For those in the market for a fine timepiece, the first impulse is to hone in on the venerable Swiss Brands. But don’t be afraid to think outside the Alps. “Historically, the Swiss have produced some pretty incredible watches. But so have others,” says Hamilton Powell, watch collector and CEO of Crown & Caliber. “Engineering excellence knows no geographical boundaries.” From heritage haute horology to fashionable upstarts, here are eight watches not made in the 26 cantons worth considering for your wrist.
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Glashütte Original PanoMaticLunar
The town of Glashütte is small in terms of population, around 7,000, but in Germany, south of Dresden and just north of the Czech border, it is known as the birthplace of German watchmaking. The city is home to several venerable companies, including Glashütte Original. Their PanoMaticLunar model features an asymmetrical design, with hours, minutes, and seconds on the left. The date is displayed on the right, along with one of our favorite complications, the moonphase.
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Bremont Alt-1 B
Designed and made in England, Bremont watches are built to take a beating. The ALT1-B is a quintessential pilot’s chronograph with a DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) coating for added durability, as well as a rugged aesthetic that looks great even if you’re not wearing a bomber jacket.
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A. Lange & Sohne Grande Lange 1
Perhaps the most famous maker in Glashütte, A. Lange & Sohne is renown for its traditional aesthetic and its execution of elaborate complications. The Grande Lange 1 features an iconic off-center design as well as a power meter on the right, indicating to the wearer whether or not the watch needs to be wound.
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Weiss Standard Issue Field Watch
Weiss’s Field watch was designed with extreme simplicity in mind. Minutes and hours are counted off on the main dial, while a smaller one ticks off the seconds on the left. The company takes more than 100 Swiss parts, then hand-finishes and assembles their Caliber 1001 mechanical movement in Los Angeles. The watch is manually wound and a crystal back allows wearers to watch the balance wheel twitch.
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NOMOS Tangente Neomatik Champagner
Another maker based in that small German town, NOMOS Glashütte does things a bit differently. While designs emanating from German brands can feel a bit staid and conservative, NOMOS’ watches offer a more modern look. The Tangente Neomatik Champagner has a sophisticated aesthetic. Minute and hour hands rotate around Arabic numerals, while a sub-dial below counts off seconds. Bright orange accents give the face a lively appearance, while bellow, an ultraslim 3.2mm in-house automatic movement keeps precise time.
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Shinola Rambler Limited Edition 600
Shinola has been making some of the hottest watches this side of the Atlantic for a bit now, but they never cease to impress. The brand builds their watches by hand in Detroit from Swiss parts inside the historic and historically creative Argonaut Building. Inspired by the first person to go over 600 mph on wheels, Craig Breedlove, the Rambler 600 is constructed from titanium, so it's super light. The watch features a chrono stop-watch and a tachymetric bezel for tracking speeds, whether you're trying to smash a world record or just set a personal best.