Success. Presence. Style. Sometimes discrete but not always, a well-designed watch leaves a big impression. For work. For play. A watch isn’t just an accessory, it’s an identity. It’s who you are. Or who you want to be.
The following list of men’s watches is, excuse the pun, timeless, with a brand to suit everyone’s pocket.
Choose your watch company
Men’s’ watches can be mechanical or automatic. But there are other things to consider. For instance, if you’re using it for day-to-day wear consider your watch’s base metal. In this instance, stainless steel or titanium should be top of your list whereas rose gold or platinum is better for lighter wear such as black tie events.
Do you want a specialist watch like a diver’s or aviator’s watch? And do you want your watch manufacturer to have added complications like a stopwatch, date or tachymeter? The luxury watch brands listed here all have a variety in their ranges so you’ll definitely find one that suits you.
One of the world’s best, and best known, watch brands Jaeger-LeCoulture have been manufacturing precision timepieces since 1833. Nestled in the heart of the Vallée de Joux, in the Swiss Jura Mountains, Jaeger-LeCoultre brings together one hundred and eighty different expert skills under one roof, to breathe life into the heart of watchmaking.
Watch design and innovation
Founded by Antoine LeCoultre the watch brand has a history of innovation and design. In 1844, Antoine invented the Millionometre, the first instrument capable of measuring the micron to refine the manufacture of watch parts.
1931 saw the introduction of the iconic ‘Reverso’ collection born out of the Art Deco movement. Its reversing case came about from a challenge to design a model that could withstand the polo matches of the British officers in India. The ‘Master’ is renowned for its classic and refined masculine lines while the ‘Atmos’ line, the pendulum watch with almost perpetual movement, forms the foundation of the manufacturer’s pride and joy.
The Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel is the latest generation of multi-axis tourbillon to emerge from Jaeger-LeCoultre. Further advancing the art of multi-axis tourbillons, the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel features a tourbillon that is significantly smaller than those in the preceding Gyrotourbillon timepieces.
The Uniform Wares watches have rapidly made a name for themselves. Eschewing branding in favour of intelligent design, Uniform Wares creates watches that embody character and distinction.
Established in 2009, the company set out with a view to building watches whose entire creative output was designed and developed exclusively in-house. The result was a highly considered, a new breed of premium contemporary timepieces that have made their indelible mark on the watch industry. Every Uniform Wares watch is designed and developed in its London studio, its parts manufactured by select international partners who share the company’s devotion to detail, and finally, assembled with care in Switzerland.
From the depths of the oceans to outer space, one watch brand towers above them all. Omega watches. It also helps to be associated with the world’s most famous spy (that’d be James Bond) as well as being the official timekeeper to the Olympic Games and other major sporting events.
In 1848, a young watchmaker named Louis Brandt opened a small workshop in the Swiss village of La Chaux-de-Fonds. It was here, in the family villa, that the 23-year-old Brandt began the company that was to become Omega. Brandt was passionate about precision and he set about developing the most accurate watches he could.
Within a few years, his reputation for high-quality watches was established within Switzerland and then, shortly after, throughout Europe. In 1880 the company moved to Biel/Bienne, 96 Rue Jakob-Stampfli where it remains today.
In 1892, and now run by Louis’ sons, Omega introduced the world’s first minute-repeating watch. At the Universal Exposition of 1900 in Paris, Omega received the Grand Prize, the greatest honour given to any brand at the time in recognition of the entire Omega collection and a testament to the advancements achieved by Omega.
1905, with its reputation for accuracy, Omega made its first foray into timing sports events while in 1932, Omega became the first watchmaker to time an entire Olympic games. From 1/10th of a second to now 1/1000th of a second, Omega has continued with its technological breakthroughs in timekeeping.
1932 was a momentous year as it also saw the introduction of the world’s first commercially available diver’s watch. Named the ‘Marine’, it used an igneous double case sealed with cork to keep water and the elements away from the heart of the watch. Tested in Lake Geneva, the watch reached a depth of 73 metres.
Proving their reliability and strength, 1940 saw Omega become the single largest supplier to the British armed forces and its allies.
In 1947, Omega created one of the world’s first tourbillon wristwatch movements successfully miniaturising one of the most complex movements in watchmaking. Then in 1948 the now-iconic Seamaster was launched, built to withstand any challenge at any altitude whether in the skies or below the surface of the ocean.
1957 saw the birth of legends when Omega introduced its Professional line composing of the Seamaster 300, the Speedmaster and the Railmaster. The Speedmaster became the official watch of NASA and first went into space with Wally Schirra in 1962. Omega has been on every NASA mission to space since then including the Moon landing in 1969.
Withstanding temperatures of -40C and winds exceeding 145km/h, an Omega Speedmaster was the watch of choice of Rheinhold Messner as he became the world’s first man to cross the Antarctic on foot in 1989.
