The concept of minimalism has become an attractive idea in our modern world of excess. The term has elevated to a point where it embodies a lifestyle where one draws a bold line on what is deemed necessary. Yet with the rise in adoption of anything, the term starts to get thrown around loosely. In the case of being minimalist, we have often seen the word be used to describe the absence of thought just as much as we see it being used in a more proper sense. One of the areas where this idea is best exemplified is through the world of industrial design and watches. Watches, despite not being the same level of necessary tools as they once were, are objects that still have a function. When combining the idea of function with the element of design, that is when the real idea of minimalism for me is achieved; minimalism is not having less for the sake of having less, but instead, understanding the power having less can hold in improving function.
In this buying guide, I have compiled a list of the best minimalist watches that I feel should be on your radar. The degree to which each of these pieces sustains the levels of minimalist principles previously mentioned vary, but all of them succeed to some point in their approach to tackling their inherent function.
A Few Ground Rules
I am not going to be able to cover every watch in the industry but plan to add to this list in the future. Secondly, the idea of what constitutes something as “minimalist” is subjective, however, I will be using the themes previously addressed as well as looking at time-only watches with no complications in order to try to have a definitive standard to determine what watches qualify.
Bulova Classic Ultra Thin Quartz
Specifications: Price: $187, Case Size: 40 mm, Lug Width: 20 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Quartz 9T22, Crystal: Mineral;
Description: With a sleek and dressy design, the Bulova Classic Ultra Thin exhibits a high level of minimalist design with thin dial elements and hands while the dial presents a pleasing concentric texture that elevates the overall look. It's moderately sized at just 40mm but it's the ultra-thin profile that should be broadly appealing for most buyers interested in this style of watch. Bulova does make several versions of this and we believe this two-toned look has a rich, dress watch appeal.
Mondaine Classic Swiss Railway
Specifications: Price: $275, Case Size: 36 mm, Lug Width: 18 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Quartz Rhonda 513, Crystal: Mineral;
Description: Mondaine's dedication to clear and legible design is prominent across the entire collection, but it's within the Classic collection that really captures the minimalism in its purest form. Simple bold dial elements and hands with a splash of red really creates an impressive visual that goes well in the 36mm case. Grab-and-go capabilities provided by an accurate and reliable Rhonda 513 quartz movement.
Specifications: Price: $199, Case Size: 34 mm, Thickness: 10.5 mm, Lug Width: 18 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 41 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Manual, Crystal: Acrylic;
Description: The Timex Marlin is a piece that embodies the 1960s unlike any other affordable watch out there. Since the release of the Timex Marlin mechanical a few years back, it has helped me to look at Timex in a new and perhaps their original light of constructing nicely designed watches at affordable prices. With its Arabic numerals, sword style handset, and retro looks, this is a great option for those looking to delve into both the world of mechanicals while delivering a tasteful design in the process.
Specifications: Price: $410, Case Size: 39 mm, Thickness: 12 mm, Lug Width: 18 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46 mm, Water Resistance: 50 m, Movement: Miyota 821A, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: Despite the change in ownership of Laco over the years, the German brand does have a history dating back nearly 100 years to 1925. They first obtained their reputation of exceptional timepieces by being one of the original providers of B-Uhr watches during the mid 20th century. When looking at the defined idea of minimalism, there is perhaps no better example in watchmaking than that of the Flieger. It was designed to be minimal out of the need to maximize efficiency on the battlefield. The Augsburg is the most affordable option into this world of Fliegers given its use of a Miyota caliber within
Specifications: Price: $416, Case Size: 33.5 mm, Thickness: 5.3 mm, Lug Width: 17 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 40.5 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Quartz Seiko 8J41 (+/- 10 Sec per Year), Crystal: Sapphire
Specifications: Price: €400, Case Size: 38.5 mm, Case Height: 13.7 mm Lug Width: 22 mm, Water Resistance: 300 m, Movement: Automatic Seiko NH35A, Crystal: Domed Sapphire;
Description: An Italian made field watch, the UC-2 by Unimatic is a utilitarian take on the minimalist design approach. This model is built with the intention to serve in difficult environments combining practical sizing, lots of Super-LumiNova C3 treatment, and a domed sapphire crystal make it solid option in the microbrand realm.
