“Old is Gold” is a famous saying which means whatever is old is actually valued as gold which is entirely true in the context of watches. Today in this article we shall introduce you to the oldest watch brands that have been making watches for more than 150 to 200 years or so. Are you ready to witness some of the most classic and vintage watchmakers in the world? If yes, then let’s get started!
Quick links to specific parts of the article:
- Oldest Swiss Watch Brands
- Old British Watch Brands
- Oldest Watch Company In The US
- Oldest Japanese Watch Brand
- Are Old Watch Brands Worth it? Final Verdict
Oldest Swiss Watch Brands
When And Where Invented: 1735, Paudex/Le Brassus, Switzerland
Popular Watches: Fifty Fathoms, Air Command, L-Evolution
How Old It Is: 286 Years Old
The first watch company on the list of the oldest Swiss watch brand is Blancpain which was founded in 1735 by Jehan-Jaques Blancpain. Not just Swiss but it is also the oldest watch brand in the world that is still functional.
They used to manufacture their watches individually for a long period of time but are now operating under the Swatch Group. Known for making luxury watches, their watches lie in a price range of $10,000 to $30,000.
2. Favre Leuba
When And Where Invented: 1737, Switzerland
Popular Watches: Bivouac, Bathy, Raider Harpoon
How Old It Is: 284 Years Old
Favre Leuba watches came into existence in 1737, two years after Blancpain. Unlike Blancpain which was sold to Swatch Group Favre Leuba brand has been in the same family for eight generations.
Known for making high-quality luxury watches Favre Leuba had a great first run but the brand went down after the introduction of cheap quartz watches in 1969. However, the brand is in revival mode now and will definitely get its lost glory back.
3. Vacheron Constantin
When And Where Invented: 1755, Geneva, Switzerland
Popular Watches: Patrimony, Overseas, Fiftysix
How Old It Is: 266 Years Old
Vacheron Constantin is the oldest watch company that has been continuously operating since its inception. The brand was invented by Jean-Marc Vacheron an elite watchmaker and craftsman.
It’s known for its complicated and technically superior watches which are still popular among watch enthusiasts even 260 years later.
When And Where Invented: 1832, Saint-Imier, Switzerland
Popular watches: Legend Diver, Heritage, La Grande Classique
How Old It Is: 189 Years Old
Official Website: www.longines.com
Longines is the most popular old watch brand on this list. They sell a lot of luxury watches and it is mostly due to their competitive prices. They make premium watches at an affordable budget and that is why they have the third-largest share in the Swiss market after Rolex and Omega.
Not just that, their watches are also very precise and therefore they are used in sporting events like Commonwealth Games and French Open as official timekeepers.
5. Patek Philippe
When And Where Invented: 1839, Geneva, Switzerland
Popular watches: Grandmaster Chime, Nautilus, Calatrava
How Old It Is: 182 Years Old
Official Website: www.patek.com
In Geneva, there is hardly any brand that is still owned by an independent family and Patek Philippe is one among them. For over 180 years the brand has been under the control of the Sten family and that’s why they are able to maintain the quality of their watches in the same way they started.
All their watches are made by hand and hence they are so special and expensive. But that’s also the reason why they were only able to produce even less than one million watches in over 180 years long time span.
Old British Watch Brands
When And Where Invented: 1846, Bristol, United Kingdom
Popular watches: Archival, Brunswick
How Old It Is: 175 Years Old
Official Website: www.fearswatches.com
FEARS brand was thought and brought to life by a talented British watchmaker known as Edwin Fear. It was started 175 years ago and to date, it is one of the oldest family-owned watchmaking companies in Britain.
The popularity of the brand was such that it was shipping to over 95 countries when the brand was at its peak in the 19th century. If you wish to own a retro-styled dress watch you can consider FEARS watches over others.
Oldest German Watch Brand
7. Kienzle Uhren
When And Where Invented: 1822, Schwenningen, Germany
Popular watches: Kienzle Klassik, Kienzle 1822, Edition Jacob Kienzle
How Old It Is: 199 Years Old
Kienzle Uhren is the oldest german watch brand that was founded in Schwenningen but later they shifted their headquarters to Hamburg in 2002. They are known for making reliable and budget-friendly watches that everyone can afford.
So if you are looking for a watch from the vintage brand but your budget is very limited then you can settle for the watches from Kienzle Uhren.
When And Where Invented: 1861, Schramberg, Germany
Popular watches: Meister, Max Bill, Form
How Old It Is: 160 years
Kienzle Uhren may be the oldest german watch brand but when it comes to the most popular german brand for watches then Junghans is at top of the list. Like other German watch brands, Junghans’s watches are known for their simple designs and technical superiority.
Apart from that, Junghans watches are also known for being the official timekeeper for the 1972 Olympics held in Munich, Germany. This also proves that Junghans watches are one of the accurate and reliable watches as far as timekeeping is concerned.
Oldest Watch Company In US
When And Where Invented: 1854, Waterbury, Connecticut
Popular watches: Pac-Man, Ironman, Easy Reader, Metropolitan
How Old It Is: 167 Years Old
American watchmakers are not as popular as Swiss or Japanese watch manufactures. But there are few popular watch brands that originated in the US and are also quite old and Timex is one among them.
The company was started in 1854 and is known for its passion and obsession for craftsmanship and watchmaking. Unlike Swiss brands that mostly make watches for the wealthy, Timex makes watches for each and every person in society. Timex watches are reliable, accurate, durable, and most importantly affordable.
When And Where Invented: 1875 Queens, New York City, USA
Popular watches: Precisionist, Marine Star, CURV
How Old It Is: 146 Years Old
Bulova is yet another vintage million-dollar American watch brand that makes aesthetically appealing watches that are also technically well built. Bulova is known as a trendsetter as it became the first company to air a commercial on TV on July 1st, 1941. Apart from that, it also has a record of creating the first-ever curved chronograph watch.
Despite being an old reputed company, Bulova does not shy away from trying new things and adapting to the new and advanced ways of watchmaking. The brand is now owned by a Japanese watch company (Citizen), that bought it in the year 2008. However, the brand is still situated in New York so you can still consider it an American company.
Oldest Japanese Watch Brand
When And Where Invented: 1881, Chuo City, Tokyo, Japan
Popular watches: Prospex, Automatic, Sports
How Old It Is: 140 Years Old
After Swiss watchmakers, Japanese watch brands are the most popular around the world and are known for giving the world their first quartz watch. It was Seiko who came up with the first-ever quartz timepiece in 1969 and the rest is history. Besides that, Seiko also becomes the first watch manufacturer to add an LCD screen to digital watches in the early ’70s.
Are Old Watch Brands Worth it? Final Verdict
Old and classic watch brands that we have mentioned here are still in the business because they have changed themselves with time and adopted new ways of watchmaking. Hence, they are still very popular among watch enthusiasts even after so many years of their origin.
Also, old watches have better resale value due to their popularity. Therefore, if you are looking to buy a watch that you would want to sell later at a good price or want to pass it off to your next generation then you should definitely buy watches from the old vintage watch brands.
What Is An Old Watch Called?
An old watch is called an antique or vintage watch.
What's The Difference Between Antique and Vintage Watch?
An antique watch is one that is at least 100 years old. On the other, a vintage watch is any watch that is at least 20 years old.
How Can I Tell If My Seiko Watch Is Vintage?
There is a serial number printed at the back case of each Seiko watch using which you can calculate its age.
Which Is The Oldest Independent Watch Manufacturer?
Vacheron Constantin is the oldest independent family-owned watch manufacturer in the world.