Minimalist watches have simple designs that are stripped back from other kinds you might see. Typically they have monochromatic designs, offering basic numbers. Sometimes you’ll only get hour markers and no complications or rotating bezels.
Minimalist watches were developed to tell the time, naturally, but now they’re more of a fashion statement than a practical item. And why not? Watches add character to any outfit.
Versatility is a desirable characteristic, making a minimalist watch all the more alluring. The best minimalist watches are simple, yes, but you should also be able to read them at a glance. We’ve put together a list of the 13 best minimalist watches for men to give you a flavour of what’s on the market in 2022.
Do you need a watch in 2022?
“Why do I need a wristwatch? I own a smartphone!” you may say. To be honest, I couldn’t agree with you more. When everything you could need on the go is stuffed into a little smart gadget, there’s no need for a clock tied to your wrist. A stylish timepiece, on the other hand, is unavoidable if you want to make a striking fashion statement. That doesn’t mean you have to go for a Rolex with a lot of gold and diamonds. We believe that less is more, and this is particularly true when it comes to wristwatches.
Jorn Minimalistic Stainless Steel Quartz
Skagen deserves the top spot on this list because they define sleek minimalism. This Danish brand offers playful but simple designs. The Jorn is minimal but chic.
It has a 41mm stainless steel case with a 22mm genuine leather band, which is interchangeable, but the mechanism is proprietary, so you can only swap it with other Skagen bands.
The dial has nothing but minute and hour hands and hour and minute markers. There is a chronograph version if you’d like the subdials.
It comes in a variety of colours with different shades of leather with contrasting dials.
The best thing is, this watch is under $100.
- Read more about Skagen here.
The Sometimes watch is a one-of-a-kind timepiece. The all-black design is only broken up by three contrasting white hands, one of which, the second hand, moves independently, giving the impression of being out of sync.
For further durability, the watch is made of black IP Stainless Steel and has a high-quality Quartz Movement. The wrist band just slides through hooks on the case back, making it simple to swap out the black leather or Kevlar band for another colour. Project Watches sells this incredible timepiece.
This offering from Timex is a great example of a minimalist style. The Timex Easy Reader has a 40mm lead brass case with a white dial hosting full Arabic numerals. Protecting this is a crystal window. Inside is a Quartz movement with an analogue display that offers a style suitable to just about anyone.
A handy feature is that it’s 50m water-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about it in the rain or if it gets splashed.
You’ll find this watch for around $80.
- Find out more about Timex here.
Max Bill Quartz
Junghans is a German brand boasting simple style, never more present than here in the Max Bill Quartz.
This model has a 38mm stainless steel case with a supple calfskin leather strap. Protecting the face (which has a fixed bezel) is a Plexiglass convex window protected with a Sircalan coating. Altogether, this watch is water-resistant to 30m, which is perfect for things like splashes.
The face itself has a surprising amount of information for such a clean design. It has a minute, hour and second hand and calendar window at the 3 position. You get both hour numerals and minutes in 15-minute increments.
Not so much minimal as subtle.
This is a more expensive option at around $490.
- If you prefer a waterproof watch then check some out here.
Grande Heure Onyx
The history of the Swiss firm Jaquet Droz can be traced all the way back to the 18th century when creator Pierre Jaquet-Droz climbed fast through the ranks of a master artisan, stunning monarchs and emperors all over the globe with his incredible mechanics.
His legacy continues on in some of the greatest Swiss-made timepieces available today. Aside from a high-grade self-winding mechanical movement with a 68-hour power reserve, the Grande Heure Onyx has a unique watch face that covers the full 24 hours of the day. Has a black onyx style, covering a 43 mm diameter.
Art Blakey Limited Edition
A Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for American jazz drummer and bandleader Art Blakey inspired the creation of the Oris Art Blakey Limited Edition. The case back is shaped like a cymbal and the dial is adorned with the eight claws from Art’s bass drum. Oris has had a great year in terms of new models, but this one is sure a crowd-pleaser.
Classic St Mawes
Daniel Wellington is known for its classic British vintage style. The Classic St Mawes is no different.
This model comes with either a 36mm or 40mm case and a genuine Italian leather band. The band offers the perfect complement to the silver hands or rose gold if you’re into it.