Junghans Max Bill Hand-Winding
Specifications: Price: $795, Case Size: 34 mm, Thickness: 9.0 mm, Lug Width: 18 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 37 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: ETA 2801-2, Crystal: Plexiglass
Description: With roots back to 1861, Junghans is a brand with a strong history in the production of clocks and solidified itself as a strong pillar in the expression of Bauhaus design in the world of watchmaking. Much of this reputation was made famous through their partnership with the celebrated Bauhaus designer, Max Bill. The company produces all its watches in its Schramberg, Germany headquarters upholding a world-acclaimed aesthetic and producing some of the most recognizable dials in all of watchmaking, with this perhaps being the number one. I don't want to steal my thunder too much here as I will be mentioning them a bit later (spoiler). This hand-winding reference comes in with a case size of 34 mm and has a thickness of 9 mm, making it a great choice for both men and women.
Specifications: Price: $800-$900, Case Size: 39mmm Thickness: 8.2 mm, Lug Width: 20 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.80 mm, Water Resistance: 50 m, Movement: Manual or Automatic, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: Stowa began constructing mechanical watches back in 1927 and are best known for their development of great Flieger watches for the money, while also being part of the original 5 developing watches for the German Air Force during WWII. However, they still are responsible for developing other well-designed pieces within their catalog with the Antea collection perhaps being one of the best examples of this. The Antea 1919 features bold, black indexes which contrast nicely with the matte white dial. The dial also features black stick-style hands that nicely match the look of the hour markings. In addition, Stowa offers a substantial amount of customization giving the buyer the opportunity to configure the watch with different movements as well as dial design attributes.
Mühle Glashütte Panova
Case: 40mm, Thickness 10.4mm, Lug-To-Lug: 47.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic SW200-1, Water-Resistance: 100m, Material: Mineral, Price: $999
If it’s a rugged and minimalist everyday watch you’re after, then the Mühle Glashütte Panova is a piece that fits that criteria, but is sometimes overlooked, even in this niche style. The Panova’s minimalist dial design strips back any unnecessary elements and instead focuses on a simple and highly legible layout in a handful of attractive dial colors combinations and strap options. It’s also fitted with a modified Sellita SW200-1 featuring a custom rotor and a proprietary woodpecker regulating pin. The well-sized 40mm steel case includes practical everyday features you would expect at this price point such as a sapphire crystal, screw-down crown and case back, and a water resistance rating of 100m.
Tissot Heritage Petite Seconde
Specifications: Price: $995, Case Size: 42 mm, Thickness: 11.4 mm, Lug Width: 20 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 52 mm, Water Resistance: 50 m, Movement: Manual ETA 6498-1, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: When thinking of the Swatch Group brand that has nailed thoughtful reissues from the brand’s archive, my mind always tends to go in the direction of Longines, however, Tissot has managed to also develop their fair share of worthy pieces. This Tissot reference is no longer in production but is one of my favorite designs the brand has released in the past 5 years. The watch has a beautiful sense of balance and exudes the endearing traits watches carried during the early to mid 20th century. The watch contains a lovely hand-wound ETA 6498-1, but given the movement’s 36 mm in diameter, it presents the biggest challenge for the watch in trying to keep to the case size down. As a result, the watch is at 42 mm in case of thickness. Other than this, we have a real winner and I hope that Tissot can revisit this design in the future.
Stowa Antea Back to Bauhaus
Specifications: Price: $1,000, Case Size: 35.5, 36.5, 39 mm, Thickness: 6.9-9.2 mm, Lug Width:18, 20 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 44.6-47.8 mm, Water Resistance: 30-50 m, Movement: Movement: Manual or Automatic, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: These watches were designed by Hartmut Esslinger, founder of frog design and inventor of the Apple design langauge. Stowa offers a substantial amount of customization in these pieces to configure them with different movements as well as dial design attributes. The Back to Bauhaus models come in three different case sizes of 35.50 mm, 36.50 mm, and 39 mm and include several dial color options of white, black, blue, green, brown, and pink.
