Minimalist watches. Time-telling mechanisms that are simplistic in nature and design. Their purpose is to tell you the time in the most simplest of ways and try to look good while doing so. Easier said than done. But their rise from obscurity to renowned has been quick and direct, thanks to the many social media outlets that we as consumers are exposed to on a daily basis. And that’s a good thing. We have in front of us, an abundance of places in the watch-making world where we can park our hard earned cash and call it a day without lying to our better halves about how much it really cost. A minimalist watch is the contemporary equivalent of a pocket-watch from the 1800’s. It has one duty, tell you the time. But it looks damn good and didn’t take months of work to put together. Albeit their quality may subside, but not before you move on to your next one. So take the time to look through the article we’ve put together, showcasing various watches all with one theme: minimalism.
KOMONO Unisex KOM-W2251 Winston Regal Series
The Komono. Its simple. Its fun. You can dress it up or down, and by God is it affordable. The KOMONO logo and crown placement is a nifty little touch too. A nice little daily beater that you can take out with you for after-work drinks. Very fun. Purchase here.
UNIFORM WARES M40 Date
Simple styling in a case that is chic and modern. The M40 Date has an underexposed crown that is half hidden in the case and a nice integrated strap system that has no visible lugs. This makes for a very streamlined piece that is both refreshing and stylish. The dial is in keeping with the overall theme of simplicity, while the date-window adds another dimension of functionality. Purchase here.
MMT C31s . black strap
Back-to-basics styling is what the C31s is all about from MMT. It shows you the base essentials: hours and minutes, and leaves the rest up to you. The watch is obviously more show and less go, but peer closer to the off-white dial and you’ll see an intricate pattern form that is both interesting and value-adding. The case seems like it has a layered design which is super cool. All in all, a very nice watch the reiterates alternative simplicity and classical styling. Purchase here.
Rossling & Co. Classic 40mm – Glencoe
The Classic Glencoe is what we call a “Calatrava” type watch. It has a small sub-dial showing the seconds at 6 o’clock which is a beautiful feature in watches that are far more expensive. The Glencoe reflects what minimalism should represent in the modern era of watch-making: classic simplicity. Purchase here.
Kent Wang Bauhaus Watch v4 White
Bauhaus styling seems to be the next in-thing in the world of watch-making, and for good reason. Its a fresh take of time-telling that combines clean dials and to-the-point designs. Blue hands on a white dial with black hour and minute-second markers work so well for this piece. The case is well designed, it has an automatic movement (Yay!), and the only thing I don’t agree on is the brown strap. Otherwise, superb! Purchase here.
Winston Time Classic Gold / Brown Leather
A clean looking watch that is as aesthetically appealing as can be for under $200AUD. A deep, dark blue dial with contrasting gold accents creates a very classical piece. The gold hands, indices and logo against the blue dial makes it easily legible and still very good looking. A long lasting, minimal piece for the office-junkie, I’m sure. Purchase here.
Daniel Wellington Men’s 0106DW St. Mawes Stainless Steel
In my opinion, Daniel Wellington single-handedly kick-started the classic-minimal chic look that is popular and in such abundance these days. Their pieces reiterate classic simplicity with minimal styling cues. An off-white dial with gold hands and indices, and in a case of the same colour really reflects its purpose: classic minimalism. From a brand that has stuck with the same design since its inception, and for some reason really very unpopular with the “horological-purists” crowd, you honestly can’t go wrong with a good DW! Purchase here.
The Horse The Classic Watch
A relatively newcomer to the market of minimalism-focused watches, The Horse carries with it similar design ethos as Daniel Wellington, but with a more casual streak to it. The Classic has a clean white dial, stainless steel indices and hands, and an accompanying small-seconds dial at 6 o’clock, which I love. The case is also stainless steel and nicely polished. A great little watch you can wear in virtually any setting. Purchase here.
Alessi Men’s AL8004 Stainless Steel Automatic Watch
Modern minimalism at its most basic. Silver and black, a tried and test colour combination, is the overriding theme here. The dial has a step-down to the inner dial that creates an off-balance colour differentiation, creating more interest in the dial’s expansive real estate. Not the most exciting of minimalistic watches, but it does have an automatic movement. Purchase here.
Meshable Watches Chrono Silver
A minimalist’s chronograph of choice. It is a beautiful interpretation of modern style and timeless functionality. The sub-dial layout for the chronograph is exceptional, the hands scream modern-chic, and the stainless steel case and lugs finish the already gorgeous package nicely. Comes with either a great mesh band or a leather strap. Purchase here.
MVMT Watches White Face with Tan Leather
As a brand, MVMT watches have grown from strength to strength. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not exposed to their presence on social media. This overexposure typically renders a brand desperate and of low quality, but MVMT watches have created for themselves their own market. Their watches are typical of contemporary design combined with quality watch construction that makes a watch both versatile and super sleek. Throw an automatic movement in there and call it a day! Purchase here.
