Swiss watches are the epitome of luxury and elegance. They are also finely-textured and more reliable mechanical watches that last for decades.
With the giant watch brands out there dominating the market, some Independent Swiss watch brands managed to cut their impression on watch fans and critics. The independent watchmakers stepped outside the box and churned out fresh, innovative, and aesthetic watches with their creative minds.
The new way to keep a tab on time is exciting and enjoyable. People now don’t need watches for mere timekeeping. That’s why the independent watch brands come forward in an artistic way to showcase their excellence in timekeeping.
Here we excluded the Swiss watch brands that are acquiesced by the hungry conglomerates. Some big names such as Swatch, Richemont, LVMH devoured the growing watch brands with potential fame and name in creativity.
Our listed independent brands in Swiss watch industry work independently with a limited number of employees and limited productions. The veteran watchmakers in the industry tend to produce their namesake brands to pioneer the technological advance of the watch industry. In this century, lots of watch brands stepped into the space of the horology world. But only a few Swiss watch brands managed to maintain the independent tag in the long run.
Without any further ado, let’s take a look at the most impressive and 10 Best Independent Swiss Watch Brands with Innovative Instincts.
Table of Contents
F. P. Journe
F. P. Journe is the high-end luxury watch manufacturer. The brand left marks on time by showcasing their watchmaking excellence, precise, and innovative instinct in the horology world. Without any strong heritage and history of the brand, they managed to pull through the test of time. Now their watches are considered to be one of the most collectible watches for investment.
F. P. Journe still maintains the tag of an independent watchmaker. Started in 1999 with the namesake of François-Paul Journe, the brand projects its creativity to produce some of the finest examples of Haute Horlogerie. The nucleus of F.P.Journe is the namesake Paul Journe who spent significant time in the watch world as an apprentice and then as an inventor. With almost 40 years of experience, he always tries to see the unseen and know the unknown of the naked watches.
Producing so many ‘firsts’ in the watch world, F.P.Journe earned some of the prestigious awards that complement his watchmaking excellence. He won seven distinctions at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie. And 3 ‘golden hand’ rewards bring him the ultimate recognition as the pioneer of modern watch technology. Some of the creations of F.P.Journe also topped as the ‘watch of the year’ in Switzerland, Japan, China, etc. The mastermind of this independent Swiss watch brand continues his creativity to produce timeless classics with ultimate accuracy and precision.
F.P.Journe first brought about a brand new movement known as the Résonance phenomenon. The geometric balancing in the wheel and the proximity of the oscillators make it capable of telling time flawlessly. The indie Swiss watchmaker is the first to use 18k gold in all of the movements.
To be added, F.P.Journe is the one and only watch brand that’s situated in the heart of Geneva. Not only the company office but all the watch manufacturing processes take place here. Mr. Journe has taken the craftsmanship to another level without being devoured by the hungry conglomerates.
Founder: François-Paul Journe
Headquarter: Geneva, Switzerland
Motto: Invenit et Fecit (Invented andade
Chronomètre À Résonance
Chronomèter À Résonance was first released in 2000 with a limited production of only 22 pieces. It’s the first in the world to feature the revolutionary resonance phenomenon. This movement was tried by Breguet to modern horologists but failed. Mr. Journe managed to keep the oscillators in close proximity so that the frequency can correct each other if deviated. You can find resonance phenomenons in other watches of the same family. But the production was discontinued in 2019.
F. P. Journe Chronomètre Bleu
It’s one of the few watches that use the rare and precious grey-metaled Tantalum. The blue tinge on the dial makes it superbly lustrous and elegant. The dial seems to be one of the most complicated craftings from the innovative artisan.
The watch brand started its journey by launching a Double Tourbillon watch at BaselWorld in 2004. Where the master watchmakers don’t risk to apply or research on Tourbillon, Greubel Forsey features 2 and even 4 Tourbillon in a watch. Their dedication to providing the most accurate and precise time reflects in their use of complicated tourbillon mechanisms.
Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey were born and grown in different places with different philosophies. But their passion for watches merges their path towards the same direction. Greubel worked in IWC and Renaud & Papi SA where he was busy making grand complications. Forsey also worked to restore vintage clocks in a famous company. Later he joined the team of Renaud and Papi where Greubel was working.
The independent Swiss watch brand is slightly devoured by a conglomerate. But still, they work independently to pursue their aim for the ultimate precision and accuracy in a watch. Greubel Forsey was awarded many prestigious titles for their approach to precision. The indie Swiss watch brand is quite successful to display its watchmaking excellence installing the Tourbillon mechanism.
