Which Watch Brand Is Best: An Insiders’ Guide For What To Buy Now

Which Watch Brand Is Best

In the world of horology, the question "Which watch brand is best?" is often asked by enthusiasts and newcomers alike. The answer, however, is not straightforward. It depends on various factors including budget, style, functionality, and personal preference. To aid in your decision-making process, we've compiled a list of top watch brands categorised based on different criteria.

As a brief overview;

Best Watch Brands Overall: Omega, Rolex, Tag Heuer
Best Affordable Watch Brands: Swatch, Timex, Citizen
Best Expensive Watch Brands: Patek Philippe, Cartier
Best Smartwatch Brands: Samsung, Apple
Best Watch Brands For Men: Panerai, Shinola, Seiko
Best Watch Brands For Women: Hermès, Breda
Best Dress Watch Brands: Jaeger-LeCoultre, Breguet

Best Overall Watch Brands: Omega, Rolex, Tag Heuer


Omega's reputation extends beyond their Olympic timekeeping and British military service during the 1940s. Their Speedmaster, the first watch on the moon, exemplifies their commitment to precision and durability. The brand's craftsmanship in movements, particularly the calibers 1120 and 861, is highly regarded for its reliability and sturdiness, suitable for both professional and casual settings.


Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 6000M

(Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 6000M - £11,900)


Rolex's acclaim comes not only from its timeless elegance but also from its unwavering commitment to precision and durability. Their watches, like the Datejust with its automatic movement, are considered wise investments due to their potential to retain or increase in value over time. The brand's focus on producing watches that can withstand daily wear while maintaining elegance sets them apart.

Rolex day date oyster 40mm platinum 228236

(Rolex Day Date Oyster 40mm - £54,400) 

Tag Heuer

Tag Heuer's legacy in innovation, particularly in chronograph technology, is notable. Their Carrera and Aquaracer models are celebrated for superior movement quality and durable, water-resistant cases. This combination of technical prowess and stylish design makes Tag Heuer a favorite among watch enthusiasts who appreciate both form and function.

TagHeuer Aquaracer Professional 200 Solargraph

(TagHeuer Aquaracer Professional 200 Solargraph - £2500)

Best Affordable Watch Brands: Swatch, Timex, Citizen


Swatch's game-changing approach in the watch industry is characterized by its playful, artistic designs and affordable pricing. Their watches are not just timekeepers but also fashion statements, often reflecting contemporary art and culture. This approach has made Swatch a favorite for those looking to express individuality through their wristwear.

Swatch mission to neptune

(Swatch Mission To Neptune Watch - £240)


Timex combines historical significance with modern relevance. Known for their pioneering approach in watchmaking since 1854, their recent collaborations, like with Todd Snyder, highlight their ability to stay contemporary while respecting their roots. Timex watches are synonymous with reliability, affordability, and timeless American style.

Timex Reissue Dégradé 38mm Stainless Steel Bracelet Watch

(Timex Reissue Dégradé 38mm Stainless Steel Bracelet Watch - £180)


Citizen has been at the forefront of technological innovation in watchmaking. Their Eco-Drive technology, which powers watches using solar panels, is a testament to their commitment to eco-friendly and advanced timekeeping. The brand's pioneering spirit in developing quartz and titanium watches has made them a leader in the affordable watch segment.

Citizen Tsuyosa Automatic

(Citizen Tsuyosa Automatic - £299)

Best Expensive Watch Brands: Patek Philippe, Cartier

Patek Philippe

Patek Philippe's watches are more than luxury items; they are symbols of horological expertise. Known for their mechanical precision and complex complications, owning a Patek Philippe is often seen as the pinnacle of watch collecting. The brand’s dedication to craftsmanship and exclusivity makes each piece a coveted item for collectors and watch aficionados.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph Reference 5990/1

(Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph - £130,000)


Cartier's timepieces are as much about luxury as they are about history and design. Their iconic models like the Tank watch, inspired by World War I tanks, showcase Cartier's innovative design philosophy. The brand's ability to combine elegance with historical inspiration has made Cartier a staple in luxury watch collections.

