If you know your wardrobe basics well enough, then it’s highly possible that you have encountered the term minimalist.
But what exactly does it mean? What are the pros and cons of minimalist fashion? What are the best minimalist watches money can buy?
These are some of the questions we seek to answer in today’s style guide for watches –
The minimalist watch.
WHAT IS MINIMALIST FASHION?
Basically this kind of fashion hinges upon the principle of keeping things simple. It is a fashion lifestyle where you choose to stay within the straight and narrow of a single color palette while all the while having a simple clothing silhouette i.e. devoid of wild prints or frou frills for instance.
What’s more, it entails keeping subtle and timeless pieces that never go out of fashion and also encompasses using just a few accessories.
PROS OF MINIMALIST FASHION
IT IS MONEY SAVING
The minimalist approach to fashion involves having a few select options of attire, and accessories, in your wardrobe and keeping shopping to a minimum. More often than not, this perspective extends to other aspects of everyday life and in the long run, a substantial drop in shopping expenses is bound to be realized.
GETTING DRESSED IS AS SIMPLE AS ABC
With just a limited number of attires and accessories in your wardrobe, getting dressed is as simple as can be. You don’t have to sift through piles of never-ending clothes just to get to an attire that tickles your fancy as your wardrobe choice is conveniently limited.
AN ENDEARING WARDROBE
This kind of lifestyle entails stocking your wardrobe mostly with the monochromatic shade of clothes which makes for a neat and beguiling outlook, something akin to a Pinterest collection. Black and white alterations are timeless and go with virtually everything they’re paired with. Also factor in the additional space of keeping a limited selection and the result is an organized and elegant wardrobe.
CONS OF MINIMALISTIC FASHION
While having a limited range is beneficial, after a while it begins to feel like you’re running around in circles. Outfit repetition becomes a recurring theme and you get bored of wearing the same clothes week after week. Between the little spaces of color choices, expression is seemingly suffocated as even different attires feel like carbon-copies of each other.
MISSING OUT ON THE FUN
This is arguably the hardest part of being a minimalist. In line with keeping things simple and to a minimum, it is the norm that you stay clear of in-fashion items more often than not. As a result, you feel like you’re getting left behind and missing out on all the fun. Nothing hurts more like seeing a stranger go past you rocking that new outfit or accessory that you know you can’t have.
SOMETIMES IT’S NOT MONEY-SAVING AT ALL
While your trips to the store will no doubt reduce, you might find yourself spending a lot on what are termed as investment pieces i.e. those expensive pieces built for the long haul. In the long run, your shopping budget might be more or less the same as before.
Minimalist fashion is a lifestyle with its ups and downs and now you know just what you’re getting into should you decided to venture down this path.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A MINIMALIST WATCH
Now that we’ve taken a look at what minimalist fashion is all about, we’ll straight away delve into the subject of discussion which is: what to look for in a minimalist watch.
In line with the minimalist’s pocket-friendly approach, longevity is arguably the most important quality of this kind of watch. Every watch has a finite lifespan but the top-notch brands- such Piaget and Rolex just to name few- tend to fare better with the old age adversary of time. You might spend a lot more initially but the price tag is worth it given that you’ll squeeze decades of use from a good brand. Also, if you are one who loves the outdoors, then you might consider going for a sports watch as opposed to fine-jewelry types which don’t hold up too well against Mother Nature’s harshness.
The minimalist advocates for having a limited number of accessories so the watch you’re going to pick out needs to feel extremely comfortable on you. Much like how you try on shoes before a potential purchase, so too should you experiment with different makes to get a feel of each variety on the table.
STYLE AND COLOR
Another important aspect to have at the back of your mind is the color palette of your wardrobe. If you have a dark or monochromatic theme going on, then it’s advisable to get a vibrant tone to uplift your everyday wear. Gold and silver tones are particularly good choices in this regard, however, you could try out a few other shades against the backdrop of your outfit collection to see how they turn out.
Quite frankly this is the most important aspect of any watch but it’ll largely depend on what your primary objective is. If you are especially keen on functionality and precision, then a watch with detailed dials and subdials is what you need. On the other hand, if your concerns are more aesthetic, then matching or complementing color and style variations are more important so a less detailed but more beguiling watch is preferred.