Then in 1995, Omega began its long association with James Bond as Pierce Brosnan revitalised the franchise strapping on an Omega Speedmaster for the first of his adventures in ‘Goldeneye’. It’s a combination that has endured for 25 years, the latest special limited edition being the Seamaster 300m 007 Edition, this time being worn by Daniel Craig’s Bond seen in ‘No Time to Die’.
Underpinning this illustrious history, Omega has continued to innovate helping to keep them at the forefront of watch design and one of the most desirable watch brands. In 2008, Omega rethought the very heart of its movements, releasing the Si14 balance spring with its outstanding stability and reliability, created to resist the ever-increasing magnetic forces that are part of our lives.
The Omega Ultra Light, part of the Seamaster range, was introduced in 2019 weighing just 55 grammes and built from titanium.
You probably know Victorinox as the maker of the iconic Swiss Army Knife and you’d be right. Established 130 wars ago, Karl Elsener opened his cutler’s workshop in Ibach-Schwyz, Switzerland in 1884. In 1891 he supplied the soldier’s knife to the Swiss Army for the first time. He went on to develop the Swiss Officer’s and Sports Knife – now the iconic Swiss Army Knife – in 1897, creating the foundation for a flourishing company that would be able to hold its own on the world stage.
The name Victorinox was established in 1921, an amalgam of Karl’s mother’s name, Victoria, and inox another name for stainless steel.
Today, Victorinox is a global company with five product categories where The Swiss Army Knife is the core product and has a pioneering role in the development of all product categories. The Watches division was established in 1989 under its Swiss Army brand in North America with its former U.S. sales partner. Each watch is crafted and designed to strike the perfect balance between performance and timeless elegance so by the time you put a Victorinox watch on your wrist, it’s already passed over 100 quality control tests.
Want a rufty-tufty-go-anywhere instantly recognisable watch brand? Then Luminox is the one with the, ahem, SEAL, of approval. Born in 1989, driven by a commitment to offering cutting-edge luminescence and readability in its line of high-performance sports watches, Luminox is derived from Latin from ‘Lumi’ meaning light and ‘Nox’ meaning night.
1992 saw The Assistant Officer in Charge (AOIC) for Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E), West Coast, Nick North, together with the Luminox founder, Barry Cohen, work to develop a watch specifically for the American Navy SEALs special forces and the Navy SEAL watch was born.
1994 After Luminox provided the watches to the SEALs, more elite units contacted the brand directly, including the U.S. Coast Guard, New York City Police Department, Singapore Air Force, Special Military Forces Israel and many other law enforcement groups. From here, Luminox begins its long association with government departments, police forces and military units across the globe.
1998 Luminox was approached by U.S. Air Force pilots flying the F-117 Nighthawk™ Stealth fighter jet. This initial contact turned into a worldwide license agreement to produce Lockheed Martin timepieces.
2007 Launch of the Navy SEAL Colormark 3051 Series — the evolution of the original Navy SEAL timepieces — soon to become the best-selling series of Luminox watches.
2010 Luminox is proud to introduce its 50 bar (500 meters / 1500 feet) Deep Dive Automatic Series — Essential Gear for serious divers and a certified watch for use by professionals — complying with the strict and extremely high standards of ISO 6425 for diving watches.
2017 New Swiss-Made law: The new Swiss-Made law came into effect as of January 2017 and all Luminox Watches continue to fulfil the new Swiss-Made regulations.
2020 Luminox announced its historic partnership with Bear Grylls, the world’s most recognised face of survival and outdoor adventure and is rolling out the full Luminox X Bear Grylls collection.
A quintessentially English watch brand but with Swiss-made precision? Then you’ll be needing a man’s watch by Christopher Ward.
Started, literally, by three men in a boat, Mike France, Peter Ellis and Chris Ward got together in 2004 to produce premium watches at a fraction of the cost of Swiss brands while still maintaining their superior quality. Christopher Ward’s name was chosen for no other reason than it seemed to embody the most English of Englishness. And their aim was simple: to provide “the cheapest most expensive watches in the world”.
Selling directly via online only, from a converted chicken shed in Berkshire, June 2nd 2005 saw the launch of the companies first two watches, the C5 Malvern Automatic and the C3 Malvern Chronograph.
After bumping along for a while, suddenly things took off when Dave Malone, a watch expert from Tasmania posted on Timezone, the world’s leading website for wristwatch collectors and enthusiasts, describing the C5 Malvern Automatic as the “best value mechanical watch in the world”.
2008 was a significant year for this was when Christopher Ward began working with an exclusive Swiss watchmaking company: Synergies Horlogères. Based in the watch ‘capital’ of Biel, SH was owned and led by Jörg Bader, who shared a similar vision of watchmaking and business to the UK founders. Then in 2014, the merger of the two companies was formally announced.
Having shaken up the market, Christopher Ward then went on innovate. On July 2nd 2014 the company announced to a genuinely astonished watch industry that they’d created their own in-house automatic movement, Calibre SH21, the first commercially viable mechanical movement from a British watch brand in over 50 years.
Since 2015, the company have stepped up a gear. They’ve changed the logo. Launched the C65 range of retro watches in 2018. And perhaps most significantly of all, released the third iteration of the Trident in 2019: bringing the highest level of timekeeping, finishing and design to as broad an audience as possible.
And they’re still innovating. Timepieces like the C60 Sapphire and C60 Elite GMT 1000 bring extreme-diving technology together with duo-time zone functionality. The C1 Moonglow is a moon-phase watch that Christopher Ward believe is without equal, while the C65 Trident Automatic may be the perfect retro dive timepiece.
Accuracy. Reliability. Style. Breitling is all these and more.
Established in 1884, Léon Breitling was a skilled watchmaker who crafted both timepieces and intelligent measuring tools in his St. Imier workshop, Switzerland. Within a short time, the innovative features that he developed for his pocket watches earned Léon’s company a formidable reputation.
Léon Breitling focused on chronographs, which were increasingly in demand at the time for industrial, military, and scientific applications as well as for athletic organisations. In 1889, Léon Breitling was granted a patent for a simplified model, which distinguished itself from its competitors through its sleek design, uncomplicated manufacturing process, and straightforward maintenance.
In 1893, the company patented a movement with an astonishing power reserve of eight days. In 1896, Breitling reached a major milestone: a chronograph that was accurate to two-fifths of a second. A model with a pulsograph, which featured a logarithmic scale ideal for measuring a patient’s pulse rate, was highly valued by physicians. Within a decade, the company had sold more than 100,000 chronographs and stopwatches.
In 1905, as automobiles were emerging as the preferred mode of transportation, Léon Breitling patented a simple timer/tachymeter that could measure any speed between 15 and 150 km/h. The Vitesse timer allowed drivers to calculate their speeds – but also enabled police to do the same, and soon afterwards the first speeding tickets were issued in Switzerland!
In 1923, a patented pocket watch with two chronograph pushers caused a sensation. The one pusher in the 2 o’clock position was used for starting and stopping, while the other, integrated into the crown, reset the chronograph mechanism. For the first time, it was possible for the stopwatch to measure multiple times in sequence. It was not until later in the 1920s that the name of the manufacturer finally appeared on the watches.
Until 1934, chronograph wristwatches only had a single pusher, so after a start and a stop, a reset inevitably followed. Breitling saw this as a key deficiency, and in 1934, a patent for the world’s first wrist chronograph with two pushers was filed.
And that was only the beginning. In 1936, the company introduced a specially designed aviator chronograph with a black dial and striking luminescent numerals and hands as well as a practical rotating bezel with a useful, versatile pointer arrow that also glowed in the dark. It was around this time that Breitling began its long association with aviation as they became standard in the cockpits of the Royal Air Force.
1952 marked the debut of an unprecedented watch prototype that remains an icon to this day: the Breitling Navitimer. Its name is a portmanteau of the words “navigation” and “timer.” Equipped with the flight-specific slide rule that was introduced with the Chronomat, it is little wonder that countless pilots, airlines, and aircraft manufacturers have opted for this timepiece ever since.
Another milestone in the 1950s was the extraordinary SuperOcean. Willy Breitling was determined to make a splash (literally!) on his 25th anniversary as head of the family business. He did so with this diver’s watch, which featured a water-resistant case up to 20 bar (or depths of up to 200 meters). Building on the SuperOcean’s momentum, Breitling launched the simple but robust TransOcean in 1958.
The popularity of this shockproof, anti-magnetic, and “super-sealed” automatic chronometer was buoyed by the brand’s reputation for aviation precision.
The 1969 launch of the Chrono-Matic, with its winding crown on the left side, caused a sensation on the international watch scene. This true original has since been optimized several times and manufactured in different versions. 1969 also marked the beginning of the era that, somewhat improbably for the Swiss watch industry, was marked by electronically controlled wristwatches. Breitling, like most other major brands, responded to the trend with its own quartz models, including a quartz Chronomat.
In 1985, and under new ownership, the multifunction Aerospace was introduced. This innovative quartz watch with a titanium case had a double display – analogue and digital – and its dial featured two liquid crystal display (LCD) screens. It was notable for its particularly simple and logical control system and an impressive array of functions, all of which were activated by simply turning, pressing, or pulling the crown.
1985 also marked a new beginning for the Navitimer, which was introduced as a manual-winding version. The Reference 81600 celebrated the original Navitimer, both in terms of looks and function, while an automatic version was released in 1987.
1988 saw the launch of the Emergency which, as its name suggests, was the first wristwatch to be equipped with an integrated emergency transmitter. This was updated in1995 with the introduction of an ingenious patented antenna deployment system. The later model’s micro-transmitter, which was locked onto the international air distress frequency, was equipped with two antennas and had a 48-hour independent power reserve.
Today, again under new ownership, Breitling continues to prosper and innovate. It’s clock appears in the dashboard of Bentleys and as part of 10th anniversary of a Breitling–Bentley partnership, the Bentley B04 GMT, B05 Unitime and B06 were produced.
We hope you enjoyed our review of the best watch brands for men in 2021 and beyond.