when it first revealed its debut range of watches in 1997, reportedly one of the first questions from a particularly sarcastic journalist was: “where do you fill it with ink?” CEO Norbert Platt kept his cool, and ultimately had the last laugh – Montblanc’s watches are now regularly ranked amongst the world’s most desirable brands.
Innovators by tradition. That’s the motto of TISSOT, and there’s no denying that it’s a neat encapsulation of what this brand is all about. That playful juxtaposition underlines TISSOT’s pioneering spirit and innate talent with cutting-edge technology, while emphasising its Swiss-made heritage spanning over 160 years of history. As one of the most widely-renowned Swiss watchmakers on the face of the planet, TISSOT has dedicated its considerable expertise and resources to the pursuit of unrivalled accuracy, an ambition which has seen it named as the official timekeeper for the NBA, Tour de France, and European Rugby Championships – just to name a few!
TISSOT’s mission statement, in its own words, is to make excellence accessible. That’s made its watches a particular favourite of budding collectors who are looking for the best luxury watches to start off their own collection, as TISSOT timepieces allow owners to enjoy the flawless mechanics and high-end designs characteristic of world-leading Swiss-made watches, and all at prices typically more accessible than its highly prestigious rivals. If you want a beautiful watch that epitomises quality, reliability, and precision, a TISSOT luxury watch may just be exactly what you’re after.
These are just the broad strokes, of course, designed to give you just a flavour of what you can expect from each luxury watch brand. If you’d like any further details, or you’ve got questions you’d like answered, we’re only too happy to oblige here at Leonard Dews. You can get in touch with us by giving us a call on 01253 754 940, emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org, or visiting us right here in-store at our Blackpool showroom, where you can browse our expansive range of luxury watches for yourself.