From Baume & Mercier to Vacheron Constantin, here are the top Swiss watch brands worthy of any timepiece enthusiast’s collection
As James Bond creator Ian Fleming once said, “A gentleman’s choice of timepiece says as much about him as does his Savile Row suit.” While the best suits may come from England, the best watches, without a doubt, are Swiss. Any timepiece enthusiast should have at least one (preferably more) exquisitely crafted watch in his arsenal. So, whether you’re shopping for the most important man in your life, or are simply adding to your own growing collection, below are the best Swiss watch brands on the market.
As the story goes, the Reverso was developed in 1931 after a British army officer, who had broken the glass of his watch during a polo match in India, challenged Jacques-David LeCoultre to come up with a watch design that could survive a similar athletic endeavor. LeCoultre came up with this model, whose face flips over to protect the front of the watch from, among other things, errant polo mallets. It’s become one of the brand’s signatures, and this one features a small second dial and a calfskin strap from Casa Fagliano, the celebrated Argentinian bootmaker.
ALTIPLANO ULTIMATE AUTOMATIC WATCH
As one of the thinnest automatic watches in the world, Piaget’s Altiplano Ultimate 910P is just 4.3 mm thick (the watch’s movement is visible through its case). The brand, of course, is no stranger to setting records—its Altiplano 900P is the world’s thinnest mechanical watch.
CLIFTON BAUMATIC 10399
Baume & Mercier
For an automatic movement, Baume & Mercier offers a great price point. The Clifton Baumatic 10399 features a 40 mm case with a date window and a smooth black dial. The black alligator strap is interchangeable, and the stainless steel bezel and rhodium-plated hands of the dial make this model a sleek choice.
SEAMASTER AQUA TERRA 150M CO‑AXIAL MASTER CHRONOMETER
Tributes to Omega’s maritime heritage abound in this Seamaster Aqua Terra, from the waveedged design on the back to the elegant blue dial, which has a unique horizontal “teak” pattern inspired by the wooden decks of luxury sailboats. Plus, any watch that’s good enough for 007 (namely, Daniel Craig’s Bond) is certainly good enough for you (or your man).
Perfect for the jetsetter, Rolex’s GMT-Master II is designed to tell time in two different time zones during intercontinental flights. The blue and red dial lends a patriotic flair.
PORTOFINO CHRONOGRAPH IWC
Be transported to the dolce far niente lifestyle of the Italian Riviera with IWC’s Portofino Chronograph collection. This particular model has been given quite the luxurious upgrade, with its gold case (the applied indices and Roman numerals are also of solid gold) and hand-painted black alligator strap.
CARRERA AUTOMATIC CHRONOGRAPH TAG
With its sleek black dial and ceramic black tachymeter bezel, Tag Heuer’s Carrera watch strikes a fine balance between being both sporty and elegant, an accessory that would look just as good on the racetrack (for which this collection was made, in 1963) as it would paired with that aforementioned Savile Row suit.
The glory days of aviation were the inspiration behind Longines’s Spirit collection. It’s the best of both worlds: the watches have an appealing vintage aesthetic, but are made for the 21st century.
PILOT TYPE 20 TON UP
This watch is dedicated to the café racer motorcycle community, also known as Ton-up boys, which originated in the United Kingdom in the 1950s. The case is black stainless steel and the strap is black nubuck leather with a rubber lining designed to protect it from anything, including any dirt and grime that might result from a motorcycle ride.
ROYAL OAK OFFSHORE DIVER
The legendary Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is given the rubber treatment in a chic beige color, perfect for summers in the Hamptons.
Inspired by the “golden ratio” of great works of art, Patek Philippe’s Golden Ellipse design was a significant departure from everything else available on the market when it launched in 1968. This model includes a striking blue dial and band with a platinum case.
FIFTY SIX SELF-WINDING
This model is part of a collection for Vacheron Constantin inspired by vintage timepieces. The most notable factor here is its material—steel— offering a previously unheard of price point for coveted entry into the Vacheron owners’ club.