5 of the best minimalist watches 5 of the best minimalist watches

5 of the best minimalist watches

Tom Austin

Sometimes, less is more. Minimalistic design language covers a number of visual elements, at times translating to having fewer of those elements, often it can just be a simplistic representation of a unique concept. It’s a fantastic style to apply to watches, because it can incorporate the use of simple colour palettes, basic shapes and textures to give a clean and subtle aesthetic, rich in functional simplicity. Whether you’re a conceptual architect, a connoisseur of the Bauhaus movement, or just prefer a more modest appearance with your watch, there’s a minimalistic watch for you.

Braun BN0211 Classic

Braun’s design applications are legendary. The company is known as the first to introduce “good design” to the mass market, producing kitchen appliances, electric shavers, and radios to name a few. A minimalist design classic, the German-made Braun BN0211 has simplicity in abundance. The proportions are understated, with a 38mm diameter and 6.6mm thick stainless steel case linked to a fine mesh bracelet. The black dial is perfectly balanced and uncluttered, featuring a simple minute track and three-hand setup, connected to a simple, no nonsense quartz movement. Even the hands are simple, thin rectangles, free of complication.

Junghans Max Bill Automatic

Junghans is one of the pioneers in German watchmaking, and part of this journey was the iconic Bauhaus-inspired Max Bill collection. Max Bill was a Swiss artist, product designer, architect, and student at the famous Bauhaus art school, and was commissioned by Junghans to design a wristwatch. The result was a minimalistic and functional timepiece, which Junghans has now formed a whole collection around. The Max Bill Automatic is a slim 38mm stainless steel watch with a classic domed crystal covering a white dial, with the thinnest indices you’ll ever find. Its caseback features Max Bill’s signature, and the watch is finished with a simple black calfskin strap. Its uncluttered details were described by Max Bill as “logical”, and this sums the watch up perfectly. There’s nothing unnecessary, it simply tells the time in the most functional way possible.

Ressence Type 8

ressence type 8

Just because a watch is minimalist doesn’t mean it can’t be complicated. Ressence is a unique brand that takes watchmaking out of the confines of a simple three-handed mechanism, and uses a completely different method to display the time. For the Type 8, it uses a large central dial, so big it covers most of the front of the watch, and a highly modified ETA movement to rotate an off-centre disc which displays the hours, and a wider central disc that moves eccentrically to display the minutes. Available in Cobalt Blue and Sage Green, the movement is housed in a large, 42.9mm, grade 5 titanium case, which is almost completely circular, with hidden lugs and even missing a crown, giving in to the unique winding system which uses the caseback. Ressance’s uniqueness and charm has earned it growing interest in the watch world, with the Type 8 being the least complicated in the brand’s line up, and despite being considered the entry level piece, is certainly one of the most stylish.

H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept

It doesn’t get much more minimal than this. The first thing most of us notice about H. Moser & Cie are the incredible dials, and the Endeavour Centre Seconds is no different, with the dial being free of indicators, markers and printing. You’re left to enjoy the strikingly beautiful blue fumé sunburst finish. If you’re done being mesmerised, you can turn your attention to the stunningly crafted 40mm white gold case, with its sculpted curves and flawless high polish, matching perfectly with the gorgeous leaf hands. The watch is powered by the in-house HMC 200 movement, painstakingly hand-finished to the same exceptional levels as the outside. The H. Moser Endeavour is even minimalist in its supply, with only 100 in production, but they have been spotted on H. Moser’s certified pre-owned collection.

Laurent Ferrier Classic Micro-Rotor Gold-Toned

laurent ferrier classic micro rotor gold toned

Geneva-based independent Laurent Ferrier has produced some of the finest contemporary dress watches, calling back to historic design cues, but also introducing modern elements and twists of minimalistic elegance. The Classic Micro-Rotor is one such piece, capturing classic lines and adapting them to their elegant, signature pebble style case. Sculpted from stainless steel, the 40mm case wraps around a stunning sunburst gold dial, with Assegai hands and finely applied 3, 12 and 9 indicators. Besides those, the dial is clean and uncluttered, aside from a simple sub-seconds dial. The watch is powered by the stunningly finished calibre FBN229.01, visible via the huge sapphire caseback, and is one of the most tantalising movements on display from a lot of watches in this class, especially with that micro rotor. Laurent Ferrier is known for its simplistic and subtle watches, but the Micro-Rotor especially so, it lets the dial and overall finish do the talking.