When it comes to shopping in Switzerland, two things likely top your shopping list: chocolates and Swiss watches. After all, Switzerland is famous for being the birthplace of the best luxury watches in the world: Rolex, Breitling, TAG Heuer, all of these well-known names are Swiss luxury brands.
But where exactly should you go in Switzerland to buy these in-demand timepieces, or other Swiss luxury items, for that matter? Don’t worry, because I’ve come up with a list of the best places to shop for luxury watches in Switzerland, as well as what other Swiss fashion brands to look out for.
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Where to shop Swiss watches and fashion in Switzerland
Good news for shopaholics! Most of the major cities and towns in Switzerland have popular shopping districts where you can shop till you drop.
In fact, in almost every town in Switzerland, even in alpine settlements like Zermatt, you’ll be able to find boutiques selling Swiss watches, high-end jewelry, and other fashion accessories.
The capital of Switzerland is perhaps the best place to shop for Swiss luxury brands.
Your first stop should be Bahnhofstrasse, arguably one of the most well-known shopping streets in the world. Here you’ll find plenty of high-end boutiques lining both sides of the pavement, as well as plenty of flagship stores that sell well-known brands.
If you’re looking for luxury Swiss watches in particular, head to Les Ambassadeurs, which is located at the midway point of Banhhofstrrasse, near the Oetenbachgasse intersection.
Speaking of Swiss luxury brands, there’s no better place to shop than Geneva. After all, this is where many of the most famous Swiss watches originated from.
You’ll want to shop at Rue du Rhône, the city’s popular shopping street, where you’ll find a multitude of local and international luxury brand outlets. Interestingly, the Old Town section also provides plenty of retail therapy options, especially when it comes to timeless brands like Cartier and Chopard.
Lucerne is mostly known for its outstanding natural beauty. But even in this ambient town, there are plenty of locations to shop for Swiss luxury brands like Bucherer and high-end Swiss timepieces.
The main shopping street of Lucerne is Schwanenplatz, where you’ll find a Bucherer boutique next to a Rolex boutique next to an Omega boutique, you get the idea. Further away from Schwanenplatz, you’ll also find Gassman, a luxury department store that sells clothes, fashion accessories, and more.
Best Swiss luxury watch brands
When it comes to Swiss luxury brands, perhaps none are as instantly-recognizable as Rolex. This iconic Swiss luxury watchmaker is known throughout the globe for producing high-quality watches since its inception in 1905.
Thanks to the prestige of its brand, Rolex watches are often seen as a symbol of luxury and style. But Rolex isn’t just a fancy status symbol.
Throughout its years in operation, this famous Swiss luxury brand has pioneered many groundbreaking technologies in the field, such as producing the first waterproof watch, and the first timepiece which shows different timezones at the same time.
Much like Rolex, Omega is a Swiss luxury watch brand that hardly needs any introduction. Since its inception in 1848, this globally-famous brand has seen its timepieces etched into pivotal moments of human history.
Not only have Omega watches been worn and endorsed by Olympic-winning athletes and movie stars, but the brand’s timepieces have also been worn by astronauts (like Buzz Aldrin) embarking on space missions! The main reason for this is that Omega watches have a pristine reputation for being extremely precise when it comes to telling the time. This is why Omega is the official timekeeper of the Olympic Games!
Beyond its superior functionality, Omega watches often feature elegant designs, with crowns adorned with precious jewels too!
While not as well-known as Rolex or Omega, Patek Philippe is another Swiss luxury brand that offers some of the best luxury watches in the world. Apart from its exquisite watches — punctuated by intricate designs, expert craftsmanship, and exceptional quality, Patek Philippe also boasts a fascinating history.
You see, the brand actually started out as a small business owned by two Polish migrants, Antoine Norbert de Patek and Francois Czapek. However, as the years went by, the two partners split ways, and Patek chose to form a new partnership with Jean-Adrien Philippe, a well-known inventor who would eventually pioneer the keyless winding and hand-setting mechanism that is still used in watches today.
In 1839, Patek Philippe was officially established in Geneva.
Founded in 1875 in Le Brassus, Audemars Piguet is another underrated Swiss luxury brand that’s known for producing watches featuring some of the most innovative designs. What makes Audemars Piguet even more incredible is the fact that each watch is carefully assembled by hand!
The brand often collaborates with celebrities to create unique, limited-edition timepieces, such as the Royal Oak Leo Messi Limited Edition watch in 2012.
What’s more, this beloved Swiss luxury watch brand is credited for introducing the world’s thinnest automatic watch with a perpetual calendar in 2018 (the Royal Oak RD#2)!
If Omega watches are often associated with historical moments, then Breitling watches are synonymous with flying. That’s because this Swiss luxury brand specializes in elegant luxury watches with aviation-inspired designs, which is probably why you can find their watches on sale at many airports around the world.
Apart from a stellar reputation for creating watches for pilots, Breitling also takes pride in the functionality of their watches, such as unique chronographs and unidirectional rotating bezels that make their chic timepieces ideal accessories for outdoor adventures.
Case in point, Breitling’s Superocean and Superocean Heritage collections are designed to withstand water resistance up to 1,000 meters without jeopardizing their functionality and precision.
6. TAG Heuer
Out of all the Swiss luxury brands on this list, TAG Heuer holds a special place in my heart. It is, after all, the very first Swiss luxury watch I’ve ever owned.
Founded in 1860, TAG Heuer is one of the oldest luxury watchmakers in Switzerland, with a prestigious history of delivering incredible timepieces that are both stylish and precise.
Despite being more than a century old, TAG Heuer watches often feature a sportier, modern look that caters to young adults. The brand also makes watches for professional athletes, especially those in the motorsport and racing industries. My TAG Heuer is actually one of the collaborative timepieces with Formula One, although it is on a more budget-friendly scale.
TAG Heuer’s best series, however, has to be the Carrera and Monaco collections. These popular unisex accessories are known for their stylish designs that add a little spark to any occasion.
Another one of the oldest luxury Swiss watch brands is Vacheron Constantin. This underrated gem was founded all the way back in 1755 in Geneva, making it one of the longest-surviving watchmakers in the world!
Despite not being the most well-known name on this list, this beloved brand prides itself in its expert craftsmanship and intricate designs, an ode to Swiss watchmaking techniques that focus on the functionality of precise minute repeaters, perpetual calendars, and tourbillons.
Vacheron Constantin watches also feature sophisticated designs that are often inspired by Switzerland’s natural beauty.
Founded in 1980, Hublot is arguably one of the youngest Swiss luxury brands on this list.
Don’t let its relatively short existence fool you though; the brand has made a name for itself in the markets thanks to its combination of traditional Swiss watchmaking techniques and highly sought-after designs that boast an air of elegance.
But perhaps most importantly, Hublot sets itself apart from its competitors by using unconventional materials to create its watches. Whereas most other brands use steel or precious metals to create their timepieces, Hublot prefers incorporating carbon fiber, ceramics, and titanium in theirs.
Richard Mille is perhaps the youngest Swiss luxury watch brand on this list, having only been established in 1999. Despite its young age, the brand has already carved out a reputation for itself as a leading brand for high-end watches, thanks in no small part to the elegant avant-garde design of its timepieces.
Tennis fans may remember Richard Mille for their collaboration with the legendary Rafael Nadal, who collaborated with the brand to create a watch specifically for tennis players. A more creative collaboration involves street artist Cyril Phan who created a watch boasting colorful graffiti motifs on its clockface.
Other Swiss luxury brands
While Switzerland is famous for luxury watches, there are also plenty of Swiss luxury brands that have nothing to do with timepieces. One of the most famous of those brands is Victorinox, which is probably a brand that outdoor enthusiasts are familiar with.
Founded in 1884, Victorinox produces an array of quality products, such as luggage bags, watches, travel gear, and more. However, the brand is most famous for its iconic Swiss army knives, some of which can fetch prices that rival the lower-end spectrum of some of the aforementioned luxury Swiss watches!
Not only are Victorinox Swiss army knives versatile and durable, but they are also extremely stylish and reliable, a testament to the brand’s expert craftsmanship.
11. La Prairie
True-blue beauty enthusiasts will no doubt have heard of La Prairie. After all, this Swiss luxury skincare brand is known for its spectacular range of sustainable beauty and skincare products that emphasize enhancing one’s natural beauty!
Founded in 1978, La Prairie boasts a repertoire of loyal customers as vast as the variety of products it offers. Be it cleansers, moisturizers, toners, or other must-have makeup products, La Prairie’s products are always top-notch thanks to the team’s extensive research and development.
