Some people like flashy watches and feel that the more bells and whistles, the better. Certain watch buyers want the face of their watch to have as many subdials as possible, prefer large wrist bands with heavy links, and thick crowns that make their watch look like a remote control.
However, some watch aficionados prefer a cleaner, simplistic design and are looking for an instrument that just tells time. Realistically speaking, how often have you had to rotate the bezel on your diver’s watch to let you know how long you’ve been diving underwater and at a depth of 300 feet?
Yet make no mistake, minimalist watches are not boring. Watchmakers pay attention to crafting a timepiece where the face, lines, and other critical elements seem highlighted and are pleasing to the eye.
If you’re like most shoppers, you want to do a bit of research before you plunk down your hard-earned cash, so we’ve tried to put together a list of useful information detailing the features each of the best minimalist watches has to offer.
How We Reviewed
To provide you with an impartial “best of” list, we pored over customer ratings, reviews, and testimonials. We examined brand strength and reputation and researched industry data about the watches that we ultimately recommended.
Top Six Best Minimalist Watches
- Case size: 42mm; Band size: 22mm; quartz movement with 3-hand analog display; mineral crystal face; imported
- Slim stainless steel case; blue dial with gold-tone hands and linear hour and minute markers
- Genuine brown leather band with burnished edges and buckle closure; interchangeable with all Fossil 22mm bands
Fossil may not be a high-end name like Rolex or Hublot, but the company makes watches that are wearable every day, and their history dates back to 1984. Since then, they have sold about 34 million watches and have more than 500 stores around the globe.
The stainless steel case on the Minimalist measures 42 millimeters, and the watch uses a quartz movement which should be more accurate at keeping time than a mechanical movement. The gold-tone hands are set in a blue dial with the hours and minutes marked by classic three-hand analog tracking.
The watch is water resistant for a depth of up to 165 feet, but it’s really better suited for showering and occasional water activities. The dial window on the timepiece is mineral crystal so it should resist scratching and cracking which will prolong the durability.
The watch comes with a brown real leather band and a buckle closure, but if brown is not your preferred shade, you can swap it out for any other 22-millimeter Fossil band. If the battery should wear out, you’ll need an LR44 to replace it.
Pros and Cons
About 85 percent of the customers who reviewed their Fossil Minimalist watch rated it with four or five stars. A lot of buyers liked the clean look of the watch, said that it was durable and didn’t scratch, and felt that Fossil used quality materials in the construction of the timepiece. Many watch lovers also liked that changing the band gives the watch a completely different look.
The hands and markings glow in the dark for about a minute to allow you to read the time even in dim lighting.
However, some users that had negative experiences with the Fossil Minimalist said that sometimes the watch could get out of sync by running too fast or too slow and needing frequent readjustments.
You can add a three-year protection plan for $ or upgrade to four years for $$. SquareTrade will cover any electrical and mechanical failures and repair or replace the watch.
Vincero Men’s Kairos Wrist Watch
The name Vincero means, “I Will Win” in Italian and it’s a spinoff of the famous quote, “Veni, vidi, vici” which means, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” The makers of Vincero timepieces want you to feel invincible, accomplish your goals, and look great doing it, so they dedicated themselves to crafting quality watches that are functional and eye-catching.
The leather band on the Kairos watch is real Italian calf leather that measures 22 millimeters wide. And you can interchange them with other bands to refresh your look. A surgical grade and water-resistant, stainless steel casing can stand up to any dings you might throw at it, and looks good whether you dress it up or down.
There are no subdials marring the clean face of the Kairos Wrist Watch. The hours and minutes are clearly and linearly marked but not in an overly large or distracting fashion. Sapphire mineral crystal glass provides the highest level of protection from scratches and scrapes so that you can enjoy your watch for many years.
A Japanese Miyota quartz movement offers precision for powering the watch and date function so that you’re always on time.
Pros and Cons
You can choose from a wide combination of dials and bands to customize your preferred Kairos watch. Some of the available options are:
The ability to select from many looks and swap out the bands makes the Vincero feel custom made.
Over 500 customers provided feedback on their Vincero Kairos purchase. About 85 percent of them gave it a five-star review. Many watch connoisseurs who own luxury brand watches said that the quality of the Vincero was just as good as some of the timepieces with more well-known names for a fraction of the price. Other Kairos fans noted that the watch was extremely accurate.
Shoppers who dealt with Vincero’s customer support said that the service is equal in excellence to the watch and some customers said that even the packaging the watches come in reveal the pride the company has in their products.
One negative that some buyers mentioned is that you have to research the length of the band because if you’re a tall person who might require a lengthy band, you’ll have to go to the Vincero site to order a longer wrist piece.
You can add a three-year protection plan for $ or upgrade to four years for $$ Asurion, LLC will cover any issues related to bezel damage, broken bands, crystal cracking, and movement failures.
Michael Kors Women’s Runway Watch
The Michael Kors brand launched in 1981 after the namesake designer spent six years working for a French fashion house. Fast forward to today, and the brand is well-known for practical but high-quality American style items including watches.
The gold stainless steel and champagne-colored dial may look flashy, but the rest of the Women’s Runway Watch is as minimalist as they come. Three hands track the time in analog fashion, and there are no numbers to mark the hours. There are no subdials, no date window, no complicated bezels, or even minute markings.
