What is a minimalist watch?
You will need to see it from a minimalist’s perspective.
A minimalist watch is a part of the wearer’s everyday carry.
The single purpose of a watch is to tell you what time it is, so why make things more complicated than they need to be? Discover some of the best minimalist watches around by devoting a few minutes of your time to this useful guide!
Navigate Our Top 10 Minimalist Watches
Below are our top 10 recommended minimalist watches!
|Watch Image||Watch Name||Case Diameter||Band Width||Price|
|BIJOUONE B001 Minimalist Unisex Watch (Editor's Choice)||36mm||18mm|
|Junghans Max Bill Automatic||38mm||18mm|
|Skagen Ancher Watch||40mm||22mm|
|Timex Unisex Weekender Fairfield||41mm||20mm|
|Braun Men's BN0211BKSLMHG Classic Slim Watch||38mm||20mm|
|Nixon Men's 'Porter' Quartz Leather Watch||40mm||20mm|
|Citizen Men's Stainless Steel Bracelet Watch||41mm||20mm|
|South Lane Unisex Urbaner Alpha Watch||40mm||20mm|
|KOMONO Unisex KOM-W2254 Winston Regal Series Watch||42mm||18mm|
Be sure to check out our Minimalist Watch Buying Guide before you make your final decision when purchasing a minimalist watch!
It’s true that there are much more ways to know the exact time nowadays than ever before. Luckily, all of our computers, smartphones and other digital devices do nothing to take away from the importance of having a distinguished wristwatch. After all, it’s not just a time-telling instrument – a man’s watch is the reflection of his mindset, his place in life and his aspirations. You can learn a lot about a man by taking a closer look at his watch, so you’d naturally want yours to represent you in the best possible light.
If you’ve already read some of my other guides, you know that I’m really into the minimalist approach to things, and it’s no different when it comes to watches. It’s a great time to be alive if you share this mindset as manufacturers have caught on to the consumers’ craving for simple yet artful models. You can still find chronographs with more instruments than a cockpit of course, but minimalism is finally in too!
That’s why this guide will be handy in giving you the basic info and a handful of carefully picked suggestions on what watch to make your own. I’ve wasted enough of your precious time already, so let’s go straight to the reviews!
1. BIJOUONE B001 Minimalist Unisex Watch – The Best Minimalist Watch
BIJOUONE combine inspiration drawn from works of art, architectural designs and cultural staples in making a variety of jewelry and accessories for men and women. This results in timeless pieces that wouldn’t have been out of place at the start of the 20th century, and will probably still be in style many decades from now. The B001 is the embodiment of their values, and a fine watch in its own right.
As you’d expect from the most attractive minimalist watches, the substance of its style can be found in the simplicity of its look. There are no unnecessary bells & whistles to draw your eyes away from what’s really important – informing you what time it is in a most elegant way.
The color scheme is a bit subdued, but the natural brown tones of its strap made from genuine leather complement the slightly beige tones of its frame and watch face very well. There are other variants available, however, this struck me as the nicest one.
You’ll never be late to an appointment again since its Swiss-made quartz mechanism keeps time accurate down to the nanosecond. To keep it that way, everything has been secured by a hardened crystal lens resistant to scratching.
When you take into account its simple yet stylish appearance, quality make and extremely appealing price, there’s no surprise that the B001 is the best minimalist watch in the guide. Hard as I looked, I couldn’t find any faults with it, and that’s why it is TRVNK’s pick for the best minimalist watch of 2018!
2. Junghans Max Bill Automatic – One of the Best Minimalist Watches Around
If money is not an object to you when it comes to buying a time piece that’s infused with the signature style of a design icon, then you’re in for a treat with the Max Bill Automatic from Junghans. Created in the vein of Max Bill’s sense for the delicate balance needed between form and function, it’s hard to tell where the minimalist watch ends and true art begins.
A black calfskin strap fastens the watch firmly and comfortably to your wrist and is a nice counterpoint to its stainless steel housing and crown. Its hour marks are long, reaching well towards the center of the watch face, revealing Bill’s unmistakable influences. There are luminescent markings on the four major direction marks as well as on the hour and minute hands, so knowing the time won’t be a problem even in a completely dark room.
Since it is an automatic watch the more you wear it, the less you’ll have to wind it as its sophisticated mechanism uses the natural movement of your body to keep the mainspring wound. You can be as energetic as you like while wearing it because the domed Plexiglas lens and steel housing can easily keep up.
Price tag aside though, the Max Bill Automatic is among the best minimalist watches you can buy today. It will make an excellent addition to any serious watch collection and is sure to only become more iconic as time goes by.
3. Skagen Ancher Watch – Proof that New Minimalist Watch Brands Have Much to Offer
Almost all other minimalist watch brands mentioned in the guide have a time-honored tradition of watch making that speaks for itself. Skagen is a relative newcomer to the game having been formed in the early 90s. Still, they’ve quickly made a name for themselves with a number of their watches inspired by Danish values such as simplicity and clear purpose. The Ancher is just that – a simple, no-nonsense watch designed to keep up with your lifestyle while enhancing your entire look.
