7 Timepieces by Independent Watchmakers You Might Never Get Your Hands On

The world of horology is indeed vast and enchanting, and there’s a special corner of the watchmaking universe that is truly mesmerizing – the realm of exclusive independent watchmakers.

These artisans, often working alone or in small teams, craft watches that are unique, innovative, and breathtakingly beautiful. In the world of haute horlogerie, there’s no better way to be on time.

This is a realm where creativity, craftsmanship, and luxury coalesce, where horological artisans push boundaries, and where timepieces are more than mere instruments for tracking hours, minutes, and seconds.


This is the world of opulent independent watchmakers, a fascinating universe that continues to captivate connoisseurs and collectors alike.

There are specific terms relating to watchmaking as well, and if you’re new to this we can bring you up to speed here.

If you want to own one of these rare beauties, don’t expect to go to their website and willy-nilly order your watch. Wait times on these limited-produced timepieces by these top independent watchmakers can extend into several years!


Why Choose Opulent Independent Watch Brands?
Opulent independent watch brands offer a refreshing departure from mainstream offerings. Their creations are often characterized by exceptional craftsmanship, innovative features, and unique aesthetics.

These timepieces are not mass-produced, ensuring exclusivity and often a higher level of attention to detail. Choosing such a brand means owning a piece of horological art that speaks volumes about the wearer’s taste and individuality. Let’s explore our top 7 independent watchmakers and the bespoke timepieces we love.

Sylvain Pinaud: A Master of Artistry By Independent Watchmakers

Sylvain Pinaud is a self-taught independent watchmaker who started his journey in the world of horology at a young age. His deep love for mechanics and artistry led him to create watches that are both technically sound and aesthetically pleasing. Despite being a relative newcomer, Pinaud has already made a mark with his distinctive creations.

Chrono Monopoussoir (Photo Sylvain Pinaud)

In 2022, Sylvain made waves in the world of watches when his Origine timepiece clinched the coveted Revelation Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.

The Revelation Prize is a special award presented to a young watchmaker or an independent brand for a particularly innovative and promising timepiece. It aims to highlight emerging talent and innovative approaches in the watchmaking industry.

Picture this: a design that throws asymmetry into the mix, featuring a crisp white dial showcasing the hours and minutes between one and three o’clock, a daring white seconds counter playing peek-a-boo between eight and ten o’clock.

Origine (Photo Sylvain Pinaud)

Finally, a bold rose-gold balance wheel and bridges steal the spotlight at six o’clock. All of this magic dances gracefully over a flawlessly executed silvered dial.

But here’s the kicker – every inch of this masterpiece, from its ingenious movement to the meticulously hand-finished rose-gold hands and bridges, down to the jewels and screws, speaks volumes about craftsmanship at its finest.

Signature Designs and Techniques – Unique Materials and Finishes
Sylvain Pinaud’s timepieces often feature unusual materials, including exotic woods and stones, which lend a unique character to each piece.

He also specializes in intricate finishes that highlight the inherent beauty of these materials and enhance their visual appeal.

Complications and Innovations
Pinaud’s innovations include an ingenious mono-hand system that allows for precise time reading despite its simplicity.

His watches also often feature atypical complications such as power reserve indicators and large date displays, adding functional value to the artistic designs.

Jetsetty Pick – Sylvain Pinaud Chronograph Monopoussoir
Cost: US$147,000. 
Production: 10 pieces

The Sylvain Pinaud Chronograph Monopoussoir exemplifies Pinaud’s dedication to traditional watchmaking techniques and attention to detail.

(Photo Sylvain Pinaud)

Features and Specifications
This watch features a hand-wound monopoussoir chronograph movement with a power reserve of approximately 48 hours.

The case, available in various materials, measures 41mm in diameter. It also has a water resistance of 30 meters.

Design and Craftsmanship
The Chronograph Monopoussoir showcases a beautifully balanced dial, with subdials indicating elapsed minutes and seconds.

The elegantly shaped hands and indices add a touch of sophistication to the overall design. Sylvain Pinaud’s commitment to traditional craftsmanship shines through in the flawless execution of this timepiece.

Bernhard Zwinz: The Art of Precision

Bernhard Zwinz is a name synonymous with precision, and craftsmanship and is one of the most sought-after independent watchmakers.

With a legacy spanning several decades, Zwinz’s work is highly regarded for its impeccable accuracy and detailed finishing. His timepieces are a testament to his unwavering commitment to excellence and his passion for horology.

Zwinz watches
(Photo: Bernhard Zwinz)

Exceptional Movements and Complications
Zwinz’s creations stand out for their remarkable movements, often hand-assembled and fine-tuned for optimal performance. The complications, ranging from simple date functions to complex tourbillons, are flawlessly executed, reflecting Zwinz’s mastery over mechanical intricacies.

Hand-Engraving and Skeletonization
One of Zwinz’s signature techniques is hand-engraving, which lends a unique texture and depth to his timepieces. His use of skeletonization, where parts of the watch case or movement are cut away to reveal the intricate mechanics beneath, is another highlight, showcasing his technical prowess and aesthetic sensibility.

