If there were a global ranking for tired clichés, “less is more” would probably be right near the top. In the world of watch design, however, it still rings true. Tasteful minimalism can bring out the best elements of a watch, instead of burying them in a sea of unnecessary detail; its very nature makes a watch more comfortable to wear, and more versatile in the styles it’s paired with. Above all, a well-executed minimalist watch is an artful accent, rather than a flashy main course. With that in mind, here are our picks for ten of the best.
Stock Watches S004R
Well-designed minimalism needn’t break the bank. The Stock Watches S004R comes in at only $270, and features a beautifully clean dial, Swiss Ronda quartz movement, and eye-catching brushed-PVD rose gold finish. It’s sized at a classic 38mm, and is discreet enough to work with almost any outfit while not fading completely into the background. Stock also offers a huge variety of color combinations, so you’re sure to find something that fits your style.
There aren’t too many watches made for the blind, for obvious reasons. With the Eone Bradley, however, this niche market has been making waves in the sighted world. Once you see it, you’ll understand why: this minimal, tactile approach is a completely different way of telling time, with magnetic bearings instead of hands. By engaging touch as well as sight, it’s engaging on a new, unique level.
Mondaine Helvetica Light
Over the past 70 years, Helvetica has become the most widely used typeface in the world, and a Swiss design icon in its own right. Mondaine, famous for creating the Swiss railway clock, decided to pay tribute to a fellow design legend with the Mondaine Helvetica, which has a minimal design that still keeps a bit of playfulness. This version, the Helvetica Light, takes the simple theme even further, and creates a beautiful design in the process.
First off: yes, that is the same Braun that makes your electric shaver. The brainchild of Braun Chief Design Officer Dieter Rams, the BN0095 chronograph brings the brand’s signature functionalist aesthetic to the watch world. The integrated bracelet and lugs along with the sterile numerals give it an industrial, slightly futuristic feel on the wrist, while the unique one-piece case construction makes this a durable, streamlined choice. It might be stark, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t pretty.
Looking for a splash of restrained Mad Men cool on your wrist? The Hamilton Intra-Matic has you covered. Available in either a retro 38mm or more modern 42mm size, the Intra-Matic’s silver sunburst dial gives off a slick mid-century vibe. The ETA 2892-2 movement powering the Intra-Matic is impressive in itself, and its decorated rotor is on display through a wide sapphire case back.