The Ten Best Independent Watch Brands At Second Movement

27 Mar, 2024 Chat 0
The Ten Best Independent Watch Brands At Second Movement

The world of luxury watches extends far beyond the handful of famous Swiss mega-brands. There is a thriving community of independent watch brands creating avant-garde timepieces. These innovative houses offer distinctive designs and high-quality craftsmanship while giving new meaning to the art of watchmaking.

Getting your hands on the excellence of these timepieces can seem challenging. But that is why the Second Movement is here. Aiming to make impeccable watchmaking available to watch connoisseurs in India, Second Movement’s vast catalogue of timepieces from more than 60 luxurious brands, including independent brands, makes it the best boutique to buy your next pre-owned timepiece from. So, let’s take a closer look at 10 independent watch brands that the Second Movement has selected as the cream of the crop in contemporary watchmaking. Discover what makes them so coveted and why they deserve a place on your wrist.

Jacob & Co.

Known for its bold and luxurious designs, Jacob & Co was founded in New York City in 1986. Crafting ingenious pieces based on the principles of being fearless, pioneering, innovative, creative, and risk-taking, the Jacob & Co watches push boundaries of what is considered conventional with each new model. Renowned for its avant-garde watches, like the astronomical watches that have moving components replicating the solar system, this independent brand has successfully set in stone some iconic partnerships, such as with Bugatti, Christiano Ronaldo, Fast & Furious, The Godfather, and many more.

Jacob & Co. Epic X Chrono EC312.42.PB.GR.AHB4D
Jacob & Co. Palatial Classic Big Date
Jacob & Co. Epic X Titanium EX110.21.AA.AC.ABRUA
Independent watch brands - Jacob & Co
Best Jacob & Co watches: (Clockwise) Epic X Chrono, Palatial Classic Big Date, Epic X Titanium, Epic 1


Tales of a decorated brand rising from the ashes is not uncommon. However, none of them are quite like Graham, which, despite being founded around 300-400 years ago, was revived in 1995 to become the independent brand we are all familiar with now. Now headed by CEO Eric Loth, the brand has created a niche market for itself owing to a distinct feature.

Graham Chronofighter Oversize
Independent watch brands
One of the most distinctive features of Graham’s timepieces is the trigger feature acting as the stop/start mechanism. This unique design can be seen in Graham Chronofighter Oversize watches
Request An Offer

While the brand also operates as an independent manufacturer of small-volume tool watches, one of the most distinctive features of Graham’s timepieces is the trigger feature acting as the stop/start mechanism. This unique design can be seen in Graham Chronofighter Oversize watches. Such designs make them great collector’s pieces, combining value for money and superior quality like Swiss watches.

Arnold & Son

Swiss brand Arnold & Son builds on English watchmaking traditions and adopts an approach that pays homage to John Arnold. John Arnold was an inventor accredited for some revolutionary mechanisms, including a compensation balance featuring a bimetallic balance spiral (1775) and another for a helical balance spring with terminal curves (1782).

Taking from this, the basis of the Arnold & Son brand is unrestricted innovation. Meticulous details and refined elegance define the watch collection, which boasts British watchmaking combined with Swiss suavity. In this endeavour towards precise watchmaking, some notable highlights include the ‘dead beat’ true seconds hand, the HMC double balance wheel chronograph, and the twin regulating organs powering dual time zones. In this way, Arnold & Son embraces both technical ingenuity and classical aesthetics inspired by England’s historic clockmaking.

One of the most exceptional independent watch brands, Arnold & Son and its best watches:

Arnold & Son Eight-Day 1EDAS.U01C.S136D
Arnold & Son Globetrotter 1WTAS.S01A.D137S
Limited edition Arnold & Son watches
independent watch brands
Arnold & Son Tourbillon Chrono 36


After being revived in the early 2010s, Czapek has quickly made a name for itself in the watch world by blending old traditions with innovative designs and mechanisms. Czapek draws inspiration from its roots in pocket watch movements, seen in signature elements like the old “suspension” balance wheel design that seems to float freely. The dials feature a decorative fleuron pattern modelled after 19th-century watch calibres. Yet Czapek also utilises modern innovations like their proprietary SXH5 calibre with a five-day power reserve. The resulting timepieces exude both vintage charm and contemporary engineering, incorporating the best of both worlds in every timepiece.

Czapek Antarctique
After being revived in the early 2010s, Czapek has quickly made a name for itself in the watch world by blending old traditions with innovative designs and mechanisms
Request An Offer


Tracing its origins back to 1791 and officially coming into being in 1856, Girard-Perregaux is one of Switzerland’s oldest watchmakers. Gaining inspiration from the tourbillon invented by Abraham Louis Breguet, it is only fitting that one of the most renowned timepieces by the maison was the Tourbillon with Three Bridges, an iconic design that reveals the tourbillon, barrel, and gears within a striking tri-level bridge.

While this was recreated in 1999 with the Three Gold Bridge design, that was only the beginning of a glorious run that produced contraptions like the award-winning Constant Escapement and a much-revered partnership with Aston Martin. 2022 marked a new beginning for the brand, becoming a part of an independent collective of High Horology Manufacturers alongside sister Maison Ulysse Nardin.

limited edition girard-perregaux watches
Girard-Perregaux Laureato
Girard-Perregaux 1966
Girard-Perregaux - One of the best independent watch brands
Girard-Perregaux watches at Second Movement


BOVET, now BOVET 1822, was founded in 1822 and boasts a history of more than two centuries. Since then, BOVET has been unwavering in its commitment to aesthetics, channelling its craftsmanship into creating meticulously finished dials, cases, and movements. Some admirable milestones include pioneering the concept of the exhibition caseback, a feature that is vastly used in horology today.