Junghans Max Bill Automatic
References: 027/3502.00, 027/3400.00, 027/3501.00
Specifications: Price: $1,045, Case Size: 38 mm, Thickness: 10 mm, Lug Width: 20 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 40 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Auto ETA 2824-2, Crystal: Plexiglass
Description: As already mentioned, Junghans is one of the best examples of putting the principles of minimalist style design to work. When they worked with legendary Bauhaus designer Max Bill in the mid 20th century, they managed to develop a dial style that became synonymous with the brand. The modern-day Max Bill Automatic is that design and has been essentially completely unchanged for over 50 years. The watch has a dial that achieves a level of legibility through the mastering of space, and I believe much of this comes through the manufacturer’s time in developing wall clocks. With its mix of a simple dial surface, thin but legible markers, and mix of domed plexiglass, the watch plays tricks on the eyes to appear as if it is the only thing in the room once you glance its way.
Specifications: Price: $1,130.00, Case Size: 39 mm, Thickness: 12 mm, Lug Width: 18 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46 mm, Water Resistance: 50 m, Movement: Auto ETA 2824-2, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: This classic watch from Laco is one of the best valued Flieger watches you can pick up on the market. Without any brand identity or logo, the dial maintains the designs originally intended purpose. The dial comes in with a matte black surface, leaf style hands, lumed markers, and the triangle at the 12 to help with orientation.
Specifications: Price: $1,400, Case Size: 38 mm, Thickness: 11 mm, Lug Width: 18 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46 mm, Water Resistance: 50 m, Movement: Auto SW200-1, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: anOrdain is a small independent brand based in Scotland that was founded in 2015 that I have had the opportunity to chat with over email and are working on featuring them in an upcoming blog/video. They have made waves in the independent community given their simple designs and their commitment to delivering stunning enamel dials. The dial is made of vitreous enamel in a creamy off-white color that works exceptionally with the heat-treated blue hands. The numerals are designed by an in-house typographer and are inspired by cartographic maps of Scotland’s highlands. By not trying to do too much with cluttering the design, it allows these areas of attention with the dial, hands, and numerals to really shine.
Specifications: Price: $1,470, Case Size: 38.5 mm, Thickness: 11 mm, Lug Width: 20 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45.5 mm, Water Resistance: 200 m, Movement: Auto SW200-1, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: The 556 series is one that I have admired for quite a while and I have reviewed on the channel in the past. I have managed to handle several of the models from the line and despite my leanings to the classic dial 556 I, I felt the IB would be the better example with its absence of a date. The Sinn 556 is a master of legibility and carefree wear. With a case size of 38.5 mm, applied markers, and 200 m of water resistance, this a real winner for those looking for an everyday piece that simply embodies all that is needed.
Specifications: Price: $1,900, Case Size: 40 mm, Thickness: 10.4 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47 mm, Water Resistance: 50 m, Movement: Auto ETA C07.611, Crystal: Sapphire Case/Bracelet: Ceramic
Description: When looking at some of the most underrated Swiss brands, Rado is certainly in the mix despite being part of a large brand structure within the Swatch Group. Rado in recent times has redefined themselves with the release of several vintage-inspired pieces within their archive yet to get to the core of what they do best, you need to take a look at their work with ceramics. The True automatic is a model that is distinctive in its design while being both suitable for dressy situations and everyday wear. In short, finding a piece constructed from ceramic at this price range is rare, and when combined with the 80-hour power reserve of the piece within, you have an interesting choice here.
Specifications: Price: $1,980, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 9.1 mm, Lug Width: 20 mm, Water Resistance: 50 m, Movement: Auto SW300-1, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: If I tell you to close your eyes and to tell me the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “Sinn” I can say with almost complete certainty that you are not thinking of a dress watch. Yet just because your mind doesn’t go there, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t at least give a look in that direction. Sinn 1739 St I S, features silver hands and appliques which are meticulously attached by hand and is contrasted beautifully with the watch’s black, sunburst dial. It exhibits a highly elegant feel but still illustrates a sense of utilitarian undertones that we expect from Sinn.
