Heritage In Watchmaking

Watchmaking is a very traditional industry, but because of the rise of smartwatches watchmaking has evolved to be even more jewelry than it has a tool (for most people at least). With this smaller watch brands have really taken their place in the industry, and not only new watch brands, some companies have been able to keep their indie status while still having heritage. But how important is this heritage, how much does this advertising mean? As usual all photos are from the featured watch brands unless its a wrist shot, and this is not a review of any watches.

Tissot Sideral

At the so called pinnacle of watchmaking we have brands like Patek Philippe and A Lange & Soehne, who have been around for hundreds of years, but are now using their age to make their watches more and more expensive. Sure, the Lange 1 is an incredible watch and Patek has hit gold with the Nautilus, but there are diminishing returns. These legacy luxury brands love to brag about their expertise, but this knowledge is getting passed down to newer brands like Kudoke, an independent watchmaker who genuinely hand builds their watches, that being said these watches are still super traditional, and a bit stuffy if you ask me.

A Lange & Soehne 1

Meanwhile some of these legacy brands have kept their independence while not being nearly as expensive. For instance Oris, who has been around since 1904, even makes some of their movements in house. Other brands like Seiko or Tissot are not independent but get to keep their legacy and make affordable watches for more people to enjoy. But there are many, many microbrands that are making better watches at better prices than these legacy watch brands. Like Brew for example, and they have the extra gimmick of using coffee and espresso machine inspired designs.

Oris Big Crown

Finally I want to bring up some fairly modern independent watch brands, like Farer and Nomos. Farer doesn’t make their own movements in house, but the attention to detail offered by the brand just gives me the chills, especially with the bronze cap on the crown. Meanwhile Nomos has all their own in house movements, and manages to keep their prices reasonable, with one of their best designed watches being only $1,500. Nomos is only like, 30 years old, and Farer is even younger.

Nomos Club Campus

Legacy isn’t really all that important, unless you really like the look of the Lange 1, you can get cooler watches that don’t cost your soul. Of course it’s all a matter of opinion, and this heritage could be a real selling point. I prefer modernity, even if they aren’t innovating with silicon hair springs and more expensive innovations, they are usually more small scale but the design we are getting, now that it’s not restrained by stuffy old history.