Bovet 19Thirty Great Guilloché
Bovet 19Thirty Great Guilloché
One of the most popular Bovet watches, 19Thirty Great Guilloché
Request An Offer

However, the transformative period of the BOVET 1822 now began in 2001 with a change in ownership. This new era saw some of the most memorable Bovet pieces taking birth, including celebrated collections like the Fleurier, Dimier, Orbis Mundi, BOVET by Pininfarina, Miss Audrey, and much more. Making waves as an independent brand with its range of intriguing and artistic pieces, the likeness of which has never been seen before, BOVET makes timepieces as unique as fingerprints.

From one of the best independent watch brands: Bovet Cambiano Pininfarina CHPIN001
Bovet’s distinctive Amadeo case allows you to detach the strap effortlessly and use the watch instead as a pendant, a table clock, or a pocket watch
Request An Offer

Louis Moinet

Named after the 19th-century French watchmaker famed for advanced technologies like high-frequency chronographs, Louis Moinet is an independent Swiss brand founded in Saint-Blaise near Neuchâtel in 2004. The modern incarnation maintains Moinet’s spirit of invention with artistic, technology-driven pieces. Signatures include using actual Lunar and Martian meteorite material for watch dials.

Louis Moinet Cosmic Art Moon watch in rose gold
Louis Moinet Cosmic Art Moon watch in rose gold
Request An Offer

But the hype surrounding the brand is not for the use of such exclusive and other-worldly materials – it is also the exquisite mechanism and complications such materials are affixed to, such as the Memoris Red Eclipse featuring a multi-level lunar calendar. Blending art and science, Louis Moinet makes cosmic, futuristic creations that embody 19th-century ingenuity and space-age imagination.

Mars Watch
Mars watches feature genuine Martian meteorite fragments integrated into the dials, suspended above the void
Request An Offer

Armin Strom

Armin Strom took root in 1967 in the town of Burgdorf, Switzerland. Initially operating as a specialist in watch restorations and hand skeletonising, it was only in 1984 that the first timepiece by the maison saw the light of the day at the Basel Watch Fair. However, while the owner was also awarded a Guinness World Record in 1990 for crafting the smallest hand-skeletonised watch for ladies, it was not until the ownership of the brand was transferred to a new generation in 2006 that the atelier gained the fame it now boasts.

The first step of the new and improved Armin Strom came in the form of its first fully integrated Manufacture in Biel, Switzerland. The brand’s most groundbreaking innovations include their first in-house calibre, the ARM09, with an 8-day power reserve. However, the brand’s biggest and most memorable breakthrough came with the introduction of Mirrored Force Resonance.

Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance

Armin Strom's Mirrored Force Resonance was released in 2018; its beautiful guilloche dial is designed exclusively by master watchmaker Kari Voutilainen

It was also in this new generation that the initial ideas of the brand became the very ideology for its future innovation – transparent mechanics. Taking inspiration from Strom’s initial concept of hand skeletonising, the modern-day Armin Strom is revered as a brilliant fusion of Swiss and German horology, with its avant-garde ‘transparent mechanics’ being at the helm of this new era.

H. Moser & Cie.

If any brand is familiar with the art of larger-than-life designs with a minimalistic approach, it is H. Moser & Cie. This independent brand focuses on minimalist Bauhaus-style dial designs, often emphasising the purity of a single material like Vantablack, sandblasted titanium, or ‘Funky Blue’ sapphire. But the most striking aspect about the vision of the maison is that while the new generation of watchmakers aims to keep the vision of Heinrich Moser, they also strive to create a unique future achieved through complications and innovations relevant to this day and age. This way, every timepiece is a meticulous blend of a vision of the past with an outlook towards the future.

H. Moser & Cie Heritage Centre Seconds
H. Moser & Cie  - One of the best independent watch brands
H. Moser & Cie Endeavour
H. Moser & Cie Pioneer
H. Moser & Cie watches at Second Movement


Known for avant-garde, futuristic watches designed with wandering satellite hours and sleek, angular cases, Urwerk is a brand that refuses to stay constrained by conventional designs. Co-founded in 1997 by watchmakers Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei, Urwerk caused a sensation with innovations like the Star Trek-inspired UR-120 or the UR-103 with its unique revolving Satellite time, featuring a display of three-dimensional hour satellites that float around the dial. Integrating not only experimental design but advanced technical details like oil damping on the balance wheel, the brand exudes an edgy and modernist aesthetic that makes its pieces ideal as collectors’ items, especially for those who love futuristic pieces and mechanisms.

Urwerk UR-Satellite UR-120 Space Black
UR-Satellite UR-100V
UR-105 CT Maverick
Known for avant-garde, futuristic watches designed with wandering satellite hours and sleek, angular cases, Urwerk is a brand that refuses to stay constrained by conventional designs. (Clockwise) UR-Satellite UR-120 Space Black, UR-Satellite UR-100V, UR-105 CT Maverick

Want to be the first to be in the know?

Sign up to be emailed when I publish new content. Read. Watch. Shop. Learn. Trade. All in one place.

Subscribe Newsletter

Conversation 0 comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *