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The world’s best watch brands, explained

Except you’re speaking about Lionel Messi, The Beatles, or grandma’s cooking, the title “finest” will be fairly subjective. That’s no much less true in the case of the most effective watch manufacturers, which span a mind-boggling vary of types, value factors and options, from the easy utilitarian appeal of the Casio G-Shock to the unapologetic outrageousness of a seven-figure Richard Mille. To make sense of all of it, we’ve assembled a few of the key gamers within the GQ watch universe, damaged down into eight distinct classes, every of which is on the very high of their explicit recreation—whether or not that’s making limited-edition tourbillons or the quartz beater you put on to the seashore. Luckily, in contrast to the Champions League or the scouse music scene, the world of watches has room for multiple GOAT.

Need to brush up in your terminology and discover your subsequent dream timepiece? Do not miss GQ’s final information to the finest watches for males.

The most effective watch manufacturers procuring information

The most effective reasonably priced watch manufacturers

Primarily based on what’s in your Instagram feed it may be simple to concentrate on the form of top-shelf grails flexed by guys who sit courtside at Lakers video games and have their very own tequila manufacturers, however don’t despair in case your price range has fewer zeroes in it. The truth is, there’s by no means been extra choice or higher worth within the entry degree, with dozens of long-established manufacturers and startups working laborious to earn a spot in your wrist. Whether or not it’s your first watch or your fourteenth, these low cost watch manufacturers provide Patron high quality at Pepe Lopez costs.


Swiss-made high quality at cheap costs is the secret at Tissot, which has been making old-school mechanical watches in Le Locle, Switzerland since 1853. No matter your type, you’re prone to discover one thing you need of their in depth catalogue spanning pocket watches, pro-quality dive watches and basic ‘60s chronographs.

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Tissot Seastar 1000 watch


Swatch modified the sport within the early Eighties by proving that Switzerland may make cheap quartz (i.e. battery-powered) watches in addition to high-end mechanical ones. Forty years later they’re nonetheless on the high of their recreation, producing a number of collections yearly of their signature colourful-quirky type.

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Swatch Clearly Gent watch


Aspiring multi-hyphenates take word: this Japanese model’s providing spans tons of of G-Shock fashions and solar-powered analogue wristwatches (plus a bunch of very good digital pianos) all of that are executed with the identical mixture of modern expertise and excessive consideration to element.

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Casio G-Shock DW6900 watch


Within the Venn diagram of affordability, dependability and stylishness, Seiko’s sports activities watches are dead-centre.

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In the identical vein as Uniqlo and their famously wonderful selvedge denim, this under-the-radar Japanese watchmaker focuses on handsome mechanical wristwatches at budget-friendly costs.

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The most effective big-time watch manufacturers

Whether or not by benefit of their craftsmanship, their historical past, or their astronomical costs, some manufacturers command extra respect (and hype) than others. That is the A-list of the watch world.

Richard Mille

Constructed like Method 1 vehicles out of carbon nanotubes, titanium cables, and different such space-age supplies, this Swiss model introduced haute horology into the twenty first century. Sure, you learn the worth accurately.

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Richard Mille RM 72-01 Computerized Way of life Chronograph watch


If a Richard Mille is a mansion in Calabasas with its personal go-kart observe, a Cartier is a gilded age property in Newport. Lots of this French jeweller’s fashions haven’t modified a lot for the reason that Twenties, and that’s precisely why individuals like them. Cash talks, they are saying, and wealth whispers.

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Audemars Piguet

With years-long ready lists, exorbitant gray market costs, and extra flexing than Muscle Seaside on a summer time Saturday, this model’s watches — significantly the Royal Oak — are in a category of their very own. Beneath the hype, nevertheless, are a few of the refined actions created by probably the most expert watchmakers within the enterprise.