Though Breguet tried to use the Tourbillon mechanism in his watches but couldn’t succeed. Still after centuries, brands like Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe don’t dare to try this mechanism though the mechanism means more accuracy. And hence, Greubel Forsey installed four tourbillons in a model that definitely amazed the watch critics. The resonance of the spring balance and escapement minus the errs due to gravity and provides the most accurate data.
They reformed some of the traditional ways to keep a tab on time. On their GMT watches, a new way of displaying a 3-dimensional globe makes it easier for terrestrial timekeeping. Greubel Forsey continues their creativity with the appearance also. They revealed a new case form that’s round from above, but something oval and arch-shaped from other angles. And the see-through skeleton dial allows visual access to its wonderful Tourbillon mechanism.
Founder: Robert Greubel & Stephen Forsey
Headquarter: La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
Motto: Art of Invention
Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon 30°
You will find some variations in this model of Double Tourbillon. The two cage system with 30° inclination to one another ensures to prevent any gravitational error in any position of the watch. The interior cage rotates once per minute where the container cage rotates once every four minutes. The watch allows you to see through the beautiful mechanism in movement.
Greubel Forsey GMT
Greubel Forsey showed their art of innovation again with the GMT version. They released this version when their obsession with Tourbillon seems to temporarily end. And again, they didn’t step into the traditional ways to show different time zones.
On their much-applauded Quadruple Tourbillon watch, an oversized 3D rotating globe ensures the poetic presentation of world time zones. They termed it as their second fundamental invention.
Carl F. Bucherer
From a small cosmopolitan city of Switzerland, Carl F Bucherer started a watch and jewelry shop that passes the ebbs and flows of time for 150 years. The brand sticks to their innovative minds and established a significant space in the watch industry. Carl F Bucherer is still run by the founding family, unlike other renowned Swiss brands taken by larger companies.
What Carl F Bucherer founded in 1888 now emerged to be a citadel of innovative and elegant watches. The independent Swiss watch brand has a strong and historic partnership with Rolex. They supply the most variations of Rolex watches. Maintaining their retailer activities, Bucherer also produces high-end watches made with confidence and the truest sense of luxury.
The third generation of Bucherer lines deserves lots of claps for successfully steering the company with innovative ideas. Their watchmaking excellence remained within the Swiss border in the early days. But their marketing strategy proves to be fruitful. The independent Bucherer watch brand collaborates with the Hollywood and Sports stars to achieve greater reach to customers. Their successful campaign with the John Wick series and Atomic Blonde catches the eyes of watch enthusiasts. The campaign of Carl F Bucherer is very much similar to Rolex.
After a long time, Carl F Bucherer focused on the invention with Free Spirit. Their confident approach gains some true terms in horology that enables us to enjoy the charms of movement to a full extent. The Peripheral Rotor Movement is their astounding feat that surpasses the effort of many abandoned projects. Even Patek Philippe abandoned the idea after miscalculating some steps to lighten the weight.
The Peripheral Rotor Movement comes to light to lighten the weight of the oscillator in automatic movement. As we know, the oscillating weight occupies most of the mechanical movement deducing the charms of intricate movement. Rotor movement places the weight peripherally to pull the curtains off the case back. It results in the precision and mesmerizing beauty of the movement.
Founder: Carl F. Bucherer
Main Office: Lucerne, Switzerland
Motto: Free Spirit
Carl F. Bucherer Manero Series
‘Manero‘ line is one of the most noteworthy complication watches from Carl F Bucherer. It covers Perpetual to Flyback chronographs. The word Manero is derived from the Latin ‘manuaria’ that means ‘which is led by the hand’. The simplistic appearance and geometric presentation of Dauphine hands and indices uphold its glory.
Carl F Bucherer Patravi
The word ‘Patravi‘ in Latin means “I’ve accomplished”. Yes! You can accomplish tough jobs and rough sports wearing the Patravi models. Because they’re defined to last the rough situations. The Patravi line presents ‘TravelTec’, ‘EvoTec’, and ‘ScubaTec’. All are designed for practical purposes. The ScubaTec model was used for the John Wick franchise.
H. Moser & Cie.
The tale of this independent Swiss watch brand started with the energetic and innovative Heinrich Moser. Born and raised in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, he made his way to Russia and established the original H. Moser watch company. His early customers were the aristocratic society of the Tsar empire including the then prince.
