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Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse 5738R-001 New Rose gold Automatic
TOP
Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse 5738R-001
R 391 747
Verified Dealer
5
AU
Rolex Day-Date 36 118238 New Yellow gold 36mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Day-Date 36 Yellow Gold Green Dial Stickers 2019 EU
R 476 191
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
95
AT
Breitling Crosswind Racing A13355 Very good Steel 43mm Automatic
TOP
Breitling Chronograph Crosswind Racing Diamond Bezel 6.5 carats
R 85 642
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
268
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15500OR.OO.D002CR.01 Unworn Rose gold 41mm Automatic
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Rose Gold Black Leather Watch...
R 549 161
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
215
US
Breguet Classique Complications 5317BR/12/9V6 New Rose gold 39mm Automatic
TOP
Breguet Classique Tourbillon, new official retail price:...
R 1 205 596
Verified Dealer
36
CH
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 2201.50.00 Good Steel 42mm Automatic South Africa, Johannesburg
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean
R 35 000
Private Seller
ZA
Patek Philippe Calatrava 3426 Very good White gold 32mm Manual winding
TOP
Patek Philippe Vintage White Gold Linen Dial Calatrava
R 127 832
Verified Dealer
21
CH
Rolex Lady-Datejust 179179 New White gold 26mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Lady-Datejust President Mother or Pearl 179179White Gold
R 162 897
Verified Dealer
604
US
Rado HyperChrome Captain Cook R32500305 New Steel 37mm Automatic
TOP
Rado HyperChrome Captain Cook Limited Edition - Box & Papers 2020
R 29 485
Verified Dealer
262
UK
Rolex Daytona 116518 Very good Yellow gold 40mm Automatic
Rolex Daytona 116518 Blue Racing Full Set + White Diamond Dial
R 364 916
Verified Dealer
IT
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso (submodel) Q3908420 Very good Steel 42.9mm Manual winding
TOP
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Duo Q3908420
R 132 841
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
723
US
IWC Big Pilot IW500402 Very good White gold 46.2mm Automatic
TOP
IWC Big Pilot IW500402 White Gold
R 237 277
Verified Dealer
719
NL
Vacheron Constantin 6413 Very good Rose gold Manual winding
TOP
Vacheron Constantin 6413
R 49 092
Verified Dealer
170
IT
Hublot Big Bang 41 mm 341.PX.7518.VR.1975 New Rose gold 41mm Automatic
TOP
Hublot Zebra Bang, limited edit., official retail price:...
R 351 958
Verified Dealer
36
CH
Omega Genève 166.0163 Fair Steel 35mm Automatic South Africa, Claremont/ Cape Town
Omega Genève
R 9 000
Private Seller
ZA
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony 4066 Very good Rose gold 34mm Manual winding
TOP
Vacheron Constantin Vintage Rose Pink Gold Dress Watch, Patrimony
R 91 855
Verified Dealer
21
CH
Rolex Datejust 126334 Unworn Steel 41mm Automatic
Rolex Datejust 41 Steel White MOP Diamond Dial 41MM Watch 126334
R 230 045
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
215
US
Rolex Lady-Datejust 68273 Very good Gold/Steel 31mm Automatic
Rolex Datejust 31mm Blue Diamond Dial/Bezel/Lugs 68273
R 126 518
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
409
US
Rolex GMT-Master II 116710BLNR Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
Rolex 116710BLNR GMT Master II Ceramic Black & Blue "Batman"...
R 236 739
Verified Dealer
427
US
Rolex Yacht-Master 40 126622 Unworn Steel 40mm Automatic
Rolex Yacht-Master Stahl Platin Automatik 40mm Ref.126622...
