Steeped in equal amounts of history and whimsy, Cartier has been right up there with the top watch and jeweler brands. It was founded by Louis-François Cartier in 1847, whose pieces were very popular amongst members of royal families, movie stars and the über wealthy—King Edward VII of England once referred to Cartier as “the jeweler of kings and the king of jewelers”. Cartier’s watch designs and movements have evolved over the years but it remains true to itself with many of their pieces, such as the Tank, only changing to reflect current fashion trends.
The Tank MC Skeleton is made from palladium and is a self-winding watch, the first movement produced by Cartier. It has an oscillating weight and its entire mechanism is visible through the sapphire case back. The Tank MC Skeleton has a power reserve of three days and is water resistant up to 30m. It is made from 138 individual parts, 20 jewels and at its widest side is 43.90mm.
Giovanni Panerai opened his first shop on the Ponte delle Grazie bridge in Florence in 1860. The watchmaker began producing watches for the Royal Italian Navy and in 1916 patented Radiomir, a radium-based powder that illuminates in the dark, which was used in its submersible watches. The design of Panerai has changed very little in the 153 years that it has been producing timepieces. The watchmaker produces a limited number of pieces, with just 70,000 released to the market annually.
The Panerai Radiomir 3 Days Oro Rosso, while simple in design, is made using 162 components and 21 jewels. It is quite chunky at 47 millimeters (mm) in diameter and 5.3mm thick and has a power reserve of three days. The back is made from clear sapphire crystal and the watch is water resistant up to 50 meters.
Georges Édouard Piaget started his first workshop on his family’s farm in Switzerland in 1874 by making high-precision movements that were supplied to other watchmakers. Piaget gained fame as word of his expertise spread and in 1943, the company registered the brand, selling and designing watches under the Piaget name. Piaget’s grandsons grew the founder’s legacy and footprint, making Piaget watches internationally recognized and sought-after timepieces.
The Piaget Altiplano Date is a classic Piaget piece with a caliber 1205P, the world’s thinnest automatic movement at just 3mm, housed in a record-breaking 6.36mm case. The sapphire crystal case shows the 221 parts and 27 jewels used in the design. It has a 44-hour power and comes in two variations: 18-carat white gold with a black alligator leather strap or 18-carat rose gold with a brown alligator strap.
The International Watch Company (IWC) was founded in Schaffhausen, in the east of Switzerland in 1868 by American-born Florentine Ariosto Jones—once a director at E. Howard & Co., America’s leading watchmaking company at the time. IWC quickly made a name for itself by using the precision of Swiss craftsmanship blended with modern American engineering technology. It is this combination that has kept the demand high for watches produced by IWC.
The IWC’s Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition, or Le Petit Prince, is limited to just 270 pieces and makes use of a Pellaton automatic winding system—a mechanical movement that allows for a seven-day power reserve when fully wound. Made with an 18-carat gold medallion featuring an engraving of Le Petit Prince, it has a perpetual calendar with displays for the date, day, month and year in four digits as well as a perpetual moon phase.
Roger Dubuis is a relative newcomer on the luxury watches scene but since its establishment, by Carlos Dias and its namesake founder Roger Dubuis in 1995, it has been a pioneer in its own right. It produces the only flying tourbillon watch in the world—a highly sophisticated movement. It is also the only watchmaker in the world whose entire collection carries the Poinçon de Genève; the most sought after certification that can be bestowed upon a watch.
Roger Dubuis’ Skeleton Flying Tourbillon features a hand-wound mechanical movement with a power reserve of 60 hours and is water resistant to 30 meters. Its case has a diameter of 42mm and the watch is comprised of 165 components with 19 jewels. The design makes use of the currently very popular pink gold in its case, clasp and screws, which is all brought together with a genuine alligator, hand-stitched brown strap.