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The luxury watch market has never been more exciting. From revivalist models like Breguet’s Reference 5395 with its tourbillon-equipped movement to Bulgari’s futuristic Octo Finissimo Automatic, you’ll find plenty of tempting timepieces to add to your collection.

But before you snatch at the first horological treat dangled in front of you, consider your collection-building strategy.

You may have heard of the Holy Trinity of luxury watches. The Big Three refers to the top three Swiss watchmakers: Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, and Vacheron Constantin. Building a luxury watch collection on the foundation of these three incomparable brands shows an appreciation for quality, hand-finished craftsmanship and technical excellence.

What makes these three watchmakers so unique?

 

Impeccable Similarities

Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin have been around for generations. All three have operated continuously since their founding and consistently produced magnificent timepieces of technical ability.

Not one of these three watchmakers has ever dabbled in lower market lines. Instead, they’ve maintained their commitment to high quality, hand-finished movements produced out of traditional finishing methods. They only use premium materials for all components of their timepieces, from the cases to the hands and dials.

This is not to say that the brands are interchangeable. Each member of the Big Three has a unique history and personality. Let’s take a look at each one more closely.

 

Audemars Piguet

In a ruggedly beautiful region nestled in the Jura Mountains north of Geneva, the Vallée de Joux served as inspiration for an innovative generation of Swiss watchmakers. The valley’s natural resources (specifically the forests, water, ice and rocks) provided the means for the industry to thrive.

Both Audemars and Piguet grew up in the Vallée de Joux, sons of watchmaking families. Audemars had a knack for technical work, especially complicated watch movement. Piguet excelled at the finish work. He performed the final regulations, inspected each finished component and brought the watches to life. They were a perfect match. Later, after going into business together, Piguet discovered a passion for sales, marketing and management. The Audemars Piguet partnership was solidified in 1875, and its world-class luxury watch brand has inspired the world ever since.

 

Patek Philippe

Over the past two centuries, the partnership formed by Antoine Patek and Adrien Philippe has produced some of the most exquisite timepieces ever created. But we don’t want to leave out another vital name from this story. François Czapek and his partner Antoine Patek started creating custom pocket watches for their high-class clientele in 1839. Five years later, in 1844, Antoine Patek attended the Exposition Nationale des Produits de L’Industrie in Paris, France. At the exposition, Adrien Philipe won a bronze medal for his cutting-edge keyless winding and hand-setting system, and within a year, Patek and Philippe went into business together. 

In 1851, Patek travelled to America and forged a working relationship with Tiffany & Co. The alliance has lasted; Patek Philippe and Tiffany & Co. continue to collaborate to this day. The brand’s commitment to uncompromising quality has only strengthened over the years. That’s why it’s considered one of the premier luxury watch brands in the world.

 

Luxury Watch Insurance

 

Vacheron Constantin

In 1755, ambitious 24-year-old Jean-Marc Vacheron signed on his first watchmaking apprentice. That contract confirms that Vacheron Constantin is the oldest watch manufacturer in continuous operation anywhere in the world. For the first six decades of the company, the Vacheron family produced the loveliest, most innovative timepieces in Geneva, and then a new face came on the scene.

Jean-Marc Vacheron’s grandson, Jacques Barthélémi Vacheron, teamed up with experienced businessman François Constantin to fortify the organisation and give it a new name: Vacheron et Constantin. These two Genevese shared a love of sophisticated and complicated timepieces, and they grew their businesses on a reputation for attention to detail and perfection in the craftsmanship.

 

New Watches for Your Collection

If you’re looking to add a sumptuous luxury watch to your collection, why not consider one of these?

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Frosted Gold Flying Tourbillon

Audemars Piguet is currently taking pre-orders for this showstopper. With its frosted gold finish and diamond cluster on the dial, it will not go unnoticed when you wear it out and about. 

 

Patek Philippe Reference 5370P-011 Split-Seconds Chronograph

If you’re in the market for a more conventional watch, slip Patek Philippe’s Reference 5370P-011 Split-Seconds Chronograph onto your wrist and try it on for size. Vintage Patek lovers will swoon for its effortless elegance and optional display caseback.

 

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication

Love complications? This stunner by Vacheron Constantin is mechanically, technically, and conceptually about as condensed as a watch can get. 

When you add an Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe or Vacheron Constantin to your collection, don’t take any risks. Insure it right away with Q Report Watch Insurance. If the unexpected happens, you’ll be able to return to your jeweller for full repair or replacement. Get an instant quote today.

 

Ultimate Guide to Luxury Watches

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Engagement Ring Budget Calculator

What you need to save to meet your timeframe and budget is:

This has not taken cut, colour, clarity or carat, your financial situation or your partners taste into account. There are many factors that can reduce or increase the value of an engagement ring.


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