Longines Heritage Classic Sector
Specifications: Price: $2,150, Case Size: 38.5mm, Thickness: 11 mm, Lug Width: 19 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.3 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Auto ETA A31.501, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: As mentioned prior, I don’t think there is a brand that has mastered the idea of releasing a heritage model in a modern sense better than Longines. In a recent video, I looked closer at this Longines Heritage Classic, and of all the pieces that Longines have released in their heritage collection over the last several years, this might just be my favorite one. Much of what I love about the piece stems from its balanced design that in no way is rudimentary. Through its use or cooler toned colors, symmetrical dial, and perfect utilization of the dial space, this is as good as design gets for around $2,000 and I think does qualify for being classified as menial as a result.
Specifications: Price: $1,900, Case Size: 35mm, Thickness: 6.8 mm, Lug Width: 18 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45.2 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: NOMOS Alpha Manual, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: For those that have been watching my videos for some time, you know that I am a big fan of Nomos. Since their start in 1990, they have ascended to become one of the largest independently owned watchmakers in the world and being the number one seller of watches by volume in Germany. Being known for their avant-garde designed timepieces and lineup of in-house movements, Nomos delivers some of the best value in all of watchmaking.
Specifications: Price: $2,000, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 11.5 mm, Lug Width: 20 mm, Water Resistance: 50 m, Movement: Manual SW 210, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: One could argue that the lack of additional hands on a watch might be sacrificing function, but I find Meistersinger as a refreshing take on the wristwatch with their one hand styling. The DM303 comes with a clean cream dial and is powered by the SW210 within. These watches are not going to be for everyone, but are some very fun and unique options to add to a collection.
Oris Art Blakey Limited Edition
Reference: 01 733 7762 4081
Specifications: Price: $2,100, Case Size: 38 mm, Thickness: 11.4 mm, Lug Width: 20 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 44 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Auto SW 200-1, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: The Oris Art Blakey Limited Edition celebrates the American jazz drummer and bandleader Art Blakey, who won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. The watch is based on the Oris Artelier and features a dial decorated with the eight claws of Art’s bass drum and a case back in the style of a cymbal. Oris has had a strong several years of releases, but this model could be my favorite of them all.
Specifications: Price: $2,020, Case Size: 35 mm, Thickness: 7.9 mm, Lug Width: 18 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 44.8 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: NOMOS Alpha Manual, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: The Nomos Orion is a watch that holds a significant amount of sentimental value to me. Outside of my Max Bill Chronoscope, it is one of the only pieces remaining from the early days of my collecting. The piece perfectly embodies the elements of minimalism that I described at the top of this guide and delivers with a beautiful Alpha Manual caliber on the other side. To put it simply, it's probably the best dress watch you can find for around $2,000.
Specifications: Price: $5,700, Case Size: 39 mm, Thickness: 11 mm, Lug Width: 20 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.3 mm, Water Resistance: 100 m, Movement: Auto Rolex 3132, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: Back in 1927, famous British Swimmer Mercedes Gleitze was offered a Rolex Oyster to be worn around her neck in an attempt to swim across the English Channel. Her attempt came up short, but it was a huge win for Rolex as the case did not let in any water, becoming the first “waterproof” watch. This term is no longer used in watchmaking, nevertheless, the attempt paved the way for future creations from Rolex with the Oyster case being the backbone of their cases for years to follow. Transition to the modern-day, Rolex has become more about status than the watches unfortunately, however, the Oyster 114300 is perhaps one of the best modern watches Rolex makes. It delivers a very minimal design and tasteful design without the typical flash that comes with modern Rolex. Oh yeah, did I mention that it is also the most attainable line the brand currently makes as well?
