Popular Luxury Watches in Nigeria.
Check Out the Price Tags of the real deal.
So many Nigerians are familiar with some luxury watch brand names however they are clueless about how much they actually cost. In this Article I will be reviewing ten pure luxury brands and their market prices, in order of my perceived local popularity of the brands. Exchange rate used here is N350 / $1.
Rolex was founded in 1908 by Hans Wilsdorf. In 1905 at the age of 24, young Hans founded a company in London specializing in the distribution of watches. Hans dreamt of a brand that was not just elegant but precise, he wanted a name easy to remember and pronounce in any language and after much thought he got the inspiration to name the brand Rolex.
From inception Rolex concentrated on the precision of the movements and by 1910, Rolex watch was the first wristwatch in the world to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision.
In 1914, Rolex was awarded a class “A” precision certificate by Kew Observatory in Great Britain, a distinction reserved only for marine chronometers up until then. Rolex has since been synonymous with precision.
In 1926 Rolex created the “Oyster”, the first waterproof and dustproof wristwatch in the world.
This followed with the invention of the first self-winding mechanism with a perpetual rotor in 1931. This technology remains the core of modern automatic watches.
The Datejust, the first self-winding wrist chronometer to indicate the date on the dial was created in the 1945.
Over the past decades Rolex has had several inventions and their success story is evident in the company’s status of being the most valued watch brand in the world, worth over $8 billion.
Rolex retail prices start at about $5,000 (N1,750,000) to $50,000 (N17,500,000). Some pieces cost even more. Production is less than 1,000,000 pieces per annum.
2016 Rolex Datejust 41, with a new-generation movement calibre 3235 and Jubilee bracelet.
Hublot is a very young luxury watch brands compared the traditional Swiss brands, in fact it does not feature in the top ten luxury watch brands by global standards. That said Hublot is globally acclaimed for making classic fusion watches, bringing together elements that would never ordinarily come together.
Hublot was founded in 1980 by Carlo Crocco who broke away from his uncle’s Italian watch company Binda in 1976 to create his own watch company.
He conceived a sports watch that would be elegant and fashionable. He modelled his watch based on a ship’s porthole, the name Hublot is actually French for porthole. The lunette of the first Hublot is secured to the case by twelve titanium screws, marking the hours in a blend of aesthetics and function.
Hublot was the first ever brand in the history of watch making to feature a natural rubber strap. This strap took 3 years of research to create, a rubber specially formulated not to crack or stain.
In May 2004 Jean Claude Biver became CEO of Hublot, he reckoned that the unusual fusion of elements in Hublot could lead to a big bang. Under Biver’s mantle, the Hublot ideal of fusion was extended into the movement, leading to the “Big Bang”, a signature watch that won Hublot the Design Prize in the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix in 2005.
Hublot retail prices start at about $8,000 (N2,800,000) to $50,000 (N17,500,000). Some pieces cost even more. Production is less than 50,000 pieces per annum.
Hublot Big Bang 45mm – Unico Perpetual Calender King Gold Ceramic
3. Patek Philippe
Patek Philippe is the most prestigious watch brand in the world, and probably the most expensive watch maker in the world. Patek philippe is noted for making the first wristwatch in 1868 for Countess Koscowicz of Hungary.
The Patek Philippe Supercomplication commissioned by Henry Graves and delivered in 1933 holds the record of the most expensive watch ever purchased at auction, sold for $24,000,000 in 2014 topping the earlier $11,000,000 world record set by the same watch in 1999.
Patek Philippe calibre 89 produced in 1989 to commemorate the company’s 150th anniversary was the world’s most complicated watch with 33 complications, up until 2015 when Vacheron Constantin released the Ref 57260 with a total of 57 complications. Prior to the Calibre 89, the Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication with 24 complications held the record from 1933.
Patek Philippe was founded in Geneva in 1839 by a polish watchmaker – Antoine Norbert Patek, as a 3 man six year partnership which ended in 1844. He joined forces with Adrien Philippe – the inventor of the keyless winding mechanism in 1845. The brand name Patek Philippe is a combination of the two founders’ names.
Patek Philippe is known for many ‘firsts’, like the invention of the first pocket watch with Tourbillon, the slipping mainspring and at least 80 patents in their 177 years of impeccable watch making.
Patek Philippe retail prices start at about $20,000 (N7,000,000) to $300,000 (N105,000,000). Limited editions cost even more. Production is less than 60,000 pieces per annum.
Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime – 175th Anniversary commemorative Limited Edition watch sold for $2.5million a piece.
4. Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet (AP) is considered one of the most luxurious watch brands in the world. Audemars Piguet was founded in 1875 by Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet in Le Brassus, a village in the Vallée de Joux in the Canton of Vaud, Switzerland.
The name Audemars Piguet is derived from the combination of the names of the founders.
Audemars Piguet is an independent family owned business that has remained in the care of the founding families and still operates in it’s place of origin.
Audemars Piguet’s design and development teams are housed under one roof and work closely together. It takes over 3 – 5 years to actualise an idea into a perfectly functioning timepiece.
AP watches are fully handmade, from movement to casing. AP has spent 140 years mastering the concept, design and production of complications. For over a century Audemars Piguet has crafted endless inventive horological masterpieces.
In 1892 Audemars Piguet produced the first watch with a minute repeater.
In 1978 Audemars Piguet introduced the first self-winding; ultra-thin; perpetual calendar wristwatch with central rotor.
Audemars Piguet released the first ultra-thin, self-winding, Tourbillon watch (5.5mm thick, watch case inclusive) in the world in 1986.
The Audemars Piguet Perpetual Calendar complication is a very advanced masterpiece, with 374 parts. It displays day, month and year, taking into account the variations in lengths of months and even leap years. It requires no manual correction till year 2100.
The Audemars Piguet watch group employs 1,200 people in 3 production houses in Switzerland; 14 distribution subsidiaries and 16 boutiques worldwide, with brand presence in over 88 countries.
Audemars Piguet retail prices start at about $20,000 (N7,000,000) to $500,000 (N175,000,000). Production is less than 32,000 pieces per annum.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon
5. International Watch company – IWC
IWC is a leading premium brand in the international luxury watch industry. IWC develops, manufactures and distributes perfect mechanical masterpieces. IWC is now part of the Swiss Richemont Group, with over 60 IWC boutiques and 900 sales outlets worldwide, employing over 1100 people including 120 expert watchmakers.
IWC was founded in 1868 by American Engineer and watchmaker – Florentine Ariosto Jones, aged 27, from Boston Massachusetts, in Schaffhausen Switzerland. Schaffhausen had a long clock making tradition with the first clock by account being made as early as 1409. Jones’ objective was to synergize progressive American production techniques with the perfection of Swiss craftsmanship to develop and manufacture high quality watches for the American market.
IWC watch collections include the Pilot’s Watches; Portugieser; Ingenieur; Aquatimer; Da Vinci; Portofino; the Grand Complication and the IWC Vintage collection.
In 1885, IWC released the first watches with digital hours and minutes display using Pallweber’s mechanism. In 1899, IWC produced its first set of wristwatches. By 1936 IWC launched its special Pilot’s Watch featuring a rotating bezel with arrowhead index to register take-off-times. In 1939, IWC started the Portugieser, inspired by two importers from Portugal.
In 1950, IWC patented the revolutionary pawl-winding system developed to replace the traditional reciprocal gearing. This technology led to the first automatic watch movement – 85 calibre.
IWC introduced the Aquatimer in 1967and the Da Vinci – the first IWC wristwatch to feature the Beta 21 quartz movement in 1969.
In collaboration with designer F. A. Porche, IWC made the first watch with an inbuilt compass in 1978, then the first chronograph in a titanium case in 1980.
In 1985, IWC made the first chronograph with a perpetual calendar mechanically programmed for 500 years and can be set with just the crown.
1990 marked a quantum leap in precision watch making for IWC when it introduced the wristwatch-size Grande Complication. A masterpiece that took 7 years in the making with a wealth of complications: a chronograph; perpetual calendar; minute repeater and moon phase display.
To mark its 125th anniversary in 1993, IWC launched a one-time, 125 piece limited edition of the world’s most complicated watch as at then – Il Destriero Scafusia – “The Warhorse of Schaffhausen”.
In 2000, IWC was taken over by the Richemont Group, since then it has re-launched all its watch families with the addition of new series in each collection.
International Watch Co – IWC retail prices start at about $4,000 (N1,400,000) to $250,000 (N87,500,000). Production is less than 90,000 pieces per annum.
IWC Grand Complication Limited Edition Watch – Il Desterio Scafusia – “The Warhorse of Schaffhausen” produced in 1993 in commemoration of their 125th Anniversary.
Omega was founded in 1848 by 23 year old Louis Bandt when he set up an assembly workshop in his family villa at 51 Rue De La Promenade, La Chaux-de-fonds Switzerland.
Omega launched its first mass produced calibre – ‘Labrador’ in 1885. It was accurate to a margin less than 30 seconds per day. It created the first minute repeater wristwatch in 1892. The name Omega and its reputation as a pioneer in the watch industry was established when the company produced the 19-line Omega calibre in 1894.
