Swiss Watches So Special?
Harnessing generations of watchmaking know-how, Swiss watches boast intricately constructed mechanical movements that evoke the romance of a bygone era, whilst their pioneering spirit allows you to have the latest in cutting-edge technology on your wrist.SHOP SWISS WATCHES
Celebrated for their precision and pedigree, Swiss-made watches have become synonymous with luxury and style. They are so much more than an instrument to tell the time.
How did this small European nation become the world's standard-bearer for luxury watchmaking? Which pioneering Swiss technological developments have paved the way for modern watch designs? Which luxury Swiss watch brands are the worthiest of investment?
Let's see what makes Swiss watches so special...
What Is A Swiss Watch?
So, what does ‘Swiss-made’ mean? Proudly displaying the stamp of 'Swiss-made' on their dial, your ideal Swiss watch could be powered by an automatic or a quartz movement, it could be suitable for deep-sea diving or resistant to extreme magnetic fields, it could measure time to 1/1,000th of a second or track multiple time-zones. In short, you can find a Swiss-made watch to suit any lifestyle, but it will only be an official Swiss watch if it adheres to the
Swiss watchmaking laws.
The History Of The Swiss Watch
The top Swiss watch brands of today are steeped in history and have each played a pivotal role in the evolution of luxury timepieces - from a technical, mechanical and stylistic perspective. Have you ever stopped to think about the centuries of delicate craftsmanship and cutting-edge innovation that have helped to shape your watch?
Legend has it that farmers who migrated to the French-speaking Jura region spent the winter months making high-quality components for clock-makers - skills that would be passed down through the generations. This is how it all began, sowing the early seeds of what would turn out to be a Swiss watch revolution.
Some of the greatest Swiss watch companies in the history of Swiss watchmaking such as OMEGA, Breitling and TAG Heuer are centuries old, and their fine watchmaking skills have been handed down through generations.DISCOVER THE HISTORY OF SWISS WATCHES
THE WATCH COMPONENTS
Swiss Watch Parts & Components
We break down the intricate parts of a Swiss watch to show the meticulous detail that goes into creating them.
The Swiss Movement
A fine work of craftsmanship, the movement is an intricate mechanism with hundreds of working parts that powers the watch. The beating heart of your Swiss watch, the movement literally makes it tick. So, what is a Swiss movement watch?
According to Swiss law a watch movement is only considered Swiss if:
- The movement has been assembled in Switzerland.
- The movement has been inspected by the manufacturer in Switzerland.
- The components of Swiss manufacture account for at least 60% of the total value.
Part of the watch that surrounds the dial, the bezel may be fixed or rotating depending on its functions. The purpose of a rotating bezel can be for many reasons; for divers to make them aware when their oxygen levels are running low or when you’re travelling, a rotating GMT bezel helps display the time in your origin country compared to the time where you currently are. You may also use it to calculate speed and time if it features a tachymeter scale. When buying your Swiss watch, it’s best to decide if you’ll need a functional bezel or not.
The Case & Crystal
The very essence of the watch, the case will determine the look, feel and functionality of your watch whilst the crystal protects the beautifully made dial. Sapphire crystal glass is what makes a Swiss watch stand out from the rest, thanks to its extremely durable structure making it super scratch resistant. Pair this with a high-quality case material and you own a watch that’s perfect for everyday wear.
The crown sits at 3’o’clock on the case of your watch and offers more than just setting the time. For an automatic or mechanical watch, the crown is used to wind a watch’s mainspring, proving power to the movement, whilst on a divers’ watch (plus many other types of Swiss watches), the crown screws-down with a water-resistant seal to keep water out of the internal mechanisms. There may be one or two other buttons either side of the crown called ‘pushers’ which assist in some stopwatch functions.
It depends on the type of Swiss watch you own to how many hands may be featured – you usually have one for the minute, hour and seconds, but if it has four hands, your watch may have a GMT feature showcasing the time of your origin country compared to the time zone you’re currently in. The hands on an automatic watch tend to also sweep elegantly across the dial, whilst quartz watches usually showcase the hands ticking. Most Swiss watch brands have their own signature designs too, such as the TUDOR Black Bay with its characteristic “snowflake hands”.
The type of strap you choose will influence the overall aesthetic of your watch. Some Swiss watch brands have signature designs, such as the integrated bracelet on the OMEGA Constellation and the Rouleaux bracelet on the Breitling Chronomat making them instantly recognisable. Other brands use a strap to determine the style of the watch. For example, a rubber strap may be used for a sports watch, whilst a leather strap for a dress watch. We offer free wrist sizing for any new TUDOR, Breitling, OMEGA and TAG Heuer watch orders online before despatch, find out more here.
Swiss Watch Brands In
Whether it’s on the pitch, divers, or astronauts, some of the world’s most adventurous professions need a highly precise and reliable timepiece to practise their profession.
In a sport where split seconds count for everything, it feels only fitting that so many Swiss-made watch brands are associated with this adrenaline fuelled sport. The ability to track time, distance and speed is necessary through functions such as chronographs and tachymeters, and luxury watch brands such as TAG Heuer and Bremont are pros at doing so. High-performance cars and the most daring racetracks often serve inspiration for these timepieces too, just look at the TAG Heuer Formula 1, Carrera, and Monaco collections or the Bremont Williams Racing watches. Head to our Motorsport Watch Buying Guide where we go into more detail on the world of motorsports and luxury watches.