Glashütte Original Sixties
Specifications: Price: $6,400, Case Size: 39 mm, Thickness: 9.4 mm, Lug Width: 18 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Auto GO 39-52, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: So I mentioned earlier about the Timex Marlin being a window into the '60s, well, that can also be said here, except with levels of watchmaking that is hard to match for the price. The Glashütte Original Sixties collection is one of the entry points into the brand and reflects the spirit of mid-20th-century dress pieces in a contemporary package. The watches come in a variety of dial colors with some being very eccentric, but within the watches, it is all business with their extraordinarily finished 39-52 caliber.
Specifications: Price: $6,700, Case Size: 42 mm, Thickness: 9.4 mm, Lug Width: 21 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 51 mm, Water Resistance: 100 m, Movement: Auto Zenith Elite 6150, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: With the success of the El Primero, I feel many don’t give credit to the other watches and calibers the brand offers. Back in 1994, Zenith released their Elite caliber at Basel which received heavy praise. The family of calibers have been a source of exceptional finishing, an optimized gear train, and lengthy power reserves. The modern Zenith Elite watches are some of the most beautifully refined dress watches on the market, while offering the internal specifications to match.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin
Specifications: Price: $6,950, Case Size: 38.5 mm, Thickness: 7.6 mm, Lug Width: 20 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Auto JLC 896, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: Similar to watch was expressed with Zenith and the El Primero, the same can be said with Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso and its knack of outshining the rest of its dress catalog. The Master collection has been one of my favorites in all of horology as it delivers the best calibers for the money. JLC, unlike many watchmakers, have proven time and time again that they still know how to make a great dress watch as the world tends to lean into a more casual state of mind. This Master Ultra Thin reference offers a purely symmetrical dial with a running sub-seconds at the 6. For more details on the master collection, I recommend checking out my video where I take a closer look at several models that reside within it.
IWC Portugieser Automatic
Specifications: Price: $6,950, Case Size: 40.4 mm, Thickness: 12.3 mm, Lug Width: 20 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Auto IWC 82200, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: The IWC IW358304 is an organized and symmetrical reinterpretation of their Reference 325 that was released in the 1930s. The 325 was one of the earlier dress watches from the brand that lifted them to becoming the mainstream luxury watchmaker that they are today. The influence of this earlier reference is felt easily throughout many of the watches with the Portugieser collection. It exhibits 6 o’clock small seconds, detailed minute track, heat blued hands, Arabic numerals, and a railway minute track that matches the period.
JLC Reverso Tribute Small Seconds
Specifications: Price: $7,650, Case Size: 45.6 x 27.4 mm, Thickness: 8.5 mm, Lug Width: 20 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Manual 822/2, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: I have been on record in many of videos saying that the Reverso is the best conversation starter in all of watchmaking. There are many watches that can draw attention with cheap frills, but the Reverso is one that manages to keep it. In 2019, JLC introduced this beauty to the Reverso catalog and as the name suggests, to pay tribute to the iconic 1931 release. The watch comes in a striking burgundy dial with polished applied markers that epitomize refined elegance that will never tire the wearer with its legendary flip.
Grand Seiko SBGW259
Specifications: Price: $8,000, Case Size: 38 mm, Thickness: 10.9 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Manual 9S64, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: Grand Seiko has been releasing watches at a blistering pace in attempts to take a good portion of market share in luxury sales in the United States. This strategy has proved to be incredibly successful with them climbing towards the top 5 in luxury watch sales in the US in 2019. One of their most recent creations, the SBGW259, is a 60th-anniversary timepiece of their original splash on the market in 1960. The watch was released as a trio among the SBGW257 and SBGW258, but I am picking favorites here highlighting this reference. The case is made of Brilliant Hard Titanium, which will offer a lightweight experience that has become popularized by many other GS models released from their elegance collection in the past few years. However, overall the most intriguing aspect of these is their symmetry and simplicity, an idea I hope makes it into many of the Spring Drive models on the market.
Specifications: Price: $12,400, Case Size: 33.7 mm x 25.5 mm, Thickness: 6.6 mm, Lug Width: 18 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Manual 8971 MC, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: I have to admit, I was debating whether the Cartier Tank should be included in this blog. Looking back now as I write this, I can’t believe I was even speculating whether it was worthy. Similar to the Reverso, it is hard to argue the level of elegance achieved by the Cartier Tank Louis. It delivers in so many ways from a design point of view, from the perfect ratio of the case dimensions, its beautiful array of Roman numerals within the confines of the dial, and the lack of a second hand, the watch knows its function, to simply be art on the wrist.