Braun Men’s BN0024WHBKG Classic Analog
Sleek, refined and eye-catching, Braun’s minimalist watch, the Classic Analog, combines it all. A great colour combination between the dial, hands and indices, as well as the yellow seconds hand all held together in a modern-looking case. Not something you’d see every day, that’s for sure, but as good as minimalist watches are going to get. Purchase here.
Minimalist Watches M1 Mesh Silver & White
The M1 Mesh in silver and white is a great all rounder that combines classy styling and minimalistic features. The shortened hour and minute hands are nice feature, as are the equally small hour indices. And against a backdrop as pure and white as that, the unobtrusive nature of those hands and indices really emphasises the simplistic nature of the piece. Purchase here.
Skagen Ancher Mono Steel Mesh
Skagen, as a brand, are a reflection of stylish minimalism. The Anchor Mono in Steel Mesh combines timekeeping innovation and simplistic design that is both bold and subtle. The dial layout is very unique with the single hand making its way around the dial, while the hour changes are seen in the window at 9 o’clock. Purchase here.
The Kinetik is the kind of watch you buy when you know what you want. It combines an immense amount of technique, from the grainy finish of the dial to the brushed metal look of the case and the skeleton hands, its a watch that means business. It has an integrated minimalist design that incorporates a respectable automatic movement from ETA. A solid watch for the minimalist in all of us. Purchase here.
Custom Casio Happy Colors
Casio is typical of making usable and cheap watches. The Happy Colours line is exactly the same, but simpler. The removal of the hour markers emphasises the minimalistic nature of the piece, while the hand-painted hands keep the watch interesting. Purchase here.
Classic Engineering black VARIO + Natural Strap
The VARIO’s simple design is classic enough to be appreciated by the purists, yet modern enough to be worn by newer generations of watch lovers. An enlarged bezel surrounds the clean dial, and the lugs add another dimension to its aesthetic. The ceramic treated case only acts to further reflect its modern simplistic design. A very modern watch that pays homage to minimalism and simplicity. Purchase here.
Bulova Men’s 96B104 Stainless Steel
Bulova’s minimalist piece is one that is stylish and classic. Its a watch that can be worn in the professional world or on the weekend dining at your favourite cafe. The sunburst silver dial, stainless steel hour markers and hands, and small date window enhance its class, while the case’s clean design ensures its versatility. Purchase here.
Rider GT&FQ M002 Automatic Bauhaus Style Watch
Sleek, clean, dark and very well put together. A watch of this stature that is both simple in design but complex in automation needs applause. The darkness of the watch is cut supremely by a thin white circular strip on the bezel and the hour indices. The applied logo in white stands out from the dark dial, and the case seems comfortable and easy to wear. Powered by the Sea-Gull Automatic ST1701, its minimalistic nature masks its true complexities. Purchase here.
Huckleberry & Co. Archibald Atticus in Rose Gold
An Australian brand that I have featured prior to this article, and a brand that I am keeping my eye on. Bauhaus styling in a package that is timeless and simple, the Archibald Atticus should be what every minimalist-watchmaker should strive to replicate. Gorgeous detailing, exception proportions and a mechanical movement. Need I say more? Purchase here.
MAX Bill Manual Lines Watch
A simple design coming out of Germany, the MAX Bill Manual Lines watch is contemporary minimalism at its best. Slim-line hands with lume, a slender seconds hand at lume spots marking the hours allows for easier time reading. The absent bezel allows for more dial space and makes for a less cluttered dial rim. Case design is simplistic in nature, yet seems extremely wearable. Purchase here.
Bravur BW002G-W-LBR1 Watch
A more cluttered dial than the watches featured in this article, this piece features an inner rimmed dial depicting the minutes, while the corresponding hours are shown by black indexes. The small date window close to the centre of the dial is a nice touch, and while the crown could be a bit smaller, overall it is a fairly pleasing package. Purchase here.
Bergmann Classic Watch
Art deco numerals, a missing dial ring and sleek hands all point to the modernistic simplicity that the Bergmann Classic reflects. The case is nice and thick, and the lugs are long and pronounced. The overall modular design of the watch is as minimalistic as can be. Purchase here.
Projects 7404 Unisex 5 O’Clock Watch
A ridiculously basic looking piece that really brings home the notion of minimalism. There isn’t much going on with this watch, apart from the applied logo and super cool date window at 5 o’clock. The exposed crown breaks up the other monolithic case design and looks pretty cool doing so. Purchase here.
Mondaine Helvetica No1 Light
Mondaine are renowned for making absurdly simple watches that function well and look great. The Helvetic No1 Light is another example of why that brand does so well. Wonderful proportions, ample dial real estate, an uncluttered layout and integrated lugs that blend really well into the case. A great piece for all you minimalists out there. Purchase here.
Brathwait Classic Slim Wrist Watch
A combination of Daniel Wellington styling ethos with a touch of modern audacity is what the Brathwait Classic reminds me of. The sword-hands are both classic and contemporary, and the addition of a red seconds hand breaks up what otherwise would be a mirror image piece from Daniel Wellington. Love the simplicity of the case and lug design. A bit different to your modern classic-looking minimalist piece. Purchase here.