The Omega collection was awarded the Grand Prize at the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1900. It then won the Grand Prize at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes that marked the birth of ‘Art Deco’ in Paris in 1925.
Omega timed its first international sporting event – the Gordon Bennet Cup in 1909. After it set the world precision records in six out of six trials at the Geneva observatory in 1931, it became the Official Timekeeper of the Olympic Games in 1932 and that relationship is maintained till date. In the same year, Omega introduced the Marine – the first commercially available diver’s watch.
In 1936, Omega set a record of 97.8 out of 100 with its 47.7mm calibre adjusted by Alfred Jaccard in Richmond England, beating the world precision records in all categories. This record remains unbeaten till date.
By 1948 Omega had become the largest watch supplier for the British armed forces, industrialising its advances in water resistant, shock proof and anti-magnetic watches. At Omega’s centenary anniversary in 1948, the Omega Seamaster – a global bestseller collection was launched. The Omega Seamater has been the official James Bond 007 watch since 1995.
Omega introduced the first constellation chronometer in 1952, and the first automatic ladies watch – Ladymatic in 1955.
In 1965 NASA certified the Omega Speedmaster for manned space missions and EVA –extra-vehicular-activity, making the Speedmaster the NASA official chronograph. In 1969, the Speedmaster made its debut on the moon when Neil Amstrong took his historic “one small step”. By 1974, Omega had made the most accurate watch in the world till date, with 0.002 seconds variation per day when it launched the Omega Marine Chronometer.
In 1984, Omega collaborated with Dominique Loiseau to make the most complicated table clock in the world, with over 9000 parts, each part shaped, engraved and polished by hand.
In 1994, Omega introduced the first self-winding central tourbillon watch.
In 2007 Omega released the Hour Vision with its exclusive co-axial Calibre 8500/8501, which they are proud to state is the result of 159 years of innovative watch making.
In 2013 Omega released the Seamaster Aqua Terra, resistant to magnetic forces greater than 15,000 gauss, miles away from previous anti-magnetic watches which could only resist fields up to 1000guass.
At the Basel World exhibition in 2014 Omega announced the launch of the Master Co-axial Calibres, combining reliability, mechanical efficiency and chronometric performance with anti-magnetic technology.
Clearly Omega has a heritage to behold and has lived up to its reputation as precision movement luxury watch brand.
Omega retail prices start at about $2,000 (N700,000) to $50,000 (N17,500,000). Production is less than 900,000 pieces per annum.
OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Master Chronometer 43.5mm.
7. Tag Heuer
Tag Heuer, Swiss Avant-Garde since 1860 – never crack under pressure.
Tag Heuer was founded in 1860 when Edouard Heuer at age 20 opened a watch making workshop in St. Imier Jura Bernois, Canton of Bern Switzerland. He then established a subsidiary in London in 1876.
Tag Heuer received its first award of excellence at the 1883 Amsterdam International exhibition. It won its second silver medal at the Universal Exposition in Paris 1889 and has gone on to win many more awards even up to this decade.
In a series of early inventions and patents, some of which are mentioned here, Tag Heuer firmly ascertained itself as a pioneer and driving force in the watch industry.
Tag Heuer invented the Oscillating Pinion for mechanical watches, leading to a major improvement in the chronograph industry and patented this technology in 1887 which is still used till date.In 1888, Tag Heuer invented the repeater watch with automatic chiming. Tag Heuer developed the first water resistant case for pocket watches and patented this technology in 1895. Tag Heuer patented the Pulsometer dial in 1908, a technology still used till date by doctors. Tag Heuer developed the first dashboard chronograph for aircrafts and automobiles and patented it in 1911. Several other inventions have followed.
Tag Heuer established its American subsidiary – Heuer Timer Corporation in 1959. It produced the first Swiss watch to go into space on February 20 1962, when John Glenn wearing his Tag Heuer made the first manned American space flight, orbiting the earth three times in five hours.
Tag Heuer positioned itself as a pacesetter in the sporting world when it invented the world’s first sport stopwatches in 1916 and naturally became the official supplier of equipment for the 1920 Olympic Games, this relationship continued through the 1924 and 1928 Olympics.
In 1963 Tag Heuer launched the Carrera Chronograph as a tribute to the exciting Carrera Panamericana rally of the 1950s, the watch rapidly became a world bestseller. It introduced the Camaro Chronograph, named after the Chevrolet Camaro in 1968.
Steve McQueen became Tag Heuer’s official worldwide brand ambassador in 1970 after wearing the Monaco Chronograph in the movie Le Mans.
