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16 Best French Watch Brands Worth Every Penny

Here are the French watch brands that are worth every penny and their top watches!

Paris is well known for its majestic architecture, incredible churches, and wonderful cafes.

However, Paris is also known for its fashion culture. But what about French watch brands? Well, that is what this article is all about.

There is no shortage of renowned watch brands from France; in this article, we want to highlight some of the best. We will also highlight a few of our favorite watches from these brands.

We highly recommend reading through and bookmarking this page, as, by the end, you should have a better idea of which French watches are for you and which are not. So, let’s jump into it.

16 Best French Watch Brands Worth Every Penny

Here are some of the best French brands that the French swear by.

1. Breguet

Another old company, Breguet, was founded in the late 18th century by Abraham-Louis Breguet. 

Through craftsmanship, quality, and innovation, the company has been going strong since then. 

Breguet has done so well that it was bought by the Swatch group in the 1990s and is now one of their luxury brands.

It is important to note that even though the company was a French-founded business, it is now owned by a Swiss company.

The brand sells various types of watches, from old-fashioned to trendy and modern timepieces. They also sell “Masterpieces” which resemble old-school pocket watches.

Some famous Breguet owners are Winston Churchill, Queen Victoria, and even Napoleon, one of the most famous French people.

Breguet popular watches:

  • Tradition 7047
  • Classique 5365
  • Type XXI 3815

The company also sells high-end jewelry.

2. Cartier

Cartier is a brand that focuses on luxury French jewelry, including watches. The company was founded in 1847 in Paris by Louis-François Cartier, where its headquarters are still located. 

Cartier is today a Compagnie Financière Richemont SA subsidiary, a Geneva, Switzerland-based organization founded by South African businessman and billionaire Anton Rupert.

Cartier is best known for its French luxury watches and jewelry. However, they also sell leather goods and perfume.

The watches from Cartier are great for any occasion as they are not over the top, but they do manage to stand out. Finally, these iconic timepieces hold their resale value, making them fantastic investments.

Fun fact: The Cartier Santos was introduced in 1911 and is considered to be the first men’s wristwatch. It was designed by Louis Cartier and named in honor of Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont after he wore early prototypes of the watch during his flights.

Cartier top watches:

  • Ballon Bleu De Cartier Watch (Her)
  • Rotonde De cartier (Him)
  • Pasha De Cartier (Him)
  • Pasha De Cartier Serti (Her)

3. Fugue

Fugue is a luxury French watch brand that uses some of the best Swiss watchmakers to craft their watches. 

The company was founded in Paris by Leopoldo Celi in 2017. However, the idea has been around since 2015.

Fugue is currently running a Kickstarter campaign for a watch they call the “Fiction One.” 

Personally, we like the look of the watch, and we have not seen anything like it. The pledges start at $295, and the perks increase with the pledge amount.

Fugue top watches:

  • Chronostase
  • Fiction One

4. L. Leroy

One of the greatest French watchmaker brands is L. Leroy. The brand, founded in 1785 in Paris by Charles Leroy, has been making French watches for over 220 years. 

The company was bought, in 2004, by a Spanish company, the Festina Group, which also owns Jaguar.

L. Leroy has made timepieces for some of the most famous people in history, such as Marie Antoinette and Napoleon. In addition, L. Leroy was the official watchmaker of the French Royal Navy.

L. Leroy top watches:

  • Skeleton tourbillon regulator in pink gold (From the Limited Series)
  • Automatic single push-piece chronograph (From the Osimor Series)
  • Automatic deck chronometer (From the Navy Series)

5. Pequignet

Morteau is a small commune in France with a population of just over 6,000 people. It is also where Emile Pequignet founded Pequignet watches in 1973. 

The company is independent and run by Philippe Spruch and Laurent Katz.

The company is driven by innovation and quality. As a result, each timepiece receives extensive attention to detail during its manufacturing process.

While Pequignet is a French watch brand, it also focuses on jewelry designed to complement the elegant watches.

