The Best Minimalist Watches for Real Watch Lovers

So, what’s the definition of a minimalist watch? Which brands offer genuinely high-quality timepieces with minimalistic designs? Which minimalist watch should you choose? If you want the answers to these questions, read this post!

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Best minimalist watch from Junghans Max Bill

Today’s modern watches tend to be on the larger side, with meticulously-crafted details on the case and intricate complications. However, sometimes all it takes is a simple, great-looking watch to complete your look and elevate your style. That’s where minimalist watches come in!

Minimalism is a massive trend right now, and it has slowly crept into the world of watches. More and more people want a simple yet elegant timepiece on their wrist over an ostentatious design.  

However, the problem with minimalist watches is that many fashion brands take advantage of the hype surrounding them and release subpar timepieces to target the general public. 

So, what’s the definition of a minimalist watch? Which brands offer genuinely high-quality timepieces with minimalistic designs? Which minimalist watch should you choose? If you want the answers to these questions, keep on reading!

What Is a Minimalist Watch?

Minimalism as a concept has been around as an art movement since the mid-20th century. In minimalism, the artist or designer reduces the subject to its necessary elements and focuses on function over form. 

An essential aspect in the history of minimalism was the Bauhaus art school, which was in operation from the late 1910s to the early 1930s. Bauhaus utilized geometric shapes and approached building designs with functionality in mind. This basically laid the foundation for minimalism as we know it today.

Minimalist design

Essentially, a minimalist watch sports a simple design and just tells the time. That’s it. No frills or additional complications (perhaps with the exception of a date window). Minimalist watches usually have clean lines and clutter-free dials. They often come in monochromatic palettes with the rare addition of color accents.

What to Look for in the Best Minimalist Watches?

If you want to get your hands on a minimalist watch for your collection, there are a few aspects you should know about. 


Since most people choose minimalist watches for their design, you need to ensure the timepiece you pick follows the particular traits of this design philosophy. Plus, you need to ensure that the watch fits your personal style. 

Most minimalist watches have a similar vibe, but a few details make each one ideal for a specific type of individual. For instance, if you mostly dress in formal attire, look for a dressier option with a special metal case and a classic design.

On the other hand, if you usually dress in casual clothes, a more contemporary design with a few color accents and a stainless steel case may be ideal.

Build Quality

While aesthetics are the primary concern regarding the best minimalist watches, you should always look for timepieces with excellent build quality. After all, what good is a stylish minimalist watch if it has a case full of scratches and dents?

A high-quality stainless steel case is a must if you don’t want to ruin your watch within the first few days. Almost all of the best minimalist watches come with high-grade materials, including sapphire glass. Ideally, you’ll also want a nice mechanical movement, but you can also go with a quartz option, especially if you won’t use it that often.


A lack of heritage and horological history is a great thorn in modern-day minimalist watches. Fashion brands with hardly any history in watchmaking purchase cheap watches in bulk, put their logo on them, and sell them under the premise that they’re “minimalist.”  

However, you can’t just have a simple and boring dial and call it minimalist. The minimalist watches that come from the best luxury watch brands have a lot of thought and details behind them. Still, most people aren’t aware of the shortcomings of fashion watches and end up overpaying for a brand’s logo on the dial.

The Best Minimalist Watches To Buy

If you’re in the market for a high-quality minimalist watch, these are your best options. There’s not a single low-quality fashion watch on our list!

Best Overall:  Rolex Oyster Perpetual

Rolex minimalist oyster perpetual

When you think of Rolex, minimalism isn’t a word that usually comes to mind. But, if you take a closer look, some Rolex watches borrow characteristics from minimalism. One great example is the Rolex Oyster Perpetual.

Rolex’s approach to the design of the Oyster Perpetual is both functional and appealing. Every element on the dial has a purpose, and the proportions of the hour indices make it easily legible, even at smaller sizes, without clutter.

The Oyster Perpetual has everything you need from a wristwatch without any lavish features. You get an overall great timepiece with Rolex’s excellent build quality and aesthetics. Not to mention the several different sizes it comes in to fit all wrists.

If you choose the black or white dial, it’ll be even more discreet and fit with all styles. But you can also pick one of the more colorful dial options if it suits you better.

Best Luxury: H.Moser & Cie. Streamliner Centre Seconds

 Luxury minimalist watch H.Moser & Cie. Streamliner Centre Seconds

The Streamliner Centre Seconds from H.Moser & Cie. is the epitome of minimalist watches. With a history of over 200 years, H.Moser & Cie. has reemerged at the forefront of Swiss luxury watch brands.