Tag Heuer was a sponsor and the official timekeeper for Ferrari from 1971 – 1979.
In 1992 Tag Heuer became the Official Timekeeper of the Formula One world championship. Tag Heuer launched the ‘Kirium Formula 1’ in 2001, a modern analog watch with digital chronograph, accurate to 0.01 second. The same year Tag Heuer introduced the classic chronograph Monza Calibre 36 automatic movement capable of measuring 1/10th of a second.
Tag Heuer has continued to maintain its recognition as an innovation power house in the watch industry.
In 2003, Tag Heuer launched the dual movement (manual-winding and digital chronograph), dual display (analog on one face and digital on the reverse) ‘Monaco Sixty Nine’ concept watch that won the Best Design Prize at the Geneca Grand Prix d’Horlogerie. In the same year, the ‘Mikrometer’ – the world’s first miniature electronic timer with a precision of 1/1000th of a second invented by Tag Heuer in 1966, was developed into a wristwatch, another first of its kind.
In 2005, Tag Heuer launched the Calibre 360 – the first mechanical wrist chronograph accurate to 1/100th of a second. In 2006 Tag Heuer’s Carrera Calibre 360 Rose Gold Limited Edition won the Sports Watch Prize at the Geneva Grand Prix d’Horlogrie.
Tag Heuer introduced the first Mechanical Movement of the 3rd millienium – the Monaco V4 concept watch at Baselworld 2004. This watch inspired by the architecture of high performance motor engines is a true innovation of modern day technology, overturning a fundamental principle of watchmaking, by replacing the traditional pinion and gear transmission with a belt-driven movement using belts, a linear weight, ceramic ball-races and four V-mounted barrels. This watch shocked the world and many watch industry insiders believed it will never see the light of day. However spectators were in for an even bigger surprise when Tag Heuer unveiled the commercial production of the Monaco V4 on the eve of its 150th anniversary in 2009. By this measure Tag Heuer has definitely restated its claim to its world famous motto: “Swiss Avant-Garde since 1860”.
Tag Heuer has since gone on to create several masterpieces that push the limits of technology, many of which are still awaiting patent approval. With numerous watch innovations that leave spectators astounded, Tag Heuer continually beats the challenge in concept, design and functionality.
Tag Heuer retail prices start at about $1,200 (N420,000) to $15,000 (N5,250,000). Limited editions could be up to $170,000. Production is less than 750,000 pieces per annum.
Tag Heuer Monaco V4 concept watch
Breitling is a privately owned Swiss watch manufacturing company headquartered in Grenchen in the District of Lebern, Canton on Soluthurn Switzerland.
Breitling was founded by Léon Breitling at age 24 in 1884, in St. Imier, Jura Bernois District Canton of Bern in Switzerland. Léon Breitling was particularly interested in chronographs and timers for sports, science and industry. Breitling has since then gone on to become renowned for making chronographs that are not just functional but practically convenient to use.
In 1915, Breitling invented the first chronograph with push button, a system that was perfected in 1923 when the start/stop function was separated from the reset function. By 1934, Breitling developed the modern face of the chronograph by creating the independent reset pusher, an industry first that was quickly adopted by competition.
Breitling started building on board chronographs for aircraft cockpits in the 1930s. In the 1950s and 1960s, many airplane manufacturers and airline companies used Breitling’s on board chronographs. This specialty earned Breitling its worldwide fame and status as official supplier to world aviation.
In 1952, Breitling launched the ‘Navimeter’ wrist chronograph with circular slide rule, allowing all navigation related calculations. The Navimeter has been a bestseller with pilots and aviation enthusiasts for over 60 years, making it the world’s oldest chronograph still in production. The Navimeter is also the first wrist chronograph to go to space when Scott Carpenter wore one on his Aurora 7 space mission.
In 1984, Breitling launched the famous ‘Chronomat’ – the first self-winding chronograph, helping bring back mechanical chronographs in vogue.
Breitling innovated the ‘Emergency’ first wristwatch equipped with a dual frequency personal locator beacon, designed to meet the needs of aviators.
In the last decade Breitling has made further impact on the history of chronographs by developing the Calibre 01, a high performance elf-winding movement, its dual time zone Calibre B04 and world time Calibre B05.
Breitling uses exclusively thermocompensated Superquartz™ which is ten times more accurate than normal quartz.
Breitling displays an obsession for quality as all its movements (Mechanical & Quartz) are subjected to meticulous tests by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute.
Breitling watches are designed to withstand intensive use in the most trying conditions, offering functionality yet distinguished by their revolutionary user friendliness.
