Your Bag

Nothing in cart

Independent Watchmakers

5 Independent Watchmakers to Follow for Exclusive Collection

Independent watchmaker refers to brands that produce their watches in unique and limited editions. Find out the best to follow here!
Apr 26, 2024

Independent watchmakers are part of the diversities in the watchmaking industry. In fact, these brands offer uniqueness and exceptional timepieces that big brands rarely give. So, what is an independent watchmaker? Most people simply define the term as brands that don’t belong to the big three groups of Swatch Group, LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton), and Richemont Group.

As implied by the name, most independent brands make their own movement and other intricate parts. With that being said, it’s common for them to make one piece of art for a long period. On the other hand, it makes their watches limited edition and exceptional on their own. 

In contrast to the big brand names, independent watchmakers give uniqueness – a different approach that makes it loved by many watch enthusiasts. It’s worth paying attention to some of the best independent watchmakers. If you appreciate a high intricacy of craftsmanship, watches by independent brands may prove to be the finest choice. 

Being independent doesn’t mean being lesser than the big names. In fact, there are small groups of people who passionately craft pieces of art with their highly skilled hands. If you are eager to appreciate watches in this approach, then I urge you to read the rest of the article.

Why Do You Need to Consider Independent Watchmakers?

There are some clear lines that distinguish independent watch brands from big names, such as Rolex or Omega. Rather than giving prestige through the outstanding journey, exceptional uniqueness is the highlight of independent watchmakers. To make it clearer, let’s take a look at these two points that make these brands hold a special place.


It’s not like watches from outside independent watch brands aren’t unique, but here you can even get the most distinctive one in a timepiece. Every element will most likely be hand-crafted from the intricate part of movements to the case finishing. 

Not to mention that some independent watch brands also offer unique complications, aesthetic decoratives on the movement, and special engravings. Besides, thinking that the watches are fully hand-made alone is more than enough to give more appreciation. 

Limited Edition

Unlike big brands, independent watchmakers take a long time to make some watches – they might even only make five to ten watches in a year. It’s impossible for them to make and assemble watches in mass. As a result, the limited edition timepieces created by independent watchmakers provide exceptional pride. 

Read also: Top 5 Microbrand Watches for An Exclusive Collection

Best Independent Watchmakers to Follow

There are some of the best independent watchmakers that should be on your radar to enliven your watch collection. Take a look at the list below.


The first name comes from Japanese independent watchmaker, Hitori, which offers value-driven timepieces, combining premium materials and sophisticated workmanship. As an independent brand, their watches are deeply inspired by Japanese culture. That said, there is Japanese heritage and tradition behind every watch design and production.

Most of the watches made in this company are dive watches with sleek vintage styling equipped with advanced technologies. Hitori’s first production is the Ryukyu Diver collection which highlights the classic design with its sophisticated workmanship and ideal proportions.

The Ryukyu is a vintage reinterpretation of past diving timepieces. The design is the reinterpretation of prehistoric skin divers that becomes a complete package of classic flamboyance. The watch is available in three d choices for its dial, Ryukyu Diver Retro Black, Ryukyu Diver Tropic Green, and Ryukyu Diver Coral Blue​.


Minase also plays a great role as a well-known Japanese independent watchmaker. The company started its journey by making watch parts as third parties before starting to make its own mechanical watches in 2005. The iconic element in Minase’s watches is the use of zaratsu polishing which makes the watch more appealing. 

The company also makes some of its own movements aside from using the popular Swiss ETA 2824. Regardless, Minase is very much honored for its unique cases, well-polished finishing, and premium materials. Shortly, Minase watches can be a nice watch addition from a reliable independent watchmaker.

Read also: Top 4 Japanese Watch Brands that Make You Forget Swiss’ Craft

F.P. Journe

As a watch enthusiast, you may have heard the name F.P. Journe. In fact, this brand is known for its unique position in the luxury watchmaking industry. While F.P. Journe is considered to be the most well-known independent brand today, it is actually one of the youngest. 

F.P. Journe is still in the most sought-after collection due to its high-quality, in-house movements, unique design approach, and well-balanced proportions. Their production is also limited though the demand is getting higher. As such, it’s not a wonder to see their watch prices soar.

Roger W. Smith

Exceptional and inclusive might be words that best describe Roger W. Smith watches. This independent watchmaker even got recognition from the British through the award of the OBE (Order of the British Empire). Smith watches are produced in the Isle of Man – a tranquil and splendid place to make the art of timepieces. 

Every watch is produced with special and excessive attention following what is called The Daniels Method. It refers to a method where every component is designed from raw materials without using automatic tools. That makes their watches exceptionally highly regarded and cost in excess of $150,000.

Armin Strom

The next independent watchmaker on the list would be a good choice for you who love skeletonized watch designs. The Armin Strom offers its customers a high level of complication and intricacy through their craftsmanship. The company takes the concept of skeleton dials to another level that makes them rare and special. 

One of the phenomenal editions is the Gravity Equal Force which showcases the intricacy of the movement in plain sight. Not only that it exudes a beautifully crafted and eye-catching design, but it also shows the level of craftsmanship put into making the timepiece.

Final Thought

Independent watchmaker isn’t about making watches that are less popular or even less in quality. Rather, this independent title allows them to explore more to deliver exceptional watches despite limited resources. Regardless of its nature, sometimes we need something that tastes personal like independent watch brands, right?

The ever-growing popularity of independent brands heavily relies on the exclusivity that it offers. Many are craving timepieces that feel personal to them and hand-crafted timepieces are the ideal picture to reach that thing. For someone who enjoys watchmaking craftsmanship to a high level, it will be a great appeal to hunt for one.

You might also like: Top 10 Luxury Watch Brands to Know Today and Later

You may like this

Related Articles

Compare watches
Comparison Chart

No watches in comparison chart

Artboard 1
Artboard 1



Lug width

Water resistance


Lug Width
Water resistance