A Swiss watch is a quality standard in the world of watches. They are produced by prominent brands. They also have a long history, their own unique developments and individual "handwriting". It is impossible to make an unambiguous rate of the Swiss watches brands, because their advantages are determined by a whole range of criteria. Some people appreciate prestige and popularity of the brand, others – complexity and perfection of the movement. Some evaluate exclusivity or design. For others the history of the brand and outstanding personalities connected with it are important. However, there are watch companies which will take place in the top positions of the rate anyway. They are super-premium class, elite Swiss watch brands.
The oldest Swiss watch brand, the keeper of the traditions of Swiss watchmaking, is the Vacheron Constantin, which celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2005. This company is one of the few, which are full-fledged manufactures: all the details are produced by the Vacheron Constantin. Since the time of its foundation the company is focused on the aristocracy and the elite. Vacheron Constantin doesn’t depend on time, offering new reconsideration of traditions and eternal values.
One of the brightest representatives of the elite Swiss watch brands is also the Patek Phillipe. Watches of this brand are one of the most expensive in the world and are produced by limited series. Exclusivity and complexity are the main features of the brand. For example, in 1993, the Patek Philippe company has released a single copy of complicated watch with 24 functions specifically for banker Henry Graves. This watch was recorded in the Guinness book of world records as the most expensive watch in the history: in 1999 its price was $11 000000. And the Calibre 89 watch, released in 1989 for the 150th anniversary of the brand, is among the most complex. It has 33 functions, including such peculiarities as adding an extra day to February in a leap year, determining the date of Easter, the equation of time, the timing of sunrise, the thermometer and other indicators. It is just Patek Phillipe, which is preferred by influential politicians and the elite: the Royal family of Denmark and Italy, the Sultan of Egypt Hussein Ka and ex-President of France Nicolas Sarkozy, Vladimir Putin, Anatoly Chubais, Yuri Luzhkov, Alexander Lukashenko. Leo Tolstoy, the classic of Russian literature, wore Patek Phillipe. And the brightest owner of this Swiss brand among Hollywood stars is actor Brad Pitt.
Another representative of the classic Swiss watches is the Breguet company. Each model of this brand is not only a piece of luxury, but also a sample of watchmaking art. Just the immersion in the subtle nuances of mechanisms, precision and attention to details are the features of the Breguet. Despite its classic status, the company continually seeks and offers new complications and improvements, while continuing and following the principles of its founder, Abraham-Louis Breguet, who is considered to be the greatest watchmaker in history. Among his inventions we can see complications, which are still present and perfected in modern models, the tourbillon and the self-winding mechanism. "To wear a watch by Breguet means to feel the brain of a genius in your pocket" - said about Breguet the well-known collector of exclusive watches Sir David Salomons. Breguet left so many ideas and drawings that the company still produces watches, decorated according to his designs. Among the admirers of this brand there are many historical figures such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Marie-Antoinette, Alexander I, Queen Victoria, Prince of Wales and Sir Winston Churchill.
The most famous Swiss watch brand Rolex has become a symbol of reliability, which is the best companion of luxury. This brand doesn’t often release new complications to its movements, but relies on the precision and endurance of the case. For this it is appreciated by numerous fans around the world. Rolex is testing its watches thoroughly and checks them on strength, making watch models fulfill more and more complex tasks. That's why watches of this brand for more than a hundred years are companions of athletes, champions, racers and travellers. Rolex came in history as the creator of the world's first waterproof watches Rolex Oyster. In 1927 an athlete Mercedes Gleitze swam across the English Channel for 15 hours and 15 minutes wearing this watch. The event was widely publicized, and the audience watched both an athlete and the watch. And after a triumphant crossing of the English Channel Rolex became a prominent brand. Watertightness was achieved due to the unique case shape (it resembled an oyster). Subsequently, the design developed and conquered new depths. So, in 1950 the Rolex Submariner model demonstrated its properties in the legendary film "Agent 007", passing through various tests together with James bond perfectly. In 1960 the Rolex conquered the maximum of possible depth, 10918 m, having been immersed to the bottom of the Mariana Trench with Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh for the first time in the history. Reliability and tightness of Rolex are embodied not only in its watches, but in the marketing policy. Today it is the only Swiss watch brand, which doesn’t make any discounts for its products, remaining faithful to its slogan: "Maximum of quality at the highest price".
Another brand closely associated with the world of sports is the Audemars Piguet. This company, founded in 1875, is still run by direct descendants of its founders. But that not only a wealth of experience and adherence to the traditions make it special, but also innovative courage and search for unconventional solutions, which are embodied primarily in an unusual design and the most modern materials. Audemars Piguet is experimenting with shape, filling the Jules Audemars collection with watches possessing a round dial, resembling pocket watches. While the Edward Piguet collection is filled with watches possessing a rectangular dial. In the world of sports the Audemars Piguet chronographers are popular. These are watches for participants of sailing competitions and motorists.
A special place among the super-premium Swiss brands is occupied by a young company Franck Muller. It was founded in 1992. In such a short period it managed taking its place among the best brands thanks to the talent of its founder Frank Muller. Perhaps it is the lack of established traditions that has allowed the brand to offer new inventions and solutions boldly. And these inventions enriched the art of watchmaking. During 30 years the Franck Muller company patented 20 new inventions, among them there is the world's smallest tourbillon mechanism. It was recorded into the Guinness book of world records. Another feature of the brand is a unique design. The Franck Muller dials can be recognized due to the specific style of the guilloche and engraving, which have become the trademark of the brand.