This Season’s Minimal Watch Picks
The humble wristwatch has come a long way from the ‘portable clocks’ of the 18th century. In a recent interview* with Utility Design, Matthew Pike of Bucketsandspadesblog.com said that the watch is “one of the most constantly used and reliable items” in his everyday life, whilst Asos Insider Oliver Hooson remarked that “a watch when wearing the right one, is the piece in your outfit that never changes – it is the most consistent detail that identifies you daily“.
If you have a penchant for a minimal style and your wardrobe consists of carefully selected basics then you may want to steer away from the fancy smart watches, GMT displays and chronographs on the market today. Selecting a simple, stripped back watch allows for maximum versatility and there are some brilliantly designed, affordable watches available right now. Here are our top 5.
* You can read the entire conversation here at Utility
Instrmnt 02 Series
Instrmnt is a Glasgow based, multi-disciplinary team with a single objective: to create minimalist, high quality goods that are accessible to all. As a company, Instrmnt value the process and design primarily with the user in mind. The 02 series is similar in aesthetic to the now iconic 01 watch but features eagerly awaited refinements to both the interior and exterior components of the timepiece. A newly engineered slimline 1063 Swiss movement is now housed in a slimmer, lugless 35mm steel casing.
The androgynous nature of the watch’s size and style results in a beautifully simple and versatile unisex offering that lends itself perfectly to a multitude of uses. As Leo Lei of Design Milk put it, the 02 is “subtle enough to be your everyday go-to, clean enough to be worn out at the weekend, and lean enough to slip under a smart shirt or a chic blouse“.
Shop 02 Series watches online for £180 at Instrmnt
Uniform Wares M40
Uniform Wares range of contemporary timepieces are defined by their premium design and construction rather than branding or embellishment. Founded in 2009 with the goal of creating a highly considered, new breed of premium contemporary timepieces. Their watches are designed an developed in their London studio while the parts are manufactured by select international partners who share the company’s devotion to detail.
The M40 PreciDrive date watch in PVD rose gold with grey nitrile rubber strap is a refined, Swiss made watch with a clean and understated aethetic, perfect for a touch of minimalist sophistication.
£400 at Uniform Wares
Mill Project Nelson Series
Mill project was born from a creative drive to produce a wristwatch that adhered to an honest design philosophy. 4 years on Mill Project are releasing their very first collection – the Nelson Series. With production based between Berlin and Edinburgh, Mill Project aim to provide people who share their love of detail with honest and simple design that they feel is true to them.
MANimalist caught up with the guys behind Mill Project who had this to say – “The Nelson watch is an evolution of product design that we love. Although minimal in form, it was important for us to focus on the functionality and tradition that we believe a modern timepiece should have“.
£180 at Mill Project
Taking their name from Romania’s first watch manufacturer, Optimef aim to revive a once thriving Romanian watch industry. Decribed as a rebirth of the original company, the watches feature bold primary colours and simple graphics, while maintaining a clean minimal aesthetic.
“We took the functionality of 60s modernism and combined it with the playfulness of the 70s and 80s. We aim to create designs that inspire a melange of clean minimalism and Memphis Group-like quirkiness” said founders Andrei Morariu and Bogdan Costea .
Most interestingly perhaps is the unconventional way in which the time is displayed. The watch is named Fărăzece after the way in which Romanians tell the time. 12 o’clock is marked with a zero, counts past the hour in 5 miniute increments until 30 minutes past, at which point it counts forwards in 5 minute increments. The presumption being that when you ask for the time, you already know the hour, but want to know the exact minutes.
£125 at Optimef.com
Void may be based in Hong Kong but their design philosophy is recognizably rooted in their Swedish heritage. Opting to use simple shapes and a careful choice the most suitable materials, Void place huge importance on simplicity and adhere to the modernistic principle of ‘form follows function’.
The super slim PKG01 watch features a quintessentially minimal aesthetic. The 7mm deep stainless steel case is brushed on the side and polished on top. It houses a Japanese made Miyota GM10 movement, making it built to last. A clean white dial and striking red detail on the second hand completes this beautifully designed timepiece.
£150 at Void Watches
Have you got a go to watch right now? Drop us a message below – we’d love to hear about it.
Photos courtesy of the brands mentioned above.