We’ve done a deep dive research into who owns your favorite watch brands. So that you don’t have to.
The findings will be split into two main groups. Firstly we’ll list the main watch groups and the watch brands they own. Then we will list four high end watchmakers that are still independent companies today.
- Swatch Group
- Richemont Group
- LVMH Group
- Kering Group
- Seiko Group
- Citizen Group
- CityChamp Group
- Fossil Group
- Movado Group
- Timex Group
- Festina Group
Independent Watch Companies:
Here is the breakdown of all the watch groups and companies we think you should know about.
Watchmaking is dominated by huge watch groups. It may surprise you that the majority of your favorite brands are owned by these large global organizations.
See if you can find your favorite watchmaker in a umbrella group below.
1. Swatch Group
The Swatch Group is the largest almost solely watchmaking watch group on this list.
The Swiss group only dealt exclusively in watch brands, until they bought Harry Winston. This US brand is famous for their jewelry, but are now also making some technical and interesting watch pieces.
Swatch Group Watch Brands
- Calvin Klein
- Flik Flak
- Glashütte Original
- Harry Winston
- Jaquet Droz
- Léon Hatot
- Union Glashütte
Learn more about the importance of the Swatch Group and it’s leader Nicolas G. Hayek, during Switzerland’s turbulent Quartz Crisis.
2. Richemont Group
The Richemont Group is another Swiss watch group.
Though own brands in a wide range of industries. From French fashion houses, to jewelry and tobacco. Yet their watch brands are truly spectacular.
Richemont Group Watch Brands
- A. Lange & Sohne
- Baume & Mercier
- IWC Schaffhausen
- Roger Dubuis
- Van Cleef & Arpels
- Vacheron Constantin
The group has also purchased online watch distributor Watchfinder in 2015 for a deal costing around $210 million.
3. LVMH Group
The LVMH Group is the largest luxury goods company in the world.
The group has always focused on the luxury industry. The Paris power house is best known for their fashion and fine art brands. Yet they now have many watch brands in their luxury portfolio.
LVMH Group Watch Brands
- Louis Vuitton
- TAG Heuer
4. Kering Group
Another French luxury group is the Kering Group.
Like LVMH they are focused more on fashion brands. Unlike LVMH they weren’t always a luxury goods company. You can date Kering’s beginnings to the timber trade of the 60s. Not entering the luxury goods trade until 2004.
They now have a number of watch brands, most they acquired between 2011 and 2014.
Kering Group Watch Brands
- Ulysse Nardin
5. Seiko Group
Seiko is probably the most widely recognized Japanese watch brand.
The Seiko brand is owned by a large group. This watch group is made up of numerous companies and is actually quite complicated.
The group mainly produces watches, but does venture out to other industries too.
This watchmaker is most famous for introducing the world’s first quartz watch. This caused huge disruption in the watch industry during the 70s and 80s, resulting in the quartz crisis.
Seiko Group Watch Brands
- Grand Seiko
6. Citizen Group
Another Japanese watch group is the Citizen Group. They own the famous Citizen brand of course They also own key high end Swiss brands like; Alpina and Frédérique Constant.
Citizen Group Watch Brands
- Arnold & Son
- Ateliers deMonaco
- Frédérique Constant
7. CityChamp Group
This Hong Kong based watch group, is not the largest on this list. But is still fairly big player in the watchmaking industry.
They’ve got a mix of brands. Like big Chinese watch brands; Ebohr, and Rossini. Plus Swiss watch brands Corum, Dreyfuss & Co., Eterna, and Rotary.
CityChamp Group Watch Brands
- Dreyfuss & Co.
- J&T Windmills
8. Fossil Group
The Fossil Group is known as the watch group that houses a lot of fashion brands. The brands listed below are those who are in the watchmaking industry too.
The two brands that stand out from the rest are Zodiac and Michele.
Both brands have a long history of watchmaking. Zodiac has been around since 1882. While Michele has been established since the 1940s. Also both are Swiss made.
Fossil Group Watch Brands
- Armani Exchange
- Emporio Armani
- Emporio Armani Swiss Made
- Karl Lagerfield
- Marc Jacobs
- Michael Kors
- Tory Burch
9. Movado Group
Like the Fossil Group, the Movado Group is known for housing a lot of fashion brands. Many of which have a watch section to inventory.
The MVMT watch brand, which they bought for $100 million in 2017. Is their watch brand that many watch enthusiasts love to hate.
Movado Group Watch Brands
- ESQ by Movado
- Hugo Boss
- Juicy Couture
- Scuderia Ferrari
- Tommy Hilfiger
10. Timex Group
The Timex Group is another global watch manufacturer. This watch group is based in Middlebury, Connecticut.
Their Swiss made watch brand Salvatore Ferragamo is one of their most sought after brands.
Timex Group Watch Brands
- Salvatore Ferragamo
- Ted Baker
- Versace Watches
- Versus Versace
11. Festina Group
The Festina Group is a private company, with its headquarters located in Barcelona.
The Festina watch brand is what the group is named after. It is a Swiss made watch brand that has been around since 1902. The brand was bought in 1984 by Spanish businessman
He has been the driving force behind Festina Group, helping grow it from one brand to five watchmaking brands.
Festina Group Watch Brands
Independent Watch Companies:
All of the following watch brands are not owned by a watch group, and are instead independent watch companies. Some are even family run independent watchmakers.
Rolex is the most well known watch brand on the planet. Yet it’s an unusual case, because the brand is owned in full by a foundation.
The founder of Rolex was Hans Wilsdorf. His wife, and himself were childless. So after his wife died in 1944. He set up the Hans Wilsford Foundation in 1945. He then handed his 100% stake in Rolex over to the foundation in 1960.
The Hans Wilsdorf Foundation still runs the company Rolex to this day. They also run the sister company Tudor too.
2. Patek Philippe
Probably one of the most sought after luxury Swiss watch brands in the world is Patek Philippe.
To many fans delight, this watchmaker is still an independent, family run company. The manufacturer has been watchmaking uninterrupted since 1839. Then since 1932 the luxury brand has been owned and run by the Stern family.
3. Audemars Piguet
Founded in 1875 by Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet. This high end Swiss watch brand has a long tradition in manufacturing luxury mechanical watches.
To this day this watch company is an independent family run business. Both the Audemars and Piguet families are involved in the running of the company. You can learn more about their family tradition here.
Or if you want to learn more about their watchmaking. They’ve opened a watch museum. The building is even in the shape of a watch in the Swiss countryside.
You can learn more about it in our blog post on the best watch museums.
The luxury watch and jewelry company Chopard. Is one of the few family run jewelry and watch companies left. It is run by the Scheufele family. Their father, Karl Scheufele III, had bought the business from the founder Paul-André Chopard in 1963.
Mr. Scheufele III was a watchmaker himself. Since he acquired Chopard he and his family have worked hard to build the Chopard empire up to what it is today. Currently his children; Caroline and Karl-Friedrich run the business.
To Sum Up
Huge watch groups are taking over the watchmaking world. Whether you like it or not, longstanding independent watchmaking companies are getting rarer each year.
Want to discover new watch brands from every country or price range?
Including lots of new, independent brands. Along some of the oldest and most prestigious watchmakers.
Then check out our guide to some the best watch brands from around the world.