Top 10 Most Popular Watch Brands

TAG Heuer, Breitling, Patek Philippe or Rolex - which is your favorite? We have listed the top ten most sought-after watch brands on Barnebys.

Full speed ahead at the Rolex factory in Bienne, 1942. Photo: RDB/ullstein bild via Getty Images (detail)
Full speed ahead at the Rolex factory in Bienne, 1942. Photo: RDB/ullstein bild via Getty Images (detail)

Watches are one of the most popular searched items on Barnebys and there are always lots of lovely models to choose from. With 50,000 to 60,000 current watch listings and a price bank containing more than 1.3 million sold watches, ever wondered which watches our users prefer?

We did a little digging and discovered the top 10 most-searched watch brands on Barnebys.

10. Certina

A Certina Titanium Digital Chronograph Wristwatch, c. 2010, titanium. Photo Ⓒ Sotheby’s
A Certina Titanium Digital Chronograph Wristwatch, c. 2010, titanium. Photo Ⓒ Sotheby’s

Certina originated in 1888 in the small town of Grenchen, in German Switzerland, where the brothers Adolf and Alfred Kurth opened a workshop attached to their family home. Beginning with three employees, by the 1950s the brand began developing a revolutionary watchmaking concept. Called the DS or ‘Double Security’, the technology protected the watch movement from all negative external influences and placed the firm at the technological forefront of the sector.

In 2017, a Certina EA Split Oversize Steel was sold at Antiquorum for $16,331. But not all watches sell for that amount, and some Certina watches can be found for around a thousand dollars at auction.

9. Audemars Piguet

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Only Watch with a Black Ceramic Bracelet. Photo Ⓒ Christie’s
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Only Watch with a Black Ceramic Bracelet. Photo Ⓒ Christie’s

Audemars Piguet's history dates back to 1875 when Jules Louis Audemars teamed up with Edward Auguste Piguet to create mechanical watches with technically challenging complications and high levels of precision. This original philosophy underpins the brand's watches to this day. Its best-known watch is, without a doubt, the Royal Oak. The model was first introduced in 1972 and became the driving force behind the brand’s success. Even now, some fifty years later, it’s the model most sought out by our users.

Another popular model is the Audemars Piguet Code 11.59. In 2019, a version of the model was sold at Christie's for $1 million.

8. Jaeger-LeCoultre 

Jaeger-LeCoultre Ref. 250.5.86 Reverso Classique, Yellow Gold and Stainless Steel Reversible Wristwatch, c. 1995. Photo Ⓒ Sotheby’s
Jaeger-LeCoultre Ref. 250.5.86 Reverso Classique, Yellow Gold and Stainless Steel Reversible Wristwatch, c. 1995. Photo Ⓒ Sotheby’s

Jaeger-LeCoultre's story began when Antoine LeCoultre founded a small watchmaking workshop in the Swiss town of Le Sentier in 1833. Among his inventions were the keyless watch and the ‘millionometer’, the first instrument capable of measuring the micron. The current Jaeger-LeCoultre catalogue covers practically all aesthetic and technical areas of watchmaking.

Related: Combining Passions: Watchmaking and Cars

A Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication sold at Christie's in 2014 for $404,480 setting a new auction record for the brand.

7. TAG Heuer 

The TAG Heuer Luxury Kit ‘Only Watch’ Special Edition, 2017, titanium. Photo Ⓒ Christie’s
The TAG Heuer Luxury Kit ‘Only Watch’ Special Edition, 2017, titanium. Photo Ⓒ Christie’s

TAG Heuer is a legendary firm, founded in 1860 by Edouard Heuer when he opened a workshop in the Swiss town of Saint Imier. By 1869, he had already obtained his first patent for an original winding system for pocket watches. Over the years, the brand has specialised in chronograph watches, making an industry-standard with which other brands simply cannot compete. In 1985, the Heuer Watch Company joined the TAG group, resulting in the company changing its name and logo to TAG Heuer. In 2018, a TAG Heuer Carrera Gold-RP-R was sold at Bonhams for a record $102,680.

Related: TAG Heuer: The Performance of Time

Older models like the Carrera, Monaco and Autavia are always popular at auction. With lots of results, the price range is very diverse. The Carrera and Monaco models often start at lower prices than the Autavia pilot watch.

6. Longines

A Longines Manual Wind Half Hunting Cased Wristwatch, c. 1927. Photo Ⓒ Sotheby’s
A Longines Manual Wind Half Hunting Cased Wristwatch, c. 1927. Photo Ⓒ Sotheby’s

The Longines story began in Saint Imier, Switzerland, with the watchmaker Auguste Agassiz. An important character in the history of the brand was Ernest Francillon, the man behind the innovations which have today become hallmarks of the firm. The current Longines collections are divided into four groups: elegant, traditional, sporty and heritage, which include the mechanical and automatic movements with various functions as developed by the brand. Some of the most recognized watches in its history are the Conquest, Flagship, Lindbergh, Avigation Watch Type A-7 and the Legend Diver.