Did you know? In 1953, TUDOR demonstrated the toughness of their TUDOR Oyster Prince by handing it to a motorcycle racer for a 1,000-mile endurance race. It survived and kept perfect time.Shop Motorsport Watches
Diving, Sailing & Water-Resistant Watches
Driven by a desire to enhance the accuracy of their movements by protecting them from the effects of dust, water, heat and cold, in 1926 Rolex registered their Oyster design which combined a watertight case with a patented locking crown system. In 1932 OMEGA followed suit by launching the Marine, a watch which featured a waterproof outer casing and was advertised as the first diver's watch. The Marine was certified to a depth of 135m by the Swiss Laboratory for Horology and, in 1934 it accompanied William Beebe on his historic descent in the 'Bathysphere' to a depth of 3,028 feet.
Both brands have continued to be pioneers in the world of waterproof watches with Rolex’ sister brand, TUDOR following suit. Today, the OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean, TUDOR Pelagos and TAG Heuer Aquaracer are stand-out choices when it comes to diving or sailing. Discover our guides to Diving Watches and Sailing Watches for more of our favourite water-resistant watches.Shop Diving Watches
Race Against Time
Due to the importance of time within major racing events, it’s only right that luxury brands are the Official Timekeepers to keep you on track. Starting with possibly one of the longest partnerships, OMEGA has been the Official Timekeeper at the Olympic Games since 1932. Heralding the arrival of the electronics era in 1952, the OMEGA Time Recorder allowed official times to be recorded to the nearest 1/100th of a second.
The infamous cycling event Tour De France is loved by many and officiated by Swiss watch brand Tissot or for those into horse racing, Longines have held the title of Official Timekeeper of Ascot and Royal Ascot since 1926. If you’re into football, you may have seen Hublot at FIFA, UEFA, and Premier League games - not forgetting they were the Official Timekeepers of the World Cup for the fourth consecutive year. Most of the managers and players on the pitch can be seen wearing a Hublot off the pitch too, we’ve listed the best ones here.Shop Sports Watches
Proud of their status as 'official supplier to world aviation', Breitling leads the pack with its Swiss-made pilots watches. The creator of the modern chronograph, an invention which has proved invaluable both in the world of sport and aviation, Breitling's accuracy and durability is legendary.
In 1952, the iconic Breitling Navitimer was launched. It was equipped with the famous 'navigation computer', a slide-rule bezel which can perform complex logarithmic calculations. Giving pilots the ability to calculate fuel consumption, average speeds or climbing speeds, the Breitling Navitimer can compute all necessary flight calculations in the case of plane instruments failing. Discover more Swiss watch brands such as Oris and Hamilton that also have a history with aviation in our Guide To Pilot Watches.Shop Pilot Watches
Watches On The Silver Screen
Thanks to their luxury status, it’s no surprise that Swiss watches tend to play a huge part within the cinematic world and on the wrists of some of the most famous characters and actors alike. Probably one of the most famous to date, for over 60 years OMEGA has been synonymous with Bond’s suave, sophisticated, and all-action persona with the Seamaster collection being 007’s go-to since 1995. Whilst on the subject of secret agents, Sierra Six is seen sporting the TAG Heuer Carrera in the latest Netflix film ‘The Gray Man’.
You may have spotted the Hamilton Ventura on the silver screen a few times. Throwing it back to 1961, Elvis Presley bought the Ventura for himself and later refused to take it off whilst filming ‘Blue Hawaii’ because he loved it that much. Fast forward to 1997, and it’s seen again within all the ‘Men In Black’ films. Discover our blog for more of the Most Iconic Watches In Films.Shop Luxury Watches
COLLECTIBLE SWISS WATCHES
Swiss Watches As Collectibles
Whether it's Swiss-made or not, it's very hard to predict whether a watch will become a collectible in the future. But if you're looking for the best watch to buy to tell a fascinating story, a special or limited-edition timepiece might be the way to go.
OMEGA Speedmaster Moonwatch
One of the most famous chronographs, the OMEGA Speedmaster became the first watch worn on the moon in July of 1969. Since then, it has been worn on all six lunar landings - earning itself the nickname 'The Moonwatch'. In April 1970, the Apollo 13 astronauts used their OMEGA Speedmasters to time critical engine burns that led to their safe return home.
TAG Heuer Carrera 60th Anniversary
In 2023 the iconic TAG Heuer Carrera collection celebrated its 60th anniversary and to mark the special occasion, this Carrera Chronograph 60th Anniversary was born. Paying tribute to the highly coveted Glassbox 2447 SN model, this watch is limited to 600 pieces making it the most collectible version of the original Carrera. Available in our TAG Heuer Boutiques only, book an appointment with our expert advisors.
TUDOR Black Bay Fifty-Eight Bronze
This exclusive TUDOR Black Bay 58 Bronze timepiece marks the first time that TUDOR has created a bracelet entirely from bronze. Not only that, but it also features a new bronze clasp with a redesigned cover and TUDOR "T-fit" rapid adjustment system for the length. The bronze beautifully evolves over time to form a patina, reflecting your journey of life. Available in our TUDOR Boutique Meadowhall, book an appointment with our expert advisors.
EXPERTS IN SWISS WATCHES
What To Look For In A Swiss Watch
There's a Swiss-made watch available to cater for every taste and lifestyle, our luxury watch experts offered some top tips on how to find the best Swiss watches for you.
Choose a watch you’ll love
When choosing a watch that you'll wear forever, it can be hard to narrow it down to just one piece. We think the best place to start is to decide on what's important to you about the watch; whether that's a specific brand, feature or style and go from there.
Decide between style or substance
How and where you plan on wearing your watch will have a big impact on the best watch to buy. For example, do you want a sleek and sophisticated dress watch, or do you want to push your watch to the limits whilst keeping track of your adventures?
Research their stories
Choose an authorised retailer
We are proud to be an Authorised Retailer for all our featured Swiss watch brands. This means that we have been officially appointed by the Swiss watch manufacturers to sell their timepieces, and to issue the genuine warranty to our customers.