Pequignet best sellers:

  • Royale Titane (Him)
  • Red Exagone Skeleton Watch (Him)
  • Pequignet Yellow Gold Plated Watch (Her)
  • Pequignet Rose Gold Plated Watch (Her)

6. BRM Chronographes

BRM Chronographes is a luxury watch brand that focuses on sports watches that are popular with Golfers and car enthusiasts. 

Bernard Richards founded the company in 2003. The French watch brand has a few ambassadors, including Dereck Deboer, Emmanuel Collard, and Renaud Lavillenie.

Recently, BRM Chronographes signed a partnership deal with Goodyear, which further cements its position as a luxury French watchmaker brand for racing.

The watches, with their fun and stylish French designs, stand out amongst more traditional luxury watches, which could be one reason why these watches are so popular. Finally, the company also offers a “Design Your Own Watch” service.

BRM Chronographes top watches:

  • WL 44 02D (Racing collection)
  • FG 44 BG CG Tachyb AB (Racing collection)
  • GF7 38 SA SQ ABLF (Golf collection

7. Charlie Paris

Charlie Paris was founded in 2014 by two young friends. The brand is a French watch brand with a store located at 53 Rue Saint André Des Arts, Paris 6th. 

The company aims to promote the fine French watchmaking culture through innovation and design sense.

Charlie Paris offers pure luxury at affordable prices, helping those that want quality and precision while not having thousands of dollars to spend on a watch.

Charlie Paris’s best watches:

  • Initial Series
  • Concordia Nazare
  • Solar Watch, Rose Gold
  • Aurore Automatic

8. Baltic

Etienne Malec founded Baltic watches in Paris, France, in 2017. The French watchmaker brand is becoming more popular each year, and for a good reason.

The watches are designed and handcrafted in Paris, and because the company offers direct distribution, it cuts out the middleman. 

By doing business this way, the cost of the watch is drastically reduced. The company offers two styles of watches:

  • Diver watches include the Aqascaphe range, which is waterproof and designed to be worn daily.
  • Classic watches do not look much different but do not have the same features as the diver watches.

9. ZRC

Joseph Rochet and Edmond Zuccolo founded ZRC watches in 1904 in Geneva, Switzerland, and the company is still going strong, offering luxury watches. 

The brand’s history with the French Navy spanned over four decades.

ZRC specializes in luxury timepieces that can endure some of the harshest elements, and thus, they are extremely popular amongst divers and adventurers.

The Grands Fonds 300 Dive Watch was the watch of choice for Navy divers. Today, the brand has two distinguished ambassadors:

  • Alban Michon is a polar explorer who wears the ZRC Grands Fonds on his adventures, including his arctic expedition.
  • Stéphane Tourreau is a freediving champion who broke his own record using a ZRC dive watch.

10. Merci

Merci is a boutique in Paris founded by Marie-France Cohen in 2009. While the boutique does not only focus on watches, they make some of the most trendy casual-formal watches around.

Merci is well known for providing fashion items, including French watches, that are trendy, well-designed, and premium.

Merci top quality watches:

  • LMM-H01 mechanical watch MERCI X is by far the most popular watch from Merci. The watch comes in grey or white.
  • We like the LMM-01 Original Quartz Watch with its simple design and touch of red against a black watch face.

11. Bell & Ross

Bell & Ross is a Swiss-made luxury watch brand based in France. It was founded by two friends, Bruno Belamich and Carlos Rosillo, in 1992. 

The brand has seen success with its biggest customers consisting of pilots and divers.

All the watches have a square shape with a radial dial, making them highly recognizable. 

Furthermore, because they are luxury, the watches are highly desirable as a fashion statement and a signal of one’s stature.

Each style of watch serves a purpose. However, each style has a few variants. Let’s take a look at what type of luxury watches Bell & Ross sells:

The BR 03 Auto is a pilot watch.

  • As the name suggests, the BR 03 Diver is designed for divers.
  • The BR 03 GMT is designed for travelers and pilots. The watch has a convenient feature that lets you stay updated with different time zones.

To use these watches, you do not have to be a pilot or diver. Their style and elegance make them trendy timepieces for any occasion.

