There’s a reason why Swiss watches have the best reputation for quality. Their level of craftsmanship and their general sense of mystique both ensure that they continue to be some of the best analog watches you’ll find anywhere. These properties also ensure their incredibly coveted status symbols. However, the appeal of these watches has brought tons of shady Swiss watch brands out of the woodwork. Not all Swiss watches are created equally. Knowing the difference between a high-quality model and a fly by night brand can save you a lot of heartbreak.
Our reviews break down 11 of the best Swiss watches available to consumers in 2020. It’s followed by a dedicated guide that can turn you into an aspiring pro in no time at all.
- The 10 Best Swiss Watches
- 1. Invicta Men’s 8928OB Two-Tone Automatic Watch
- 2. Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Watch
- 3. Stuhrling Original Sports Watch
- 4. Movado Swiss Quartz Stainless Steel Watch
- 5. Victorinox 249087 Watch
- 6. Tissot Mens Couturier Chronograph
- 7. Tag Heuer Formula 1 Watch
- 8. Nixon 51-30 Tide Stainless Steel Watch
- 9. Victorinox Swiss Army
- 10. BRIGADA Minimalist Dress Watch
- Swiss Watch Buying Guide
The 10 Best Swiss Watches
1. Invicta Men’s 8928OB Two-Tone Automatic Watch
Invicta is one of the best Swiss watch brands around. They have been making these timepieces for over 150 years and their quality hasn't dwindled down. With its combination of gold and varying shades of blue, the Invicta Pro Diver is one of the best and most distinctive looking Switzerland watches on the market. The bold color scheme may be a love it or hate it design choice, but it's surprisingly minimalistic. Five minute markers adorn the bezel of this quartz watch, leaving the face free of cluttered numbers and providing plenty of space to read the time and make the most of the built in date window.
It's definitely a break from the norm, unlike what you get from many Swiss watch brands. This Swiss timepiece is also one of the most affordable ones on our list. That's especially surprising given the fact that it can also function as a diving watch. The unidirectional bezel provides you with the safe timekeeping you need while under the waves, and the water resistance is substantive enough to suit the needs of professional scuba divers. It is also equipped with a relatively small band which makes it one of the best choices for men and women.
2. Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Watch
Everyone knows that Rolex is a top-tier watch company. In fact, many consider them to be the best of all Swiss watch brands. So, it's no surprise that the Rolex Cosmograph Ice Blue is one of the best Swiss luxury watches in the world. In fact, its uniqueness is on a degree that goes beyond the type of products that we normally spotlight on our lists. This special 50th anniversary edition model is going to be outside the reach of most prospective customers with its $70,000 price tag.
But for those who want one of the most prestigious status symbols they can manage, it doesn't get much better than this. The Daytona is one of the best and most coveted Rolex models around, and this version pulls out all the extravagant stops with its design.
The case is made entirely out of platinum, and the ice blue finish on the face is incredibly handsome. In fact, the design is an all round beauty, which extends to its three chronograph sub-dials. This is the Rolls Royce of brands' watches through and through.
3. Stuhrling Original Sports Watch
Founded in 2002, Stuhrling has grown to become one of the best Swiss watch brands around. Their dedication to quality has helped them garner the respect and love of enthusiasts as well as many watch brands. The Rolex's Submariner is a style that's become so beloved as to be practically synonymous with dive watches. So while it's no surprise that the Stuhrling is basically recreating replica watches in the Submariner style (practically every manufacturer does that these days), the combination of quality design and reasonable pricing may draw your attention.
You aren't going to find a comparable Rolex for $60, but the Sturhling offers a level of efficacy that makes it a perfectly reasonable choice for both divers and those who just appreciate the Submariner style. Looking for a cheap Swiss submariner style timepiece? Then this might be the best pick for you.
The Stuhrling relies on the universally praised Miyota movement to provide incredibly accurate results and utilizes a unidirectional coin edged bezel to provide you with the level of consistent and reliable timekeeping when you're under the waves. Both the indices and the hands are luminescent to ensure that you can always see what time it is even if its pitch black.
4. Movado Swiss Quartz Stainless Steel Watch
There aren't any Swiss watch brands on our list that look quite like the Movado featured here. It's minimalistic in a way that few luxury watches manage. Removing all numerical indicators from the face in lieu of simple square and dot indices, this luxury timepiece employs a very slick gunmetal face that will be the talk of your office. Combined with its handsome leather strap, this is a timepiece that best fits into the fashion niche. However, it still offers the reliable craftsmanship and incredible designs that you can expect from Swiss watch brands.
