5 minimalist watches that you should know

by Rick Smee


July 05. 2017 - by Rick Smee

If there's one style of timepiece that appeals to watch lovers the world over it is that of the minimalist wristwatch, a watch whose allure is one of extraordinary simplicity. It has become apparent in the last few months, especially following Baselworld 2017, that minimalistic watches are making an impact on the watch market. Here, we have selected the top 5 luxury watches with an understated aesthetic that you should know about.

Reduction to the essentials – what makes a minimalistic watch?

A minimalist aesthetic is one of pared down style avoiding the superfluous. Such timepieces are as relevant today as they were 30 years ago. Thus, it has become quite clear that the demand for this type of watch will not dim over the coming decades. If one tries to pinpoint what makes a watch timeless, it quickly becomes apparent that a design with a minimum of fuss seems to be deciding factor - without artifice or extravagance, because minimalism strives for objectivity and schematic clarity. The same phenomenon can also be observed in cars: the more elaborate a vehicle is, the quicker it no longer seems in tune with the zeitgeist. Conversely, a car of refined simplicity having few or little in the way of gadgetry will stand the test of time.

Minimalist watches: the perfect choice?

Against this backdrop, there are several reasons for choosing a minimalistic watch. In a such a watch, there is a simplicity, a symmetry and a striving for perfection that is an intrinsic part of its charm. As an investment, a minimalist watch will retain its value and yet still be considered relevant after several years or even decades. Virtually all renowned manufacturers - be it Rolex, Omega, IWC or Patek Philippe - have a range of minimalistic luxury watches in the portfolio that will last generations.

Below, we have compiled a selection of our favourite minimalist watches that you should know:

1. Junghans Max Bill

Founded in 1861, the German watchmaker Junghans, quickly developed into one of the most compelling success stories in the history of the German watch industry.  Of all the timepieces in its multifaceted brand portfolio, this watch epitomises the minimalistic aesthetic, a true classic: The Max Bill

The architect and artist Max Bill designed the watch in 1961 - in time for Junghans 100th anniversary. The simple Bauhaus style is characterised by functionality, practicality and a clear design. Since then, this watch has been the most popular timepiece for the company and remains practically unchanged even to this day.

Thanks to its minimalist design, the watch with reference 027 / 4003.44 is as up-to-date today as it was more than 50 years ago.The chronograph features a 40-millimetre stainless steel case and a Milanaise bracelet that underlines the understatement of the watch.


2. Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic

In reissuing this classic watch from 1958, Jaeger-LeCoultre has built an impressive dress watch. Thanks to its simplicity and the stylish employment of Arabic numerals, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic has the makings of a classic watch. The movement has been completely developed by Jaeger-LeCoultre in Le Sentier in Switzerland. The highlight of geophysics is the True Second complication, by which the second-hand moves in the same manner as a timepiece operated by a battery, moving from one index to the next, instead of moving continuously over the dial, as is usual with mechanical watches. This luxury watch with the reference 8018420 is equipped with a 39 mm-sized case with a visible back and a leather strap.


3. Breitling Transocean

In stark contrast to the other more distinctive Breitling models, the Transocean is subtly reserved and features a tasteful vintage design in the aviator style. There is little doubt the Transocean belongs to the Breitling stable of watches, at first glance though, one could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. The giveaway, the golden Breitling logo on the dial revealing the true origin of this watch. The Heritage Watch, 43 millimetres in size, has a day-date function and - thanks to the Milanaise armnand - can also be worn more elegantly.


5. A. Lange & Söhne 1815

A classic timepiece of the great Glashütte manufacture, ‘The 1815', named in honour of the year of birth of the founder, F.A Lange, who almost singlehandedly founded the German watchmaking brand. The 1815 series with reference 206.021 was designed in a simple and classic way: the 1815 has Arabic numerals and an extremely stylish "Chemin-de-fer" miniature. The aesthetic is pure Lange, the watch itself is a true work of art. The yellow-gold case measures 38.5 millimetres and is thus perfectly dimensioned for today's dress-watch conditions. If you are looking for a watch for eternity (or longer), you will be guaranteed the right choice with A. Lange & Söhne.


4. IWC Portofino

If you are looking to purchase one of the most elegant dress watches around, you'd be hard-pressed to find better than the IWC Portofino, Reference IW516201. Few watches have such a perfect design as the watch Schaffhausen. The Portofino features harmonious lines with a dial that is as simple as it is elegant. The reference IW516201 is equipped with a gear reserve display and a co-ordinated day-date complication. Thanks to a case diameter of 45mm this watch is both elegant and masculine. A sapphire glass back also provides a glimpse of the 59220 manufactory caliber with an impressive eight-day power reserve.

Rick Smee

by Rick Smee

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