Have you ever wondered how luxury watch brands are faring in this world of cheap quartz and smartwatches? Then you’ll certainly be disappointed to know that as much as the world wants for these mechanical watches to drop in prices, the luxury watch industry is actually doing quite well, considering the circumstances.
So that means there will be no major price cuts on the horizon for watch enthusiasts and the major consuming public. Luxury watch brands will still price their timepieces astronomically, and only those with ample capital to invest in these horological wonders will have the capacity to get up close and personal with these revered watches.
But what are the brands at the top of the luxury watches hierarchy? In this article, we’ve collated what’s popping in the world of luxury watch brands and delve deeper into the money that these major horological brands make annually. So strap your boots in, as we promise you, the numbers you’re gonna read will literally blow your mind:
To say that Omega is a stalwart in the luxury watchmaking industry is an understatement. Considered one of the three Swiss greats alongside Rolex and Tag Heuer, the luxury lineup of the Omega watches is rooted in innovation, producing the most precise in-house movement, and effective marketing. It’s the leading watch brand under the Swatch Group, and in 2019 alone, the brand exceeded 1 billion in annual sales.
One of the brand’s most popular watches is the Omega Speedmaster. If that rings a bell, it’s because it’s the Bond watch. At an average, a brand new Seamaster will set you back at least $20,000. That’s not considering if you wanted a flashier material like white or rose gold and a titanium watch band.
When it comes to luxury timepieces, Rolex is king. There’s no talk about luxury watches that won’t include Rolex. In the past two years, the horological giant has been raking in 5 billion in actual sales and turnover, and it has maintained its top spot for at least a decade now. Suffice it to say; there is no beating Rolex when it comes to luxury watches.
Rolex watches account for 22.2% of global watch sales worldwide. That number includes every watch category, from quartz to smartwatches down to entry-level automatic watches. The average price per watch from the company is at around 12,200 CHF, which is a whopping $12,370. That’s at least seven thousand dollars more when compared to Omega’s average sales per watch at $5,900.
Coming in third behind Rolex and Omega is Cartier, which is under the Richemont umbrella of companies. The luxury watchmaker’s annual sales turnover ranges from 1-1.66 billion annually. Cartier is the biggest money-maker of the Richemont group, but it does not sit comfortably in its position, as Longines is nipping at its heels with just short of a million worth of sales.
Popular items from the brand include the classic Tank. The square-faced, laden with stones and set in lavish materials like rose and the yellow gold watch has been the face of Cartier watches for quite some time now. For enthusiasts, the Ballon Bleu de Cartier collection is also a thing to marvel on.
A watch brand popular with celebrities nowadays, Patek Philippe was originally the watchmaker of choice for royals. The first wristwatch in history was made by the brand, a gift for the countess of Hungary. Since then, the company blossomed into something of a mover in the industry, introducing the perpetual calendar complication decades later.
Patek Philippe’s annual turnover is just shy of 1.4 billion. Today, the most coveted Patek Philippe watches are Nautilus, Complications, and Grand Complications. From Queen Victoria to Pablo Picasso to Elizabeth Taylor, there have been numerous people of importance that owned a Patek. The late John Lennon was even photographed with a Patek on his wrist two months before he was fatally shot.
The world of mechanical watchmaking certainly is an industry like no other. While the world is turning to smartwatches nowadays, getting a watch that has a mechanical or automatic movement, either in-house or caliber, is still one of the most prominent hobbies for the wealthy, rich and famous, and people in power.