Oldest Watch Brands Still in Operation Today
Take a look around your home. What aspects of décor, accessories and style do you most often pick when shopping for yourself? If your environment shows your appreciation of the old and the classic, why not show it on your arm as well? Time has always been there and since the 16th century, accessories that tell the time could be worn on your person. And then started the evolution of the watch industry. From clock watches and pocket watches to the balance spring and eventually the quartz watch in the 1960s, watch brands have kept people enthralled with their creativity and technology in the industry.
But with so many new watch brands coming onto the market, which watch brands do you consider if you want the classic approach? Luckily, there are a few brands that started a long time ago and still survive in the modern market.
Below we’ll share some of the names of the brands that are still worth your attention.
We start with Gallet. From a certain perspective, this brand has been around since 1466, thanks to the original clock maker, named Humbertus Gallet. In later generations, many of his family are recorded to be watch makers too. However, the company that exists today only officially registered its name in 1826. If you go by the first date, this is the oldest watch company in the world, and yes you can still get your hands on a Gallet watch today.
As with many respected watch brands, this company is of Swiss origin. The reason why they’re still around is probably because the family behind the brand didn’t think small. As early as the 1860s they branched out internationally and created offices in the US. They also ensured they stay relevant to the times, manufacturing items such as military stopwatches for governments when WWII seemed imminent.
Today, there are classic ones you can buy second hand and new editions & designs come on the market often. The watches are 100% Swiss made, ensuring you of quality. It seems this brand knows how to keep up with the times and hopefully they will never let the newcomers outshine them.
Here’s a brand that almost all the world would know Rolex. But fame doesn’t mean this isn’t a classic. Rolex is another Swiss watch brand, which is the first clue as to why they’re still around. Consumers trust the brand’s quality—synonymous with Swiss brands—and that means they keep on buying. Although based in Geneva, the brand was founded in London.
Granted, Rolex isn’t one of the oldest, since it’s only been around from 1905. But that’s still more than a century old, and its popularity makes it worth a mention on our list. It even carries accolades such as being one of the top 100 most valuable brands, according to Forbes.
Now let’s jump back in time again, to 1735. This is when the Blancpain brand was established. This turned out to be a family business, since Jehan-Jacques Blancpain’s descendants kept on running the business for two centuries.
Blancpain can be proud of certain achievements, such as having the largest facility for watchmaking in Villeret. This was in 1830. They were also pioneers, with impressively thin construction in their watches.
The brand eventually passed to another family when it was left to an assistant, Betty Fiechter, upon the death of Frederic-Emile Blancpain in 1932. And then, 50 years later, it was bought by Piguet, after which, in 1992, SMH bought both the brands. Today, Blancpain still exists and you can pick from collections such as Villeret, Fifty Fathoms and more.
The brand also distributes other items such as cufflinks and pens. So why not use one brand for multiple accessories?
Let’s stay with the really old watch brands, this time one from 1642. This brand puts the claim on being the oldest manufacturer of watches in all of Switzerland. It all started with Ulrich and Hans Haldimann. Hans was noted as a watchmaker in Horben.
The brand is proud of its commitment to innovation. The 12 elements in their logo represent the phases of the moon, but also the aspects they focus on in their manufacturing. Their innovation keeps them popular and they have a classic approach that sits well with those who love something old.
It’s clear that you have much to pick from. And best of all is that even those of you who love both modern and classic approaches will have designs to pick from. Why? Because what these old watch brands are exceptional at, is moving with the times, giving modern consumers what they want and always improving their technology. Which one will you wear?