R 211 570
Verified Dealer
DE
Longines Conquest L37004766 New Steel 41mm Quartz
Longines Conquest Silver Dial Men's Watch L3.700.4.76.6
R 14 472
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
255
US
Hublot Spirit of Big Bang 601.NX.0173.LR.1104 New Titanium 51mm Automatic
Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Titanium Diamond Chronograph...
R 314 188
Verified Dealer
148
UK
Breguet Tradition 7037BA/11/9V6 New Yellow gold 39mm Automatic
TOP
Breguet Tradition, new, official retail price: 35.200 CHF
R 351 958
Verified Dealer
36
CH
Rolex Explorer II 216570-0001 Unworn Steel 42mm Automatic South Africa, Cape Town
Rolex Explorer II
R 126 346
Private Seller
ZA
Vacheron Constantin 2021 Good Yellow gold 27mm Manual winding
TOP
Vacheron Constantin Vintage Ellipse Legendary Manual Caliber
R 57 409
Verified Dealer
21
CH
Breitling Bentley Flying B R4436512/B874 Very good Rose gold 38mm Automatic
TOP
Breitling 18 K. Bentley Flying B Jumbo Chrono. Full set
R 194 731
Verified Dealer
277
NL
Rolex Lady-Datejust 68273 Very good Gold/Steel 31mm Automatic
Rolex Datejust 31mm White MOP Diamond Dial/Bezel/Lugs 68273
R 126 518
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
409
US
Patek Philippe Gondolo 2488 Very good Yellow gold 30mm Manual winding
TOP
Patek Philippe Gondolo Tank Yellow Gold - 2488
R 97 366
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
568
NL
Rolex Lady-Datejust 78274 Good Steel 31mm Automatic
Rolex デイトジャスト 78274
R 69 211
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
470
JP
Rolex Explorer 1016 Good Steel 36mm Automatic South Africa, Cape Town
Rolex Explorer
R 279 999
Verified Dealer
ZA
Hublot Big Bang Unico 411.OX.1180.RX.0904 New Rose gold 45mm Automatic
Hublot Big Bang Unico King Rose Gold Jewellery 45mm New
R 968 747
Verified Dealer
148
UK
Breguet Reine de Naples 8967ST/V8/J50 New Steel 43mm Automatic
TOP
Breguet Reine de Naples, new, official retail price: 18.000 CHF
R 191 288
Verified Dealer
36
CH
Breitling Navitimer 806 Good Steel 40mm Manual winding South Africa, Pretoria
Breitling Navitimer 806
R 78 042
Private Seller
ZA
Piaget Polo 7131 C 701 Very good White gold 25mm Quartz
TOP
Piaget Polo, White & Yellow Gold, Onyx Dial, Full Set
R 153 092
Verified Dealer
21
CH
IWC Pilot Mark IW325501 Fair Steel 39mm Automatic South Africa, Johannesburg
IWC Pilot Mark
R 34 999
Verified Dealer
ZA
Breguet Marine 3460 Very good Yellow gold 35.5mm Automatic
TOP
Breguet Marine Chronograph3460 18 KT. Gold Automatic
R 235 761
Verified Dealer
125
CH
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15500ST.OO.1220ST.03 New Steel 41mm Automatic
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak • NEU & VERKLEBT 12-2019
R 424 645
Verified Dealer
203
DE
Rolex 1600 Fair Steel 36mm Automatic
Rolex デイトジャスト 1600
R 60 219
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
470
JP
Breitling Chronomat K13050.1 Good Yellow gold 40mm Automatic South Africa, Cape Town
Breitling Chronomat
R 199 999
Verified Dealer
ZA
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1R-001 New Rose gold 40mm Automatic
Patek Philippe Nautilus Full Rose Gold Brown/Black Dial 40mm New
R 1 471 120
Verified Dealer
148
UK
Rolex Datejust 116188 New Yellow gold 36mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Datejust 36, new, official retail price: 29.800 CHF
R 302 356
Verified Dealer
36
CH
Tissot Heritage Visodate T0194303603101 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic South Africa, Boksburg , Johannesburg
Tissot Heritage Visodate
R 5 700
Private Seller
ZA
IWC 1830 Very good Steel 35mm Automatic
