Rolex watches are popularly regarded as status symbols and BusinessWeek magazine ranks Rolex #71 on its 2007 annual list of the 100 most valuable global brands. Rolex is also the largest single luxury watch brand, producing about 2,000 watches per day, with estimated revenues of around US$3 billion (£1.75) (3.02 CHF billion) (2003 figures).
Amongst manufacturers, PP has a long history. Polish watchmaker Antoni Norbert Patek started making pocket watches in 1839 in Geneva, along with his fellow Polish migrant Franciszek Czapek. They separated in 1844, and in 1845 Patek joined with the French watchmaker Adrien Philippe, inventor of the keyless winding mechanism. In 1851, Patek Philippe & Co was founded.
In 1868, Patek Philippe made their first wristwatch. They have also pioneered the perpetual calendar, split-seconds hand, chronograph, and minute repeater in watches.
The company, like other Swiss manufacturers, produces mostly mechanical movements of the automatic and manual wind variety, but has produced quartz watches in the past and even a digital wrist watch, the Ref. 3414. PP is notable for manufacturing its own watch components.
Patek Philippe timepieces have recorded high closing prices in auctions worldwide. A large part of the demand for auction pieces is driven by Patek Philippe themselves, as they are often purchasing in the auction market to add to the collection of the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva.
The company is currently owned by the Stern family, led by Philippe Stern and his son.
Omega SA is a Swiss luxury watchmaker based in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland. Omega is one of the most known and recognized watches in the world. Omega watch was the choice of NASA and the first watch on the Moon in 1969. Omega was the official Time Keeping device of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. James Bond has worn it in films since 1995; other famous Omega wearers are John F. Kennedy, Prince William, George Clooney, Nicole Kidman and Cindy Crawford. Omega estimates that 7 out of every 10 people have heard of Omega watches. Omega is owned by the Swatch Group.
Officine Panerai was founded in 1860 in Florence by Giovanni Panerai.
The Florence-based watchmaker produced wrist worn diving instruments and watches, all for the Italian Marina Militare in the 1930s - 40s.
Officine Panerai was taken over by Richemont in 1997 and production increase very much.
Panerai lovers are called Paneristi and have many clubs all over the world.