THE PRICE TAG
While you should no doubt go for a top-notch brand if it means top-quality, there is a ceiling on how much you should spend. Minimalist watches can be anywhere between two dollars to a thousand and it is important to balance the cost scale just right so that both quality and price are taken into account. Somewhere in the middle of that price range is a good place to start your search.
BRACELET OR BAND CHOICES
This aspect of a time telling piece hinges upon a number of factors e.g. whether you are looking for a formality or casual watch and if you plan to wear it occasionally or on the daily. Also, the material of the band should feel natural to you whether metal, vinyl or cloth. It is advisable to go for at least two options so that you can easily switch outlooks to suit different settings or moods.
There is an immense number of minimalist watches in the market today, however, these pointers mentioned herein should help paint a clear picture of exactly what the ideal watch of this kind is all about.
Now, let’s take a look at minimalist watches for any budget.
MINIMALIST WATCH UNDER $50
First and foremost, a minimalist watch should be reasonably priced. Why buy a $500 minimalist watch? You could use that to buy a bargain Tissot watch instead.
One of the popular minimalist watches is the Timex Weekender. It’s priced under $50 and looks classy.
As for the brand, Timex has been around for a long time. They have been making watches since 1854, and they got their start in Waterbury, Connecticut. One of their most famous watches is the Yankee pocket watch in 1901. By the turn of the century, this six million of these watches were sold worldwide.
Today, Timex makes a variety of watches. They are best known for producing affordable digital watches, and in particular, they have a focus on manufacturing watches built for sports.
The Weekender wasn’t built for sports, but it is versatile enough to work for all kinds of occasions. They have interchangeable straps, and they are easy to remove and replace. They come in various sizes: 31, 38 and 40mm cases.
Here are the main features of this particular watch:
- Made in United States (but some imported)
- Leather Slip-thru strap (easily interchangeable with another strap)
- Round cream dial
- Polished Silver-Tone 40mm Case
- Indiglo Light-Up Watch Dial
- 3 ATM rating (good for up to 30m underwater)
The Arabic numerals and numbers on the watch face can be rather confusing. It’s probably the only “con” for this watch. However, it’s not distracting for a minimalist watch.
The watch appears to be very popular in Amazon with over 1,000 customer reviews. It’s a good entry-level watch for someone looking to try out the minimalist styled watch.
MINIMALIST WATCHES UNDER $100
NIXON SENTRY LEATHER WATCH
Nixon makes this recommended list for minimalist watches. They already made my best list for quartz watches under $500. Nixon is an American company, founded in 1997. They started out as a niche company, catering the surf and skate industry.
They have since blossomed into a diversified fashion brand, which now includes watches. They promote themselves as stylish and socially responsible. Their Code of Conduct ensures all their suppliers use socially responsible business practices.
The Sentry watch has all the features you’re looking for in a minimalist watch. It has a reasonable price entry level. The black face and the leather strap appears conservative. The hours and minutes are denoted by marks – nothing flashy and gets the job done.
Main features of this Nixon watch:
- Rounded watch with large stick markers, day/date window at the 3 o’clock position
- 42MM to 47MM stainless steel case with mineral dial window
- Japanese quartz movement with analog display
- Brown leather band
- 10 ATM water resistance (good underwater for up to 100m)
The watch has received an average of 4.5 stars from over 400+ customers on Amazon. Many users cite the minimalist design and the versatility of the watch (i.e. for work, for social gatherings, etc.).
KENNETH COLE “ROCK OUT” WATCH
Kenneth Cole manufactures and distributes all kinds of fashion accessories for both men and women. They started out as a ladies’ footwear brand in 1982, and has since blossomed into a diversified fashion company, selling footwear, accessories and watches.
The Kenneth Cole “Rock Out” Watch is a black faced watch, and would work well as a dress watch. It definitely has the minimalist look with markers, serving as hours. There are no bright colors to distract onlookers. It has a subtle, classy look that you’d want in a minimalist dress watch.