Cartier Panthere De Cartier Watch

(Cartier Panthere De Cartier Watch - £80,500)

Best Smartwatch Brands: Samsung, Apple


Samsung's Galaxy Watch5 Pro exemplifies the brand's commitment to integrating advanced technology with user-friendly features. Ideal for Android users, it offers comprehensive health tracking, GPS, and robust design, appealing to those who seek a smartwatch that balances functionality with style.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Smartwatch

(Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Smartwatch - £289)


Apple’s Series 8, and the more advanced Ultra model, demonstrate the brand’s prowess in creating smartwatches that are both functional and fashionable. Known for their seamless integration with the Apple ecosystem, these watches offer a range of features from health and fitness tracking to connectivity, catering to the tech-savvy and style-conscious users.

Apple Watch Ultra 2

(Apple Watch Ultra 2 - £799)

Best Watch Brands For Men: Panerai, Shinola, Seiko


Panerai's heritage as a supplier to the Italian Royal Navy is evident in their watch designs. The Radiomir and Luminor, with their bold cases and distinctive style, reflect a blend of Italian design and Swiss engineering. Panerai watches are known for their large case sizes and robust construction, appealing to those who prefer a watch with a strong presence.

Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro Goldtech OroCarbo

(Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro Goldtech OroCarbo - £28,500)


Shinola's rebirth as a watch manufacturer highlights their commitment to American craftsmanship and innovation. Each watch, assembled in the U.S., showcases the brand's dedication to quality and design. Shinola's watches are known for their clean, modern aesthetics, appealing to those who value both style and substance.

Shinola Runwell 41mm

(Shinola Runwell 41mm - £595)


Seiko’s reputation is built on its all-in-house production, ensuring quality and precision in every piece. Their mechanical watches, known for their reliability and understated elegance, have a loyal following among watch enthusiasts. Seiko's commitment to innovation and affordability makes them a go-to brand for those seeking quality without extravagance.

Seiko Prospex Sea Solar Men's Green Watch SNE583P1

(Seiko Prospex Sea Solar - £480)

Best Watch Brands For Women: Hermès, Breda


Hermès is synonymous with luxury and craftsmanship. Their watches, like the iconic Heure H, are known for their elegant design and high-quality Swiss movements. Hermès combines its heritage in fine leather goods with watchmaking, offering unique designs that are both fashionable and timeless.

Hermes Cape Cod Watch Small Model 31mm

(Hermes Cape Cod Watch 31mm - £3210)


Breda stands out for its approach to modern watch design. Their affordable, gender-neutral timepieces are known for their minimalist aesthetics and attention to detail. The brand's ability to offer quality watches at accessible prices makes it a popular choice for those seeking stylish yet practical wristwear.

Breda Jane Watch Womens

(Breda Jane - £210)

Best Dress Watch Brands: Jaeger-LeCoultre, Breguet


Jaeger-LeCoultre's commitment to craftsmanship is evident in every timepiece. Known for their intricate designs and innovative complications, their watches, especially the Reverso, are a blend of artistic craftsmanship and functional sophistication, making them a top choice for dress watches.

Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso One Duetto Pink Gold Diamonds

(Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso One Duetto - £32,000)


Breguet's historical significance and innovation in watchmaking have made it a prestigious brand. Known for their elegant designs and mechanical complexity, Breguet watches are a symbol of status and craftsmanship, appealing to those who appreciate the artistry and history behind their timepiece.

Breguet Reine de Naples

(Breguet Reine de Naples - £112,900)

What To Consider When Shopping For The Best Watches

When embarking on the journey to find the perfect watch, several key factors come into play. Kelly Yoch, Director of Client Relations for Watches of Switzerland USA, encapsulates the essence of this pursuit: "Joy is the main thing to consider when choosing a watch.” This sentiment echoes the belief that a watch should not only serve its functional purpose but also resonate with your personal style and bring a sense of happiness. Let's explore these considerations in more detail.

Understanding Your Needs: Where You'll Be Wearing It

The intended use of your watch significantly influences your choice. If you're seeking a timepiece for outdoor activities or sports, durability and resistance (like in a diver's watch) are paramount. Conversely, for formal events or business settings, a dress watch with a sleek, elegant design is more suitable. Matching the watch to the environment ensures both practicality and style coherence.

Deciding Between Mechanical and Battery Powered

Mechanical watches, which encompass both manual and automatic movements, are often prized for their craftsmanship and traditional appeal. Manual watches require daily winding, offering a tactile connection with the timepiece. Automatic watches, on the other hand, wind themselves as you move, providing convenience without compromising on the mechanical allure. Quartz watches, powered by batteries, offer accuracy and low maintenance. Your choice here will depend on your preference for convenience versus the charm of mechanical intricacies.

