And the De Bethune name honors a historic figure. “By borrowing the name from the 18th century French Chevalier De Bethune, naval captain, researcher and specialist in techniques and materials,” wrote Denis Flageollet, who co-founded the Swiss brand in 2002 with David Zanetta, “I wanted to pay tribute to a man who embodied all my values 300 years before me.”
Art, Change and Excellence
Some brands were named for lofty concepts — like the Swiss brand ArtyA, which the founder Yvan Arpa said he chose in 2009 because he equates his creations with art. “Nobody needs a watch to tell the time anymore; time can be found everywhere,” he wrote in an email. “But high end Swiss watchmaking is much more than telling the time. It is a multisecular know-how of mechanical art wearable at your wrist.”
And the brand ID Genève, a champion of sustainability established in 2020, chose its name to indicate change. “ID stands for the word identity,” its chief executive, Nicolas Freudiger, wrote. “We want to be much more than just another watch brand, we are redefining the role of luxury for the decades to come. A new identity in the world of luxury, where the word waste won’t exist anymore.”
The name Seiko also boldly connects the brand with excellence. “In Japanese, ‘seiko’ means ‘exquisite,’ ‘minute’ or ‘success’,” wrote Brice Le Troadec, president of the Grand Seiko Corporation of America and global strategy officer at Seiko Watch Corporation in Japan.
And then there’s the watchmaker that reached for the stars in naming his brand.
The founder of Zenith, “Georges Favre-Jacot, was walking under the starry sky, having finished a meeting where his newest movement, the one he was most proud of, had just been finalized,” the brand’s chief executive, Julien Tornare, wrote in an email.
“It was the movement and corresponding line of models that would earn the company the Grand Prix at the Paris World Fair in 1900. He decided to name it ‘Zenith,’ as he felt the company was reaching new heights in its pursuit of perfection, towards the highest point one could reach in the sky.”