Swiss Watch Buying Guide

What Makes
Swiss Watches So Special?

Harnessing generations of watchmaking know-how, Swiss watches boast intricately constructed mechanical movements that evoke the romance of a bygone era, whilst their pioneering spirit allows you to have the latest in cutting-edge technology on your wrist.


Celebrated for their precision and pedigree, Swiss-made watches have become synonymous with luxury and style. They are so much more than an instrument to tell the time.

How did this small European nation become the world's standard-bearer for luxury watchmaking? Which pioneering Swiss technological developments have paved the way for modern watch designs? Which luxury Swiss watch brands are the worthiest of investment?

Let's see what makes Swiss watches so special...

What Is A Swiss Watch?

In order to join the ranks of some of the world's best Swiss watch makers such as TAG Heuer, OMEGA, Breitling and TUDOR, a watch must conform to strict regulations in order to call itself Swiss-made.

So, what does ‘Swiss-made’ mean? Proudly displaying the stamp of 'Swiss-made' on their dial, your ideal Swiss watch could be powered by an automatic or a quartz movement, it could be suitable for deep-sea diving or resistant to extreme magnetic fields, it could measure time to 1/1,000th of a second or track multiple time-zones. In short, you can find a Swiss-made watch to suit any lifestyle, but it will only be an official Swiss watch if it adheres to the
Swiss watchmaking laws.

The History Of The Swiss Watch

The top Swiss watch brands of today are steeped in history and have each played a pivotal role in the evolution of luxury timepieces - from a technical, mechanical and stylistic perspective. Have you ever stopped to think about the centuries of delicate craftsmanship and cutting-edge innovation that have helped to shape your watch?

Legend has it that farmers who migrated to the French-speaking Jura region spent the winter months making high-quality components for clock-makers - skills that would be passed down through the generations. This is how it all began, sowing the early seeds of what would turn out to be a Swiss watch revolution.

Some of the greatest Swiss watch companies in the history of Swiss watchmaking such as OMEGA, Breitling and TAG Heuer are centuries old, and their fine watchmaking skills have been handed down through generations.



Swiss Watch Parts & Components

We break down the intricate parts of a Swiss watch to show the meticulous detail that goes into creating them.

The Swiss Movement

A fine work of craftsmanship, the movement is an intricate mechanism with hundreds of working parts that powers the watch. The beating heart of your Swiss watch, the movement literally makes it tick. So, what is a Swiss movement watch?

According to Swiss law a watch movement is only considered Swiss if:

  • The movement has been assembled in Switzerland.
  • The movement has been inspected by the manufacturer in Switzerland.
  • The components of Swiss manufacture account for at least 60% of the total value.


The Bezel

Part of the watch that surrounds the dial, the bezel may be fixed or rotating depending on its functions. The purpose of a rotating bezel can be for many reasons; for divers to make them aware when their oxygen levels are running low or when you’re travelling, a rotating GMT bezel helps display the time in your origin country compared to the time where you currently are. You may also use it to calculate speed and time if it features a tachymeter scale. When buying your Swiss watch, it’s best to decide if you’ll need a functional bezel or not.


The Case & Crystal

The very essence of the watch, the case will determine the look, feel and functionality of your watch whilst the crystal protects the beautifully made dial. Sapphire crystal glass is what makes a Swiss watch stand out from the rest, thanks to its extremely durable structure making it super scratch resistant. Pair this with a high-quality case material and you own a watch that’s perfect for everyday wear.


The Crown

The crown sits at 3’o’clock on the case of your watch and offers more than just setting the time. For an automatic or mechanical watch, the crown is used to wind a watch’s mainspring, proving power to the movement, whilst on a divers’ watch (plus many other types of Swiss watches), the crown screws-down with a water-resistant seal to keep water out of the internal mechanisms. There may be one or two other buttons either side of the crown called ‘pushers’ which assist in some stopwatch functions.


The Hands

It depends on the type of Swiss watch you own to how many hands may be featured – you usually have one for the minute, hour and seconds, but if it has four hands, your watch may have a GMT feature showcasing the time of your origin country compared to the time zone you’re currently in. The hands on an automatic watch tend to also sweep elegantly across the dial, whilst quartz watches usually showcase the hands ticking. Most Swiss watch brands have their own signature designs too, such as the TUDOR Black Bay with its characteristic “snowflake hands”.


The Bracelet

The type of strap you choose will influence the overall aesthetic of your watch. Some Swiss watch brands have signature designs, such as the integrated bracelet on the OMEGA Constellation and the Rouleaux bracelet on the Breitling Chronomat making them instantly recognisable. Other brands use a strap to determine the style of the watch. For example, a rubber strap may be used for a sports watch, whilst a leather strap for a dress watch. We offer free wrist sizing for any new TUDOR, Breitling, OMEGA and TAG Heuer watch orders online before despatch, find out more here.

  • Movement
  • Bezel
  • Case
  • Crown
  • Hands
  • Bracelet


Swiss Watch Brands In
Professional Worlds

Whether it’s on the pitch, divers, or astronauts, some of the world’s most adventurous professions need a highly precise and reliable timepiece to practise their profession.


Swiss Watches As Collectibles

Whether it's Swiss-made or not, it's very hard to predict whether a watch will become a collectible in the future. But if you're looking for the best watch to buy to tell a fascinating story, a special or limited-edition timepiece might be the way to go.


What To Look For In A Swiss Watch

There's a Swiss-made watch available to cater for every taste and lifestyle, our luxury watch experts offered some top tips on how to find the best Swiss watches for you.

  • Choose a watch you’ll love

    When choosing a watch that you'll wear forever, it can be hard to narrow it down to just one piece. We think the best place to start is to decide on what's important to you about the watch; whether that's a specific brand, feature or style and go from there.

  • Decide between style or substance

    How and where you plan on wearing your watch will have a big impact on the best watch to buy. For example, do you want a sleek and sophisticated dress watch, or do you want to push your watch to the limits whilst keeping track of your adventures?

  • Research their stories

    Particularly true if you're buying a Swiss-made watch as a present, the stories behind models and indeed the brands themselves, such as OMEGA, Breitling, TAG Heuer and TUDOR, can make a special gift even more poignant.

  • Choose an authorised retailer

    We are proud to be an Authorised Retailer for all our featured Swiss watch brands. This means that we have been officially appointed by the Swiss watch manufacturers to sell their timepieces, and to issue the genuine warranty to our customers.