Whether it’s followed by the words “bank account,” “army knife,” or “cheese,” many of us have positive associations linked with brands and products related to Switzerland. Whether or not these products were even manufactured in Switzerland is often beside the point – we just enjoy something that says “Swiss” on it.

It’s the same way with watches. For years, the idea of a “Swiss-made” watch brought a sense of elegance and class to the clocks on our wrists. For many, even fake Swiss watches are worth buying for a cheaper price, if only to give off the appearance of a Swiss watch.

Why does Switzerland have such a reputation for producing some of the world’s best watches? Is it simply a myth, or is there really something behind it? In this article we’ll examine the idea and ask, why are Swiss watches so great?

History of Swiss Watches

First, it helps to remember the history of time keepers themselves. While watches haven’t always been around, some ways of accurately telling time have been around since civilization itself. Even so, portable devices like the “watch” that we know today weren’t available until relatively recent history.

Our current idea of the word “watch” usually carries an association with the wristwatch, which we know commonly today as the most popular type of watch. While this is the case today, wristwatches weren’t always the most popular watches available, and were even considered unmanly before the 20th Century.

We know that Switzerland was involved with watchmaking from the start, and even earned a reputation for making fine watches as early as around the 16th Century, setting a standard for quality. Swiss inventors helped move along the history of the watch, with a particular involvement in automatic or self-winding watches.

In the 20th Century, which saw a still-growing popularity of watches, Switzerland had a hand in innovating and driving new watch technology. For example, the first electronic quartz watches were developed in Switzerland in the 1960s. The introduction of electronic technology into watches continue to advance to this day, as GPS watches become more popular.

Current Top Swiss Brands

Switzerland continues to maintain a reputation for innovation and quality because of the many popular brands that started or are still headquartered there. Quite simply, the answer to “why are Swiss watches so great lies in the companies and businesses that maintain high standards of quality, including:


Rolex is probably the most instantly-recognizable brand of watch. BusinessWeek magazine named Rolex one of its top 100 brands for the year 2007, which was the highest ranking any watchmaker received. Needless to say, some people would say that this definitively makes Rolex the top watchmaking company in the world.

Because of the popularity of Rolex and its brand recognition as one of the finest producers of watches in the world, the “Swiss watch” label already carries a special distinction and meaning over other countries that also produce high-quality watches. After all, if Rolex is Swiss, many people would be willing to assume that other Swiss companies produce some quality time keepers, as well.

Understanding this crucial kind of brand association that many people unconsciously make is at the heart of knowing why Swiss watches carry a special meaning. It helps explain why many people will buy a Swiss watch simply to say that they own one.


Omega’s continued presence, like Rolex, as a high-end watch company based in Switzerland continues to lend credibility to the Swiss name itself. Omega’s quality is so high that NASA chose the Omega Speedmaster for its Apollo mission, leading for the “moonwatch” to become the first watch ever worn on the Moon. Omega has also seen brand recognition in recent James Bond movies, in which James Bond frequently; the watch itself was actually mentioned in 2006’s “Casino Royale.”

The Swiss Name

With top brands like those mentioned above (as well as a number of top Swiss brands not even mentioned in this article), it’s not hard to wonder what makes Swiss watches so great. In Switzerland, watchmaking is an art unto itself, a way of expressing individuality as well as perfecting a mechanical craft. You will be hard-pressed to find another country with the reputation for watchmaking that Switzerland has.

If you’re looking to acquire a Swiss watch for yourself, you may find yourself interested in selling your current watch, even if it’s broken. Continue to explore Sell Gold HQ for more information on selling your silver, gold, or platinum watch for a fair price – even if it no longer tells time.