TOP
IWC Vintage Steel Bracelet Golf Club, cal 8541 B, Full Set
R 66 595
Verified Dealer
21
CH
Breitling Crosswind Racing A13355 Good Steel 43mm Automatic South Africa, Johannesburg
Breitling Crosswind Racing
R 29 999
Verified Dealer
ZA
Rolex Submariner (No Date) 5513 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
Rolex Submariner Watch Ref. 5513, Circa 1970
R 185 532
Verified Dealer
43
US
Chopard Imperiale 384241-5007 New Gold/Steel Automatic
Chopard Imperiale 18K Rose Gold, Amethysts & Diamonds Ladies...
R 518 081
Verified Dealer
197
US
Franck Muller Long Island 952 QZ D Very good 36.5mm Quartz
TOP
Franck Muller Long Island 952 QZ D-Factory Diamond 18k White...
R 261 230
Verified Dealer
108
US
Franck Muller Cintrée Curvex 5850 SC Good Steel 32mm Automatic South Africa, Cape Town
Franck Muller Cintrée Curvex
R 79 999
Verified Dealer
ZA
Breitling Avenger E73360 Good Titanium 44mm Quartz South Africa, Cape Town
Breitling Avenger M1 Chrono
R 41 559
Private Seller
ZA
Rolex Pearlmaster 81208 New Yellow gold 34mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Pearlmaster 34, new, official retail price: 33.800 CHF
R 329 070
Verified Dealer
36
CH
IWC Porsche Design IW3702 Very good Titanium 42mm Automatic South Africa, Harkerville
IWC 3702 serial number: 2297099
R 41 559
Private Seller
ZA
Patek Philippe Calatrava 3468 Very good Yellow gold 33mm Manual winding
TOP
Patek Philippe Doublesigned: Somazzi Linen-Dial Calatrava
R 126 301
Verified Dealer
CH
Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch 105/012/65 Fair Steel Manual winding South Africa, Johannesburg
Omega SPEEDMASTER PROFESSIONAL VINTAGE 1965
R 139 999
Verified Dealer
ZA
Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic 03.2270.4069/01.C493 Unworn Steel 42mm Automatic South Africa, Cape Town
Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic
R 87 979
Private Seller
ZA
Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch Moonphase 304.33.44.52.03.001 New Steel Automatic
Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Moonphase Stainles...
R 117 999
Verified Dealer
197
US
Patek Philippe Twenty~4 4910/10A-001 Unworn Steel 30mm Quartz
TOP
Patek Philippe Twenty-4 stahl Ref. 4910/10A-001 Zifferblatt...
R 169 367
Verified Dealer
489
DE
Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece MP7018-SS001-110 Good Steel Manual winding South Africa, Cape Town
Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece
R 89 999
Verified Dealer
ZA
Chopard Happy Sport 27/6137-23 Very good Yellow gold Quartz
TOP
Chopard Happy Sport Orginal Besatz 679 Diamanten
R 374 735
Verified Dealer
19
DE
Breguet Marine 8827ST/59/586 New Steel 35mm Automatic
TOP
Breguet Marine chronograph, new, official retail price: 19.000...
R 198 254
Verified Dealer
36
CH
Rolex Oyster Precision 6694 Good Steel 34mm Manual winding
TOP
Rolex Oyster Precision 6694 34mm
R 44 335
Verified Dealer
37
US
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Lady WAF1416.BA0813 Very good Steel Quartz South Africa, Centurion
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Lady
R 27 162
Private Seller
ZA
Omega Seamaster 2262.50 Very good Steel 36mm Quartz South Africa, Randburg
Omega Seamaster
R 29 279
Private Seller
ZA
Omega Seamaster Diver 300 M 22545000 Good Steel 41mm Automatic South Africa, Johannesburg
Omega Seamaster Diver 300 M
R 34 999
Verified Dealer
ZA
Breguet Classique 9087BR/52/964 New Rose gold Automatic
Breguet Brequet Classique Dame 9087 18K Rose Gold Ladies Watch...
R 251 434
Verified Dealer
197
US
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Swiss Watches: World-Renowned Timepieces