Shore Projects Three Newquay
The Newquay brings back memories of boating through Sydney Harbour during a hot Summer’s day. The blue dial reminds me of the glistening harbour waters, and the silver hues of the case, hands and hour markers reminds me of Sydney city’s skyscrapers. It is a beautifully simple piece that can be worn on a variety of straps. Purchase here.
I was fairly amazed when I first came across this piece. Beautiful proportions, a gorgeous dial and a case that is wonderfully thin. Packaged like a watch that would cost 10-times as much, the INSTMNT 01-B is the kind of watch you buy to out simplify your already simple watch collection. Purchase here.
Laco Munster Type A Dial Swiss Automatic Pilot Watch
Something I have yet to feature is a pilot’s watch, and here it is. The Laco Munster Type A is similarly styled like the infamous IWC Pilot’s pieces with the enlarged case, oversimplified dial and massive protruding crown. The strap is a deep brown with contrasting stitching, and looks great with whatever you’re wearing. Purchase here.
Tsovet Men’s Rose/Champagne Case
Tsovet are well known as makers of affordable watches that look great. The SVT-CN38 incorporates a well-spaced dial, art deco numerals and an exposed crown with elongated hands. The effect: a beautifully simple looking piece that is very wearable. Purchase here.
mnmlst Watch Co
The Mnmlst Manhattan is about as minimal and simple as you’re going to get. If you don’t believe me, it even says “mnmlst” on the dial! It comes in a variety of colours, its dirt cheap and it will get an enormous amount of wrist time because of how versatile it is. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity. Purchase here.
Leonard & Church Thompson Mahogany Black/Black
The Thompsons watch, which features a super cool colour scheme of mahogany on black on black, is one of those watches that really catches the eye. The layered colour scheme is superb, and its one that I believe more manufacturers should utilise in their more basic pieces. The dial is simple and informative, and the piece screams modular utilitarianism. Purchase here.
Kitmenkeung LD 1.0 – S
A cool way to keep things simple and interesting is to do things differently. The split dial, with one side showing the hours/minutes and the other showing the seconds is a very nifty way of deconstructing time while keeping the theme of minimalism in check. A super fun piece that won’t break the bank. Purchase here.
TID No.1 36 White / Pine Twain Wristband
Reminiscent of a vintage military Seiko, the TID piece with the crown on the opposing side is the kind of watch a weekend warrior would have in their collection. Extremely versatile, expansive dial with an uninterrupted view of the time and a case/lug design that is both interesting and comfortable. For the military watch lover who wants to simplify the art of telling the time. Purchase here.
Sekford Type 1A Stainless Steel And Leather Watch
A step up into the upper echelons of horological minimalism is the Sekford Type 1A. The missing seconds hand does more for the simplicity of the piece than I think the designers thought it would, as it brings home the true essence of minimalism in watches. The small numerals, and equally small hours/minutes hand does wonders for the simplicity of the piece, but I’m afraid the price tag for a Quartz watch is a bit of a deterrent. Purchase here.
Miansai M12 Swiss Rose Gold / White Watch
With the crown at the unconventional 4 o’clock position, and a case that is only 6mm thick, the M12 is sure to catch anyone’s attention. The dial layout is near perfect, extremely modern looking and very clean. The hands are nicely designed, and the overall case architecture ensures comfort and wearability. A very beautiful minimalist watch from Miansai. Purchase here.
On the surface the Nevo Smartwatch looks just about as simple as can be, with its minimalistic design and modular case. But delve a bit deeper and you’ll begin to realise just how much this watch can do. It can track your activity and sleep patterns, it can let you know if you have notifications coming through your phone and it has an alarm. Complex minimalism? Purchase here.
NOMOS Glashütte Lambda Weißgold
This is most probably my favourite watch of the minimalist series, albeit the most expensive. NOMOS are renowned and well recognised as a brand that does things a bit different, but still produce pieces that are well designed movement wise. The Lambda Weißgold takes inspiration from modern art-deco, and combines that with minimalism chic. The result? A watch that has no wearability bounds, and one that can be admired by outsiders of the watch world, and those that considers themselves horological nerds. Purchase here.
The Chester watch is what I like to call a very niche, very specific kind of watch. Its the kind of watch that attracts a certain type of person. I for one wouldn’t wear it, it just doesn’t fit my lifestyle. But that’s not a dig at the design. Its attractive and almost whimsical. Its the kind of watch that’ll attract attention for both the right and wrong reasons. It is a cool watch though, I must say. Its thick and modular, and the dial looks very weird, but I think that’s the point. A very pretty piece for a very specific buyer. Purchase here.
The Ora Lattea
And for the final piece of the article, I present to you the Ora Lattea. No, its not a new type of Italian coffee. Its a watch that is minimalistic in nature but complex in design. If you want an easy way of telling the time, then you should probably steer clear from this piece, but if you want to be fascinated, get it. Two moving dots represent the time. The larger one depicts the hour, while the smaller one tells you the minute. The centre dot doesn’t move. Very unusual, very simple, very fun. Purchase here.