Best watch brands 2022: top affordable and luxury watch brands for men
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When it comes to watches, brand matters. Many of the best watch brands have earned their status through decades (if not centuries) of prowess in timekeeping, product longevity, style and investment value. It’s what defines trusted brands, from Rolex to Seiko and Patek Phillipe to Timex, and what makes us trust them to keep time and stay stylish for years to come.
With all of these factors in play, determining the best watch brands is very subjective. There are dozens of A-plus watches (at all price points, from around the world), which is why geeks can spend hours discussing their lists of the best watch brands. Things get even more complicated if you’ve just entered the complex world of watches, but don’t worry: it’s easy to get to grips with the main players.
What are the best watch brands?
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best watch brands every beginner and collector should know about. If you’re new to watches, browse brands you haven’t heard of, whether your budget is $100 or $10,000. If you already have a full watch box, see if you agree with our picks.
There are a handful of affordable and prestigious watch brands to match high-end watchmakers. Such a brand? Timex. The American brand has been around since 1950, producing well-made, easily accessible watches with an emphasis on rugged wearability. Their first slogan, “Takes a Licking and keep on Ticking”, made Timex the best-selling watch brand in the United States in 1962.
Today, Timex has kept the real estate off our wrist by releasing archive-inspired watches like this Q Timex Reissue Diver. In person, the Diver looks way more expensive than its affordability (and it does too), and it’s durable enough to withstand swims, scrapes, and bumps thanks to water resistance. of 50 meters and stainless steel throughout.
Hailing from Japan, Casio is another affordable brand that serious watch enthusiasts respect as much as big Swiss companies (you can spot Casios on everyone from John Mayer to George Clooney to Bill Gates). Casio’s most famous sub-brand, the G-Shock, brings retro style and old-school durability in equal measure. With solar-powered movement, water resistance up to 200 meters and, as the name suggests, shock resistance, it’s ready for any adventure.
Seikos are confusing: they have a nice classic appearance (ours is sometimes mistaken for a Rolex) and they keep time using reliable mechanical movements (as found on most expensive watches), but some of their best -sellers cost less than a fancy dinner. Moreover, Seiko has been doing this since the end of the 19th century.
Seriously, Seiko’s offerings are worthy of any watch box, no matter your budget. We particularly like the Seiko 5 (linked here), which features automatic movement and versatile styling, but, if you’ve got a little extra dough, the brand’s more expensive Grand Seiko models are also fantastic.
Only a handful of brands can match Omega’s reputation. Its Speedmaster Professional Chronograph was the first watch on the moon, and Omegas have featured on James Bond’s wrist in several films – two accomplishments that exemplify Omega’s blend of style and reliability.
The Speedmaster Moonwatch is still Omega’s, with a sporty yet chic look that can take you from the beach to the office.
In watchmaking, price is not always an indicator of precision. Citizen is proof of that. The Japanese brand’s Eco-Drive watches, which use a hidden solar panel to continuously recharge a quartz movement, are among the most accurate stopwatches in the world.
Covering dozens of models, Citizen has one of the largest catalogs on the market, so there should be something for every style. We love this Super Titanium Armor watch which, as the name suggests, incorporates titanium for extra durability.
Weiss has been around for less than a decade, which isn’t very long (especially for a watch brand), but it’s quickly earned a spot on our radar. The California-based company hand assembles its own timepieces, incorporating a very appealing mix of sophistication and military cutting edge. Inspired by old-school American watches, the brand’s offerings are ideal for weekend adventures and laid-back looks.
Beloved by watch enthusiasts but largely unknown to most buyers, Orient is a great source for affordable quality. The Japanese brand’s best offerings are their automatic and mechanical watches, which feature classic styling to match their old-school movements. This Bambino is a great example of the Orient at its best: suave, powered by an automatic movement and at a very affordable price, it’s a great choice for keeping time in the office or on dressy occasions.
8. IWC Schaffhausen
Since its founding in 1886, IWC Schaffhausen (commonly abbreviated as IWC) has always combined American style and technology with time-tested Swiss watchmaking. The company is best known for its aviation watches, which have become a staple in offices and boardrooms around the world. With an understated, minimalist look, IWC watches are less flashy than other high-end Swiss-made watches, but they’re sure to win over any watch lover.
Some watch purists might scoff at Apple’s inclusion in this list, but their importance in watchmaking is inevitable. Now the world’s largest watch supplier, Apple changed the game with the Apple Watch, but surprisingly their smartwatch didn’t spell the end of traditional watches. Instead, the Apple Watch created a new category, helping us track health, be more responsive, and listen to audio on the go. But other watches still own the style department.
Synonymous with success today, Rolex is the most recognizable watch brand in existence, if not the most recognizable luxury brand, period. The renowned Swiss company has earned its reputation over decades with consistent and robust build quality (inside and out), as well as some industry-defining designs.
Probably the most classic Rolex right now is the Submariner, a luxury sports watch that offers dive-ready durability and country club-ready sophistication. The Datejust is another classic, and the Daytona is an even more prestigious option.
Sometimes cheekily dubbed the “rich man’s Rolex”, Patek Philippe is arguably the biggest watch brand in the world. Their slogan reads “you never actually own a Patek Philippe, you just care for it for the next generation”, and they deliver on that promise of multi-generational quality in every watch.
12. Audemar Piaget
A favorite of rappers, Audemars Piguet watches are among the hardest to secure. Their bold, recognizable designs (notably the Royal Oak) command exorbitant prices on the resale market, and you’ll have to go on a (long) waiting list to get a new one. But, those who are lucky enough to obtain an Audemars can enjoy one of the finest watchmaking qualities in the world.