The Importance of Complications

Complications in watches, such as chronographs, dual time zones, or moon phases, add functionality but also complexity. When choosing a watch, ensure you understand and genuinely need these features. A watch should be a facilitator in your life, not a source of confusion or unnecessary complexity.

Finding the Right Fit: Case Size

The size of the watch case is crucial for comfort and aesthetics. Sizes typically range from 24mm to 38mm for women and 38mm to 56mm for men. However, personal preference reigns supreme. The watch should look proportional on your wrist and feel comfortable. Trying on different sizes can help you determine the best fit for your wrist.

Strap Selection

Watch straps vary in material and style, from elegant leather to robust metal bracelets and casual fabric or rubber options. Some straps are integral to the watch, while others are interchangeable, allowing for greater versatility. The choice of strap should align with your style preferences and intended use.

Warranty and Authenticity

Purchasing from an authorized dealer ensures authenticity and a valid warranty, crucial for high-value watches. Warranties vary, but they typically range from one to five years, offering peace of mind and protection for your investment.

Rarity and Resale Value

Some watches, especially rare models from esteemed brands like Rolex and Patek Philippe, can have significant resale value. Brands like Oris, Zenith, H. Moser, and Armin Strom, though lesser-known, are recognized for quality craftsmanship and may also hold value. Consider the potential for resale, especially if collecting or investment is part of your watch buying strategy.

Mechanical vs Battery Powered: A Personal Choice

The debate between mechanical and quartz watches is largely subjective. Mechanical watches, both manual and automatic, are cherished for their engineering and historical significance, while quartz watches offer precision and ease of use. The choice ultimately hinges on personal preference and lifestyle compatibility.

Understanding Movements and Complications

The watch movement, or caliber, is its heart. Brands that manufacture their own movements often hold a higher status. Complications add functionality but also complexity; it's important to choose a watch whose complications you will utilize and enjoy.

Maintenance: Servicing Your Luxury Watch

Regular servicing, recommended every three to five years, ensures the longevity and optimal performance of your luxury watch. Frequent wear may necessitate more regular servicing.

Luxury Watches vs Smartwatches: Different Purposes

While smartwatches have gained popularity, they serve a different purpose from luxury watches. Smartwatches focus on functionality and connectivity, akin to wearing a computer. Luxury watches, however, are about the art and tradition of timekeeping, offering a different kind of value and experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which watch brands hold their value?

Luxury watch brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet are renowned for holding their value over time. Their timeless design, exceptional craftsmanship, and limited production runs contribute to their enduring worth.

2. Which is the cheapest Rolex?

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual is often considered the most affordable Rolex model. It offers the classic elegance and precision of Rolex at a more accessible price point, making it a popular entry-level choice for Rolex enthusiasts.

3. Which Rolex is the best investment?

The Rolex Submariner and Rolex Daytona are frequently cited as the best Rolex models for investment. Their iconic status, high demand, and limited availability often lead to appreciation in value over time.

4. Which Rolex holds value best?

The Rolex Daytona, particularly in stainless steel, is known for holding its value exceptionally well. Its iconic design, prestigious history, and limited production make it a highly sought-after model among collectors.

5. What watch brand is the best?

Brands like Rolex, Omega, and Patek Philippe are often considered the best in the watch industry, offering a blend of prestigious history, impeccable craftsmanship, and lasting value.

6. What is the best selling watch?

The Apple Watch is currently one of the best-selling watches globally. Its advanced features, including fitness tracking and seamless integration with other Apple devices, make it a popular choice among tech-savvy consumers.

7. What is the most expensive watch?

The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime, known for its intricate complications and exquisite craftsmanship, holds the record for the most expensive watch ever sold at auction.

8. Which watches hold their value?

Luxury watches from brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet are known for holding their value. Their limited production, high-quality materials, and brand prestige contribute to their lasting worth.

9. What watch does James Bond wear?

James Bond, the iconic character from the film series, is famously known for wearing Omega watches, particularly the Omega Seamaster model, which blends style with durability and advanced features.

10. What watches are good investments?

Luxury watches from Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet are considered good investments. Models like the Rolex Daytona, Patek Philippe Nautilus, and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak are especially known for their potential to appreciate in value.


Choosing the best watch is a blend of practical considerations, personal taste, and lifestyle needs. Whether it's the joy it brings when glanced upon your wrist or the practicality it offers in your daily life, your watch should be a reflection of your individuality.

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