H. Moser & Cie. Pioneer Centre Seconds
Specifications: Price: $12,900, Case Size: 42.8 mm; Thickness: 14.2 mm, Lug Width: 51 mm, Water Resistance: 120 m, Movement: Automatic HMC 200, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: A darling in the Swiss independent scene for sometime, H. Moser & Cie has seen a huge burst of attention over the last year or so as the market has caught up to the excellent work already in the collection while the company continues to add some incredible models including the Pioneer, a formidable non-precious metal option that stands out with it's minimalist design in a competitive high-end market.
Specifications: Price: $13,900, Case Size: 40 mm, Thickness: 5.15 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45.6 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Auto BVL 138, Crystal: Sapphire, Case: Titanium
Description: Whenever someone tries to argue that every watch brand keeps putting out the same watch over and over, I know that I have at least one exception to bring up with the Octo Finissimo. At the time of its release, the world of horology had never seen anything like it. With anything as avant-garde as this piece, you are going to have both fans and detractors, but regardless of what side of the aisle you are on, there is a collective appreciation for what it managed to accomplish. This unique octagonal design was the record holder for the thinnest automatic movement when it came out, but has since been out-thinned by its counterpart the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon, whose movement is 1.95 mm thick. The watch’s case, bracelet, and dial are made from titanium, therefore, not only is the watch extremely thin, but it is also extremely light. The movement within this piece, although only 2.35 mm thick, boasts an impressive power reserve of 60 hours and runs at a frequency of 21,6000 vph.
Specifications: Price: $15,200, Case Size: 39 mm, Thickness: 11.2 mm, Lug Width: 20 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45.3 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Auto Rolex 3132, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: Rolex is a brand that manages to almost never strike out when it comes to moving units. Anyone who has visited an AD asking for essentially any sports Rolex doesn’t need this reminder. Yet despite Rolex’s typical success, there are some examples of models that haven’t hit the mark anticipated by the brand with the Rolex Cellini being a prime example. This precious metal dress watch is priced above many of their sports offerings, but unlike them, they are readily available and despite their lack in popularity, are still a great looking watch.
Specifications: Price: $17,050, Case Size: 35 mm, Thickness: 7.3 mm, Lug Width: 19 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Manual L941.1, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: So you have roughly $15,000 and you are looking for one dress watch to call yours for the rest of your life? If that is the case, get the Lange Saxonia and call it a life. This reference was featured in 2015 and is one of my favorite high-end dress watches out there. To me, there is no one that masters the use of space like Lange as the Lange 1 still perplexes me with how well it manages to fit its many complications on one dial. The Lange Saxonia might not need to utilize its space as efficiently as that of the Lange 1, but it does epitomize Germanic simplicity.
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony
Specifications: Price: $18,100, Case Size: 40 mm, Thickness: 6.79 mm, Lug Width: 20 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45.6 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Manual VC 1400, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: When analyzing the pantheon of high-horology dress watches the Vacheron Patrimony needs to be included. This reference coming in white gold has a pencil style handset, doesn’t feature running seconds, houses one of their manual wound Geneva seal movements, the 1400 caliber, and adds in the impressive thickness of 6.79 mm.
Specifications: Price: $18,800, Case Size: 40 mm, Thickness: 6.79 mm, Lug Width: 20 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 44.5 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Auto OMEGA 8929, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: The Trésor line was first introduced by Omega in 1949. More than a half-century later, the Omega DeVille Trésor has stayed true to its original, timeless design with some modern twists. The reference 4184.108.40.206.11.001 comes in with a 40mm in diameter, is made of 18k yellow gold, and features a rare red enamel dial that links to Omega’s iconic brand color. Given the Trésor’s elevated status within Omega's catalog, this Trésor is fitted with Omega’s Co-Axial 8929 movement, which undergoes strenuous master chronometer testing through METAS.