This incredible timepiece also features a three sub-dial chronograph. And in an interesting change of pace from traditional design, it places the date window square in the bottom chronograph, leaving the main face free from clutter. The sub-dials offer some of the better utility around with their ability to track 60 second, 30 minute, and 12 hour increments.
5. Victorinox 249087 Watch
Looking for the best brands for watches that focuses on luxury and functionality? Look no further than Victorinox. Although Victorinox made their name as the most prominent manufacturer of Swiss army knives, their transition to becoming one of the best Swiss watch brands has been well regarded by serious enthusiasts. The Victorinox 249087 is a good looking timepiece that focuses on the fundamentals. The plain white face as well as the red and black color scheme are attractive. but more importantly, easy to read. It's a watch design for man. This beautiful timepiece is refreshingly free of unnecessary features or embellishments.
So, if you're looking for a Swiss watch that puts functionality above all else, this is undoubtedly one of the best choices for you. It's effectively a budget priced gateway timepiece for new users but employs a sturdy design and reliable movement, which contributes to making it last a good, long time. It's bereft of complications and won't exactly draw the eyes of everyone around you. But it's a sensible option if you want one of the most renowned Swiss watch brands on your hand as well as reliable watch for your daily routine.
6. Tissot Mens Couturier Chronograph
Tissot is a French Swiss watch company that has been around since 1853. The company is totally different from Mathey-Tissot and is a subsidiary of the Swiss Swatch Group. Official partner of many disciplines, including NBA and MotoGP, this company is one of the few Swiss watch brands that offer reliability, authenticity, and incredible designs.
This Tissot chronograph is similarly priced to the Movado we spotlighted earlier, and it offers a similarly minimalistic approach while retaining a personality of its own. If the Movado's gunmetal design is a little too dramatic for your tastes, the cleaner and lighter Tissot could be one of the best Swiss watch brands that matches your speed. It evokes the look of vintage Swiss watches with its sparse white face and clean Arabic numbering. And to top it all, the heavy leather strap is more rugged than the Movado's cleaner design.
The chronograph sub-dials here allow you to track time in a tenth of a second, 30 minute, and 60 second increments, and there's add and split functions for more precise measurements. This watch also comes with a tachymeter, which is a rare addition in modern chronograph watches. While this may be a luxury watch, it comes with a tremendous amount of utility built in as well. Simply put, this timepiece allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds.
7. Tag Heuer Formula 1 Watch
Tag Heuer is regarded as one of the best luxury watch brands around. It is a renowned company that's know its top-of-the-line watchmaking skills. The brand's motto is "Don't Crack Under Pressure," which reflects in their timepieces. While you'll pay a premium price for this Tag Heuer watch (presently clocking in at a little over $1000), it's a real conversation piece that can work on the street as well as in the office.
The design sensibilities are modeled off of Tag Heuer editions from the 1970s. However, there's a bit of modern flair to their construction. The combination of stainless steel and gradient blue is a classic match with a little extra distinction brought in by the presence of orange.
This Tag Heuer timepiece admirably functions as a sports watch too. The chronographs may take up a sizable portion of the face, but they provide a lot of functionality that allows you to track time to as little as a tenth of a second. The tachymeter is a nice bonus for athletes and racing enthusiasts.
8. Nixon 51-30 Tide Stainless Steel Watch
Nixon has gone incredibly bold with their 51 - 30 timepiece. They have made some unusual choices that could seem disastrous on the surface but actually lend some distinct personality to this watch. With a mid-range price of about $400, it's a watch that's sure to offer polarizing perspectives but also stand out from the other models in the best Swiss watch category. Most notable is the brand's decision to move the bezel on the opposite side. The extra large Arabic numbering and white on black color scheme is also a pretty unique cosmetic choice that cannot be found on many Swiss watch brands.
Also unique is the presence of a tide sub-dial in lieu of a traditional chronograph. It might offer very situational value, but it's a really distinct conversation piece even if you find yourself rarely using it. Another feature that makes it one of the best is its incredible water resistance and the presence of a rotating bezel. This makes it a great choice for water sports, especially diving.
9. Victorinox Swiss Army
The Alliance chronograph is about as sharp a contrast to the 249087 that Victorinox could produce. And while it costs three times the price, it offers one of the best values around. It trades in the basic build and sensibilities of its budget priced counterpart for a stainless steel frame and sapphire crystal face protection, and there's an elegance to the dial design as well. A gradient blue starburst really makes it stand out, and distinct numbers are eschewed in favor of a more minimalist combination of markers and dots.
It's a good thing too, because the three built in chronographs take up a lot of real estate. They offer tracking for both the date and day of the week as well as a dedicated 60 second tracker. There's a lot to process here, but Victorinox, as one of the best Swiss watch brands around, has done a good job of making everything legible without anything looking too cluttered.