However, time changes, and the later generations associated with other veterans of the watch industry, pulled the tickling journey through time. The Swiss brand not only produces the classic timepieces but they also contribute to the cosmopolitan of Schaffhausen. Sometimes you may notice the cosmopolitan impact on the minimalist appearance of their watches.
H. Moser & Cie. expertize their hands on simple to grand complications. That’s why their collection is enriched with plenty of variations in appearance and mechanism. It’s one of the very few watch brands that’s owned and run by the founder family.
The roaring resurrection of the Swiss independent watch brand is more related to its simplistic but gorgeous design. Especially the fumé dial with gradient color schemes pour the lustrous appeal into it.
The Perpetual Calendar watch is another signatory timepiece that won the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix. All of the movements and watch details are hand-finished and made in-house. That’s why their smoked and sunburst dial is artfully emblazoned under careful eyes.
Founder: Heinrich Moser
Headquarter: Schaffhausen, Switzerland
Motto: “Very Rare”
H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Center Seconds
The funky blue in the fumé dial presents a striking appeal to the eyes. The minimalist appearance with striking blue gradient somehow elaborates its mind-blowing aesthetics.
H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Perpetual Calendar
It’s one of the best Perpetual Calendar watches that captivated me with the inner and outer beauty. So many variations lie in the gradient color schemes that cover any of your favorites. As a manually-wound mechanical watch, it also indicates a power reserve. More interestingly, the power can last for almost a week. No need to tell about its trademark fumé dial and HMC 341 movement as they earned quite a lot of compliments from the critics.
Two amateurs racing the 24 hours of Le Mans became friends and emerged with a brand namesake of Laurent Ferrier. Born and raised in the citadel of exquisite watches, Laurent Ferrier has every ancestry rooted in the watch industry. Started with a little passion, now he promotes his own brand with a true sense of innovative passion.
Backed by the bank balance of a business entrepreneur François Servanin, the brand started its journey and fulfilled the word Servanin told 30 years ago after winning a position at Le Mans. However, with lifelong experiences and a creative mind, once a creative director at Patek Philippe earned compliments from connoisseurs with the collectible timepieces. The luxury watches are hugely sought after though they’re high in price and limited in numbers. The independent Swiss watch brand is going high with their fresh and creative timepieces.
Laurent Ferrier knew it wouldn’t be easy to attract watch enthusiasts with simple and traditional watches. As all of the parts and watches are hand-made and hand-finished, he tried innovative action for the movement and dial.
Laurent Ferrier used two balance springs so that the watch can work against gravity and maintain accuracy in timekeeping. Though it’s not new in the watch industry, the independent Swiss watch brand ensured more accuracy and precision.
His other exceptional display of micro-rotor in movement earned lots of applause. The micro-rotor takes a little space of the case back and allows you to enjoy the charisma in the movement. Though it’s not as efficient as the normal oscillator, amazingly the micro-rotor managed to keep the battery charged for almost 72 hours. Thanks to the use of natural escapements used in the watch.
Founder: Laurent Ferrier, François Servanin
Headquarter: Geneva, Switzerland
Motto: Creatively Classic
Laurent Ferrier Galet Secret Tourbillon
It’s a gorgeous piece of watch with an opening and closing mechanism in the dial. The sheeted dial started to open at a specific time and reveal an astronomical painting with the moon, stars, and every detail. When the night ends, the dial begins to close at the time you set to. It’s really an interesting feature, but expensive as well.
Laurent Ferrier Galet Micro-Rotor
Galet Micro-Rotor is also an expensive watch for its totally hand-finished and limited production. The micro-rotor in the mechanical movement helps to expose the intricate parts of a movement. It’s then the show-off of movement through caseback comes to meaning.
A veteran in the watch industry whose passion is rooted here came forward to reveal his creative mind with the namesake brand. Born and raised in Finland, Kari Voutilainen reached the sacred land of the horology world to pursue his passion. Picked up by the world-famous watch brands, he explored various aspects of watchmaking excellence and also taught the beginners in the watch industry.
Kari Voutilainen is regarded as the master of the dial. His concentration and careful observation of the texture of the dial brings aesthetic appeal. The efforts the Swiss independent brand put on the glorification of dial deserves to be praised. A team of Japanese and others works to emblazon the dial in an artistic way.
The natural intelligence blended with years of working experience put some not-seen-before production from the brain of Kari Voutilainen. He won several prestigious awards for the exceptional watches. Perfectly laid the aesthetics and appeal on the outside, the independent Swiss watch brand also innovates something special on mechanism.
