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 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

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Paulin Commuter A – Suede Edition

Back in 2014, Elizabeth Paulin and her sister Charlotte set out to bring the manufacture of affordable, high quality watches back to the British Isles. Their aim? For their watches to be as made in Britian as possible, with the final goal being that every part of the process is done here in Britain.

Paulin and their team of in-house designers conceive their creations in their Glasgow based workshop, a creative space that acts as an office, shop, studio and leather workshop. The materials are then sourced from quality manufacturers around the world before the parts are brought back and assembled in their Glasgow base.

Part of their debut offering, the Commuter series has since been expanded to include the elegant suede editions pictured above. The soft suede is sourced from a small manufacturer in Germany and is certified hypoallergenic. The Commuter features a Japanese Miyota quartz movement, flat sapphire glass and 316L grade stainless steel, PVD coated and finely brushed to give a satin/matte finish. An everyday watch perfect the year round.

£180 at Paulin

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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

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Optimef Farazece


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

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Void Watches

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

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Have you got a go to watch right now? Drop us a message below – we’d love to hear about it.

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Photos courtesy of the brands mentioned above.