Specifications: Price: $21,500, Case Size: 38 mm, Thickness: 6.1 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Auto 502.3 SD, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: When it comes to high horology dress watches, it is hard to construct a list without mentioning Breguet. Breguet is one of the oldest surviving watchmaking brands and a pioneer of numerous watchmaking technologies such as the tourbillon. Having started in 1775, Breguet has been around for going on 250 years and was founded a year before the country I call home declared its independence. The reference showcased here is part of Breguet’s Classique collection, reference 7147BB/29/9WU. The watch’s case is constructed from 18k white gold and features a coin-edged side of its case. The watch additionally features an offset small seconds subdial at the 5 o’clock and Arabiac numerals that pair beautifully with the hand style made famous by the manufacturer.
H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept
Specifications: Price: $22,000, Case Size: 40 mm, Thickness: 10.7 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Auto HMC 200, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: Moser has roots back to 1805 and saw a revival in 2005, when the brand was officially relaunched after falling on harder times during the mid-20th century decades prior. However, since their relaunch, they have wasted no time making a splash on the world of horology, carving out a reputation for impeccable dials and an eccentric attitude towards design and their branding that is unlike anything else you will find from high horology manufacturers. This attitude and direction led to them winning several GPHG awards for their innovations, most notably with their take on the perpetual calendar in 2006, and release of their release of the Straumann Double Hairspring in 2007. This piece epitomizes simplicity as well as Moser’s typical traits that make them one of the most beloved independents out there. With this piece featuring no type, no numerals, and no date on the dial, this is one of the simplest dials you’ll find, however, the blue fumé surface still provides more than enough to this dial. The movement within is the caliber HMC 200 self-winding movement, which contains 27 jewels, has their proprietary double hairspring, and is finished with Geneva stripes while containing diamond polishing throughout.
Specifications: Price: $22,680, Case Size: 37 mm, Thickness: 7.68 mm, Lug Width: 20 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45.5 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Manual 215 PS, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: What the Rolex Datejust is for luxury, the Patek Calatrava is for high horology. The Calatrava is Patek’s take at understated and minimalist perfection. The reference 5196G is fitted with Patek’s old reliable 215 PS manual winding movement. The caliber contains a total of 130 parts, 18 jewels, and has a power reserve of 44 hours.
Laurent Ferrier Galet Square Micro Rotor
Specifications: Price: $46,000, Case Size: 41 mm, Thickness: 12.3 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.5 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Auto FBN Calibre 229.01, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: Laurent Ferrier is a one of the most popular small independent brands among high-end collectors, occupying a price category that's generally reserved for some of the most prestigious and exclusive models in the world. The Galet Square is one of two major collection pillars for the brand and within both collections we see simplified designs dominate the catalog. This Sunburst Gold edition offers up some of the most refined minimalist looks of any model they currently offer and captures the aesthetic extremely well.
Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse
Specifications: Price: $52,390, Case Size: 34.5mm x 39.5mm, Thickness: 5.9 mm, Lug Width: 20 mm,, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Manual 240, Crystal: Sapphire, Case Material: Platinum
Description: The Ellipse is one of the more peculiar high horology watches in terms of case shape, but nevertheless, a legend in its own right. When it first appeared in 1968, Patek’s Golden Ellipse was a striking example of challenging the status quo of traditional rounded dress pieces of the period. This platinum case reference has case dimensions of 34.5 mm x 39.5 mm and has a thickness of just 5.9 mm. Its design was developed using the concept of the golden ratio as its guide. With this in mind, it probably makes it the perfect option for concluding this list.
Specifications: Price: $54,000, Case Size: 39 mm, Thickness: 10.3 mm, Lug Width: 19 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Spring Drive 7R14, Crystal: Sapphire
Description: Credor represents some of the finest watchmaking practices and techniques in the entire world. They are among the best finished movements by any brand, regardless of region or country of origin and their north-of-$50k price point is actually a value when compared to other models currently selling in this price range, especially if we are talking about elite levels of watchmaking. Both rare and interesting, the Eichi II is a minimalist future classic in the making.