In 2005, Kari Voutilainen introduced the first decimal repeater sounding hours in the world. The slider on the side starts sound for hours, 10 minutes, and then a single minute. The clicking sound after ten minutes isn’t an old one. As the traditional repeaters only tick for quarter hours.
Kari Voutilainen has mastered the art of making exquisite dial. One of the best watchmakers in the 21st century always put extra effort to bring the engine turning guilloche pattern on the watches. His hand-finished techniques are proverbial and earned a sterling reputation from critics.
Founder: Kari Voutilainen
Headquarter: Môtiers, Switzerland
Motto: “Less Is Beautiful”
Schwarz Etienne Roma Synergy
The brand collaboration brings a historic Roma Synergy in the watch. The engine-turned guilloche pattern with intense depth in color schemes makes a magnetic appeal. And the in-house movement containing micro-rotor increases its aesthetics and credibility.
Decimal Repeater number 9 Tantalor
The Tantalor repeater watch is exquisitely designed with a gradient of color schemes. The Tantalum used on the watch makes it high-end stuff. The guilloche pattern beautifully reflects the efforts of the mastermind, Kari Voutilainen. With a 10 minutes interval and then single minute alarms, you can easily hear the time.
Long before the skeletonized watches became fashionable in the watch industry, Armin Strom took the helm to introduce us to it. The master watchmaker crafts the watches in a way that critics are marveled at the creation.
Armin Strom felt the knack to do something creative and unique with the watches when he set up his watch shop in 1967. He pushed the limits of his skills and made the world’s smallest hand-finished skeletonized watch for ladies. The feat got his name inscribed on the Guinness World Record in 1990. The first watch with the name Armin Strom inscribed was introduced in 1984 at Basel Watch Fair. And he started to get tons of requests from other brands in Swiss watch industry to skeletonize their watches.
However, Armin Strom thought of passing his legacy to the passionate fellows. In 2006, the company name “Armin Strom AG” was founded with the contribution of Serge Michel and his childhood friend Claude Greisler. They continued the passion and creative Instincts from Armin Strom.
Armin Strom showed his watchmaking excellence by producing the smallest skeletonized ladies watch fully hand-made. The Tourbillon mechanism reached a new height at his hand. Among the few watch brands that used the Résonance phenomenon, Armin Strom upholds its precision at another angle.
For the first time in a watch, they used a resonance clutch to connect two oscillators in close proximity. The mechanism ensures perfect synchronicity between two second hands once they achieve resonance. They provide the opportunity to personalize your own watch with even your name inscribed on it.
Headquarter: Biel, Switzerland
Founder: Armin Strom, Serge Michel
Motto: Continuous Innovation
Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance Water
Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance has gained attention from watch critics and enthusiasts. The watch mastered the exquisite skeletonized dial and resonance phenomenon that few brands dare to try. The watch presents mind-blowing aesthetics and eye-catching show-off of the movement.
Armin Strom Dual Time Resonance
As a piece of distinction, the Dual Time shows different time sitting on top of two different movements. The side by side movements in an oval-shaped case increases the space for power reserve. The watch shows GMT time as well as a timer, stopwatch, etc.
The Swiss independent watch brand De Bethune earns accolades from critics and fans for their retro design merged with contemporary aesthetics. With the name De Bethune rooted in the horology world of the 18th century, their connection with the legendary past is barely avoidable. The brand name is inspired by the legendary Chevalier de Bethune who introduced escapement in pocket watches.
But the masterminds behind now De Bethune indie watch brand are David Zanetta and Denis Flageolet. The two veterans in the watch field fueled their independent swiss watch brand with innovative ideas of trending and vintage style.
They believe that people now don’t buy a watch for timekeeping. So a watch without the artistic decorations is valueless in the market. The making of watches is now the work of art. And the artisans are now pushing their aesthetics limits to create something adorable and eye-catching on the dial. The price is much higher as the collectors know how to respect the arts of an artificer.
De Bethune believes in quality and not in quantity. They collaborate with other brands and push their limits of skills to provide a brand new appearance. From astronomy to floral aesthetics, they try to depict the dial in an artistic way. If you look at the models, they all are different from each other in the way of presenting times.
They are also well-recognized for their pioneering silicon balance springs technology. The mechanism can tell the time more accurately on such complicated watches of De Bethune.