Jetsetty Pick – Bernhard Zwinz Tremblage
Cost: US$71,000.
Production: Just 6 pieces

The Bernhard Zwinz Tremblage watch is a true work of art, created by German watchmaker Bernhard Zwinz.

Bernhard Zwinz’s Tremblage

This timepiece showcases his expertise in traditional decorative techniques, specifically the intricate Tremblage engraving.

Features and Specifications
This watch features a hand-wound movement with a power reserve of approximately 42 hours. The case is made of stainless steel and measures 40mm in diameter. It also has a water resistance of 50 meters, adding practicality to its artistic appeal.

Design and Craftsmanship
The Tremblage watch stands out with its meticulously engraved dial, showcasing a mesmerizing pattern achieved through delicate handwork.

Each tremblage-engraved dial is unique, making every timepiece a true collector’s item. Zwinz’s dedication to preserving traditional craftsmanship is evident in the exceptional quality of his work.

Hervé Schlüchter: Pushing Boundaries in Design

Hervé Schlüchter is not one to follow the crowd. His design philosophy revolves around pushing boundaries and breaking the mold.

Schlüchter’s watches command attention with their unconventional aesthetics, a reflection of his bold vision and willingness to challenge the status quo.

Creative and Avant-Garde Designs – Unconventional Shapes and Materials
Schlüchter’s timepieces often feature unconventional shapes, challenging traditional norms of watch design. He also uses a variety of materials, from stainless steel to carbon fiber, each chosen to enhance the watch’s overall appearance and performance.

Innovative Time Display
Another remarkable aspect of Schlüchter’s designs is the innovative time display. From digital-like analog displays to rotating discs instead of hands, these unique methods of time-telling add a layer of intrigue to his creations while maintaining functionality.

Jetsetty Pick – Hervé Schlüchter L’Essentiel
Cost: US$86,000
Production: 25 pieces (limited edition)

The Hervé Schlüchter L’Essentiel is a timepiece that embodies simplicity and elegance. This watch showcases his minimalist approach to horology.

Hervé Schlüchter
L’Essentiel (Photo: Hervé Schlüchter)

Features and Specifications
This watch features a hand-wound movement with a power reserve of approximately 40 hours. The case, measuring 38mm in diameter, is available in various materials, including stainless steel and precious metals. It also has a water resistance of 30 meters.

Design and Craftsmanship
The L’Essentiel watch exhibits clean lines and a minimalistic dial, accentuated by slender hands and indices. The simplicity of its design allows the wearer to focus on the essential function of telling time. Schlüchter’s attention to detail and commitment to refined aesthetics are evident in every aspect of this watch.

Voutilainen: Only Respect For This Independent Watchmaker

(Photo: Voutilainen)

Kari Voutilainen is a highly respected and renowned Finnish independent watchmaker based in Môtiers, Switzerland. Born in 1962, Voutilainen has earned a reputation for his exceptional craftsmanship, attention to detail, and dedication to preserving traditional watchmaking techniques.

Jetsetty Pick – Voutilainen 28SC Vingt-8 in Titanium
The Voutilainen 28SC Vingt-8, crafted by master watchmaker Kari Voutilainen, is a perfect blend of aesthetic and mechanical excellence. Housed in a titanium case, the watch exudes understated elegance while boasting top-notch horological engineering.

Features and Specifications
The Vingt-8 features an in-house movement with a unique escapement design. The balance spring has a Grossmann interior curve and a Moser exterior curve, which ensures optimal isochronism. The watch also has a power reserve of 65 hours and is water-resistant up to 30 meters.

The Vingt-8

Design and Craftsmanship
The Vingt-8’s hand-guillochéd dial is a testament to Voutilainen’s exceptional craftsmanship. The blue steel cathedral hands add an elegant touch, while the titanium case enhances the overall minimalist aesthetic. Each element of this watch reflects meticulous attention to detail and dedication to perfection.

Vianney Halter: A Revolutionary Concept

Vianney Halter needs no introduction to the world of high-end horology. Known for his groundbreaking approach and futuristic designs, Halter has been pushing the boundaries of traditional watchmaking with his creations. His Deep Space Resonance model is a testament to his innovative spirit and technical expertise.

Scriptura (Photo: Vianney Halter)

Jetsetty Pick – The Intricate Mechanics of Deep Space Resonance
Cost: This was a prototype, but the LA RESONANCE in an edition of 7 pieces goes for around US$266,000.

The Deep Space Resonance watch features a unique resonance mechanism that involves two independent movements working in harmony.

Deep Space Resonance
Deep Space Resonance. Art + Funk + Style Galore!

This innovative system allows the two balance wheels to synchronize their vibrations, resulting in increased accuracy and stability.

The resonance phenomenon not only improves timekeeping but also creates an intriguing visual effect as the balance wheels interact with each other.

