There have been countless watch bands that have affected the market throughout modern history. The ones we will discuss in our blog post this week are just a sampling of the many iconic and influential watch makers. The brands below have helped define the modern watch. From luxury to practical everyday use here are some iconic brands in the world today.
Rolex, one of if not the name you think of when someone asks you to present a luxury watch. Rolex was started in London in 1905 by 24-year-old Hans Wildorf. Wildorf dreamed of convincing the public to wear their timepieces on their wrists more often and at the same time create a more accurate timepiece. Wildorf was eventually able to partner with a Swiss movement maker to create his accurate wristwatches. He then had to pick a name for his company. After toiling with many different ideas, Wildorf decided upon combining separate letters of the alphabet into Rolex in a flash of inspiration. Following unprecedented accuracy, awards, and ultimately success, the Rolex company was relocated to the watchmaking powerhouse Geneva, Switzerland in 1919. In 1926 Rolex was surpassing yet another amazing milestone with the first waterproof wristwatch, the Oyster. To this day, Rolex is still crushing milestones, while also managing to keep their luxury and rarity.
The Citizen brand story is rather interesting since the company did not start out as Citizen watches. According to the company, the Citizen brand started in 1918 when Shokosha Watch Research Institute was established. The forerunner to the Citizen company created mainly pocket timepieces with their first one being completed in 1924, six years after the company’s founding. Then in May of 1930 the Citizen Watch Co., Ltd was created, establishing the major brand we know today. Their first wristwatch was created a year later in 1931. The Citizen brand then started to export their watches around the world in 1955. Their more recent history includes the purchase of the Bulova company among other acquisitions and the creation of the very popular light powered watch line, the Citizen Eco-Drive.
3. Patek Phillippe
Our oldest company by far on this list, Patek Philippe was founded in 1839 under the name Patek, Czapek & Cie. Just like Citizen, Patek Philippe specialized in the production of pocket watches in the outset of their company. The Patek Philippe company grew in prominence early on with their first ever keyless winding and hand setting system for pocket watches. By 1851 the company’s name became the more recognizable Patek Philippe & Cie. In 1868 Patek Philippe created the first swiss wristwatch. For the next 150 year Patek Philippe, just like Rolex, continued to innovate and create new styles, designs and types of watches and have become a powerhouse in the luxury watch industry with some of their timepieces among the rarest in the world.
Our final iconic watchmaker on this list, Seiko, was founded in 1881 by 21-year-old Kintaro Hattori. In 1881 Hattori opened a shop in Tokyo that repaired watches and clocks. By 1892 the Seikosha factory was created. 1892 saw the name of the company become the recognizable Seiko, meaning exquisite, that we see today. The factory originally produced clocks with the first pocket watch beginning production in 1895. In 1913 the first Japanese wristwatch was introduced, the Laurel. Seiko has created many types of watches since its founding, including the tv watch and computer watches. Today Seiko is still a leading watchmaker that is recognizable around the world.