For a tool that serves a single purpose watches can vary pretty widely. You can get everything from a diving watch – ideal for keeping track of your trips beneath the surface of the ocean – to something like a GMT watch – that keeps time in multiple time zones. Sometimes, though, having something simple, tried, and true strapped to your wrist is the best way to go.
That is why so many folks love having a more minimalist watch in their quiver. These timepieces don’t scream for attention, try and make some aggressive statement about the wealth or status of the wearer, or boast wild functionality. For the most part they consist of a simple un-busy face; slim hour, minute, and second hands; and subtle straps. Whether you are looking for a watch for daily wear or something to match with a more summer-ready sporting outfit like a t-shirt and a pair of shorts, this list of best minimalist watches for men is sure not to disappoint.
This watch from Timex features a substantial 41mm round silver-tone case with a numberless face and slim hands. Powered by a Quartz movement, it keeps time consistently, and features Timex’s famous INDIGLO for easy reading even in the dark. Depending on the style of watch, you can get one with lighter a NATO slip-thru or genuine leather strap. While this simple-as-can-be watch won’t turn any watch-nerd heads, it is sharp looking and dependable enough to wear with just about any getup.
Komono Winston Mirror
This minimalist watch from the young Belgium company run by Raf Maes and Anton Janssens has a stark and cold look to it. With a reflective face that blends in to its 41mm case, it is ideal for a more formal outfit. And thanks to the Japanese Quartz movement, the slim minute, second, and hour hands keep consistent time while traveling across the numberless face. All things said, this is solid straight-forward watch ideal for the guy looking to keep it simple.
Braun Gents BN0211
Braun’s line of timepieces got their start way back in 1971 when the company teamed up with industrial designers Dieter Rams and Dietrich Lubs. The two applied their “Less is more” Bauhaus design philosophy, making it so every portion of their alarm clocks and watches had a functional purpose. This watch retains the same core values of those original timepieces with its simple look, easy to read second hand, and slim stainless steel face. To top it all off, it also features a sharp milanese stainless steel watch strap.
MVMT All Black
You’ll be hard pressed to find a watch maker that markets themselves harder towards the minimalist watch shopper than MVMT. This young company has made their brand by producing sharp watches with incredibly pared down faces. This Chronometer is no different. Featuring a large 45mm case, date window, and 6 gunmetal grey hands – this blacked out beauty is one of the few chronometers that can really qualify as ‘minimal’. Just don’t expect to read the time well at night.
SKAGEN Klassik Three Handed Date
While some companies look to escape their heritage and try and forge a new path, others fully embrace it. Skagen chose the latter. The watches from this Danish company all embody the country’s famous approach to design. Take their Klassik, for example. With a 40mm face featuring slim Arabic numerals and a circular date window all tucked into a stainless steel case – it stands out as both handsome and refined. A solid pick to be sure.
Original Grain Minimalist
Founded back in 2013 by a couple of brothers, Original Grain has blazed the trail for making handsome and functional wooden watches. It should come as no surprise then, that the brand’s minimalist watch boasts the thinnest wood bezel ever cut. This wooden ring sits around the outside of a slim 40mm stainless steel case which itself holds a Japanese Miyota Citizen Quartz movement and a black sunburst face without any numerals. A unique and refined pick.
Daniel Wellington Reading
Surprisingly thin and incredibly pared down, Daniel Wellington’s Reading watch is good for strapping on for anything from weekend wear to more formal events. Its slim hands and simple face make it an understated yet elegant pick, while its reliable Japanese Quartz movement will keep accurate time so you’ll never have to worry about losing track of your day.
Rossling & Co Classic Stirling
Less is more has never been more evident than when looking at this minimalist wristwatch from Rossling & Co. Set in a 40mm stainless steel case, this Swiss Quartz watch features a simple white face with stainless steel notches in place of numerals. What really stands out, however, are the striking blue hands and subdial. The two, combined with the unique tweed strap, make it a striking and fun piece for all kinds of wear.
Featuring Arabic numerals that feel equal parts mid-century modern and art-deco inspired, this watch from the California based watch maker is a design-forward pick to be sure. With a Swiss quartz Ronda 513.1 movement, a hardened mineral crystal, and a leather band, no one part of it is stand out or exactly unique, but when put together the sum of the whole is far greater than its constituent parts.
Brathwait Classic Slim Wrist
Featuring a domed sapphire glass with anti reflective coating, a stainless steel case made from AISI 316l, and a trio of sharp, angular hands traveling across its white face – this watch from Brathwait is just about as attractive as they come. The absence of numerals on it provides for a more pared down look, while the blood red minute hand serves as a kind of exclamation point, drawing attention to this otherwise understated and minimalist watch.
TID Watches No.1
For a watch with a black case and face, the No.1 from TID Watches sure does feel like it has a lot of character. The stainless steel 40mm case was given a black ion coating that imparts the watch with a decidedly masculine matte look. The hour and minute hands have a fun rounded look to them, while the second hand features a little circle at its end that hovers above each of the sixty dots along the watches face. As if that wasn’t enough, the wristband included with the watch was made from a high quality vegetable tanned leather.