The dial is, of course, simple and the beauty of this is that it will never age with an eggwhite colour that is quintessential to the DW style. Don’t forget the famous backward DW logo at the 12 position. No numbers, just hour and minute markers.
A very reasonable price tag, around $150 for a timeless classic.
- Read more about Daniel Wellington watches here.
Mondaine steps in with their version of a minimalist watch. Though don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s not attention-grabbing!
This Swedish brand calls this watch “straightforward”, but the closer you look, the more you realise the brilliant attention to detail.
It has a 36mm stainless steel case with artificial leather 18mm strap. The dial is protected by sapphire crystal. Also, it’s water-resistant to 30m.
It comes in all sorts of bold colour combinations or the more subtle black strap with a white face, which offers a red second hand, thick black minute and hour hands and heavy hour markers with smaller minute markers between them: no date window, just the Mondaine logo.
A perfect unisex look for just under $200.
- Check out some other great Swedish watch brands here.
When it comes to function, Seiko may be the best value on the market. To put it mildly, the Seiko Dolce isn’t your typical Seiko timepiece. Even if they were to drop a considerable number of 33.5-mm dress watches in the future, Seiko definitely wouldn’t need to because this one is already available.
Simplicity is key, and the JDM model from Japanese manufacturers not only delivers but goes above and above. With a battery life of three years and an accuracy rate of +/- 10 seconds per year, the 8J41 movement within is responsible for the watch’s precision.
Braun has a wide range of slim, minimalist watches, so you should check out their collections if you like the look of the BN0211.
This watch has a gorgeous textured appearance, thanks to the stainless steel mesh strap and smooth stainless steel 38mm case. For added benefit, this watch is waterproof to 30m.
The black dial has an off-white minute and hour hands, matching minute markers and a striking yellow second hand. Again, no numbers or date windows, just the Braun logo at the 12 position. Clear and functional. Another superb unisex look.
Slightly cheaper than the Mondaine at just under $185.
- Have a look at some of the best budget watch brands here.
By now, you’re getting the idea that minimal doesn’t mean basic. The Nordgreen Philosopher, which Jakob Wagner designed, is a stainless steel watch with a silver dial set on a leather strap. Though if this is too classic, there are other colours of leather and gold, rose gold or silver cases. Or, you might choose a rose gold or silver stainless steel mesh strap and matching case. You guessed it; they’re interchangeable so that you can pick your style for the day.
Inside is a Quartz movement, and the whole thing has water resistance up to 30m.
The coolest part of the design is its elevated case which offers layers to the face. You can get a tiny date window (at the 3 position), a thin second hand and black (or gold, silver, rose gold) minute and hour hands. Though there are no numbers, you can clearly read the minute and hour markers on a white face.
You’ll find this for just under $210.
- Aragon watches are another unique style, have a look at them here.
Rolex Oyster was presented to Mercedes Gleitze in 1927 when she attempted to swim across the English Channel with the watch around her neck. She failed, but it was a big success for Rolex since the casing was completely watertight, making it the world’s first “waterproof” timepiece.
In spite of the fact that this phrase is no longer used in watchmaking, the effort set the path for future inventions from Rolex with the Oyster case being the backbone of their cases for years to come, The Oyster 114300 is one of Rolex’s greatest contemporary watches, although the brand has become more about prestige than timepieces in the current day. It has a simple, stylish design that avoids the characteristic flare of new Rolex watches.
I forgot to note that this is also the most affordable line that the company has to offer right now!
Men’s Fashion Minimalist Wrist Watch
Burei has made a budget-friendly minimalist watch that is absolutely stunning.
This elegant watch has a 41mm stainless steel case with a matching 20mm mesh band. It comes in a host of colour options, but the most striking is the all-black version.
The analogue display is so easy to read, and the white date window adds just the right amount of contrast and being functional.
Though the watch is water-resistant, we’re unsure of the rating, which would suggest this is best kept well away from the shower or swimming. Most likely, it’ll resist sweat and splashes.
You will never believe that this watch costs under $30 if you put it against the more expensive options on this list.
- Have a look at some great fashion watch brands here.
Does what it says on the tin! Fossil has crafted this minimal watch to perfection.
