If there’s an industry that exemplifies society’s obsession with maximalism, it’s that of watches. The number of indications one can squeeze on a dial has almost become an accomplishment, as are the fancy patterns and an unearthly number of precious stones. These minimalist watches celebrate the opposite.
Free from unnecessary ornamentation, these minimalist watches portray the unadulterated beauty of time with as little as possible. Save for two hands, the occasional hour markers, or a strategically-placed window or two, they prove that sometimes pure simplicity can triumph in terms of form and function.
Well known for its dedication to the Bauhaus aesthetic, Nomos Glashütte celebrates 100 years of the now-famous school of art and design in Weimar, Germany with three limited edition timepieces in three sizes each.
Here, the original hand-wound version of the Nomos favourite receives a matte, slightly yellowed dial that’s inspired by sketch paper, the circumference of which is also ringed in one of three primary colours — each of utmost importance to the work of Bauhaus artists. The understated look is then completed with a pair of black hands and discreet markers, making for a elegantly casual watch that minimalists would appreciate.
As a brand that aims to do the most with as little as possible, Ochs und Junior has carved a name for itself with its extraordinarily minimal watches. Shunning any form of text or numerals on the dial, its Annual Calendar timepiece manages to convey the same amount of information with circles of dots instead.
The 31 dots around the edge of the dial indicate the date and can be read in reference to the hour markers, which admittedly takes a bit of getting used to. At the centre, a ring of 12 dots at the top indicates the month, while the ring of seven dots at the bottom represents the day of the week.
The best part? Each of these striking watches are customisable online to your preference.
Fans of Bauhaus, here’s another for the big centenary. Named after Max Bill, its namesake product designer who also studied at the prestigious school, the 38mm timepiece reflects the white walls, huge glass facades, and famous red balcony doors of the newer Dessau facility.
The 1,000-limited edition piece will also feature, for the first time, a peek of its internal workings via the caseback through an intriguing interpretation of the building’s architecture, while the strap is inspired by the Bauhaus’ stoic concrete construction.
H. Moser & Cie is by now used to making watches that stump the general public, but the Swiss Alp Watch Concept Black takes the fantasy to the next level. For one, the time can’t be read with your eyes.
Housed within a substantial platinum case, the glossiness of its black dial is unencumbered by any distractions save for a striking flying tourbillon at six o’clock — the only indication that this is, in fact, a watch. As a minute repeater, the watch sounds the hours and minutes on request with a crisp resonant chime, elevating the “less is more” ethos while making it the ultimate holy grail for those seeking a true minimalist watch.
Jonathan Ward might be well versed in the art of automobile design, but it seems he has branched out to a vastly different field. Here, he lends his good eye for design to another passion — watches — and they’ll unsurprisingly pay homage to vintage transportation.
Limited to 50 numbered pieces, Ward’s Deusey pays particular attention to the black dashboard of the Duesenberg SJ, which had mechanical digital displays that were futuristic for its time. The only visible displays on its black onyx dial reveal a jumping hour at 12, and a slow turning disk below for the minutes. Housed within a 42mm grade-2 titanium case, the watch is much lighter than it appears to be, and makes for a clean, slender alternative to other everyday watches on the market.