Swiss watches are synonymous with precision and luxury. The most well-known names in the business, with few exceptions, all hail from this Alpine country. Rolex, Omega, IWC, and Breitling all represent tradition and high quality.


Everything to Know About Swiss Watches in This Article

  • Buying advice for Swiss-made watches
  • Watches in different price ranges
  • Manufacturers, collections, and models
  • History of the Swiss watch industry

Which Swiss Watch Should I Buy?

If you want to buy a Swiss watch, you have a wide range of options. The right way to find out which watch is best for you is to ask yourself the following question: How much do I want to spend?

A new, brand-name Swiss watch with a mechanical movement can cost as little as 1,000 euros. You can find watches from manufacturers such as Chronoswiss, Maurice Lacroix, Oris, and Raymond Weil in this price range. Some series from these manufacturers are more expensive, however. For example, Raymond Weil's Nabucco chronograph costs around 3,000 euros new with a titanium case. TAG Heuer and Tissot also have a large selection of watches available for less than 5,000 euros.

Rolex and Omega are probably the most well-known representatives of Swiss luxury watches. The legendary Omega Speedmaster Professional is available in many different variations for less than 5,000 euros. The version closest to the original Moonwatch chronograph, which you can find under reference number 311.30.42.30.01.005, costs around 3,500 euros and has a stainless steel case. The material certainly influences the price, as cases made of precious metals are much more expensive than those made of stainless steel.

An Omega diving watch from the Seamaster collection with a gold case costs around 15,000 euros. The Rolex Submariner without a date display and a stainless steel case costs around 6,500 euros new. You should be prepared to spend at least 23,000 euros for a yellow gold Submariner, and 25,000 euros for a Rolex Daytona.

Patek Philippe's Nautilus is one of the most sought-after and expensive stainless steel sports watches from Switzerland. Without any complications, the women's version costs 20,000 euros, and the men's 25,000 euros. With a white gold or platinum case, the price jumps to 140,000 euros. The Calatrava, also from Patek Philippe, is the definition of a classic, elegant dress watch. New, the most popular version costs around 15,000 euros.

If you decide to go with a watch from Breguet or Blancpain, expect prices over 100,000 euros. Cases made of precious metals, diamond-set cases and straps, and intricate complications such a tourbillon increase the value of such watches. The newcomer Hublot also has some watches in this price range. The futuristic MP-05 LaFerrari watch usually costs 200,000 euros. The version with a sapphire glass case is over double the price, costing more than 400,000 euros.


Watches: Iconic Exports

Watches are a defining part of Switzerland's cultural image. They're more iconic than the banks and the cheese; only chocolate ranked "more Swiss" than watches according to a survey of participants from 15 different countries.

About 30 million watches leave the production halls of this little Alpine country every year. The variety amongst these watches is impressive. They range from traditional gold watches with complications such as a:

  • Moon phase display
  • Perpetual calendar
  • Minute repeater
  • Double chronograph

to diving and pilot's watches. Some of the Swiss companies even produce high-tech smartwatches. Many of these watches function as status symbols, ignoring their actual intended functions. Many diving watches from the Seamaster and Submariner collections will never go underwater, and only a small number of the pilot's watches sold by IWC or Breitling are actually worn in the cockpit. These watches work equally well as a tool watch or a luxury lifestyle object.

There are also mass market affordable watches, such as the famous quartz-powered Swatch with its bright and colorful plastic case. There are now mechanical versions with a simple 51-piece movement. The typical Swatch looks somewhat cheap and is not taken seriously by many watch fans, but certain models have sold at high prices as vintage watches. Furthermore, the Swatch is significantly responsible for helping the Swiss watch industry survive the Quartz Crisis of the 1970s and 80s. The Swatch watch, trendy and colorful, broke Swiss watches out of their conservative, stuffy image and attracted a new target audience. Above all, young people were attracted to this bright and simple watch.

However, luxury watches are what people think of when they think of Swiss watches. Switzerland leads the world in watch exports if you don't rank by number of timepieces. While only about 2% of watches sold worldwide come from Switzerland, they are worth 60% of the total value.

Many well-known brands with long watchmaking traditions belong to the Swatch Group (market share: 18%) or to luxury goods concerns like Richemont (market share: 16%) or Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH, market share: 5%). Rolex is the largest independent Swiss luxury watch manufacturer (market share: 12%). Their independent status greatly contributes to their outstanding reputation.


