Top 5 non-Swiss watch brands you need to know

Switzerland is rightly called the watchmaking capital of the world. Many of the world’s most prestigious and famous watch brands are assembled or created in Switzerland. “Swiss Made” watches have occupied a prominent place in terms of quality, innovation and horological prowess. But the Swiss are not the only ones to hold a monopoly on the creation of horological masterpieces. The art of fine watchmaking is spread around the world, and today we bring you a list of the top 5 non-Swiss watch brands you need to know.

NOMOS Glashütte – Germany

This Glashütte-based watch brand is one of the most innovative companies in the world. Founded by Roland Schwertner in 1990, NOMOS Glashütte is the largest German manufacturer of mechanical watches. One of the most remarkable features of NOMOS Glashütte is that all of its watches and the movement within are developed and produced in its manufacture, on site in Glashütte.

NOMOS watches are made in Glashütte, a small town nestled between forests and hills, south of Berlin and near Dresden, located in the eastern Ore Mountains. Copyright : NOMOS Glashütte

In terms of design and aesthetics, the Bauhaus design style deeply inspires the timepieces developed by NOMOS Glashütte with instantly recognizable dials. Simple, minimalist and highly innovative, NOMOS Glashütte’s extensive watch collection aims to offer well-designed timepieces at a price to suit every budget.

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Top 5 non-Swiss watch brands
Each of the watches is created by hand and features components developed and produced in-house. Copyright : NOMOS Glashütte

For more information, visit here.

Seiko/Grand Seiko – Japan

When Kintarō Hattori opened the door to his watch and jewelry shop called “K. Hattori” in Tokyo in 1881, he had no idea that it would become one of the largest luxury watch companies outside of Europe. Moreover, Seiko, which means “exquisite”, developed the world’s first quartz watch – the Seiko Quartz Astron in 1969 and the watchmaking was completely changed.

Not limited to quartz parts, Seiko launched Grand Seiko in 1960 (which became a brand in its own right in 2017), dedicated to high-quality mechanical watchmaking. Since then, Grand Seiko has slowly made an impression with its incredibly crafted and technologically superior timepieces. Typically Japanese, Seiko and Grand Seiko are clearly among the most popular non-Swiss watch brands.

Top 5 non-Swiss watch brands
The Grand Seiko Heritage 2022 Collection – The 55th Anniversary Limited Edition of the 44GS. Image Courtesy: Grand Seiko

For more information, visit here.

Bremont – Brittany

This British brand is a relatively young brand with its humble beginnings dating back to 2002. Despite its rather short history, Bremont is an award-winning company that produces beautifully designed stopwatches at its headquarters in Henley on the Thames in England.

Deeply inspired by the military, Bremont was founded by two brothers, Nick and Giles English, who were pilots and shared a love for restoring mechanical watches. They started the business to pay tribute to their late father, a former Royal Air Force pilot. However, the name of the brand comes from a Frenchman – a farmer named Antoine Bremont who had given refuge to the brothers when they made an emergency landing on his property due to bad weather and a faulty engine.

The Bremont brand offers an exclusive line of beautifully crafted pilot’s watches that are immensely accurate, reliable and durable. Handcrafted and available in limited numbers, Bremont has carved out a niche for itself with purpose-built pieces that appeal to those who share the same passion and DNA as the brand itself. For more information, visit here.

Ressence – Belgium

Watches from the Belgian watch brand Ressence offer a completely new way of telling the time. The name combines the French words ‘renaissance’ and ‘essence’. These words represent what the company stands for – expressing time in the purest way possible.

This motto is at the heart of their product, which features discs instead of hands to showcase the continuous movement of time. Unconventional yet highly innovative, the watches offered by Ressence push the boundaries and have been extremely well received by watch enthusiasts and collectors.

Founded in 2010 by Benoît Mintiens (who previously worked as an industrial designer), the brand quickly made a name for itself for its hyper-scientific and technologically advanced DNA. From their crownless case backs to their E-crown automated setting technology, Ressence has introduced a new freshness to watchmaking. This has enabled the brand to win numerous awards such as the Prix de la Révélation Horlogère at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.

For more information, visit here.

Panerai – Italy

Before I continue, let me first clear the air. While Panerai watches are made in Switzerland, their history and design DNA are firmly rooted in their hometown of Florence, viewing the brand as being Italian first before anything else.

The history of Panerai began in 1860 when Giovanni Panerai opened a watch store in Florence, Italy. By the 1900s, the company had begun making watches for the Royal Italian Navy. Since then, the Italian brand has made a name for itself by creating a range of large, legible, military-inspired timepieces. Since its flagship Luminor and Radiomir collection, the list of Panerai watches has grown incredibly. Its product line now includes a range of watches featuring new materials, horological complications, case sizes and sustainability efforts.

For more information, visit here.

Header image courtesy: Panerai, Ressence, Nomos Glashütte and Bremont

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