Understanding Watch Sub-brands And Misleading Descriptions.

I have often felt frustrated when viewing watches that are advertised as a more expensive brand simply because they were once linked. The most well known example of this is Tudor which was launched as a sub brand of Rolex in the 1920s as a more affordable timepiece.


Tudor watches used Rolex cases, straps and components but imported Swiss movements which saved on the costs of designing and building in house movements like they were for their main line watches. This meant these could be offered at a much lower price and the consumer could get all the benefits of the Rolex oyster case and bracelet designs without the high price tag. Tudor is now a sister company of Rolex with a completely independent production line and marketing campaign.

Below we briefly clarify some other brands.


Breitling and Sicura Breitling faced financial difficulties due to the quartz crisis and Mr Breitling‘s poor health. The company was then liquidated and the trademarks all sold to another Swiss watchmaker..Sicura. When Sicura bought the Breitling name they fairly quickly dropped the Sicura brand name and focused on the Breitling brand which had a much stronger reputation. No Breitling made watches were branded Sicura so please do not buy a Sicura thinking you’ve nabbed yourself a bargain Breitling! A Sicura is a Sicura full stop.


Longines-Wittnauer

This is a relatively difficult one to explain but essentially Wittnauer were the sales agents for Longines and other brands (such as LeCoultre and Vacheron & Constantine) but also historically made it’s own Swiss movements too. When Wittnauer was bought out it was rebranded Longines-Wittnauer. For import tax reasons Swiss movements were often cased up in the USA hence we see many Swiss watches with 14kt gold cases. Wittnauer movements and Longines movements were made in separate factories with completely different production. Do not buy a Wittnauer wristwatch thinking you are buying a bargain Longines. This was a marketing based relationship and two totally different watch Movement manufactures.


Jaeger LeCoultre were marketed as LeCoultre and cased in the USA to avoid import duties but the movements are the same and all come from the Swiss JLC factory. This USA distribution was handled by Longines Wittnauer.

Tag Heuer was formed through Tag buying a majority stake in the Heuer brand. Generally the manufacture changed as Tag became part of the Swatch group. Heuer and Tag Heuer are quite different so this makes for good reading if you are thinking of purchasing one of these.

Bulova created Caravelle in a similar sense as Rolex created Tudor. Caravelle is a more affordable option to a Bulova.


The watchmaking world is full of companies buying other companies, conglomerates and marketing partnerships. therefore we always recommend researching the history of any brand of watch you purchase.







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