Watches have never gone out of fashion. Besides adding charisma to your appearance, they are incomparable time trackers.
You may have known that Switzerland and Germany are the best countries in producing timepieces with such inventions as Rolex or Mont Blanc, but what about France? Take a close look at the list of french watch brands below!
Top 10 French Watch Brands That People Love
Any fashion-conscious person must have heard of this trendy accessory. Before digging deep into what it has to offer, let’s flick through an overview of this famous brand.
Cartier (or CARTIER International SNC) was founded in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier amidst the chaos of the ongoing French revolution. Apart from timepieces, the company also designs, distributes, and sells jewelry. Over time, it has grown into one of the most internationally hailed and coveted brands in the world.
Cartier is one of the forerunners of the watchmaking industry. In 2008, the brand released its first-ever watch and took the world by storm with its bold and creative design.
Throughout its history, Cartier produced numerous watches that went down in history. Whether you are into quartz, automatic, or manual watches, you can rest assured that Cartier has quite a wide range of each category to choose from. The case sizes provided also vary from the dainty 28mm for women to the oversized 44mm for men.
Cartier watches have always been recognizable for their Roman numerals and screws in the bezels. Their complex and delicate mechanisms are the main rationales behind its royalty status among watch creatives.
Possessing outstanding characteristics, Cartier earns the honorable title ‘Jeweller of Kings, King of Jewellers’.
As regards watchmaking know-how, Breguet absolutely overshadows other competitors in this list. The inventions of the rotor system and tourbillon used in watchmaking are attributed to Abraham Louis Breguet-the founder of the namesake watch brand. Its origin dates back to over two centuries ago, yet still stands the test of time to be one of the most skillful manufacturers of timepieces.
Breguet watches use in-house movements, which employ modern equipment to assemble their components. The transparent case backs signify the complexity of the movements and provide adequate protection, not to mention their contribution to the exquisite outer looks.
The watches function with the help of engine-turned dials, which are one of their unmistakable hallmarks. Today, Breguet artisans still adopt this technique to give the watch the ultimate accuracy, thus bringing the best experience to customers.
Bell & Ross
The brand is the combination of its founding fathers’ names: Bruno Belamich and Carlos Rosillo. The two fellows established the company with a view to providing pilots, astronauts, and special forces in the army with functional and enduring watches.
It was created in 1992, which put it at a disadvantage as this is the very period when watch giants thrived. However, since the introduction of the BR-01 in 2005, this brand has made its entrance into various ranks of globally top-rated watches.
With this landmark, Bell & Ross laid the foundation for its own globally renowned products in the future and has since featured an iconic look in the watch empire.
The watches unfailingly meet four criteria: visibility, accuracy, functionality, and water resistance. Based on these principles, the company received a lot of patents for its record-breaking designs, notably the Hydro Challenger in 1977 (waterproof up to 11000m).
Thanks to the above features, Bell & Ross watches are all the rage among military forces.
These timepieces are chosen as helpful companions of multiple professions, such as bomb-disposing in which every second count. It seems that Bruno Belamich and Carlos Rosillo have fulfilled their ambition.
This namesake brand has a history spanning over seven decades. In 1947, Michel Herbelin, who was a proponent of traditional watchmaking, set his heart on establishing a self-owned company. However, only until 1965 did the first watch make its debut, and his proud heritage all started here.
Seven years later, the brand decided to cater to a broader range of customers from various classes of contemporary society. Michel Herbelin proved himself to be a fine craftsman when he successfully incorporated both the alluring elegance of France and the precise engineering of Switzerland into his designs. This splendid combination forms the basis for the brand’s motto: “Swiss Heart, French Soul”.
The products are also known for creativity and reliability harmoniously fused with careful attention to detail. Both genders can easily pick their favorite piece among a variety of exceptional styles. Some of its products are embellished with diamonds, which is quite unheard-of for any luxury watch at a startling price, sometimes under 1.000 euro.
Today, Michel Herbelin has its goods exported to 50 countries worldwide, but still remains a self-reliant watch producer.
B.R.M is the abbreviation of Bernard Richards Manufacture. It was named after the urbanite founder who moved to the countryside in 2002 to design his first watch. This event was brought on by his inability to race brought on by a serious accident. However, it then turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as Bernard Richards did not have to wait long until his efforts paid off.
After two years of hard work, the first design of B.R.M was launched in a Paris store and provoked quite a sensation among the car racing community. The orders placed were threefold greater than the watchmaker’s expectations, marking its smooth beginning. Since then, the trading of these timepieces has been an ongoing business.