You can pair it with a slim jacket you like or blend it perfectly with your business attire – the Ancher will have no trouble fitting in thanks to its dark and inviting colors. This particular model is all about dark steel – both the housing and its metal strap are stainless steel executed in gunmetal black. This gives the watch an air of quiet sophistication that can’t help but draw the onlooker to it. Instead of going the traditional way and contrasting these with the watch face, Skagen have chosen for it a black matte finish that turned out really well.
The Ancher is a lightweight minimalist watch you’ll be glancing at even when you don’t need to check if you’re running late for an appointment. By purchasing it you get solid performance for the price point and a great-looking accessory, which won’t need replacing for many years.
4. Timex Unisex Weekender Fairfield – A Customizable Example of Good Quality Simple Men’s Watches
Timex’s Weekender watches have been around the block and are well-known as the go-to choice for guys who want a superb timepiece without having to spend much. Capitalizing on that, Timex has released the Fairfield. For just a few dollars extra the improvements it brings are above average, adding yet another reason to give it serious consideration.
What sets the Fairfield apart most from older models is its size. You’d think that at 41 millimeters it would look about average, but the thin yet sturdy strap makes it look much larger, especially if you choose the version with a white watch face. Numbers have been replaced with hour marks this time around, adding to its minimalist feel.
A neat thing that makes a return in this model is the ability to change the leather strap quickly and easily. There are quite a few designs to pick from, so you can customize the watch to look more formal or casual depending on the occasion or your mood.
This is no reason to pass up the Fairfield though! Timex has managed to balance out a very reasonable price with a well-engineered quarts movement and an individualistic approach to making the watch your own. Even if the strap needs replacing from time to time, the watch itself will work flawlessly for many more weekends to come, and with simple men’s watches like this one that’s really what matters the most.
5. Braun Men’s BN0211BKSLMHG Classic Slim Watch – The Pinnacle of Sleek Men’s Watches
As known for their grooming appliances as for their original clock and watch models, Braun designs all of its products with a markedly German attention to detail. This classic minimalist watch is no different, combining engineered precision, a simple yet effective look and stylishness into a graceful hole.
Grey is the color of choice for this model, and rather than seeming dull and cold it is, in fact, well-picked and kinda futuristic in appearance. The only thing that breaks the spell is its vividly yellow second hand, but that only gives the watch more character and doesn’t look out of place.
Its strap is a mesh of stainless steel, which seems to be a feature sleek men’s watches like this and the Skagen Ancher have in common. It is very durable, wear-resistant and keeps your wrist much cooler than a leather strap ever could.
Its quartz movement does a fine job of keeping time precisely. Telling it is also no problem as the handles and marks are very visible in spite of the black background. Protecting them is a lens of sapphire crystal you’ll have a hard time putting scratches onto.
All in all I was very pleased by what Braun had to offer with this watch. It is the perfect gift for a guy who knows the importance of keeping up a fashionable appearance. While you’re at it, treat yourself to one too!
6. Nixon Men’s ‘Porter’ Quartz Leather Watch – The King of American-made Simple Watches
So far I’ve been neglecting American manufacturers, but this definitely doesn’t mean that they don’t have exceptional minimalist watches in the running! Nixon, another young watch making company, has been winning customers over with radical designs and out-of-the-box thinking in their creative philosophy. With the Porter however, they clearly show how a minimalist approach can work wonders too.
Although there are models with bolder color options available, the all-natural look of this one sets it apart. The beauty of simple watches is that you can dress up or down without skipping a beat or taking the watch off. Nowhere did I have a greater impression of this than with the Porter – It goes as well with a pair of jeans and a bomber jacket as it does with dress pants and silk shirts.
Its unassuming look is probably the reason why – the natural contrast of untreated calfskin and clear, bright steel makes it hard to look away. The hour and minute marks are actually debossed, which is a unique touch none of the other watches had.
It’s good construction allows you to submerge the Porter in up to 50m of water, but as with any watch, it would be best not to put this to the test. Testing out the quality of its mineral crystal dial window will be far more likely, but it is that will pass with flying colors if not abused intentionally.
This is a watch you might one day pass on to your son – both its excellent make and a look that defies time will make sure of that. If you can bare to part with it that is!
7. Citizen Men’s Stainless Steel Bracelet Watch – The Japanese Approach to Minimalist Men’s Watches
From Europe and America we’re off to Japan to take a look at what Citizen, one of the biggest watch manufacturers on Earth have to offer to the world of minimalist men’s watches. After having worn their bracelet watch for a while, refined and cool charm comes to mind as its best description.
Its massive stainless steel bracelet speaks of power and influence. Where the hands, dial and crown are as simple as can be, the bracelet makes up for it with strong geometric shapes and rigid lines. It is absolutely one of the more visually striking watches in the guide and gets major bonus points for that.
As is customary for Japanese engineering excellence, its timekeeping capabilities are as impressive as its design. You can set the time and date, wind it up every couple of days and not worry about having to fiddle with the settings until it’s time to readjust it because of daylight savings.
