Best French Watch Brands & Popular Watches

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Many people envy France for several pleasant things the country offers. Wine and French cuisines are the perfect examples of that. However, France has a lot to offer besides these. And here, I would be focussing on watches. Meaning, I will talk about some of the best French watch brands and their popular watches.

France is considered one of the most economical and resourceful countries contributing to the watch industry. In fact, France has given us some of the best watches with innovative and generic movements.

Also, the country has a wide range of watches varying from rugged watches to one that’s more inclined towards fashion and outer appearance. And in that prospect, the country is contributing to the modern watch industry really well.

Now, let’s get straight away to the article.

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French Watch Brands & Their Popular Watches

1. Pequignet

Pequignet is considered to be one of the best French watch brands that’s known for giving some authentic and classic watches. The brand was started in 1973 by Emilie Pequignet in Morteu, France. And now it is owned by two entrepreneurs named Laurent Katz and Philippe Spruch.

Today Pequignet is considerably known for offering several reliable and durable in-house movements, all complexities of which are incorporated into the mainplate, giving the watches an elegant and sleek appearance. Also, as you dive deeper, the small detailings on the watch will leave you awe-struck. So, if you haven’t checked out the brand’s watch collection, you should definitely consider checking it out when you are planning to buy your next watch. If you ask for my opinion then I would say that Pequignet is a brand worth keeping an eye out for.

Royale Manuelle

Best french watch brands

This is one of the popular creations of the brand. The watch is available in plain leather as well as there are three color variants in alligator leather. So, you don’t have any shortage of color options to choose from. And the 42mm stainless case would make it look outstanding on a broad wrist.

Moreover, the watch is powered by Pequignet’s in-house automatic movement, Calibre royal, and has 100 hours of power reserve. Also, it supports manual winding. So, at the time you are not wearing it, you can hand-wound it so that it doesn’t run out of time by getting out of power. And if you are a watch enthusiast who is always looking for more, then you would love to know that the watch has a sapphire crystal case back that can give you a glimpse of the inner gears.

Apart from that, the silver opaline dial has silver-toned steel Arabic numerals, and contrasting blue-colored steel hands increase the overall value of the watch. Moreover, the small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock is responsible for showing the running seconds.

The Good
  • Elegant design
  • Exhibition caseback
  • Automatic movement
  • 100m water resistance
  • 100 hours power reserve.
The Bad
  • Lacks a date window
  • No scratch-resistant display glass

Click Here to Check on Official Website

2. Yema

Yema is recognized as a very influential French watch brand in regards to its highly impressive watch collection that consists of both, automatic and quartz movement. The brand should be worth checking out if you are interested in purchasing a good-looking, high-quality, and modern vintage watch.

Founded in 1948 by a teenager, the brand has successfully created some of the most durable and reliable watches for divers, racers, sailors, and even space explorers. Yema launched the very first divers watch in 1963 and the watch was named Superman. If that’s not enough then it’s worth pointing out that the watch stole the show with its water-resistant rating of 300m.

Yema watches also got the opportunity to be a part of some of the historic events. For instance, from North pole exploration to the first Franco-American orbital flight mission to the Proxima space exploration, the French watch brand was everywhere.

Here’s a short summary of the popular Yema Superman.

Yema Superman

Expensive watch brands

The oldest Superman model came into existence in 1963. After that several models of it were developed to date. What makes Superman different from other diving watches is the 300m water resistance and the bezel lock located at the 3 o’clock position that helps the bezel to stay in one place. This is a great innovative design aspect because if by mistake the bezel moves when you are diving then you won’t be able to track the accurate time that you would be spending underwater. And complementing this feature comes a screw-down crown that also makes it an outstanding diving watch.

The modern Superman watch comes with a stainless steel case of either 39mm or 41mm, so you have the option to decide as per your wrist size. Moreover, the watch has a domed crystal display glass that protects it from scratches. On the 3 o’clock position, there is a date window that enhances the usability of the timepiece. And the lume hands and markers enable the watch to glow at night. Hence, the time readability could be easier for you.

Talking about the movement, Sellita SW200 powers the watch. This movement is generally used in luxury watches and its reliability and accuracy cannot be questioned. Along with the movement comes some other benefits such as the 38 hours of power reserve, which means if you do not wear the watch, it can keep running up to 38 hours. Another benefit that comes with automatic movement is hacking seconds that helps you to set the time by stopping the seconds hand and not affecting the watch’s accuracy.

Lastly, you get a feature of a quick set date. To be precise, in most watches you might have noticed that as soon as you pull out the crown to set the date, every hand of the watch stops, which causes the watch to lose a few seconds or minutes of the day. However, this watch lets you set dates independently.

The Good
  • Automatic movement
  • Independent set date feature
  • 300m water resistance
  • Bezel lock
  • Hacking seconds
The Bad
  • Heavy built

Click Here to Check on Official Website

3. Cartier

Giving the first wristwatch to the industry, Cartier is a well-known and one of the best old French watch brands which id appreciated for giving high-quality and elegant wristwatches at a very high price. Also, the brand is included in the list of the World’s top 10 priciest watch brands. The modern watches from Cartier are even more reliable and possess very high quality.

Louis Francois Cartier founded the company in 1847 and it’s one of the ancient French watch brands. It’s been more than a century since the family business has been in the industry. Apart from that, Cartier has managed to be successful enough to have stores in 125 countries. Also, the brand has managed to become a multinational company today.

Cartier Tank

best french watches - Cartier Tank

Cartier tank came into existence in 1947 and gained huge popularity and became the best-selling watch of the brand because of its uncommon rectangular dial shape.