Overview of the Most Important Swiss Luxury Watch Manufacturers

Manufacturer Founding year Location of headquarters Parent group
Audemars Piguet 1875 Le Brassus Independent
Blancpain 1735 Le Brassus Swatch Group
Breguet 1775 L'Abbaye Swatch Group
Breitling 1884 Grenchen Independent
Chopard 1860 Geneva Independent
Hublot 1980 Nyon LVMH
IWC 1868 Schaffhausen Richemont
Jaeger-LeCoultre 1833 Le Sentier Richemont
Longines 1832 Saint-Imier Swatch Group
Omega 1848 Biel/Bienne Swatch Group
Patek Philippe 1851 Geneva Independent
Rolex 1905 Geneva Independent
TAG Heuer 1860 La Chaux-de-Fonds LVMH
Vacheron Constantin 1755 Plan-les-Ouates Richemont
Zenith 1865 Le Locle LVMH

Rolex

Rolex is number one amongst the large manufacturers. The Geneva-based manufacturer has been in business since 1905. Rolex produces some of the most famous and beloved watch models in the world, such as the Submariner, Daytona, and Datejust.

The Submariner is the definition of a diving watch, the Daytona is one of the most famous chronographs, and the Datejust embodies elegance. Rolex's pilot's watch is the Air King, and their GMT Master II displays a second time zone. With the invention of the perpetual rotor, Rolex significantly contributed to the breakthrough of the automatic watch in the 1930s. Every year, the manufacturer sells around 800,000 watches featuring their iconic five-point crown. Rolex doesn't publish any official sales numbers. However, since Rolex has their watches certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC), we can calculate how many Rolex watches are produced based on the COSC's publications.


Omega

The most famous man to wear a Rolex is undoubtedly James Bond. He completes many of his missions with a Submariner on his wrist. However, the British secret agent switched to Omega, a member of the Swatch Group, in 1995. Omega plays a central role in the Swatch Group's company strategy, as they see the brand as a strong competitor for Rolex. Rolex isn't the only manufacturer with legendary watch models; Omega has their own to be proud of. The Seamaster is a diving watch collection that's been in production since 1948. The famous French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau wore a Seamaster. Another iconic Omega watch is the Speedmaster Professional. "Speedy," as it's nicknamed by fans, was the official NASA watch on the Apollo missions, making it the first watch on the Moon in 1969. The so-called Moonwatch is available today, almost unchanged from the original version, but now features a modern Co-Axial caliber and comes in many special limited editions. There's also the De Ville series, which showcases Omega's classic side.


International Watch Company (IWC)

IWC, based in Schaffhausen, also offers elegant Swiss watches, such as the Portugieser. They're even more famous for their pilot's watches, though; their Big Pilot watch and the Mark series are considered excellent pilot's watches. The Mark 11 was the official service watch of Royal Air Force pilots for decades.


Breitling

Breitling is a strong competitor for IWC in the realm of pilot's watches. Breitling's Navitimer is considered one of the most important pilot's watches. The watch, which was introduced in 1952, has a special slide rule function. It has two logarithmic scales on the dial which you can turn to perform various calculations, such as distance and fuel consumption. Breitling also offers powerful diving watches with their Superocean series and some versions of the Avenger. Rolex, Omega, IWC, and Breitling are all considered to be on the same level, thus Breitling also has a conservative, elegant line as well, the Transocean. Besides mechanical timepieces, Breitling also offers quartz watches with refined technology, such as the Emergency with an integrated distress beacon.


Patek Philippe

One rung higher on the luxury watch ladder is Patek Philippe. It's clear from the start that this manufacturer is a bit different: Most of their cases are made of solid gold. In the Swiss watch industry, steel cases are used around 50% of the time. Precious metals like gold and platinum are only used around 2% of the time. Patek's Calatrava collection is a symbol of the company and the epitome of a stylish dress watch. This watch collection debuted in 1932 and was inspired by the Bauhaus art movement. Patek Philippe's Nautilus also has a special position in their portfolio. It's a stainless steel sports watch waterproof to 120 m (12 bar) – all unusual qualities for a Patek watch. The company has a long history of watchmaking. The independent family business has existed under this name since 1851. Until 2009, Patek Philippe used the Geneva Seal as a symbol of high Swiss quality. Now, the company uses their own seal with even stricter standards.


Blancpain, Breguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre

Blancpain and Breguet have been in business even longer. Today, they're both members of the Swatch Group. Abraham-Louis Breguet founded his company in 1775. He's responsible for countless important watchmaking inventions, such as the tourbillon. Blancpain has been around since 1735. Their most famous series is the Fifty Fathoms diving watch. Brands such as Patek Philippe, Breguet, and Blancpain, are representative of the conservative values of the Swiss watch industry. This applies to Jaeger-LeCoultre as well. This manufacturer has been producing high-quality watches since 1833. Their Reverso is one of the most popular rectangular watches.