The design of this unique timepiece seems simple at first glance. However, you can marvel at all of its intricate details when you take a closer look. It even has a nickname, “the Green Dragon”, among watch enthusiasts for its Matrix Green fumé dial and bracelet design that resembles dragon scales.

The Centre Seconds variation of the Streamliner collection offers the bare minimum in terms of timekeeping, which aligns with the concept of minimalism. Still, other models within the collection come with high-end complications like a perpetual calendar, flyback chronograph, or a tourbillon movement.

Best Budget Option: Junghans Max Bill

Best budget minimalist watch Junghans Max Bill

Even for collectors with dozens of expensive timepieces, the Max Bill still represents the definitive watch when it comes to minimalistic design. Max Bill was a Swiss architect and designer that studied at the Bauhaus.

Junghans hired Max Bill to design wall clocks, including the famous teardrop-shaped “Kitchen Clock with Timer”. These clock designs inspired the first Junghans Max Bill wristwatches that embody the essence of minimalism.

Thanks to its affordable price, the Junghans Max Bill is a great gateway into the world of minimalist watches for men and women since there are many sizes and designs to choose from. What’s more, it has much more of a legacy than many other affordable minimalist watches.

Best for Men: Vacheron Constantin Patrimony

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony minimalist watch for men

Attribution: Charles J Sharp

Vacheron Constantin has always produced some of the best classic-looking dress watches in the market. One such timepiece that also draws heavy inspiration from minimalism is the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony.

The watch is very slim and elegant with an 18K white gold case and a dial that’s as simple as it gets with just an hour and minute hand. But other references also feature a running seconds hand and even a discrete date window at the 6 o'clock mark.

The Patrimony is one of the best minimalist watches for men and can accompany you on any formal occasion. With its 40 mm diameter, it ensures a noticeable presence on your wrist without being too bulky. However, if you have a smaller wrist, there are smaller sizes, including a 36 mm variation. 

Best for Women: Patek Philippe Calatrava

Minimalist watch for women Patek Philippe Calatrava

This list wouldn’t be complete without a Patek Philippe. As one of the most iconic Swiss watch brands, Patek is known for its timeless designs and attention to every single detail. Therefore, it’s no surprise that one of the best minimalist watches for women is the Patek Philippe Calatrava.

The ladies' version of Calatrava captures the spirit of minimalism with the addition of a few hints of elegance. While the dial remains simple, it features Breguet numerals for some additional flair. There’s also an option with needle-shaped hands and hour indices if you prefer.

The watch case is rose gold, and there are options with diamonds on the bezel if you want something flashier. At approximately 35 mm in diameter, it should fit the majority of women’s wrists. However, if you have a larger wrist, there are unisex options at 39 mm.

Best Vintage-Inspired: Glashütte Original Sixties

Best Vintage-Inspired Minimalist Watch: Glashütte Original Sixties

Since minimalism thrived during the 1960s, the Glashütte Original Sixties is a true modern representation of the era. The German brand managed to incorporate all the vintage elements characteristic of the 60s while maintaining a minimalistic design.

The watch has an old-school feel thanks to its domed sapphire crystal and vintage numerals on the three, six, nine, and twelve-hour markers. The beautiful alligator strap also adds to its vintage character.

The simplicity of the watch dial, along with the few different dial options, ensures that you’ll get one of the best minimalist watches with vintage inspirations that’ll suit your style.

The World Of Minimalist Watches Awaits

Even though minimalism seems like a modern trend that will eventually disappear, it actually has some history behind it! If you choose the right minimalist watch, with a classic design and quality build, you’ll be able to wear it for many years without it seeming out of place. After all, most luxury watch brands are very meticulous in producing timepieces that will last a lifetime. 

As you may have noticed, we don’t compromise on quality when it comes to our watches. Trendy but poorly made fast-fashion watches are not up to our standard, and they should be up to your standard, either. 

closeup of minimalist watch roll details

It’s this dedication and attention to detail that drives us at Operandi Firenze. It’s why we’ve put out the best watch rolls on the market.

Our team sources the best Italian leather and ensures the reliability of each watch roll through several rigorous tests. Our simple, elegant designs are a perfect fit for minimalist watches, so consider purchasing one of our premium watch rolls to protect your collection. 

So, get out there, discover the world of minimalist watches, and don’t forget to keep an eye on the time!