Every component of the watch is inspired by automotive technology. For example, the straps are reminiscent of flags and tires while the dials are similar to wheels and dashboards, etc. Within almost two years of operation, the company has never shifted its emphasis: quality rather than quality. Notably, its seventh model using made-in-France movements was a real revolution as many other high-end brands still turn to Switzerland to engineer the same aspect.
Considering the company’s lifetime, it is not exaggerated at all to say that it has achieved a significant breakthrough in watchmaking techniques.
This brand was the idea of Etienne Malec, who came into his father’s lifelong watch collection. Etienne made these watches for two purposes: to pursue his ambition and to pay tribute to his dead father.
Inspired by the purest watchmaking techniques, the designs are fairly simple, and each model features three colors at the very most. However, they invariably create a sense of elegance and luxury, making them one of the most craved timepieces among the newcomers of the watch manufacturers. These accessories also owe their charming appearance to different brushing methods to maintain their best looks, namely mirror, linear, and circular polishing.
Inside these gorgeous timepieces are two familiar movements: the chronograph and the three-hand automatic, which have important roles to play in manufacturing precise watches. To get the products complete, the vintage leather straps are fitted with a buckle with the brand name carved on it.
Finally, the entire watches are displayed in boxes made from cork. With all of the above highlights, Baltic products are undoubtedly must-have items for avid collectors of simple and aesthetic timepieces.
Fugue was born in 2015 but only came into operation two years later. The founder Leopoldo Celi, who harbored this side project and continuously shaped his models, decided to collaborate with like-minded entrepreneurs. Despite being the youngest watch producer in this list, the brand has managed to earn its stripe thanks to its unique approach to modular watchmaking.
Modularity has been in vogue, with more and more embracing this idea of customizing the accessories by themselves. Comprehending this ongoing trend, Fugue manufacturers went on to take the initiative, giving them an edge over other competitors. Thanks to this, customers can change their looks by replacing the straps without the help of retailers.
The process to make the watches is by no means simple. It comprises six steps, each of which requires utmost concentration so that the final products are as functional as they are intricately designed.
Named in regard to the mysterious nature of time, these timepieces feature a sense of vintage and character. The elegance and harmony of every proportion contribute to the attractive look of the whole watch. Besides, its versatility and stylish design offer a nice touch of glamour to your wrists.
When it comes to expertise in manufacturing timepieces, Dodane gets the better of most other brands with 150 years of experience. Its headquarters were located in Doubs district, an important hub in French ancient watch craftworks. After its collapse in 1994, Cedric Dodane re-established the tradition of his ancestors in the early 2000s. Since then, the brand continued to sell reliable timepieces to its prime customer-the NATO Air Forces.
Dodane is noted for its focus on instruments destined for military purposes. 1917 witnessed a major milestone in the company’s future when it successfully took ballistic science to a new level and became a trusted supplier of chronographs for combat aircraft. 1983 also marked its full-fledged development, as its products reached an astonishing number of 100.000 watches, and were distributed to five continents.
Today, Dodane 1857 is still assessed to be unsurpassed with a multitude of civil and military pilots using the legendary TYPE 211, TYPE 21 and TYPE 23.
The brand was founded in 1948 by Henry Louis Belmont, who was a top graduate of his class in the National Watchmaking School. Like many other watchmakers, this creative teenager decided to base his company in Besançon, the France capital of watch manufacturing.
Since its inception, the brand has produced various tailor-made timepieces for space exploration. As a result, their presence in such important events as the Proxima space mission and the North Pole exploration came as no surprise.
Many collections for diving and sailing enthusiasts are also produced under the brand respectively in 1963 and 1966. Considered indestructible, these custom-built watches were honorably singled out for arming specialists.
Today, Yema is run by Montres Ambre-another French watchmaker group.
This widely acclaimed brand was named after its founder, Emmanuel Dietrich, in 2014. Shortly after his graduation in interior architecture, he found a strong desire to create embodiments of sophistication, which eventually led him to establish his company. Prior to that, he was an experienced designer for Calvin Klein and Louis Vuitton, not to mention other famous brands.
At first glance, Dietrich watches can be eccentric, but that abnormality actually makes their distinction. They feature rounded edges on their hexagonal cases instead of sharp angles like other timepieces. Amidst the cut-throat watch market, the brand survives well despite its young age, especially in Asia. This resounding success is due to Emmanuel Dietrich’s audacity to go against the mainstream and is living proof of his expertise and dedication.
What’s Your Choice?
No matter what brand and style you opt for from the above shortlist, we can reassure you about its fine quality as well as aesthetic. Most importantly, the provided timepieces are all pocket-friendly, so you can still own them although you are on a tight budget.
Watches are so versatile and fashionable that they are considered must-have items in your accessory cupboard. We have recommended to you the top 10 best French watch brands, so just go ahead and take your pick!