You can’t go wrong with a minimalist watch. Understated in design and easy to wear with a range of looks, minimalist watches are versatile, fuss-free and guaranteed to look as good now as they will in ten years time. If you're looking to freshen up your watch collection with a classic timepiece that's elegantly understated, you've come to the right place. Scroll on for our pick of the best brands for men's minimalist watches in 2023. But first, a quick explainer...
What is a minimalist watch?
Minimalist watches live up to their name. With their pared back dials, simple straps and lack of extraneous aesthetic detailing, minimalist watches are favoured by those who prefer clean, uncluttered design.
Usually falling into the category of dress watches, minimalist watches do what watches were designed to do: tell the time. This means they lack any sophisticated complications like world timers or diving bezels, focusing only on what's necessary.
As such, they tend to pair well with similarly refined outfits - think a pared-back uniform of raw denim jeans, penny loafers and overshirt. Or use one to subtly elevate your business-casual look. The beauty of a minimalist watch is that it won't overpower the rest of your ensemble, but will complement it.
Best brands for minimalist watches
Solios is a watch company with a difference. It was founded upon the goal of challenging the status quo of an industry anchored in overconsumption. The brand's watches rely purely on solar power to function. Each timepiece incorporates a solar cell that can hold a power reserve of 6 months after sitting under the sun - or artificial light - for 2 hours. They charge as you go, so you never have to worry about charging or replacing batteries.
In keeping with Solios' thoughtful, sustainably-led design, the entire Solios range adheres to a minimalist aesthetic, to ensure you cherish your timepiece for many years. Choose from elegant mesh or vegan leather straps.
IOTA was founded by brothers and digital designers Ed and Will Allen, whose interest in GMT watches was sparked after many years spent travelling and changing time zones. When they couldn't find a timepiece that had the right degree of modern design and elegant style, they took matters into their own hands – and IOTA was born.
With a less-is-more approach, IOTA creates timeless, minimalist watches. Design influences range from Dieter Rams to Thomas Heatherwick. All watches are made in the Lugano region of southern Switzerland, showcasing the best of Swiss craftsmanship and engineering by using Swiss movements and adhering to 'Swiss Made' regulations.
NOMOS Glashütte embodies all that we admire about minimalist design. The German brand’s unique design aesthetic incorporates aspects of Bauhaus, which can be seen in the font choice and symmetrical aspects of its dials.
Each watch is made by hand in Germany, and features an in-house mechanical movement, developed and produced in the mountains in Glashütte, where NOMOS is based. Understated, sophisticated design ensures that a NOMOS timepiece looks great with whatever you choose to wear with it.
Monofore's distinctly minimalist aesthetic boils its watches down to the bare essentials. Its signature rectangular dials are stark, with subtly domed glass that's designed to eliminate shadows and create space. Even the Italian leather strap is stitch-free and super sleek.
The London-based brand was founded in 2019 and is already revolutionising the contemporary watch market with its perfectly pared-back timepieces that exude understated elegance. Team your Monofore watch with anything from jeans and a tee to tailored separates and loafers. Free of any extraneous aesthetic details or fussy look-at-me gimmicks, this is an accessory that doesn't need to shout to be heard.
VOID watches keep its designs understated and its prices surprisingly affordable, with the entire range under £500. Another Scandinavian brand with a focus on minimalism and pared back design, VOID produces simple time-only pieces with both leather and mesh bracelet options.
Alongside its more traditional round cases, VOID is known for its square watches the likes of its V01 and V02 models, which reference classic square designs of the ‘80s, while still maintaining a minimal edge.
Founded in Antwerp in 2009, forward-thinking accessories label KOMONO has garnered a reputation over the years for its meticulously-made and ultra-contemporary sunglasses and watches.
Choose from a wide array of minimalist watch styles. Some of our favourites include the Lewis Monochrome, an elegant timepiece with its strap, case, dial, back-case and buckle all in one single colourway; the functional yet fashionable Ray Solid, with its uniquely textured stainless steel strap; and the Mono Orbit, a super stripped-back watch with a matching translucent silicone strap, PC case and coloured acrylic glass.
Along with the previously mentioned NOMOS Glashütte, Junghans is a key player in the world of German watchmaking. Founded in 1861, the brand is today renowned for its longstanding tradition and pioneering innovations. Attention to detail is at the heart of Junghans, so you can expect expertly made timepieces that will stand the test of time.
Design varies across the different models, but many of Junghans' watches are characterised by a classic, minimalist aesthetic. Take the iconic Max Bill model, for example: its pared-back dial and sleek strap (available in leather or stainless steel) lends it a timeless elegance. It's a true piece of horological artistry that you'll cherish for years.