If you imagine your intricate mechanical watch to be singlehandedly made by some gnome-like craftsman sitting in a snowy cabin, you might be slightly disillusioned by the reality. The advanced facilities behind luxury watches' glitzy facade, however, in some ways seem almost magical, and a look inside them is an eye-opening experience.
Over the years, Gear Patrol has had the chance to see everything from how indestructible G-Shocks are built and tested to the delicate artistry behind some of the most prestigious Swiss watchmakers's products. These factory (Europeans often prefer the French term manufacture) visits allow us to tell unique stories about watches beyond what's broadly marketed to consumers and offer insight into the watch industry as well as individual brands.
If you want to understand your watch better or are simply fascinated by "how people make things," as Mr. Rogers would say, the stories below offer deep dives into some of the world's most notable brands and how they make watches.
Longines: 51 Million Watches Later, Still Operating Full Speed Ahead
How does Longines rake in over $1B in yearly revenue? Uninterrupted production, a robot or two and a top industry veteran at the helm contribute.
Parmigiani Fleurier: How to Build a Swiss Watch from Scratch
Parmigiani Fleurier has quietly entered an elite group of watchmakers that produce movements, cases and dials for both themselves and other elite brands.
Jaeger-LeCoultre: Inside the Watchmaker's Watchmaker
There’s a lot of intricate work happening at the factory of a watchmaking legend.
IWC: Manufacturing Center in Schaffhausen Photo Tour
We visited IWC's beautiful new manufacturing center in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, opened for its 150th anniversary.
Casio G-Shock: How Indestructible Watches Are Built and Tested
A look at the brand’s R&D facility in Hamura and production line in Yamagata.
Citizen: A Rare Look Behind the Scenes at the World’s Largest Watchmaker
The people and machinery behind the world’s largest watchmaker — and the world’s thinnest watch.
AnOrdain: Unique and Affordable Watches Made in Scotland
anOrdain has been making affordable enamel-dialed watches since late 2018, but it took the company 3 years to perfect its process.
Montblanc: How They Make a Luxury Watch
We show you around Montblanc’s watchmaking facilities, including a beautiful building in Villeret that once housed the Minerva manufacture.
Seiko: Innovation and Tradition, Synchronized
A visit to Japan pulls back the curtain on Seiko, whose single-minded pursuit of lofty goals often makes it appear unconcerned with larger trends.
Bremont: Pilot's and Dive Watches Made for Professionals
Nick and Giles English are on a mission — to bring watchmaking back to the United Kingdom. And they’re succeeding brilliantly.