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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak “Jumbo” Further-thin watch


With the form of broad, common goodwill normally reserved for Patagonia fleeces and Dwayne Johnson motion pictures, Rolex has comfortably held its place atop the pyramid of watch manufacturers for many years. Its actions and ending are top-notch, in fact, however (very similar to The Rock) at this level they don’t require any introduction.

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Rolex GMT-Grasp II watch


Greater than half a century after Neil Armstrong made what may be the most important watch flex in historical past, Omega’s Speedmaster continues to be the model’s most-wanted creation. Robust, refined, and technically-advanced mechanical sports activities watches are what this model does finest, and there are numerous to select from—with or with out ties to Apollo 11.

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Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Skilled Co-Axial Grasp Chronometer Chronograph watch


Hublot was the primary model to place a strong gold watch on a rubber strap, which in 1980 was as revelatory and transgressive as sporting sneakers with a swimsuit. Forty years later the model continues to be experimenting with supplies, just lately determining tips on how to carve a whole watch case out of a single block of lab-grown sapphire.

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Hublot Traditional Fusion Titanium watch

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Hublot Huge Bang Sang Bleu II watch


Gerald Genta’s designs for Patek and AP are actually a few of the most sought on this planet, however they solely signify a fraction of the legendary designer’s output. Amongst his different hits is the “BVLGARI BVLGARI” watch he designed for this Italian jeweller in 1975. Bulgari continues to tweak the small print of this iconic piece (impressed by an vintage Roman coin) most just lately re-imagining it with a black and white aluminum case.

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Bulgari Octo Finissimo watch

Bulgari Gerald Genta watch

Patek Philippe

As its well-known tagline says, you by no means truly personal a Patek Philippe, you simply maintain it for the following era. And in case your grandkids wish to flip your cloisonné enamel World Time to pay for school sometime, they in all probability may.

Patek Philippe 5231G-001 World Time watch

The Finest Costume Watch Manufacturers

Even when you don’t put on a swimsuit to the workplace, including a basic costume watch — that’s, one with an unfussy dial, a leather-based strap and perhaps some gold — to your workday matches helps make weekdays really feel a bit of extra particular.

Vacheron Constantin

Virtually 250 years of steady operation, distinctive motion ending (the hand-polishing and ornament painstakingly utilized to every part), and a good bit of shortage are the muse of this top-shelf model. Its watches aren’t too bad-looking both.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle Tourbillon watch


Watchmakers, like highschool seniors, love superlatives. Piaget earned its fame because the maker of the world’s thinnest mechanical watch actions within the Fifties and has been upping the ante ever since. At simply 2mm skinny (solely a smidge thicker than a penny), its newest Altiplano is a mind-bending feat of watchmaking, albeit one you would not wish to put on to the health club. For that, look to the Piaget Polo, a criminally underrated metal sports activities watch from the ’70s.

Piaget Altiplano Final Computerized watch

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Jaeger-LeCoultre’s most well-known creation, the Reverso, was designed for polo gamers within the Nineteen Thirties. It was additionally the watch Don Draper purchased when he received his title on the door at Sterling Cooper. Wherever you are sporting yours, say it zhey-ZHER leh-KOOLT or threat being mocked by advert execs and horse individuals alike.

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Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Traditional Medium Skinny watch

Grand Seiko

Grand Seiko makes a few of the most correct mechanical watches on the planet (significantly these that includes its revered Spring Drive motion) and its consideration to ending is equally exact.

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Grand Seiko SBGA211 watch

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Grand Seiko Magnificence Assortment Computerized GMT SBGM221 watch

A Lange & Söhne

Germany’s reply to Patek Philippe produces a few tenth as many watches per 12 months and assembles every one twice to make sure absolute perfection. This has earned it a loyal following of hardcore watch collectors who dig its asymmetrical dials and quirky outsized “digital” dates.

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A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia watch

The most effective pilot watch manufacturers

You don’t must be sporting a shearling jacket and a jumpsuit to rock a basic pilot watch (you may get some sideways appears on the grocery retailer when you did). All that’s required to understand these flyboy-approved manufacturers is a love of basic device watches.