Considering how well the watch works and the slew of compliments you’re bound to get once you start showing it off, adjustments you might not even need are a small price to pay. As a symbol of who you are and a finely-crafted precision instrument, this watch comes out right at the top.
8. South Lane Unisex Urbaner Alpha Watch – Breaking the Constraints of Minimal Watches
South Lane is a Swedish watch manufacturer you might not be familiar with, but whose avant-garde designs, even in the domain of minimalist watches, have won them a cult following in recent years. They aren’t afraid to turn convention on its head and produce some very interesting results in the process. The Urbaner Alpha certainly qualifies as one.
It looks and feels like a watch made for adventure. Its thin profile, light weight, and fun design will be best appreciated by friends you’re backpacking or painting the town red with. Youthfulness with a great helping of taste is what best describes it.
An interchangeable, brightly colored nylon strap is attached to its stainless steel case and will hold it snugly against your wrist. The watch face features an abstract design that reminds me of the night sky or a stormy sea, and definitely stands out from the overly conservative ones you’d come to expect, but in a positive way.
South Lane go against the grain, and do a mighty fine job of it. Unconventional design without compromising on the watch’s other qualities is its major selling point, and at less than a hundred bucks, making such a personal statement has never been more tempting.
9. KOMONO Unisex KOM-W2254 Winston Regal Series Watch – One of the Most Handsome Minimalist Watches
Komono is the youngest watch manufacturer whose model I’m reviewing, but given its quality you could never tell there wasn’t decades’ worth of tradition and experimentation behind it. They’ve been in business for only eight years now, enough to make an impact with their inspired early models. I’m happy to say that Komono’s stellar track record remains unbroken as the KOM-W2254 is another captivating addition to the Winston Regal series.
Hands down one of the prettiest minimalist watches in the guide, this beauty features a two-toned stainless steel case and bracelet, a rich brown-colored leather strap and a crown that’s been placed lower on the face at an angle, which is something I never knew I’d love until I saw it presented in this way. Putting their logo instead of the number 4 isn’t as flattering, but you get used to it quickly.
The golden sheen of its numbers and hands infuses it with a classical elegance. You can gift it to a friend for his graduation or to dad for his retirement and be spot on both times. It is somewhat formal, which doesn’t take away from its potential to make almost any outfit look better.
I’m sold on the Komono, without a doubt! For well under a hundred dollars you get the extended lifetime and amazing aesthetics of a much more expensive piece, and a symbol of great taste others are sure to take note of. What more do you need?
10. FES Watch – Morphing the Concept of Minimalistic Watches Beyond Your Imagination
I’ve been saving the most unusual watch for last, and boy is it a treat! It’s literally unlike any other product I’ve tested, and you’d have a hard time finding anything like it even outside of the scope of minimalistic watches.
Made by Sony, the FES watch is the brainchild of one of their employees who wanted to show how the technology of electronic paper can be used in a unique way. Although it takes advantage of some pretty sweet technology this is not a smart watch and telling time is the only thing it does, albeit in a new and unique way.
Its functionality, style and appeal are all determined by the e-paper – depending on the time of day, the mood you’re in and how much you want to drain its battery at any given time, the watch can morph into twenty different forms. All are variations on the contrast of light and dark, with different patterns along its strap. When telling the time, only its minute hand and the given hour can be seen, further adding to its outlandishness.
Although conventional wristwatches will probably remain symbols of taste and status for a long while, it will be interesting to observe how the FES watch and its descendants transform this landscape. It is a trailblazing piece of technology to be sure, and a welcome curio for collectors and tech geeks alike.
Minimalist Watch Buyer’s Guide
Before you go off and order your new watch, please take a moment to also read these guidelines to make sure you’ve taken every aspect of the purchase into account.
- Accuracy – automatic watches are becoming a widespread trend. The nifty way in which they keep from stopping has much to do with that, however, it also has the drawback of being inaccurate. An automatic can lag behind as much as half a minute after a week, so you’ll have to spend some of the time you save by not having to wind it on adjusting the time. For much greater precision at affordable prices, quartz still reigns supreme.
- Size – This aspect largely depends on your wrist’s build. You wouldn’t want to pair a 44mm watch with thin arms, nor a 36 mm one with muscular ones. Take note of how large the watch is before buying it, and try it on if possible before committing to the purchase.
- Watch Face Color – Even though the watch face is a major factor in expressing your distinct style, you should consider your wearing habits when choosing its color. Wearing your watch mostly during the daytime calls for lighter tones like white or tan. Dark gray and black are the best for watches worn in the evening. Everything in-between is fine for any time of the day, as long as the design itself isn’t tacky.
- Different Strap Materials – they have a large role to play in the watch’s overall appeal and an even greater one when your comfort is at stake. Leather and cloth straps are diverse but can stain after a while and start smelling bad as well. Rubber straps make your skin hotter and it sweats more because of them, so they aren’t suited for the summer. Metal bracelets or bands keep their appearance up the best, but shouldn’t be worn if your job requires you to work with electricity.