Hublot

Hublot takes an entirely different approach. This relatively new manufacturer plays the role of the rebel most excellently. One distinctive Hublot feature is their unusual, square-edged porthole design, which occasionally borders on the bizarre. Legibility isn't Hublot's main concern. Instead, they show a preference for the use of unusual materials such as ceramic or titanium. With their patented Magic Gold alloy, Hublot broke new ground. Magic Gold is an incredibly scratch-resistant alloy composed of gold and ceramic. Magic Gold comes quite close to the ideal, everlasting case material. Hublot was founded in 1980. In 2005, under new leadership, they introduced the Big Bang series. The Big Bang caused a sharp increase in sales, catapulting this Genevan manufacturer into the same league as other well-known Swiss brands. The somewhat calmer Hublot alternative to the Big Bang is the Classic Fusion.


Audemars Piguet

Hublot is not without precedent. Audemars Piguet's Royal Oak, introduced in 1972, as well as their Royal Oak Offshore, inspired Hublot's designs. The wide bezel with visible screws was directly influenced by the Royal Oak.


TAG Heuer

When it comes to TAG Heuer, it's all about timing. They patented their first stopwatch mechanism in 1882. TAG Heuer has dedicated themselves to the art of racing ever since – it's not a coincidence that their most well-known series is called the Carrera. Even the rectangularMonaco is a legend amongst racing watches. The actor Steve McQueen wore a Monaco in the film Le Mans.


Tissot

Watches from TAG Heuer are in a moderate price range. This applies to Tissot as well. Aside from classic mechanical watches, Tissot offers modern quartz watches as well. The T-Touch Expert Solar is solar powered. It's a multi-function watch with background lighting, a second time zone display, chronograph function, timer, alarm, compass, barometer function, and many other extras. The watch has a titanium case and is waterproof to 100 m (10 bar). The T-Touch Expert Solar has features that only an electric-powered watch can offer. Such an array of functions is impossible for a mechanical watch, especially one that costs less than 1,000 euros.

Other manufacturers also combine Swiss quality with moderate prices, such as Longines, Raymond Weil, or Maurice Lacroix. These companies often use calibers from the world's largest ébauche manufacturer, ETA SA Manufacture Horlogère Suisse, which is also based in Switzerland. The Swiss company Sellita also offers movements that can be found in the watches of many famous manufacturers. Only a few brands produce their own calibers, such as Rolex and Patek Philippe. !Zenith has some of the most important automatic chronograph movements in watch history. The fast-paced El Primero caused a stir when it was released in 1969; it even had a watch named after it.


Top 10 Swiss Luxury Watch Manufacturers According to Production Numbers

Manufacturer Number of watches produced per year
Rolex 800,000
Omega 700,000
Breitling 170,000
IWC 100,000
Chopard 80,000
Jaeger-LeCoultre 75,000
Patek Philippe 60,000
Hublot 40,000
Audemars Piguet 37,000
Zenith 35,000

Post-Quartz Crisis Revival

The Swiss watch industry began in the 18th century. Up until the second half of the 19th century, Switzerland was considered a place where it was easy to produce watches affordably. IWC, with roots in the United States, based their business model on this concept.

After many successful years, the industry suffered in the 1970s and 80s during the Quartz Crisis. Cheap, mass-produced quartz watches produced in Asia endangered traditional Swiss production. Some manufacturers disappeared forever and many workers lost their jobs. Yet surprisingly, Swiss watches later experienced a renaissance which has lasted to this day. The fascination with the technical genius that goes into mechanical watches enthralls watch lovers all over the world. Many manufacturers with longer histories are no longer independent, however. Merging with a large concern, such as the Swatch Group, Richemont, or LVMH, saved many of these manufacturers from going under.

Unexpected competition has popped up since then. The German town of Glashütte was trapped behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany until 1990. Watches have been produced in Glashütte since the mid-19th century, but they were far from being luxury watches when Germany was divided. Now, other manufacturers such as A. Lange & Söhne and Glashütte Original have established themselves in Glashütte, making Glashütte watches true competition for Swiss manufacturers.