Here are the main features of this particular wristwatch:
- Quartz analog movement
- Czech stone at the top center
- Black dial with silver-tone details
- 5 mm round gunmetal case
- Stainless steel bracelet
- 3 ATM rating (if you’re unfamiliar with ATM ratings, check out our ATM guide on watches)
The watch has received positive reviews and feedback from over 100+ Amazon users. This type of watch you might find at around $200, retailing in department stores. It’s a great minimalist watch that is reasonably priced.
SKAGEN KLASSIK WATCH
The Skagen Klassik hits all the right marks for a minimalist watch. The hours are denoted by basic numbers. It has a simple leather band and has a clean, simple white face.
Skagen is a Danish brand and produced by Skagen Designs Ltd., which is a subsidiary of Fossil (another well-known watch brand). The Skagen brand produces watches, handbags, jewelry and other personal goods. Skagen is named after a peninsula near Denmark’s northernmost town.
The Skagen Klassik is a 2017 model with an analog display. It’s not flashy, but then again if you’re considering a minimalist watch, “flashy” should not be what you’re looking for.
Here are the main features of this watch:
- Imported from Denmark
- 40mm stainless steel case with mineral dial window
- Quartz movement with analog display
- 3 ATM rating (good for up to 99ft underwater)
The watch looks aesthetically pleasing and can be worn to work. It has many positive reviews from over 100+ reviewers on Amazon.
MINIMALIST WATCHES UNDER $200
If you haven’t heard of MVMT, then you must not be in any social media platform. This brand is all over social media, and has become a watch phenomenon. You can read my extensive review on MVMT watches to learn more about the company and their rise as a watch brand.
Most of the watches under MVMT are minimalist and definitely take a look at their website to peruse their inventory of watches.
In this minimalist watch guide, I’ll highlight one model in particular (a relatively new one and quite popular).
It’s the Voyager line. The Voyager line employs a chronograph style but with a minimalist touch. If you compare this to other established brands in my chronograph watch review, you’ll notice that it has the three knobs on the right, and the sub-dials for the different time measurements. It’s going for the chronograph look with a more friendly price point.
Like most MVMT watches, the Voyager line has interchangeable straps, which you can purchase at the MVMT website. MVMT has both a white face and a black face option, depending on your preferred style.
The prices range from $140 to $200, and due to the popularity of MVMT watches, several models are often sold out. Like other MVMT watches the have a 42mm size.
It’s easy to see why the Voyager line has become quite popular. Chronograph style watches are popular already, and this price entry point is attractive to anyone in the market for a chronograph watch. For other watch styles, take a look at my reviews on their different models.
Also, take a look at this unboxing video for two watches I purchased from MVMT:
Like MVMT, Vincero is a relatively new player in the watch industry. They got their start from a successful crowdfunding campaign. After raising thousands of dollars, they were able to launch a brand of “luxury watches handcrafted with premium Italian marble.”
That quote was taken from their Kickstarter campaign. Since that campaign, they have become a successful watch brand in the minimalist and dress watch category.
The Vincero Kairos style is their main dress watch style. They have this model as a chronograph style (pictured) and the non-chronograph style. The common element is the use of a Roman numeral at the 12 o’clock position and simple markers for the hour marks.
This style has a classic, simplistic look that would work well at work or formal settings, like a wedding or an anniversary party.
Here are the main highlights of this watch:
- Surgical grade stainless steel – 316L stainless steel with a 43mm diameter
- Scratch & Water resistant – Sapphire coated mineral crystal glass
- Japanese Citizen Miyota Quartz movement
- Italian Leather band
SHOULD YOU GET A MINIMALIST WATCH?
If you’re into fashion and like to mix and match your clothes and accessories, then it makes sense to have one or two minimalist watches. At a minimum, you should go for both a black face and a white face dial. These are the two conservative yet classy styles that would work well with most wardrobes.
Also, it helps to have the ability to interchange straps. This will again allow you for greater customization in your outfit. You can mix and match your watches with shoes. Mix and match your MVMT watches with sunglasses.
Finally, what’s great about the minimalist style is the price entry point. You don’t need a big budget to get a solid minimalist watch. Just take a look at some of the suggestions in this guide.
Do your own due diligence and select the best minimalist watch for your budget and needs.