Stunning Aesthetic Design
In addition to its technical prowess, the Deep Space Resonance is a masterpiece of design. Its unconventional shape and distinctive dial layout make it stand out from the crowd.

The watch exudes a sense of modernity and sophistication while still paying homage to traditional watchmaking techniques.

Grönefeld: Traditional Craftsmanship Meets Modern Innovation

The Grönefeld family has a long-standing tradition of watchmaking, dating back to the 18th century. Today, brothers Bart and Tim Grönefeld continue their ancestors’ legacy by creating exceptional timepieces that combine traditional craftsmanship with modern innovation.

DeltaWorks front
(Photos: Grönefeld)
DeltaWorks back

Meticulous Hand-Finishing and Decoration
Grönefeld watches are renowned for their exceptional movements, which are meticulously hand-finished and decorated. From intricate engravings to polished bevels, every detail is executed with precision and care.

The brand’s timepieces also feature a range of complications, such as tourbillons and striking mechanisms, adding complexity and functionality.

Fusion of Tradition and Technology
While Grönefeld embraces traditional watchmaking techniques, they also incorporate modern technology to enhance performance.

The use of innovative materials and advanced engineering ensures that their timepieces not only look exquisite but also deliver exceptional accuracy and reliability.

Jetsetty Pick – Grönefeld 1969 DELTAWORKS
Cost: US$54,000.
Production: 20 pieces per year

Representing Dutch horology, the Gronefeld 1969 DELTAWORKS is an impressive timepiece from the brothers Bart and Tim Gronefeld.

The Grönefeld 1969 DeltaWorks with orange strap. (Photo: Grönefeld)

The watch is named after the famous Dutch hydraulic engineering project, reflecting the duo’s commitment to precision and technical excellence.

Features and Specifications
This watch stands out with its in-house automatic movement and unique jumping hour and minute complications. It features a 48-hour power reserve and is water-resistant up to 30 meters. The case measures 39mm in diameter, crafted in stainless steel.

Design and Craftsmanship
The DELTAWORKS showcases a silver dial with a hand-engraved motif, reflecting the Dutch landscape. The polished hands and indices ensure excellent legibility, while the open back reveals the finely finished movement. Its design and craftsmanship underline the Gronefeld brothers’ dedication to creating standout timepieces.

KIKUCHI NAKAGAWA: Timepieces that Reflect Japanese Tradition

KIKUCHI NAKAGAWA is a brand that embodies the essence of Japanese watchmaking. Founded by Akira Kikuchi and Shoko Nakagawa, these independent watchmakers embrace the principles of simplicity, harmony, and attention to detail that are deeply ingrained in Japanese culture.


Japanese Craftsmanship and Design Philosophy
KIKUCHI NAKAGAWA’s timepieces are characterized by their elegant minimalism and simplicity. The clean lines and uncluttered dials create a sense of calm and balance, reflecting the Zen philosophy of less is more. The watches exude a quiet sophistication that appeals to those who appreciate understated beauty.

Traditional Japanese Techniques
The brand also incorporates traditional Japanese techniques into its watchmaking process. From hand-engraved dials to lacquer painting, these meticulous craftsmanship methods add a touch of traditional artistry to each timepiece. The result is a collection of watches that seamlessly blend tradition with contemporary design.

Jetsetty Pick – The Kikuchi-Nakagawa Murakami Watch
Cost: US$23,000.
Wait time: Up to 10-12 years

This is a stunning creation by independent Japanese watchmaker Kikuchi Nakagawa. It’s a timepiece that beautifully marries traditional Japanese aesthetics with modern horological technology.

Murakumo from top independent watchmakers
Murakumo from top independent watchmakers KIKUCHI NAKAGAWA.

Features and Specifications
This watch features a unique hand-wound movement and a power reserve of 40 hours. The case measures 37mm in diameter, making it a comfortable fit for most wrists. In addition, it has a water resistance of up to 30 meters.

Design and Craftsmanship
The Murakami watch showcases exquisite Japanese craftsmanship. The dial features a traditional Urushi lacquer finish, creating a deep, lustrous appearance.

The golden indices and hands contrast beautifully against the black dial, offering a sophisticated yet striking aesthetic.


Final Thoughts on Opulent Independent Watchmakers
The world of opulent independent watchmakers is a treasure trove of horological wonders. Each brand showcased in this guide brings its own unique vision, craftsmanship, and innovation to the table.

From Sylvain Pinaud’s artistry to Voutilainen’s timeless elegance, from Hervé Schlüchter’s avant-garde designs to Grönefeld’s fusion of tradition and technology, these independent watchmakers continue to redefine the boundaries of what is possible in the world of haute horlogerie.

By choosing an opulent independent watch brand, you are not only acquiring a timepiece but also becoming a part of a rich heritage of craftsmanship and individuality.

These watches are more than just accessories; they are expressions of art, passion, and a deep love for the intricacies of mechanical engineering. For other things that make rare gifts check out these cool items.

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