10. BRIGADA Minimalist Dress Watch
Brigada is definitely not one of the top Swiss watch brands. However, their timepieces portray the quality and uniqueness associated with many world-class Swiss watch brands. The Brigada may comfortably fit in the class of cheap Swiss watches, but only the most devoted hobbyists could tell that it deserves to be in the best category just by looking at it.
The calfskin leather band, elegantly slim Roman numerals, rose gold bezels, and vintage black and white design scream best and elegance at a price right around $50. If you're looking for a dress watch on the cheap, you could do a lot worse than the Brigada, but you shouldn't expect a ton of features built in.
The single crown allows you to adjust both the time and the date settings easily, and the classical look allows it to functional equally in casual and professional settings. Brigada is a small brand name, but the lack of public awareness means that this timepiece offers some of the best values you can only find in other top of the shelf Swiss watch brands.
Swiss Watch Buying Guide
Swiss watches are known for their higher level of quality, but why? Are the reputations of these watches really earned? Are Swiss watch brands the only makers of quality timepieces? Read on to learn more about Swiss watches and why they are considered to be the best and might be worth an investment. And if you’re interested in some more general rules for watch shopping, be sure to check out our dedicated guide to the best watches of 2020.
What Makes Swiss Watches So Good?
The Swiss are known for their precision, and that’s why many of their products have a reputation for standing the test of time. But Swiss timepieces are a class of product that’s particularly venerated and has been like that for over a century. There’s no doubt that part of the adoration for Swiss watches was founded by social expectations. The “Swiss made” branding on a watch is a sign of social status, but there’s some absolute truth to the value of Swiss movements.
If you’re buying a traditional watch with automatic movement, or simply put, an automatic watch, chances are that it’s going to include either a Swiss or Japanese movement. Both of these are quartz movements, but the methodology behind their design is functionally very different. The rise of Japanese quartz movements a few decades back nearly put Swiss watches out of business. This is mostly due to the fact that Japanese movements could be mass produced and automated.
The Swiss automatic movement, on the other hand, typically cost more. However, that extra cost is more than just an up-charge for name appeal. The watchmaking process of these movements is typically done by hand, and they’re constructed from all metal components. The plastic components common in Japanese movements simply can’t be compared to its Swiss metal counterpart. You can count on a watch with a Swiss movement to last you a lifetime. Even if something in the movement breaks, it can be repaired due to the quality of its components and the fact that it was built by hand.
A similarly meticulous approach is taken to the rest of the components in a Swiss watch. Most make use of surgical steel for the case to ensure that they can withstand a significant amount of damage without scratching or cracking. Swiss watches are more likely to include a sapphire face which offers significantly more resistance to scratching and cracking than regular mineral glass. Not all Swiss watches are assured to have these components, but they most of them do.
What Are the Regulations For Swiss Watches?
There was a time when Swiss watches had much higher standards than they do now. The increased competition from watch manufacturers in Japan and other countries have forced Swiss watches to loosen their regulations as a means to keep pace. On the one hand, that means the quality of Swiss-made watches can vary a bit more than they once did. On the other hand, that means that they aren’t a luxury item reserved only for the most well heeled customers.
But Switzerland still has some pretty stiff regulations in place for what constitutes a Swiss made watch, and that means that investing in a watch with that designation still has some substantive value. First off, 60% of the manufacturing and labor costs must occur in Switzerland, and 50% of the components (in terms of value rather than volume) must be generated in Switzerland.
A Swiss watchmaking process isn’t always going to be completed using only Swiss products (and sometimes Swiss watches can technically include a Japanese movement), but you can still trust that Swiss workers and products constitute the bulk of the timepiece. But since the technical development of the watch must take place entirely in Switzerland, you can still depend on fairly high quality standards.
Perhaps the most important regulation is that inspections must take place in Switzerland. With many manufacturers outside of Switzerland churning out watches and movements on the cheap and with little in the way of oversight, that’s a big deal that ensures a higher quality build than you could otherwise expect.
If you’re worried that these Swiss watch brands are outside your price range, you can stop fretting. While Swiss watches were once an exorbitant expense, the market has opened up significantly, and you can now find certified models that ranges from about $50 to tens of thousands of dollars. It’s a big market with enough space for just about any price range, and we’ve tried hard to cover as diverse a selection of the best watches as much as possible.
But whatever your price point, you can count on the timepieces on our list to offer you the best amount of value on a dollar to dollar basis. A $70 timepiece might not compare to the quality craftsmanship of a $400 model, but you can rest easy knowing that you’re getting the best bang for your buck when you pick up a Swiss watch from our list.