Just like France is associated with delicious croissants, Germany with the world-renowned beer festival Oktoberfest, the neighboring Switzerland has always been considered the hub of excellent – yet seemingly expensive – wristwatches.
There’s no getting away from the fact that since the very beginning of the watchmaking industry, Swiss brands have been seen as the ones to look up to. And no wonder – for centuries, Swiss-made timepieces have been delivering excellent craftsmanship and precision. And with excellent craftsmanship and accuracy, oftentimes comes a hefty price tag.
Because of the above, many female wearers rule out the purchase before they even have a good look at what’s on offer. What further fuels the doubts are aggressive marketing campaigns from the best Swiss-originating watchmakers, such as Rolex or Omega. In contrast, less expensive brands (yes, they exist), often stay in the shadows and are largely untapped for most of the everyday wearers.
By no means am I trying to say that Swiss watches are cheap – they’re not. But if you’re aware about more than just one or two leading brands coming from the country, you might find some excellent opportunities. In this article, we’ll have a brief look at three low-to-mid budget Swiss watchmakers that can deliver stellar performance and appearance without breaking the bank.
Affordable Swiss watch brands do exist – and below is the proof.
Tissot is one of the longest-standing brands in the whole industry. It was founded in 1853 by Charles-Felicien Tissot and his son, Charles-Emile Tissot, in Le Cocle, Switzerland.
Throughout 3 centuries, Tissot has established itself as one of the best mid-to-high standard Swiss watchmakers. The brand specializes in mechanical (self-wound or automatic) watches, although there’s also a fair share of quartz timepieces to pick from.
Although the biggest share of Tissot watches are masculine, there’s an enormous choice of watches designed exclusively with ladies in mind.
Style-wise, the brand focuses on an elegant, sometimes even vintage look.
Coming from Switzerland, Tissot combines the highest left of craftsmanship with affordable pricing of some of its models. Naturally, some of the Tissot watches can set you back as much as $1,500 but there’s a wide selection of models available even for as little as $100.
Close, but not really! It’s not uncommon for folks to mistakenly categorize Mathey-Tissot as a part of Tissot but it’s a completely different brand, with different approach and different (lower) price margins.
The company has been around for some time, as well, having been founded in 1886 by a local watchmaker named Edmond Mathey-Tissot in one of the villages occupying the Swiss Jura Mountains.
Similar to the aforementioned Tissot and many other watchmakers originating from the Alps, the brand focuses on mechanical watch models.
If you haven’t heard about Tissot, there’s a strong chance Mathey-Tissot doesn’t ring a bell either. The brand keeps a rather low-key profile when it comes to marketing but produces excellently-crafted models at price points affordable for all. If Tissot is a mid-budget Swiss brand, we can safely classify Mathey-Tissot in the low-to-mid budget category.
Mathey-Tissot watches scream elegance. Design-wise, some of the models have been clearly inspired by the most iconic Rolex releases. Hence, Mathey-Tissot is a popular choice amongst wearers who love good-looking homages.
When it comes to prices, there are some models that approach $1,000 but the vast majority of watches can be snatched at $100-200.
Victorinox is the last watchmaker on the list that’s worth introducing to if you’re looking for an affordable Swiss-made watch.
In terms of its history, compared to the two old hands above, it’s a quite young watch brand. The date of foundation (1884) is misleading for many as it wasn’t until 1989 that the company started producing wristwatches. To this date, the #1 product Victorinox is known for are the Swiss Army watches.
Nevertheless, all Victorinox watches are Swiss-made and are loved by many. Because of the sturdy and built-to-last design, Victorinox watches are the most popular choice amongst men although there are also many feminine models available.
In contrast to Tissot and Mathey-Tissot, the large chunk of models are battery-powered (quartz). If you value excellent precision above the complex automatic movements, it’s an excellent choice as all Victorinox quartz models provide an accuracy of +/- 15 seconds/month.
Price-wise, Victorinox is a low-to-mid budget Swiss brand. The cheapest models are available for as little as $90, whereas the more complex watches can set you back a few hundred dollars.
We hope this article has helped you realize that can own a Swiss watch at an affordable price. Do you wear a watch every day? Let us know in the comments below!
*Photos by Mister Mister