Though it comes in a host of colours and materials, the most striking is the tan leather strap and deep blue dial. On the face are gold hands with luminous accents and a slender golden second hand.
It has an analogue display with a distinctive 12 marker. Around the dial are minute markers with numbers in increments of 5 minutes. No date window.
If, however, you disagree with our favourite colour combination, the straps are interchangeable, so you could opt for the white dial and purchase a selection of straps to change your look.
A handy feature is that it’s water-resistant to 50m, which is great if you hop in the shower and forget to remove it.
This watch will cost just under $120.
As early as 1927, Stowa started producing mechanical timepieces. They are most known for their affordable Flieger watches, but they were also one of the original five companies that created watches for the German Air Force during World War II.
The Antea line is one of the better instances of this, although they are also responsible for the development of other well-designed items in their portfolio. The dial of the Antea 1919 has a matte white background with prominent black indices. The hour markers and the dial’s black stick-style hands go well together. You can choose from a variety of movements and dial designs when ordering from Stowa, in addition to the standard features.
This is another standout design with its gunmetal dial and leather strap.
Though, again, if you’re not into the dark and smouldering look, there are many different colour and material options. The case is 40mm with 20mm straps.
What’s worth noting about why the A1058 is on the list of best minimalist watches is not just the design but the functionality. It houses a Japanese Quartz movement, known for accuracy. The analogue display is simple and, therefore, immediately easy to read. It’s also water-resistant to 50m.
Rado is one of the most underappreciated Swiss brands, even though it is part of the Swatch Group, which has a massive brand structure. You may see some vintage-inspired works in Rado’s archives recently but to get a sense of what they do best, you need to check at their ceramics work.
With its unusual style, the True automatic may be worn in both formal and casual circumstances. It’s hard to find a ceramic item in this price range that also has an 80-hour battery life, so this is a unique purchase opportunity.
Casio is so famous that their watches are instantly recognisable. You know you’re getting a watch you can trust, too.
This men’s Quartz resin watch is casual, comfortable and well-built. It has a black resin bezel with a link bracelet to match. The case is only 35mm and the band 15mm. Handily, this watch is also water-resistant to 30m.
The white face has strong black hands, and we finally have an option with Arabic numerals and hour and minute markers.
Casio is not only reliable but budget-friendly. This watch will cost you around $15.
We thought we’d slip this similar version onto the list because we really cannot recommend Casio enough.
A totally different design here. Black and gold will never go out of style, and here we have gold accents on a black dial. The 35mm case is stainless steel, sat on a matte black silicone band. Inside is a Quartz movement, and it offers some level of water resistance, though not enough to swim or shower.
We think this is a great everyday option and at less than $15, are you going to argue?
- Find out more about the G-SHOCK range from Casio here.
There has never been anything quite like this in the history of watchmaking. There will always be supporters and sceptics of anything this avant-garde, but no matter which side of the fence you sit on, everyone can agree that this work deserves praise for what it accomplished.
Once upon a time, it held the record for the thinnest automatic movement, but its Octo Finissimo Tourbillon counterpart, at 1.95 mm, has since taken that title away from it.
In addition to being ultra-light and thin, this watch is constructed of titanium, which means that it is both durable and very comfortable to wear. With a power reserve of 60 hours and a frequency of 21,6000 vph, this watch’s movement is rather outstanding for a 2.35 mm thick item.
Men’s Stainless Steel Quartz Watch
Finally, we get to Lacoste, which is identifiable by its trademark crocodile logo, which you’ll find at the 3 position on this timepiece.
This is a two-tone stainless steel watch with a silver mesh bracelet and rose gold face. This is actually a slim watch, too, at only 6mm thick. The face is protected by a mineral crystal, which will resist scratches. Also, it’s water-resistant to 30m.
It has a Quartz movement and analog display.
This is a great office watch to go with smart-casual outfits.
If you like a recognisable brand name without a hefty price tag, this is just over $100.
- If you’re interested in the various watch glass used, find out more here.
If you’ve enjoyed this list of the best minimalist watches, you should definitely check out our article on ultra-thin watches. The two kinds of the timepiece have a very similar aesthetic, and we’re confident you’ll find something you’ll absolutely love.
- Check out our article of ultra-thin watches here.
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