A Guide to Buying a Watch in Geneva


Nothing quite compares to the quality of a ‘Swiss Made’ label made with true craftsmanship and care.


12th September 2014

Hotel d'Angleterre

There’s no doubt that when it comes to buying a luxury timepiece nothing quite beats the ‘Swiss Made’ label. A symbol of quality, craftsmanship and style, there’s no better place to splurge on a beautiful watch than in Geneva. Our lakeside Hotel d’Angleterre is a short distance from the city’s premier shopping streets and renowned Rue du Rhône, where you’ll find the city’s very best watchmakers. But before you hit the streets, here are some handy tips for buying a watch in Geneva.

Hallmarks of a ‘Swiss Made’ timepiece

Whilst serious enthusiasts and connoisseurs may muse over the finer details, for the rest of us buying a luxury watch can be a minefield. It’s not just fancy cases and flashy straps that make a Swiss watch special; like a great car, what goes on inside is just as important as what you see on the outside.  But there are a few things worth considering before you splash the cash.

Rolex Daytona Meteorite Cosmograph  Nicholas Putz Flickr

Rolex Daytona Meteorite Cosmograph © Nicholas Putz/Flickr

Initially, you’ll need to decide whether to opt for a mechanical or battery powered watch. Whilst a battery-operated watch offers ease of use, mechanical movements are constructed using handmade components, which some argue makes them more durable and long lasting. If you like gadgets and gizmos then a mechanical option is the way to go as they often feature added functions like second times zones and calendars (known in the watchmaking industry as complications).

What to buy? Decisions, decisions, decisions. 

Size matters too. Trends come and go, but traditionally a watch with a 30-36mm width, no thicker than 10mm, is ideal for men (and won’t interfere with how your cuffs sit on your wrist). Ladies should look for something around the 20mm mark for a style that looks proportional to the wrist.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Manuel Rebic Flickr

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore © Manuel Rebic/Flickr

Of course there are classics for every product you buy and watches are no exception to this rule. For each of the leading brands there are a handful of models that transcend fashions and have become truly iconic pieces: The Rolex Daytona, Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak and the Omega Speedmaster are just the tip of the iceberg.

Where to buy?

Geneva view  ITU V  Martin Flickr

On the streets of Geneva © ITU/V. Martin/Flickr

Given Geneva’s relatively small size, it’s not hard to search out the city’s upmarket watch stores. Patek Philippe, TAG Heuer, Hublot, and the list goes on, and walking the Rue du Rhône is like getting an express education in premier watchmaking.

Of all the watchmakers in Geneva, Bucherer is probably the best known. Established in 1888, the 125-year-old brand has evolved to include a collection of stores throughout Europe, and become a touchstone of high quality, coveted pieces.  Visit one of their two stores in Geneva’s premier shopping district to pick up one of your own.

For absolutely every luxe brand under the sun, visit Les Ambassadeurs. The sophisticated boutique has a team of seasoned experts who can guide you through the styles and models best suited to your needs. Their bespoke service and years of experience have made them one of the best places for buying a watch in Geneva.

Patek Philippe Emran Kassim Flickr

Patek Philippe © Emran Kassim/Flickr

And if you still can’t decide, take a trip to the Patek Philippe Museum, which charts the history of the Swiss watchmaking industry and displays some seriously impressive antique collections from the brand’s illustrious archive. For a little inspiration, perhaps?


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