Breitling retail prices start at about $2,500 (N700,000) to $45,000 (N15,750,000). Production is less than 200,000 pieces per annum.
Breitling Navimeter – The favourite watch of pilots and dedicated aeronautical enthusiasts since 1952
Montblanc with its world famous white star logo, started out in 1906. Founded by Hamburg banker Alfred Nehemias and Berlin engineer August Eberstein, who with great foresight decided it was the right moment to produce simple pens under the name “Simplo Filler Pen Co”.
The name Montblanc came from a comparison between the pen (being the pinnacle or writing instruments) and “Mont Blanc” (meaning White Mountain) the highest mountain in the Alps.
After almost a century of successive market breakthroughs of Montblanc pens – notably the “Meisterstuck” and expansion into Paris, London and Hong Kong, leading to an international network of over 350 boutiques in over 70 countries, the parent company Dunhill Holdings which had bought major stakes in the company in the 1980s was acquired by the Vendôme Luxury Group SA in 1993. This later became the Richemont Group – the second largest luxury group in the world with brands like Cartier, VanCleef & Arpels, Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre, IWC, Chloe, Piaget and more under its umbrella.
In 1997 relying on the achievement and brand recognition of the Montblanc brand, coupled with the parent company’s experience in the watch industry through its other brands, Montblanc Montre S.A was established in Le Locle – the heart of the Swiss watch industry. The first Montblanc watch – the expertly handcrafted Meisterstuck watch was unveiled at the Salon International de Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva in 1997, with great appeal to international jewellers.
In 2007 Montblanc gained a stronger foothold in watchmaking with the creation of the Institute Mineva de Recherche en Haute Horlogerie at Villeret, Switzerland, carrying-on the century and a half long tradition of Minerva – a small watchmaker famed for its exceptional handmade movements since 1858.
In 2008 Montblanc unveiled the Nicholas Rieussec Monopusher Chronograph – its first fully in-house made movement, at SIHH in Geneva.
Montblanc set a new standard in watchmaking in 2010 when it unveiled the Montblanc Villeret Metamorphosis which metamorphosizes from one watch face to another in a highly complex process with 50 individual components moving synchronously.
In 2015 Montblanc introduced the TimeWalker Urban Speed e-Strap with an integrated technology device offering an activity tracker, smart notification, remote control and Find-Me functions.
Montblanc retail prices start at about $1,000 (N350,000) to $20,000 (N7,000,000). Production is less than 100,000 pieces per annum.
Montblanc Metamorphosis II Limited Edition – $340,000
10. Franck Muller
Franck Muller named after himself the watchmaker and founder, was founded in 1983 when he created his first timepieces with complicated movements for personal use at age 25. Franck Muller who has a Swiss Italian heritage had been in the watch industry restoring collector items, after 4 years of study at the Geneva School of Watchmaking. He has unveiled a new invention of assembled complications each year since then. He earned the title “Master of Complications” when he created a revolutionary design making a Tourbillon visible from the face of the watch.
Vartan Sirmakes teamed up with Franck Muller as co-founder and CEO of Franck Muller Group after an early success in the jewel-setting and watch case manufacturing business. Their partnership has led to the world renowned brand you know today.
Franck Muller is run from Genthod in the countryside of Geneva in a 1902 neo-gothic style mansion trio, a serene environment inspiring creativity.
Franck Muller manufactures its watches 100%, including case and dial. Franck Muller has invented amazing “world-firsts” since 1986 when he created the Tourbillon with jumping hours, then the Tourbillon with minute repeater in 1987, then the Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar with Minute Repeater in 1989.
Since the company went commercial in 1992 even more complex timepieces have been created.
Franck Muller revolutionized the watch making industry in 2004, when it invented the first tri-axial tourbillon in the world. This watch corrects the forces of gravity in all three dimensions rather than just the vertical position correction of the traditional Tourbillon.
In 2007, after 5 years of research and development, Franck Muller unveiled the world’s most complicated wristwatch – the Aeternitas Mega, an advanced micro-mechanics masterpiece with 36 complications and 1,483 components.
Franck Muller watches are easily identifiable with their distinct 3 dimension tonneau curved body, followed by the intriguingly beautiful numeral designs on perfectly curved dials and its strongest highlight which are highly complex movements.
Franck Muller retail prices start at about $6,000 (N2,100,000) to $30,000 (N10,500,000). Limited Editions cost more. Production is less than 20,000 pieces per annum.
Franck Muller – Aeternitas Mega 4 Limited Edition Watch. The world’s most complicated wristwatch. Price tag – $2.58million.
By: O. O. A. Shitta.