12. Michel Herbelin

Since 1952, Michel Herbelin has been creating luxurious watches and timepieces while also being excellent in design and quality. Pierre-Michel Herbelin currently owns the company.

While the quality and craftsmanship were always there, it was when Michel’s son, Jean Claude, joined that the fashion element really took off for these watches.

Michel Herblen is a family-owned business producing some of France’s most classic and timeless pieces.

Michel Herbelin top watches:

  • 14285/48YB89 (Her)
  • 1947/P11MA (Him)
  • 1045/BP59 (Her)
  • 36696/BT35 (Him)

13. Alain Silberstein

Alain Silberstein and his wife Sylvie founded the watch brand in 1990. The brand manufactures high-end watches that fall into a niche category. 

The company typically does collaborations. However, that only makes up a small list of their collection.

The watches are some of the best timepieces on the market, and their design sets them apart from other French watchmaker brands. 

As a result, these watches act as the perfect gift to give a loved one.

Alain Silberstein popular watches:

  • Alain Silberstein Tourbillon Volant Pink
  • Alain Silberstein Ladies Mikro Platinum

There is a lot more to choose from. That said, we highly recommend looking at this brand if you are in the market for a new luxury watch.

14. Serica

Serica is one of the newest luxury watch brands on the market, and they have seen a meteoric rise since they were founded in 2019. 

Jérome Burgert is the owner and founder of the brand.

The company has finally opened a store which can be found at 20 Rue Cchapon, 75003 Paris. The store also acts as a showroom, as you can browse the luxury watch selection.

The company sells three main types of watches:

  • The 8315 GMT Chronomètre is best for travelers.
  • The durable and water-resistant 4512 field watch is durable, making it perfect for wearing on any occasion.
  • The 5303 dive watch is highly popular amongst freedivers.

15. Dodane

Dodane is one of the oldest French watch brands on this list. It is a family business that spans over five generations and is now one of the leaders in the French fine watchmaking industry.

Alphonse Dodane and François-Xavier Joubert founded the company in 1857 in a small town in France near the Swiss border. 

Since its inception, the company has been run by the family.

The company has supplied the French Airforce with watches since the 1950s. However, with the long list of requirements that pilots have, Dodane specializes in delivering.

Dodane manufactures three different types of watches, each with its own variants:

  • Type 21 Heritage
  • Type 21 anniversary
  • Type 23 chronograph

All of these watches are stylish and offer excellent navigation features that will come in handy for any travelers, especially in remote areas.

16. Yema

In 1948, Henry Louis Belmont founded Yesma watches, an independent watchmaker. The brand makes luxury watches built to be taken through some harsh elements.

The company has recently held a Kickstarter to raise the money needed to design and develop a new watch. 

Well, they surpassed their goal by over a million dollars, which shows that their customers trust the brand.

Yema sells a wide variety of watches, including:

  • Diving watches
  • Military watches
  • Chronograph watches
  • Space and aviation watches.

While the design of the watches stays relatively the same, the features and watch face change based on the watch type.

One of our favorite watches from Yema is the Spacegraf Zero G. It is sleek and stylish and adds a level of class to your outfit, whether you are wearing casual or formal attire.

Did you enjoy reading about these French watch brands? Then share this article with your friends! 

16 Best French Watch Brands Worth Every Penny

1. Breguet

2. Cartier

3. Fugue

4. L. Leroy

5. Pequignet

6. BRM Chronographes

7. Charlie Paris

8. Baltic

9. ZRC

10. Merci

11. Bell & Ross

12. Michel Herbelin

13. Alain Silberstein

14. Serica

15. Dodane

16. Yema

Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!

Before you leave for France, make sure you have a valid travel insurance policy because accidents happen on the road. We have been paying for Safety Wing travel insurance for a little over a year now, and we happily recommend them to our family and friends.

If you get sick, injured, or have your stuff stolen, you'll be happy to have the ability to pay for your medical bills or replace what was stolen.

Because, for just a couple of dollars a day (depending on how long your policy is for), you're going to get lots of things covered. Be smart and get travel insurance.