Timex. Rolex. Casio. Patek. All those brands, along with dozens of others, are household names. But they’re not the only companies making high quality, stylish timepieces worthy of a place in your collection or on your wrist. There are so many small shops, family-run operations and men’s watch brands that just aren’t very popular in the US that are worth your time that we decided to make a list. Here are 10 Watch Brands You Should Know, But Probably Don’t.
Orient is a Japanese watch brand with an origin story that stretches all the way back to the turn of the twentieth century. Their mechanical watches, powered by movements manufactured in-house, will always draw “Poor Man’s *insert hyper luxury brand here*” comparisons for some of the similarities they share with more familiar brands, but for our money they’re just incredibly well produced, stylish, luxury watches that happen to be available without a bank loan.
Our Pick: Classic Bambino
If there was ever a watch brand with a name that perfectly described their product, it’s Simpl. This Thai startup has only been around since 2013, but they wasted absolutely no time producing some of the cleanest watches on the market by using a minimal face with a stainless case that blends seamlessly into a genuine Italian leather strap.
Our Pick: Gravity Black
About Vintage (by Skov Andersen) is a collection of watches that, if you didn’t know any better, you’d swear were purchased by a previous generation and recently unearthed. Modern materials and hardware are combined with a timeless aesthetic to create a men’s watch that bears the name of a significant year in watchmaking history. About Vintage is modern history you can wear on your wrist.
Our Pick: 1821 Chronograph
About Vintage Watches
Designed in London before being hand-assembled in Switzerland, each Farer watch is built with the same expectation for adventure as the iconic British explorers they’re named after. With quick-release Italian calf leather straps, sapphire glass and Swiss movements, Farer watches outperform men’s watches far more pricey without sacrificing their own unique blend of classic lines and contemporary styling.
Our Pick: Stark
TRIWA, an independent watch and accessory brand out of Sweden, is built on the idea of using what they call “Swedish curiosity” to create products they would actually wear themselves. Whether you describe the watches in their collection as reinterpreted vintage, minimal luxury, or classically modern, each piece blends quality movements, thoughtful design and a throwback style that makes them perfect for everything from the boardroom to the dive bar.
Our Pick: Dusk Klinga
Built from the ground up by industrial designer and creative visionary Bradley Price, Autodromo creates unique products inspired by and designed to express the spirit of the golden age of motoring. Each watch feels like it could have been ripped straight out of the gauge cluster of one of the many cars you’ve salivated about driving since you were a little kid because there’s just something about the presentation of the clean lines married to the vintage aesthetic that gets the heart pumping.
Our Pick: Prototipo Chronograph
Mechanical watches have been around for centuries, but in their entire history there have never been any quite like what Visitor Watch Co. is producing. Using a combination of clean curves and severe lines, each Visitor Watch Co. piece is an exercise in individuality that’s further accentuated with details like multiple finishes, custom rotors, flip open officer casebacks, sandwiched displays and rear sapphire crystal displays. Every watch is a testament to what can be created when one individual, and not a committee, is responsible for the design.
Our Pick: Vale Park Officer
Visitor Watch Co.
Named for the Ancient Greek translation of “manufacturing know-how,” Techné does justice to their namesake with their aviator timepieces that combine modern and throwback elements. While there are certainly plenty of other pilot watch options on the market, none of them deliver on the design, details and value proposition like Techné pieces do, because these are actually affordable.
Our Pick: Harrier
Vostok Europe has only been producing watches for a little over a decade, but you wouldn’t know that based on the wrists they’ve been on. NATO underwater demolition units and F-16 pilots. Free-diving world champions and Enduro Rally racers. Muay Thai champions and The World’s Strongest Man. Vostok Europe watches set themselves apart by combining rugged durability with technical design.
Our Pick: Almaz
Before you write the brand off because of the name, it’s German and pronounced with a y and not a j. The Made in Germany watches produced under the name Junkers exude the same characteristics of aviation that were used to produce the innovative aircraft that bore the same name decades ago (even though it’s not the same company anymore). Every watch is expertly engineered to provide a reliable and stylish experience using a quality movement and distinctive design.
Our Pick: Bauhaus