Watch enthusiasts generally know only a handful of countries other than Switzerland that have asserted their national pride in the modern watchmaking landscape. German and Japanese watches are large and well established, for example, and while there are movements to revive the once large British and American watch industries, most remain small-scale operations.
Come to think of it, France seems well placed to have an impact on the world of modern watchmaking for several reasons. The country is an important luxury watch market and has the economic and creative resources, the experience and the passion to make a significant contribution to the industry. French watches, after all, were once an important part of the watch industry before the quartz crisis.
While many French watch companies remain relatively obscure outside of France, there are actually quite a few that are doing interesting things. Of course, some very important watch brands are based in France, notably Breguet, Cartier and Bell & Ross. Moreover, renowned fashion houses such as Hermès and Chanel also have a solid foothold in the world of legitimate high-end watchmaking. (Van Cleef & Arpels also fits somewhere in the mix.) French watches are able to tap into the country’s respected fashion and design strengths, but the country also has a watchmaking history to build on. .
The domain of Besancon borders the Swiss watchmaking region of La Chaux-de-Fonds and was once an important center of French watchmaking. It is no surprise that a number of today’s modern French brands are based, many of which claim a regional heritage but also benefit from Switzerland’s proximity to resources – the very reason the government deliberately created there. the French watch industry at the end of the 18th century.
The majority of almost all watches made today use parts from more than one country, and the origin or nationality of any watch is in fact far from clear. The brands on this list identify as French and represent everything from companies with proudly internal movements to those sourcing parts from Switzerland and East Asia, and various approaches in between. French watches don’t necessarily exhibit a certain set of national characteristics (as, say, many German watches often do), but range from rugged military watches to more art-oriented ones – and in this way, they represent the modern, diverse country extremely well.
Pequignet is remarkable for offering very good value for money given its internal movements, multiple complications and a unique sense of design. Based just across the border from the epicenter of Swiss watchmaking in the French town of Morteau (in the Besançon region), the brand has been producing its own in-house movements since 2011, called Caliber Royale. The movements are packed with features, but are designed to be slim by incorporating various complications into the main plate. When you dig a little deeper there are plenty of thoughtful technical details in the movements that watch enthusiasts should appreciate. This is a serious brand to check whether or not you are particularly interested in their French origin.
Dodane is a brand with a certain history, notably known for its pilot’s watch, the Type 21 flyback chronograph developed for the French Ministry of Defense in the 1950s. Based in Besançon, the brand today manufactures the Type 21 in as a reissue / homage, a new Type 23 designed for the French Air Force, as well as real on-board chronograph instruments to be mounted on planes. Their chronograph watches are usually fitted with Swiss Dubois Depraz automatic movements. It is a French brand discreetly specialized more or less in a type of watch with a military vocation, and this gives Dodane a certain legitimacy that is difficult to beat. Did we mention that the watches are quite attractive and available to civilians as well?
ZRC is another French company with a long history of working with the French military which basically manufactures one type of timepiece, which in this case is a diver’s watch. Based on a piece made for the French Navy in the 1960s, the unique design includes a crown at 6 o’clock (to prevent damage and snagging during underwater operations) and an angular case shape along with other features design that sets it apart in the larger world of diving watches.
Fugue is a young and avant-garde French watch company – there are no heritage stories or vintage styles here. Launched in 2017, the brand offers a “modular” concept whereby cases, dials and bracelets can be easily exchanged by the users themselves. Fortunately, this mix-and-match concept is backed up by a solid, attractive design and well-executed details. While the company and the founders are French, the movements, components and assembly are Swiss.
Based in Morteau, Yema also has a rich history, which she has drawn on by introducing heirloom models like the Yachtingraf and the affordable Superman diver’s watch. Yema was once a major producer of French watches, and many of their modern watches offer high added value. The Yema range includes a wide range of watches, movements and prices.
Baltic’s production is based in Besançon and specializes in simple yet satisfying modern watches made in vintage styles. At Gear Patrol, we are very excited about what the brand is doing. Baltic watches are equipped with Chinese and Japanese movements and assembled in France. It’s a brand that offers solid values and unbeatable vintage styles.
This is probably the watch you should buy as a souvenir on your next trip to Paris. The brand makes clothing, accessories and home goods, but also simple and attractive watches with a field / military look and some minor stylistic variations for choice. Merci watches are available with Swiss quartz or manual winding mechanical movements and are made with high quality materials. Best of all, they’re fairly reasonably priced and have that certain design elegance that the French tend to do so well.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and uploaded to this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and other similar content on piano.io