If there’s one thing about marketing for watch brands that’s common right across the industry, it’s that they love to go on about their history. A lot of the watch industry is virtually ancient. It’s fantastic to see the grand old names of watchmaking like Blancpain, Vacheron Constantin, Leroy & Breguet are still around today making art as they always have done. It’s also good as we get some new watches inspired by designs of the past, for example, most of Breguet’s Classique line of dress watches draw on pocket watches designed by Breguet himself.
But, let’s not forget that a long history doesn’t automatically mean a watch is any good, and there have been several startups in the past decade to make choosing your next watch that little bit harder. Here’s our list of the Top 5 watch brands founded within the last ten years.
Based in Bonnie Scotland, this Glaswegian brand joined the small circle of British watchmaking recently, and its first model was released in 2018. AnOrdain’s focus in watchmaking is on simple designs that pull us out of our complicated lives and remind us of what horology is: the connection of gears, carefully regulated releases of power and the steady hands on the dial. Their most notable feature, though, is the work that goes into their unique enamel dials. The art of enamelling a dial is a complicated one, and it took them nearly three years to perfect their dials after going through over a hundred different types of enamel from around the globe. The movements in their watches are Sellita movements which helps them to keep the retail costs down, one of these with a hand-crafted case and speciality enamel dial will set you back around £1000, so they’re good value too.
This new brand released its first watch last year, and we were lucky enough to be invited to its debut in the surprisingly attractive city of Warsaw, Poland. In case you didn’t know, Frédéric (or Fryderyk) Chopin was one of the greatest pianists of all time, I’d argue that he was the greatest, but that’s a discussion for another time. Chopin is quite a big deal in Poland. On our visit to the capital city, we got to have a tour around the museum dedicated to him, before hiding away in the basement where the watch was unveiled alongside a recital of Chopin’s Revolutionary Étude, the inspiration for their first watch. The gloriously musical theme watch was a unique and exciting creation and one of my highlights of the year, I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.
Founded in 2010, Cyrus makes it onto our list and comes in with quite an entrance. The brand has made a name for itself most recently with its Klepcys watch featuring a vertical tourbillon and a unique design all around, and it was undoubtedly one of my favourite watches of 2019.
Although nearly all of their current lineup is based on the Klepcys, the range of complications differ enough to almost be considered entirely different watches. The Klepcys Chronograph, for instance, with its retrograde indications looks nothing like the awesome Klepcys moon which features a rotating moon and a peculiar layout. That peculiarity in the design is about the only thing other than the case linking these watches together. Though they’re pricey and hard to get hold of, Cyrus watches are uniquely cool.
Eeking its way onto our list is the Belgian brand that we all know and love: Ressence. This brand is known for one type of watch only, and it involves a complicated setup of planetary gears to make the entire dial of the watch rotate. As well as the dial turning, all the time functions on the dial move with it, but they stay upright all the way around so you never get confused about what time it could be. The brand isn’t Swiss either, surprisingly, and is instead based in Antwerp in Belgium, giving the watches their unique take on design and fine craftsmanship. Though Ressence aims to be more than just a watchmaker, the “Beyond Hands” section on its website is a tribute to that. But, it will always be known as the maker of watches with spinny dials. It turns out 2010 was a good year for horology.
Undoubtedly one of the greats of modern haute horlogerie, HYT became instantly recognisable in 2012 with its unique method of telling the time. Relying on two tiny bellows to move two fluids in a capillary tube powered by watch mechanics is a crazy concept, and yet, it worked. HYT has been so successful that it’s regarded as amongst the greats, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Urwerk and MB&F. I can’t think of anyone in the watch world that I’ve spoken to who didn’t like HYT watches, maybe not the physical size of them of the choices of colours for some models, but they all marvel at the mechanics and cinematics that go on inside these timepieces. HYT has a fearsome reputation for design and craftsmanship, and we can’t wait to see what they’ll do next.