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Top Luxury Watch Brands: The Swiss Watch Makers

Roger Federer's Luxurious Houses banner new catalogue covet lounge TOP ARTICLES 2014: Luxury Watches - The Rolex day-date watch banner new catalogue covet lounge

The Swiss Watch History

The Swiss watch and clock industry appeared in Geneva in the middle of the 16th century. In 1541, some reforms were implemented that prohibited the wear of jewels, forced the goldsmiths and other jewellers to turn into a new, independent craft : watchmaking. At the end of the century, the watches were already well known and had a big reputation for its high quality and watchmakers created in 1601 the Watchmakers’ Guild of Geneva, the first to be established anywhere.

The mass production of watches began at the turn of the 20th century, thanks to the researches and new technologies introduced by reputable watchmakers such as Frédéric Ingold and Georges Léchot. The increase of the productivity, the interchangeability of parts and the standardization progressively led the Swiss watch industry to its world supremacy.

Since more than four centuries now, tradition, craftmanship, high technologies and permanent innovation have allowed Swiss watchmaking industry to keep its leadership in the world watch market. Because or thanks to the different crisis it had to go through, Swiss watchmaking industry has always been in a position to answer the many technological, economical and structural challenges it was confronted with.

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The history of Rolex is inextricably linked to the visionary spirit of Hans Wilsdorf, its founder. He began to dream of a watch worn on the wrist. In 1919 Rolex moved to Geneva, a city renowned internationally for watchmaking.



Founded in Paris, in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier. The company remained under family control until 1964. Cartier has a long history of sales to royalty and celebrities.  King Edward VII of England referred to Cartier as “the jeweller of kings and the king of jewellers.”



OMEGA is the last letter of the Greek alphabet and symbolises accomplishment and perfection – qualities that have been inherent in every OMEGA watch since the company’s founding by Louis Brandt in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, in 1848.



In May 1st, 1839 two Polish immigrants, Antoni Patek and François Czapek joined forces to found “Patek, Czapek & Cie” in Geneva. Later, in 1851 when Adrien Philippe officially became associated with the company, it was renamed “Patek Philippe & Cie”.



“Swatch” began development in the early 1980, under the leadership of the CEO, Ernst Thomke with a small team of enthusiastic watch engineers.



AG Heuer began as Uhrenmanufaktur Heuer AG, founded in 1860 by Edouard Heuer in St-Imier, Switzerland.  TAG Heuer is based in Neuchâtel, Switzerland and is led by President and CEO John-Christophe Babin. Jack Heuer, the great grandson of the founder, is the Honorary Chairman. TAG Heuer maintains a watchmaking workshop in Cornol, Switzerland and a watchmaking factory in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.


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It all began in 1860 in the small village of Sonvilier, Switzerland. Here Louis-Ulysse Chopard, a talented young craftsman, established his workshop.  In 1937, he moved the firm to Geneva, the capital of Haute Horlogerie, or Fine Watchmaking, thereby bringing it closer to its cosmopolitan clientele.



It was in La Côte-aux-Fées, a small village in the Swiss part of the Jura, that Georges Édouard Piaget sketched the first strokes of what.  In 1874, he started his first workshop on the family farm and devoted himself to making high-precision movements that he soon began supplying to the most prestigious brands.



Moving to Switzerland he formed MDM Geneve and set about designing a watch that he named the Hublot.



Breitling SA designs, engineers, manufactures and distributes chronometer watches. Breitling is a privately owned company founded in 1884 in Grenchen, Switzerland. Breitling is known for precision-made chronometers useful to aviators.


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