The watch features a 31mm rose gold-colored case and a clean dial with large Roman hour indicators. Apart from these, the anti-reflective and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal limits the light reflection, keeping the time readability of the watch effective.

Moreover, the watch is powered by an automatic self-winding movement. So, the watch will receive energy from the wearer’s natural wrist movement. And finally, there is a date window at 6 o’clock position.

Overall, the watch is available at a very high price. So, if you do not have any budget constraints then you could give it a look.

The Good
  • Simplistic outlook
  • Automatic movement
  • Date window
The Bad
  • 30m water-resistant rating only

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Being a well-famed fashion designer in the late 1940s and 1950s, Christian Dior founded the brand in 1946. Since then, the brand has sold luxury products such as jewelry, fashion accessories, fragrance, and even luxury watches. What makes the brand so popular is the brand’s beautifully crafted timepieces. Several prestigious brands such as Prada, Gucci, and Chanel are its direct competitors.

Dior VIII Montaigne


Right here, I would be talking about one of the popular watches from DIOR. The women’s watch comes with a beautiful 25mm stainless steel case and a sophisticated dial. And to protect the dial from damage, the brand has covered it with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal that has an anti-reflective coating on it. On the other hand, the beautiful mother of pearl dial plays with light whenever sunlight hits the dial, which looks beautiful when viewed from different angles.

Moreover, the dial of the watch has silver-toned pear-shaped hour markers, except at 8 o’clock, which has a roman hour marking. And the brand name is mentioned below the 12 o’clock position. Also, what gives the watch a luxury touch is a ring at the center of the watch that’s studded with diamonds.

The Good
  • Swiss quartz movement
  • Luxury appeal
  • 50m water resistance
  • Scratch-resistant
  • Anti-reflective
The Bad
  • Expensive
  • Lacks a date window

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5. Dodane

Discussing the best French watch brands, how one could not mention Dodane? The French brand Dodane was founded by Alphonse Dodane and his father-in-law in 1857. It’s well-known for its aviation watches due to the technical innovations involved. However, the company was dissolved in 1994, somehow Cedric Dodane from the fifth generation of the Dodane family managed to re-establish the company in the early 2000s. Since then, the brand has been continuously providing reliable and accurate timepieces to its primary customers, the NATO air forces.

Dodane Type 23 Flyback

Dodane Type 23

Right here I am going to talk about a watch from Dodane that was specially introduced for the pilots. And it also happens to be a watch that could bear extreme conditions, making it a suitable pilot watch.

The watch features a 42.5mm case that stands 13.9mm tall. The chronometer-certified watch is powered by an automatic movement that has a power reserve of 42 hours. Hence, the watch is very precise and accurate. The C3 luminous coating on hands and markers provides a glowing effect in low light.

Moreover, there is a tachymeter on the outer chapter ring of the watch. So, if you are into motor racing or are a pilot then the tachymeter could be used to calculate your average speed or distance. And if you are a water sports enthusiast then the bidirectional bezel will help you to time your underwater experience. Apart from that, the chronograph dedicated subdials at 3 and 9 o’clock positions can be used as an alternative to a stopwatch.

If you are military personnel or are into aviation then you can consider buying this watch.

The Good
  • Scratch-resistant
  • Anti-reflective
  • Chronometer certified
  • Chronograph
  • Tachymeter
  • Bi-directional bezel
  • 100m water-resistant
The Bad
  • Heavy

Click Here to Check on Official Website

6. Bell & Ross

Bell & Ross was founded in 1992 with the aim of creating tough and solid watches that could be good enough to tackle heavy situations. That’s why the Bell & Ross watches are famous amongst police, pilots, military personnel, and even the astronauts. What makes the brand’s watches famous in the entire world is the toughness and the uncomplicated designs.

Bell & Ross Aviation Watch

Bell & Ross

This aviation watch is powered by an automatic movement and comes with a 42mm matte black ceramic case, so the watch is lightweight and corrosion-resistant. Apart from that, the watch features a heavy-duty strap made of leather, which makes it a good watch for the outdoors.

Moreover, the watch has a luminous coating on the hands and markers that make it glow in the dark. And the display is kept safe from accidental scratches and the readability of the time is made easy by the sapphire crystal. Moreover, the 100m water resistance gives the watch power to handle water contact while the wearer is swimming or taking a shower.

The Good
  • Durable strap
  • Easy readability
  • Scratch-resistant
  • 100m water-resistant
The Bad
  • Average looks

Click Here to Check on Official Website

Are French Watches Worth Buying?

Apart from the six french brands that I have included in the list, there are many other brands worth your notice. For instance ZRC, Fuge, Baltic, and many more. These brands are also known for making luxury yet durable watches. However, I could only mention a few selected brands with one of their best-selling/popular watches. Hence, I picked up six of the best french watch brands that were the best according to me. It is worth noting that even though the French watches are expensive, they are all worth buying because of their quality.


Why Are French Watches So Popular?

French watches are popular because of their good quality, reliability, innovation, and luxury feel.

Are French Watches Good?

Yes, the French watches are good. There's no particular reason for that but the high-quality material used in their watches makes the watches worth it.

Which Brand Created The First Men's Wristwatch?

Cartier created the first wristwatch for men in 1911.

Aparna Ukil

Aparna is a watch enthusiast ever since she bought her Baby-G watch in 2012. These days she goes back and forth between smartwatches and watches, unable to settle with one. When she is not reviewing watches, you will find her checking out a new cafe or restaurant in the town.

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