While a lot of minimalist watches will eschew numerals in favor of check marks around the dial, INSTRMNT’s 02-A embraces them to great effect. Each single Arabic numeral features a 0 in front of it, giving the 35mm watch an almost scientific look. Outside of just the sharply designed face, the inclusion of a tan leather strap and domed crystal add a degree of sophistication to this watch that make it almost irresistible.
Usually with minimalist wristwatches you’re going to find a lot less “stuff” all over the dial. Fewer if any numbers, no subdials, and likely no date window. Tsovet, however, managed to fit all of these items into their JPT-CC38 Chronograph while still retaining a pared down and simple feel. The stainless steel case measures in at 38mm and boasts a blind-stitched leather band from Italy.
Kitmen Keung LD 1.0
If you are looking to get a little weird, this wristwatch from Kitmen Keung is for you. With a case measuring in at 39mm and featuring an off-white brass face with two sub-dials, one grey andone aluminum, it certainly doesn’t look like anything else we’ve seen. The lugs on the exterior of the case (which measures in at a surprisingly thin 7.3mm in depth) hold a high quality leather strap sourced from Argentina, adding a nice understated note to an already impressive watch.
When you’re working with less, the few things you do include end up making more of a statement. Miansai’s M12 watch is the perfect example of this. The simple placement of the crown on the bottom half of the 39mm stainless steel case adds a kind of unique and fun look to the watch. This simple change wouldn’t have had the same effect without the use of the black face, small white Arabic numerals upon the facade, and a thin white minute and hour hand.
Throne Masses 1.0
When you look at something like a minimalist wristwatch, it can be easy to think that the thing was simple to build. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Throne Watches’ 1.0, for instance, was designed one painstaking detail at a time. From the simple aluminum on white face to the crown, use of numerals, and sub-dial, every part of this watch is intentional and brilliantly made by the Brooklyn based team.
Mondaine Helvetica No1 Bold
This black watch with NATO strap boasts just three simple Arabic numerals along the face that are, as the title suggests, in Helvetica font. The minute and hour hand on the watch are simple and straightforward, with no points or rounding at the tips – while the second hand stands in contrast to those two with its comparative black coating.
Hamilton American Classic Intra-Matic
This 42mm case machined from stainless steel features an open case back revealing an automatic movement. The front side of the watch boasts a domed sapphire crystal that sits above a sunburst dial with a date window, and has marks in place of numerals. All things said this watch is a truly stand out piece for the guy looking for a minimalist automatic watch.
A watch doesn’t have to be subdued in order to be considered ‘minimal’. Mertenero’s Ascent is the perfect example of that. The watch’s hour, minute, and second hands travel across the lively but pared down face powered by an automatic Miyota 9015 movement. Depending on preference you can get this watch in either 42 or 38mm measurements – both of which come with a hand stitched genuine leather strap made right here in the U.S.
Uniform Wares M40
More than anything else, Uniform Wares founders Oliver Fowles and Patrick Beck were inspired by the simple look of British electric wall clocks and mid-century design more generally. This watch of theirs embodies both of those traits. The simple, clean face of the watch, the slim and intentional look of the indexing hands, and the rose-gold plated stainless steel case and second hand all come together to create something both regal and decidedly understated.
Junghans Max Bill
This watch from Junghans features an imported automatic German movement, a 38mm case, a water resistance of up to 100 feet, and a stand out milanese band. The mineral glass covers a clean, off-white face opting for simple lines instead of numerals, and a date window. For reading the watch when it is dark out, the minute and hour hands on the watch have a luminous treatment.
Nomos Glashutte Ahoi Datum Signalblau
Described aptly as having a ‘siren blue’ face, this watch has a striking look to it that has little to do with ornamentation. Its unique color draws one in, while the minor details keep you looking. The tall and thin Arabic numerals along the face, the red-handed subdial, and the pointed minute and hour hands all have a beatiful and refined look to them. Of course, what will really get watch lovers excited about this timepiece is its automatic movement. The DUW 50 has been praised for its winding performance and consistent timekeeping.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39
When you think Rolex, the word ‘minimal’ usually doesn’t come to mind. Yet, the brand does indeed have models other than their Sea-Dweller, Daytona, and Yacht Master. Their Oyster Perpetual has a clean dark rhodium dial, featuring hour markers made from 18 carat gold, and a trio of indexing hands that are understated yet beautiful. To top all of these clean design elements off, the watch features a stand-out 3132 movement both developed and manufactured in-house by Rolex.
Ochs and Junior
If a high quality minimalist watch is what you are looking for, but you aren’t quite so interested in getting something that your grandfather would’ve worn – the ox blue watch from Ochs and Junior is well worth a look. This watch boasts a 42mm case made from titanium, Super-LumiNova indexing minute and hour hands, and an incredibly unique orange date dot that travels across the face of the watch as the days tick on.
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