IWC redesigned their Huge Pilot watch this 12 months, however to see it subsequent to those they made for British pilots within the Nineteen Forties, you may not be capable to inform which is which. Every part else about this watch — and each different watch made by IWC — is an train in top-down luxurious.

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After a long time of catering to guys who put on epaulets and aviator shades to work, Breitling now has so much to supply these on the opposite facet of the cockpit door, too, together with current collabs with Kelly Slater’s Outerknown and fashionable reproductions of classic dive watches from the ’60s.

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Breitling Navitimer watch


Zenith rocked the watch world in 1969 when it dropped the unique El Primero, one of many world’s first computerized chronographs. That accomplishment might not sound as spectacular nowadays, however their signature chronograph appears simply as recent because it did again then — and its legendary motion has solely gotten higher.

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Zenith El Primero Computerized watch

The most effective dive watch manufacturers

Robust, fashionable and extremely versatile, a great dive watch is sort of a classic Land Rover Defender. And in contrast to that beloved British off-roader, a basic diver from any of the manufacturers under goes to run for many years with out breaking down.

Ulysse Nardin

This Swiss heavyweight earned its fame by making a few of the world’s most correct marine chronometers which, within the days earlier than GPS, have been as important to maritime navigation as charts and lighthouses. That experience is clear in its lineup of refined sports activities watches, that are as nautical as Breton stripes (and far simpler to put on with a swimsuit).

Ulysse Nardin Diver Computerized watch


The watch world’s equal of the Beatles vs Rolling Stones debate (or Xbox vs Ps, when you’re beneath 40) entails Blancpain, Rolex and the invention of the diver’s watch. Whereas the Rolex Submariner could also be extra well-known nowadays, Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms (created for French navy divers and that includes the primary uni-directional rotating bezel) truly got here out a 12 months earlier, making it the official OG. As with the Beatles and the Stones, nevertheless, it actually simply comes right down to what you want, and there’s so much to love right here.

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Blancpain Fifty Fathons Grande Date watch


Together with a purple beanie and a pipe, Jacques Cousteau’s Doxa diver’s watch was a vital ingredient of his now-iconic uniform. You’ll be able to skip the pipe (and perhaps the hat, too), however Doxa’s watches nonetheless look simply pretty much as good as they did onboard the Calypso.

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The most effective “first actual watch” manufacturers

Any watch that tells time is a “actual watch,” however some manufacturers pack a bit of extra gravitas than others. If you happen to’re able to graduate into the world of grown-up timepieces, listed below are a couple of good locations to start out.


While you’re spending hundreds of {dollars} on a watch, the thought of “good worth” turns into greater than a bit of subjective. That stated, Longines gives all the pieces {that a} top-tier Swiss watchmaker ought to (heritage, high-quality Swiss actions, distinctive design) at a comparatively attainable value level. If you need one thing with classic appears and fashionable reliability, look no additional.

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Longines HydroConquest watch


Very similar to 5 Guys, Hamilton is extensively revered for its dedication to serving up the classics at cheap costs. If you happen to’re seeking to get into your first mechanical watch, chances are high you’ll discover one thing you like in its assortment of rugged midcentury-inspired designs.

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Hamilton Khaki Discipline Mechancial watch

TAG Heuer

You do not have to know what a chicane is or be conversational within the Prost-Senna rivalry to understand TAG Heuer, but it surely helps. For the reason that Nineteen Sixties this model has been trackside at each main motorsports occasion on the planet, and most of their watches have fun that legacy in a technique or one other. For many who want their races to contain banana peels and Koopa Troopa, it additionally simply launched a collection of collabs with Nintendo.


Like many youthful siblings, Tudor has spent greater than its share of time residing within the shadow of its older, extra established sibling, Rolex. In recent times, nevertheless, this model has really come into its personal with a strong line of chronographs and dive watches to rival the most effective on this planet. It’s not Rolex, however in some methods (together with the worth) that’s a great factor.

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