In 2008, a Longines No. 4876616 was sold for $534,016, setting a new auction record for the brand. Many of the brand's models are available on the second-hand market at much lower prices, and you can find nice models around $250.

5. Breitling 

A Breitling Navitimer Triple Calendar Chronograph, c. 2005, Stainless steel. Photo Ⓒ Christie’s
A Breitling Navitimer Triple Calendar Chronograph, c. 2005, Stainless steel. Photo Ⓒ Christie’s

Léon Breitling was a skilled watchmaker who, in his Saint-Imier workshop, built both clocks and ingenious measuring instruments. He decided to focus on designing chronographs, a type of stopwatch that became increasingly in demand for uses in the industry, the military, science and sporting events.

Related: Inner Beauty: The World of Watch Complications

In 2004, a Bentley Motors Platinum Black Diamond was sold for around $123,953. The models are available from around $200.

4. Patek Philippe

Patek Philippe, Genève, Ref. 2499 with a pink gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases, manufactured in 1950. Photo Ⓒ Christie’s
Patek Philippe, Genève, Ref. 2499 with a pink gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases, manufactured in 1950. Photo Ⓒ Christie’s

Since it was founded in 1839, Patek Philippe has not stopped innovating and evolving its watches, As a company, it stands out for its ability to adapt to the times and to even anticipate them. Innovation is part of the corporate culture of the brand and is especially reflected in the variety and complexity of its offerings. Patek Philippe watches are created with a classic design that can be handed down for generations but constructed with cutting-edge technology, whether the model is one-of-a-kind or part of a series. 

Related: The 10 Most Expensive Watches Ever Auctioned

In 2019, a Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime was sold at a charity auction in Geneva for $31 million, making it the most expensive watch in the world.

3. Cartier

An 18k Gold and Diamond-set Bracelet created by Vacheron Constantin and Cartier, manufactured in 1978. Photo Ⓒ Christie’s
An 18k Gold and Diamond-set Bracelet created by Vacheron Constantin and Cartier, manufactured in 1978. Photo Ⓒ Christie’s

Cartier's adventure begins in the mid-19th century when Louis-François Cartier took over the Adolphe Picard jewelry workshop in Paris. Cartier's savoir-faire is a constant dialogue between technique and creativity that becomes ever-more refined. In the watchmaking field, the 1904 Santos inaugurates more than a century of history into its design, interpreted with the utmost taste and elegance. The Cartier Tank and Cartier Santos models are the most requested by Barnebys users.

Related: A Timeless Timepiece: The Story of the Cartier Tank

In 2017, a Cartier Tank was sold at Christie's for $379,500, an auction record for the model. The model was once owned by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

2. Omega

An Omega 18k Gold Self-winding Wristwatch with Cloisonne Enamel Dial Depicting Neptune, manufactured in 1954. Photo Ⓒ Christie’s
An Omega 18k Gold Self-winding Wristwatch with Cloisonne Enamel Dial Depicting Neptune, manufactured in 1954. Photo Ⓒ Christie’s

In 1848, a young watchmaker named Louis Brandt from the Swiss town of Chaux-de-Fonds opened a workshop. It was here in the family villa where he founded the company that would become Omega, the brand behind many iconic models and great technical innovations, such as the coaxial exhaust and the first fully antimagnetic movement. Omega is clearly one of the leading brands in the watch industry. The models most wanted by our users are the Omega Seamaster, Omega Speedmaster, Omega Constellation and Omega Gèneve.

Related: Omega: A Cultural Icon

On Barnebys' price bank you will find an Omega Speedmaster Broad Arrow that was sold at Christie's in 2018 for $324,500.

1. Rolex

The Rolex Oyster Cosmograph Daytona Paul Newman, manufactured c. 1972. Photo Ⓒ Sotheby’s
The Rolex Oyster Cosmograph Daytona Paul Newman, manufactured c. 1972. Photo Ⓒ Sotheby’s

The Rolex story began when founder Hans Wilsdorf created the first hermetic wristwatch – the Oyster – and developed a range of watches that became iconic. Rolex designs and manufactures all the essential components of its watches, and the history of Rolex and that of Swiss watchmaking itself are inextricably intertwined. Rolex is currently found at the most prestigious golf, sailing, tennis, motorsport and horse riding events, and frequently contributes to projects regarding global culture, science and exploration. The Rolex Submariner, Rolex Daytona and Rolex Datejust are the three most wanted models at Barnebys.

Related: 8 Little Known Rolex Facts

In 2017, a new record was set for the watch brand when a Rolex 'Paul Newman' Daytona was sold at Phillips for $17.7 million. The watch was named after its owner - American actor Paul Newman, who received the wristwatch from his wife Joanne Woodward in 1968.

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This is an updated version of an article originally published on March 30, 2021.

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