The Rankings

The following list contains over 360 watch brands ranked in a pecking order hierarchy from Entry level to Ultra Luxury based on their typical price point, quality and exclusivity delineating between Swiss and non-Swiss brands.  See our FAQs on why certain watches brands are placed in a particular level.  If a Watch Brand has no link it is because it is not in business anymore.  Furthermore, watch brands that stand out within their respective category are noted by the red heart symbol: watch-rankings.com-favorite

Last updated Jan 18, 2018 - view the change log here and if the watch brand you're looking for is not ranked then check the rankings in progress here.

Ultra Luxury Watches Attributes:

  • > $40,000
  • Superb Heritage/Pedigree
  • Exclusivity (Limited Quantities)
  • May not have the best resale value
  • Small niche boutiques (Independents)
  • Impeccable Handmade Craftsmanship
  • Brand recognition in horology circles
  • Complex Automatic In-House Movements
  • Precious Metals and Stones
  • Sapphire Crystal

LEROY - Séries Limitées
Model L110/10: Case in non-rhodium-plated white gold set with 304 baguette-cut diamonds Winding crown set with a 3.80 mm brilliant-cut diamond. Total of 425 stones and over 9.5 carats.
Movement: Cal. L512 Manufacture L.Leroy, Flying Tourbillon with variable-inertia balance with four gold setting screws and double balance-spring, diamond escapement, Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz), 23 Jewels, Power reserve: over 52 hours, 22 ct gold oscillating weight, Bridges decorated with Côtes de Genève, sunburst, hand-chamfered, régulateur automatique officiellement certifié chronomètre, Stamped with the "Viper's Head".  Numbered piece. Produced on request.


 

High-End Luxury Watches Attributes

  •  $10,000 - $40,000
  • Superb Heritage/Pedigree
  • Highest resale values
  • High Quantities (on most pieces)
  • May have famous very expensive rare pieces
  • Brand recognition by greater public
  • Complex Quality Automatic Movements, most In-House
  • Impeccable Craftsmanship, often Handmade
  • Precious Metals and Stones
  • Sapphire Crystal

Luxury Watches (Swiss) 3 Stars


Luxury Watches (Other countries) 
3 Stars

 

Luxury Watches Attributes

  • $4,500 - $10,000
  • Respected Heritage/Pedigree
  • Mass Production, some rare pieces
  • Quality Automatic Movements, some In-House
  • Great Craftsmanship
  • Some Precious Metals and Stones
  • Sapphire Crystal


 

Basic Luxury Watches (Swiss) 2 Stars


Basic Luxury Watches (Other countries) 
2 Stars

 

Basic Luxury Watches Attributes

  •  $1,500 - $4,500
  • Average Heritage/Pedigree
  • Mass Production
  • Good Automatic Movements, frequently ETA
  • Good Craftsmanship
  • Occasionally use Precious Metals and Stones
  • Sapphire Crystal

 

Entry Luxury Watches (Swiss) 1 Star


Entry Luxury Watches (Other countries) 
1 Star


 

 Watches (Swiss) 0 Stars


Watches (Other countries) 
0 Stars

 

Watches Attributes

  • < $500
  • Fashion / Sports Brands
  • Mass Production
  • Quartz or Automatic Movements made in Asia
  • Average Industrial Craftsmanship Quality
  • Usually have Mineral Crystal
  • Usually not worth servicing except for battery

New: View the ranking list change log here.

Why is your watch brand not here?  First check if the ranking analysis for the watch you're looking for is currently in progress here.  If it's not there, well, we may have missed it.  Tell us in the comments where it should be ranked at on the list.

 

95 thoughts on “The Rankings

  1. James Wong says:

    Girard Perregaux should rank 4 stars with its history, in house movements, unique designs, innovations, precious metals and brand recognition. Please consider move it up one rank. Thanks.

  2. Jamie says:

    Alpina is owned by FC and uses FC’s in house movements now. With Frederique Cosntant offering more than 50 percent of their movements in house, it should at least be adjusted to 2 stars. They make in house flyback chronographs, world timer, perpetual calendar, moonphase, tourbillion and so on.

      • Jamie says:

        If you are basing your judgment simply on Amazon search, this list and your argument loses their credibility immensely.
        1) Sellers in Amazon has nothing to do with the firm itself. They are not ADs and therefore, their business is not connected with the watch brands at all. They can reduce the price as much as they want, and choose to list watches they want to list. It’s like judging a brand solely on the basis of the price you see on outlet stores like TJ Maxx.
        2) If you want to search on Amazon, please search some of the big brands on your 2 star list as well. 70% of longines listed are under $1500. Majority of Stowa and Sinn watches are also under $1500 even on their website.

        • Admin says:

          Okay, on a 3rd look we agreed to move Frederique Constant up to the 2 Star Basic Luxury category of between $1,500 and $4,500.

          There were a few determining factors:

          Of the 1,827 watches for sale at Chrono24 half, or about 900 were below $1,500. One would reason that new those cost more thus bringing the average to be more than $1,500.

          Second, even the Wikipedia page states that “Frederique Constant positions itself in the accessible luxury segment, with most of its watches selling in the price range of CHF 1,000–5,000 retail.”.

          Third is that the brand’s accomplishments in horology movements are indeed commendable. We love the brand. Just not too thrilled about watering down the prestige with all those cheap quartz models.

          Here’s hoping that the CITIZEN Group preserves Frederique Constant’s prestige.

          As a side note, Stowa was moved down to the 1 Star Entry Luxury but Sinn is still a solid 2 Star brand.

          Thanks for your input Jamie.

          • Jamie says:

            Thank you for understanding my argument. Bit sad to see Stowa go under a grade, because they are a amazing brand with amazing history. My point about pricing was not that those brands should go down, but retail prices don’t matter much, at least to collectors. It’s about the value their watches hold. Even though Longines, Sinn, and Stowa has many watches that are under a certain amount of money, in this case USD 1500, they have amazing history, innovation, and influence within the industry, as does FC. Simple dollar terms cannot represent the company. I would rate all of them on the 2 star list per my knowledge on the brands. I would highly recommend moving away from the pricing point when making judgments, especially if the judgments are made on watches sold by non-ADs.

            Great list for beginner collectors, but there can be so many controversial points – which is why many watch lovers try to shun such lists. Great job though!

            • Admin says:

              Jaime, I am glad you’re enjoying the rankings. You might have noticed that there’s still over 350 to rank although the mainstream ones are probably covered.

              Lists such as this do present contention points as there are different perspectives and beliefs. Although we try to make the ranking as objective as possible there is a certain level of subjectivity for some of the brands.

              The hope is that those debates are done in good spirits and enjoyed.

              Unfortunately the “average” cost is the single best indicator of Luxury Level because it is (relatively) objective. The price of a watch is what reflects its intrinsic value whether physical such as from precious materials and craftsmanship or perceived such as the auction of the recent Rolex Paul Newman Daytona.

              As you said this list is hopefully used as an educational reference. I hope everyone clicks on each of the brand links and learns about them and also enjoys looking at their collections. There are some amazingly beautiful timepieces out there.

              Andrei

  3. Tsinghua says:

    I think Linde Werdelin should be moved to tier 2 “High-End Luxury”. Since most of Linde’s collections are priced over 10k USD.

    • Admin says:

      Tsinghua, we spent some time re-analyzing Linde Werdelin and concluded that the brand will remain ranked at 3 Star Luxury $4,500 – $10,000 category.

      While average price is typically the best indicator of the rank category in this case we’re going with the lower category mainly because Linde Werdelin does not make their own movements thus not having achieved that special level of High-End Luxury horological sophistication.

      Granted Linde Werdelin doesn’t use the typical ETA movements, instead opting for the Concepto made LW03 or the F. Piguet caliber 1150 in the OKTOPUS series the movements are still not made in-house. They added their own in-house hotorealistic moonphase complication which is nice but not enough to get them to the next level.

      Linde Werdelin appears to be focused on the cases, skeletonizing, polishing the movements and creating unique materials such as their 3DTP™ carbon composite which took two years to create.

      Morten Linde’s quote sums it up – “IT’S EASY TO MAKE SOMETHING LOOK GOOD, BUT THAT’S NOT THE POINT” – perhaps adding a COSC certification to their movements will help in the rankings.

      Linde Werdelin is a great new brand with a bright future in an exciting niche. We look forward to their innovations that will get them to the 4 Star High-End Luxury Level $10,000 – $40,000.

    • Admin says:

      Vin, Brellum was added to the 2 star Basic Luxury category $1,500 – $4,500.

      We also added the red heart symbol in the rankings due to their COSC Certification and because the founder Sebastian Muller is involved with the production of every watch – something that normally occurs in the Ultra Luxury Category.

      Brellum captures the spirit of building quality time pieces. Here’s hoping for a long and prosperous future. Enjoy your new watch and Happy New Year!

  4. Ron says:

    Russian list: Poljot, Slava, Pobeda, Raketa, Luch, Zim

    Swiss: Wulf, LeCheminant

    American:Illinois, Ollendorf, Crawford

    UK: Smiths, Garrard, Services, J & T Windmills

    • Admin says:

      Started working on this. See the change log. Opened up a can of worms with Poljot but learned a ton of cool things like the first watch in space with Gagarin, the Sturmanskie. By the time the analysis was done it spawned the brands Aviator, Buran, Sturmanskie and Poljot-International.

    • Admin says:

      Added Cimier to the 1 star Entry Luxury Watches category $500 – $1,500. Cimier is as good as its peers in that category, the likes of Certinas, Edox or Tissot. They use Sapphire crystals and ETA based Swiss movements. Thanks for informing us that it wasn’t on the list.

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