It is truly wild what a little Google search can tell you. Once you enter that rabbit hole, it is a whole new world. While typing in the words, ‘World’s Oldest Watch Brands”, we did NOT think we will stumble upon such an exciting journey. Well, we at Wrist Diaries, tried and compiled a list of some of the oldest luxury watch brands in the whole world.
Sounds a little daunting? Well, it should. That’s the whole purpose of it. Imagine starting a watch company over a hundred years ago without an ounce of idea what an impact it would have on the global watch business one day. That is, indeed, a surreal thought.
Some of the Oldest Luxury Watch Brands in the Business
Take a look at some of the oldest watch manufacturers the world has ever seen.
Tissot – 1853
Tissot is a legendary watch brand that has a history of over 150 years. It was founded in 1853 by Charles-Felicien Tissot and his son Charles-Emile Tissot in the city of Le Locle. That is a feat that only a handful of watch brands can boast of.
The Swiss watchmaker is an icon in the watch business and a monumental figure when it comes to groundbreaking feats.
Montblanc – 1906
Montblanc is one of the oldest names in the Swiss Haute Horlogerie business. Named after the highest mountain in the European Alps, the brand started in 1906 with the name SIMPLO. The brand soon became the producer of fountain pens.
Today, Montblanc forms a part of the Richemont Group and makes luxury goods such as watches, fountain pens, cufflinks, bags, wallets, and belts.
Jaquet Droz – 1738
In the 1950s, while many of the watch companies in Switzerland merged with ASUAG or SSIH, some decided to do something else. Many tiny watchmaking houses joined hands and formed the Coopérative de Fabricants Suisses d’Horlogerie. This was not a holding company or even a federated organization. It was a self-supporting cooperative, that too a first of its kind. This required the creation of a shared brand, and a special one had just become available. But selling watches all over the world needed a little organising and uniformity. This is where Pierre Jaquet-Droz comes into the picture. Jaquet-Droz was a pioneering watchmaker in the Principality of Neuchâtel in the 18th century.
Jaquet Droz, originally founded in 1738, acted as a shared brand that allowed smaller watchmakers in Switzerland that were not a part of huge mergers such as ASUAG and SSIH to sell their watches across the globe.
Vacheron Constantin – 1755
A brand like Vacheron Constantin does not need any kind of introduction. The brand, founded by Jean-Marc Vacheron and François Constantin in 1755. When the company was founded in Geneva, Switzerland, little idea did the founders have what it would become one day.
Today, the brand comes under the Richemont Group and forms the holy trinity of Swiss Haute Horlogerie along with Audemars Piguet as well as Patek Philippe.
Baume et Mercier – 1830
Baume et Mercier or Baume & Mercier is an industry icon that was founded in founded in 1830 by brothers Louis-Victor and Célestin Baume. The Swiss watch manufacturer established a branch in London in 1851 under the name “Baume Brothers”, which led to expansion throughout the British Empire.
In 1918, company director William Baume partnered with Paul Mercier to found “Baume & Mercier” in Geneva. Today, the brand operates under the umbrella of the Richemont Group.
IWC – 1868
IWC, originally known as the International Watch Company, is a prime example of a modern-day watchmaking master. Founded by Florentine Ariosto Jones in 1868, IWC quickly became the name of large chronometers in the watch business.
Today, the IWC brand is an archetype of true Swiss watchmaking. The brand sets an example with each of its watches, be it the Big Pilot’s Watch, the Portugieser, or the Portofino.
Audemars Piguet – 1875
Founded in 1875 by a 23-year old Jules Audemars and a 21-year old Edward Piguet, the watch brand quickly became part of the holy trinity of Swiss Haute Horlogerie.
Popular for its Royal Oak and Code 11.59 watch collections, the brand is among the most popular and in-demand brands in the whole world. It is also one of the few remaining watchmakers still owned by the original founding families.
Patek Philippe – 1839
Patek Philippe, is arguably, the most popular watch brand in the entire world. With the brand’s watches going for a decade-long waitlist, Patek Philippe is truly a behemoth in the Swiss watch business.
Founded in 1838, today, the brand enjoys a cult following among watch enthusiasts and connoisseurs.
Longines was founded in 1832 by Auguste Agassiz in St. Imier, Switzerland.
Today, Longines is a part of the popular Swatch Group and is a symbol of timeless class and genuine quality.
Jaeger LeCoultre – 1833
Jaeger-LeCoultre SA, or simply Jaeger-LeCoultre, is a Swiss luxury watch manufacturer founded by Antoine LeCoultre in 1833, based in Le Sentier, Switzerland.
Since the year 2000, the company has been under the umbrella of the Swiss luxury goods conglomerate, Richemont Group.