Founder: David Zanetta & Devis Flageolet
Headquarter: Vaud, Switzerland
Motto: Not Doing More But Instead Doing Better
De Bethune DB28 Digitale
The independent Swiss watchmakers concentrate to merge every era of watchmaking into one. The digital display of hours, analog presentation of minutes, and spherical visuals for the moon phase reflect the brand’s devotion to a unique creation. The line consists of some elegant timepieces that are great examples of Haute Horlogerie.
De Bethune Dream Watch 5
The watch is designed keeping a space shuttle in mind. Their dream to explore the space is always conspicuous in the designs. The Dream Watch 5 is definitely a proverbial addition to the line. The jump hours and minutes on the belt will keep you aware of the time. The artisans also concentrate on the moon phase that ultimately expresses the astronomical value. The watch design is purely luxurious and for the extravagant rich.
A timeworn trope to design a watch with automobile inspiration comes from the head of a veteran watchmaker. Octavio Garcia resigned his long-term stardom in Audemars Piguet and started a joint venture in 2016 with Lukas Gopp. With an aim to provide high-end masterpieces with muscle cars instinct, Gorilla watches avail the watch lovers of a new taste in a new way.
The man behind this independent swiss watch brand, Octavio Garcia was born and raised in Chicago. Influenced by the DC and Marvel comic superheroes and supercars in the yard, he later displayed his creative childhood into watchmaking excellence. As Octavio worked on high-end luxury brands, he started using the same materials in Gorilla watches at an affordable price tag. The ceramic and forged carbon case used in AP or other luxury brands are now at the arm’s length for the average Joe.
The main charisma here is to provide cutting-edge technology and high-end materials at an affordable price. The forged carbon in cases tells a bit of its aesthetic appeal. From outside, the watches are mighty looking like Gorilla.
The independent Swiss watch brand is relentlessly working on automobile engineering and shaping the watches likewise. The watches boldly project the American culture and muscle cars.
Actually, the independent watch brand is creative in fashion instinct as they merge the different cultures and sporty vibe into artistic watches.
The sturdy build and robust design perfectly interpret their roots in the automobile industry. The indie watch brand reiterates the retro design of the 60s and 70s. So you’ll get the vintage appeal with modern aesthetics and mechanism. The independent Swiss watch brand is the first to feature wandering hours complications. They keep us captivated with their enthralling but simple complications.
Founder: Octavio Garcia & Lukas Gopp
Headquarter: Cressier, NE
Fastback GT Mirage
Fastback GT Mirage is inspired by one of the most famous cars in Motorsports history. It’s the Gulf Oil-sponsored Ford GT40 that conquered the track of Le Mans in 1968 and 1969. The orange and light blue color scheme strikes the memory and nostalgia of the race track. With that said, the skeleton hour hands and gunmetal indexes perfectly blend and bloom.
Fastback Drift Mirage
Fastback Drift Mirage is an interesting timepiece with wandering hours complication. You have to appreciate the original creative idea to drift the hour indexes and show the time. The intelligent presentation of color schemes makes it a must to wear while driving.
The creative minds behind a luxury diamond jewelry decided to test their fortune in the watch industry. Thus Dane Rumble, owner of luxury Cutlet Jewellery came forward to fulfill his passion for affordable Swiss luxury watches. In the short space for newcomers, Creux Automatiq managed to connect with the customers. Actually, customers now want brand new, fresh, and innovative fashion and Creux Automatiq meets the demand with perfection.
Though Dane Rumble is from Australia, he sourced the materials from Switzerland and assembled the pieces here. The bold appearance of the watch is almost equivalent to luxury brands. Watch enthusiasts praise this independent swiss watch brand as a great alternative to branded luxury and lustrous timepieces.
Dane Rumble replicates his expertise in jewelry into the new watches. After almost 2 years of research and proper sourcing of ingredients, the independent Swiss watch brand produced their watches inspired by modern architecture. The watches strongly inherit luxury vehicle design. The sporty vibe and robust design project its lustrous appeal while sporting or driving.
Head Office: Switzerland
Founder: Dane Rumble
Creux Automatiq Ghost Explorer
As the brand spent quite a significant time in marketing, you can’t say it is a ghost Swiss independent brand. The watch is a shadow of the luxury AP, Hublot, and others. With the bold outlook, the watch will strikingly catch the eyes of watch lovers.
The main attraction of this luxury watch is its affordable price. The enigmatic design and the signatory case structure definitely uphold its value. It’s now a growing Swiss boutique watch brand that’s been able to impress the customers