Take, for example, the brand’s most popular main collection, the Skin Caviar Collection. which uses caviar extract as an ingredient to boost hydration and rejuvenation.
If one name epitomizes luxury, it’s Chopard, a Swiss luxury brand that specializes in crafting the most exquisite jewelry and accessories with unrivaled craftsmanship.
The brand was founded in the sleepy town of Sonvilier by Louis-Ulysse Chopard and is currently headquartered in Geneva. Since its inception in 1860, Chopard has made a habit of producing elegant high-end Swiss watches and jewelry that have been worn even by royalty!
That’s no surprise considering the attention to detail that the brand pours into every design. In addition, Chopard also sells luxury leather goods and fragrances.
Another Swiss luxury brand that specializes in elegant jewelry is Bucherer, founded in 1888 in the beautiful town of Lucerne. Much like Chopard, Bucherer is one of the leading luxury retailers in Europe when it comes to high-end watches and precious jewelry
What makes Bucherer jewelry pieces stand out is the timeless yet edgy design. Each piece you see in the display cases is crafted not only with the finest materials (think 18-karat gold and precious stones) but also with years of expert craftsmanship. As a result, every Bucherer exudes a classy elegance that will make anyone who wears it stand out amongst the crowd.
Apart from glamorous fashion accessories, Bucherer also offers luxury writing instruments that are equally as classy.
14. De Grisogono
Compared to Chopard and Bucherer, De Grisogono is one of the younger Swiss luxury brands that specialize in creating exquisite jewelry pieces, having only been around since 1993.
Unsurprisingly, De Grisogono jewelry pieces feature a more modern avant-garde design and incorporate more unique materials apart from gold and precious stones. Some of its best pieces are made with ebony and carbon fiber and fitted with rare gemstones like black diamonds, giving them a modern twist whilst maintaining the sophistication one comes to expect of fine jewelry.
In addition to eye-catching jewelry, De Grisogono is also known for producing stellar luxury watches adorned with precious stones.
One does not simply visit Switzerland without going skiing. And, given Switzerland’s stature as a premium destination, there is no shortage of Swiss fashion brands that cater specifically to avid skiers. One such brand is Zai, a Swiss luxury brand that crates high-end ski equipment.
Founded in 2003 in the little-known town of Disentis, nestled in the Swiss Alps, Zai combines years of exceptional craftsmanship with the latest technological innovation to bring skiing to the next level. How? By using carbon fiber, and kevlar as the main materials for their ski equipment instead of traditional wood and metal. The result is a pair of lightweight yet durable skis fitted with vibrant designs and colors.
What’s more, the brand powers its facilities using renewable energy sources and practices a closed-loop production cycle to reduce waste and carbon admissions.
Apart from being Europe’s ski paradise, Switzerland is also known for being impeccably stylish.
One particular Swiss luxury clothing brand you should know about is Akris, a century-old (founded in 1922) household name that has continued to deliver sophisticated and timeless designs throughout the years.
What I particularly like about this Swiss brand is how its apparel exudes an air of class without being overly extravagant. Akris’s signature look consists of neutral colors and clean lines, with each piece of clothing crafted from fine cashmere and silk, offering the utmost comfort and style.
What’s more, some of the brand’s most popular garments feature intricate embroidery and beading, with little the brand sparing little effort in its attention to detail.
Loubay is arguably one of the lesser-known Swiss luxury brands on this list and it’s completely understandable. After all, this Swiss bag brand, which specializes in high-end leather goods, was only founded in 2019, making it the youngest entry on this list.
Despite its infantile age, Loubay has already carved out a name for itself in the world of luxury bags, thanks in no small part to its superior quality bags, each of which is handcrafted by masterful artisans. Loubay bags are characterized by their timeless, elegant designs and functional practicality. Whether it be wallets, backpacks, or a stylish clutch bag, each accessory that bears the Loubay brand is designed to deliver satisfaction every time.
Swiss watches are the epitome of luxury and a gift worth giving to your loved ones. While most of them may be a tad expensive, in Switzerland, you’ll also be able to find more affordable options (like my lower-end TAG Heuer!). But even if you’re not in the mood for shopping, just admiring the expert craftsmanship is an experience in and of itself.
What’s more, you can also check out some of the lesser-known Swiss clothing brands as you shop for souvenirs for your loved ones back home. And, if you’re extending your trip in Switzerland to also visit Italy, you can shop for some Italian luxury brands too!