As the watch industry continues to sail through choppy economic waters, independent watchmakers battle to preserve their dying art form.

Independents aren’t necessarily any better than brands owned by larger corporations but, in a similar vein to how grower champagnes compare to their famous counterparts, they offer watch enthusiasts the opportunity to own something much more idiosyncratic, far more exclusive, and oftentimes created at the hand of a living icon of the industry.

Simply put, wearing one of these watches on your wrist is a surefire way to get some coveted horological street cred – and you have the secondary benefit of supporting watchmakers in pursuit of perfection.

Check out the best watches of SIHH 2018. Looking for something more affordable? Find out about the best value watches of SIHH 2018.