If one person were at the pinnacle in the pantheon of watchmakers, it would be Swiss-born Abraham-Louis Breguet (17471823). A true horological innovator, he was the watch world's first real celebrity—writers Alexandre Dumas and Jules Verne referred to him in their novels, and his customers included Marie Antoinette, Louis XVI, the Czar of Russia, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and the Prince Regent of England. The Breguet company was founded in 1775 and has had its ups and downs, but it is flourishing today as the top brand of the Swatch Group.
The rugged Marine—so named because of Breguet's connection with the Royal French Navy, for whom Abraham-Louis designed watches—is beautiful to behold, with its big date window at six o'clock, its elegant hands and an engraved wave pattern on the dial. But it is also a hardy sports watch that is water-resistant to one hundred meters. It combines sturdiness with the brand's prestigious artistry. Vladimir Putin wears one and, for $13,500, you can too.
Case: Stainless steel
Contact: 866-458-7488, breguet.com