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:

CategoryLuxury StarsTypical Price Point
Ultra Luxury Watches5 Stars>$40,000
High-End Luxury Watches4 Stars$10,000 - $40,000
Luxury Watches$5,000 - $10,000
Basic Luxury Watches$1,500 - $5,000
Entry Luxury Watches1 Star$500-$1,500
Watches< $500 

See our FAQs on why certain watch brands are placed in a particular category.  If a watch brand does not have a hyperlink it is because the brand is not in business anymore.  In addition, watch brands that stand out within their respective category are decorated by the red heart symbol:

Last updated July 12, 2020 - 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

High-End Luxury Watches Attributes

  •  $10,000 - $40,000
  • Superb Heritage/Pedigree
  • High 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

  • $5,000 - $10,000
  • Respected Heritage/Pedigree
  • High resale values
  • 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

Entry Luxury Watches (Swiss) 1 Star

Entry Luxury Watches (Other countries) 1 Star

 Watches (Swiss) 0 Stars

Watches (Other countries) 0 Stars

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.  OS

401 thoughts on “The Rankings

  1. Ok says:

    – All watches are equipped with sapphire crystals
    – Top grade ETA movements, including the Valjoux 7753 (so not only the usual 2824-2).
    There are no quartz movements!
    (Plus, they have an in-house handwinding movement for their chronographs, which is a modificaton based on the Valjoux)
    – Use of materials like titanium in their professional Flieger lines, as well as their Prodiver lines
    – Occasional use of gold and precious metals for their watchcases and dials (Example: Stowa marine rose gold 750/000, and Chronograph 1938)
    – Technical case finishing, including sandblasting and hand finishing
    – TESTAF (Technical Standard for pilot watches) sertification, which only Sinn and Stowa has been accredited for thus far.
    – The Schauer branded watches are now technically being sold under the Stowa manufacturing umbrella, which furhter accentuates the point of Stowa having to be considered higher on this list.

    Accounting for all their watches, their average price is about 1200 euro, which equates to about 1300 usd. So except for their lower pricing, they literally fill out all the other requirements for being a basic luxury brand. Their extreme high value offering, compared to their other price-competitors in the market, is something they are renowned for.
    Not selling through vendors and other watchdealers obviously cuts down the margins needed to be added, compared to if they chose to go mass-market, and therefore lowers their overall pricing (probably by as much as 30-50%!) – which again may give a wrong impression of their brand value on first glance.
    But this value-orientation should definitely not be used as a knock on their status. Stowa selling exclusively through their website adds to their exclusitivity and value – as you won’t find them on the gray market for 10-20% 0ff the retail price like other mass-market watches they could potentially be competing with in the basic luxury range (Oris, Nomos, Longines etc.)

    2-stars would be the most accurate assesment, according to my analysis.
    Hope my arguments make sense.

    • Admin says:

      First of all thank you for the detailed analysis on Stowa. After careful consideration we decided to keep Stowa at the 1 star Entry Luxury Other Countries Watches category $500 – $1,500 category mainly due to the price point. Remember that an important attribute of “luxury” is exclusivity and not just quality and value. The cheaper things are the less exclusive they are.

      However, we went ahead and placed the red heart symbol by the brand to make it stand out within its category. This is exactly the reason that the red heart symbol was created.

      Lastly worth noting is that Stowa (Germany) was moved from the 2 star Basic Luxury Other Countries category $1,500 – $4,500 to the 1 star Entry Luxury Other Countries Watches category $500 – $1,500 on December 8th, 2018 after it was re-analyzed.

  2. Ok says:

    There should in my opinion be done a re-evaluation of Stowa.
    Every watch is made-to-order (not mass-produced), and also exclusively available on their website.
    Their craftmanship is more on the “good” scale, rather than “basic”.
    And, even though their pricing for some pieces are on the lower scale, their overal quality and execution is high (especially movement and case/dial finishing – blued screws, 8-fold dial embossing etc.). They are more on par with Sinn, Nomos and Longines, rather than watches like Tissot, Hamilton and Steinhart in every aspect, except pricing.

  3. Lando says:

    I strongly support Mido being atleast a Basic luxury piece due to it’s superb quality and back round from 1918, bit a entry level.

    • Admin says:

      Reviewed Mido again and determined that price range keeps them squarely at the 1 Star Entry Luxury level $500 – $1,500. Example 1: A their website scrolling through the collection most watches are right around $1,000. Example 2: Looking at there are 1,500 watches of which 10% are over the $1,500 price point.

    • Admin says:

      Added Agelocer (Hong Kong / China) to the Watches Other Countries category <$500. While it appears that their watches are for sale for more than $500, this is a scary brand.  Its ownership is more mysterious than the Bermuda Triangle.  It markets itself as a Swiss watch brand but there seems to be nothing Swiss about it. Perhaps the name Agelocer was once a Swiss brand but now it appears to be a Hong Kong/Chinese manufactured watch. This deduction comes from 3 places. First is that there is no history or any type of service contact or address information on its website. Second is that watches are available on Aliexpress and third because the domain name is registered with Xin Net Technology Corporation a notoriously shady registrar under the name AS139021 WEST263GO-HK West263 International Limited, HK (registered Apr 26, 2019). Added the Caution sign next to this brand given the fact that they charge over $500 for their watches with the false pretense of being a Swiss brand and for not having any sort of concrete product support process.

  4. Lemmy Caution says:

    Hi, what about ”West End Watch Co”. It’d go somewhere on the history list as the first Swiss brands ”making it” in the Asian market. They were rebranding Longines and Mido for the Indian market back in the day, and apparently were one of the first waterproof incablocs sold in the area.

    • Admin says:

      Added West End Watch Co. to the 1 star Entry Luxury Watches category $500 – $1,500.  Also added Kandahar (West End Watch Co.) to the Watches category <$500 which is a brand that West End Watch Co. seems to have purchased this year. Enjoyed learning about the brands during the research. Specifically I learned about the L'impermeable which was made by the West End Watch Co. as the first attested waterproof (pocket) watch in 1864.  Added this fact to the Most Iconic Watches list.

      Also Kandahar seems interesting on how they create those custom watches for Universities and such. Thanks

  5. Adamko says:

    I think Epos is more like basic luxury watch brand rather than entry, they have most of the watches above 1000 euro, some even close to 2000.

  6. AH says:

    I’d like to suggest adding Kerbedanz (Swiss) to the list. Their “Maximus” line are another horological marvel for your eyes to feast upon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *