You’ve got a Rolex Submariner, owned an Omega Speedmaster and maybe even a Patek or two (lucky you!), but what next? Do you stick with what you know, or try something a little different? Maybe the major brands don’t do it for you in the first place and you’re looking for a watch brand that’s a little left-field?
Well, fear not as we’ve compiled a list of five unsung watch brands that if you don’t already, you should get to know. All of them produce some fantastic timepieces and are sure to start a conversation next time you bump into a watch aficionado.
Glashütte Original, based in the small German village of Glashütte, belongs to an exclusive circle of real ‘manufactures’, which means they master the entire process from design to manufacture of a watch. Under the wing of the Swatch Group, which has invested a lot of money into the company’s modernisation, production capacity has expanded gradually and paid off handsomely.
This is evident in their refined, elegant watches, complex inner workings and high-level of craftsmanship. Glashütte Original make their own dials (many brands don’t) and the company has shown its commitment to the future of watchmaking at their own Alfred Helwig School for several years already. Here’s a brand that’s living proof that it’s not just the Swiss who can make a really great watch.
Montblanc has been associated with luxury products for over a century. You’ll probably know the brand best as a manufacturer of luxury pens, jewellery and fashion accessories, but the brand has become a force to be reckoned with in watchmaking circles. thanks to its parent company, the Richemont Group, Montblanc is now firmly established as a quality timepiece manufacturer producing striking looking, technically advanced and beautifully finished watches well worth writing home about. With a Montblanc pen, naturally.
Jaeger-LeCoultre has one of the most storied histories of any watch brand, yet arguably still lives in the shadow of more famous brands. Revered by those who know them for their exceptional technical prowess, they have supplied calibres to Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Cartier and Chopard. With good reason, Jaeger-LeCoultre are known as the watchmakers of watchmakers.
‘Le Grande Maison’ has also created iconic watches with their own name on the dial. Think the Reverso, Master Control, Memovox. Today, Jaeger-LeCoultre watches provide exceptional bang for your horological buck in the pre-owned market. From innovative, classic dress watches to purposeful tool watches, a JLC is the choice of the collector in the know.
A brand that will earn you kudos among fellow collectors is Vacheron Constantin. They have been making clocks and watches since 1755 and are renowned for their elegant designs and mastery in finishing techniques.
The lesser known of the ‘Big Three’ (the other members are Audemars Piguet & Patek Philippe), Vacheron make watches that are easily on par with both brands but are usually available at slightly lower prices and much shorter waiting lists.
Worn by the likes of Queen Elizabeth II, Napoléon, J.D. Rockefeller and Harry Truman, Vacheron have a rich history and are held in the highest regard in horological circles.
Let’s be honest here. Many of us don’t wear watches simply to tell the time. We wear them to make a statement about our lifestyle. Investing in a Bremont watch allows you to both make that statement, and still tell a story about your watch’s origins.
In a little over 12 years Bremont has created a name for itself by supplying watches to military units both in the UK and USA; it’s collaborated with car makers, motorcycle manufacturers, aviation companies, mountaineers and other adventurers. They’ve earned a reputation for producing robust watches that can keep up with everyone from desk divers, to supersonic pilots and there aren’t many brands who can claim all of that.
As you might imagine, their watches are designed to be practical and hard wearing, but Bremont also do a very good job of making them versatile enough for both casual and formal wear.