The case measures 42 millimeters in diameter and is 8.5 millimeters thick. The dial window is mineral hardened for a layer of extra protection and durability, and a deployment-clasp closure ensures that the watch stays securely fastened to your wrist but is easy to remove when you want to take it off. Also, the timepiece is water resistant to a depth of ten atmospheres.
Pros and Cons
If you’re looking for a dimple clock without any chronographs or bulky wristbands, then the Michael Kors Runway Watch could be a good option. Over 300 buyers shared their thoughts on their purchase and about 80 percent of them gave the timepiece a rating of five stars.
Ladies felt that it was a beautiful watch and although the gold tone does stand out, the design itself suited their minimalist tastes. If the band turns out to be too large, you can have links removed to achieve the right fit.
Some women were unsatisfied because they thought it looked too much like a man’s watch.
A two-year international warranty protects your purchase from defective manufacturing and materials that might affect the hands, dial, and watch movement.
Skagen Men’s Holst Watch
Founded in 1989, Skagen creates minimalist jewelry, watches, and wearables, drawing their inspiration from a Danish town with the same name. If you’re a fan of clean Scandinavian design, then Skagen’s Men’s Holst Watch could be a match.
The Holst has a three-hand analog display and is powered by quartz movement. The stainless steel case measures about 41 millimeters in diameter and has a density of eight millimeters. A heat-treated mineral crystal protects your timepiece from damaging dents and scratches, so you don’t have to worry about the watch’s longevity if you’re a little clumsy.
The band is black calfskin leather, and you can switch it up with any other Skagen 22 millimeter band if the black one on the Holst is not to your liking. You’ll like the sharp look of the black sandblast dial highlighted by white minute and hour markers and the needle-thin silver hands.
Although the watch is water resistant and can handle occasional submersion, due to the leather band, it’s not ideal for showering or swimming. A buckle is an added touch of simplicity and functionality.
Pros and Cons
Nearly 75 percent of purchasers who reviewed their Skagen Holst gave the watch five stars. Buyers say it’s comfortable, suitable for everyday wear, and although minimalist, still draws compliments because of its immaculate design.
Watch lovers find that the case is not too big to dwarf the wrist and not too small to result in an awkward look.
Some comments mention that the crown to adjust the time is a little hard to pop out, but once you do change the settings, you can typically set it and forget it because the watch is accurate.
The Skagen Men’s Holst Watch has an international limited lifetime warranty that covers your timepiece from any defects resulting from faulty craftsmanship or materials resulting from regular use.
Anne Klein Women’s AK 1362
- Round watch featuring minimalist dial with diamond at 12 o'clock and three stick indices
- 32 mm silver-tone case with mineral dial window
- Japanese quartz movement with analog display
Designed Anne Klein launched her brand in 1968 in New York City and in 1972, the women’s wear label expanded to include watches. The design of Anne Klein timepieces focuses on classic functionality without being showy.
The diamond-accented AK 1362 has a round 32-millimeter stainless steel case that features a diamond signaling the noon hour and three simple indicators marking three, six, and nine o’clock. A Japanese quartz movement provides precision in powering the timepiece’s analog display.
You can secure the stainless steel alloy bracelet with the push-and-slide clasp to easily slip the watch on or off. Mineral-hardened crystal glass protects the dial from damage so that scratches won’t mar the face and detract from its looks.
The band is 16 millimeters wide, so it is a thinner bracelet that gives the watch a petite and delicate appearance. If you’re a fan of silver on silver, then you might enjoy Anne Klein’s AK 1362.
Pros and Cons
If you like the look of the dial on the AK 1362 but find so much silver a bit overwhelming, you can choose from another band and face colors like:
Over 700 customers provided feedback on their Anne Klein purchase, and about 80 percent of them rated the watch with four or five stars.
Many buyers liked that the timepiece combined a minimalistic dial with the luxurious finish of stainless steel, gold-tone or rose gold, and some women were such fans of the look that they bought more than one color.
Users said the links are easy to adjust to achieve the perfect fit and that Anne Klein watches are stylish, classy, and quality items that last for years.
The standard length of the band is seven and a half inches, which some buyers found short, so you may have to contact customer service so that they can ship extra links to adjust the wrist piece. Also, the watch is not water resistant unlike the Michael Kors Runway Watch, so remember not to submerge it in water or get it wet.
Anne Klein offers a limited lifetime warranty on the AK 1362 watch that covers craft or material defects, but not typical wear and tear or damage to the watch due to abuse.
Burei Men’s Minimalist Wrist Watch
If you’d like the look of an expensive minimalistic watch, but at a budget price, then you might want to know more about Burei’s Men’s Watch.
One of the first things you may notice about the Brunei timepiece is that even though the dial follows classic and simple Nordic design standards, the band is black Milanese mesh which makes it a bit unusual and eye-catching.
The round case has a dark grey brass dial with a three-hand analog display powered by a Japanese quartz movement. There’s also a date window located next to the three o’clock marker.
Pros and Cons
The Brunei watch is water resistant for a depth of up to 98 feet, so you can wear it for your everyday activities without worrying about water damage although it’s best not to immerse it. The glass on the dial is a mineral crystal which protects against scratches and typical wear and tear.
Almost 900 customers who purchased the Brunei shared their thoughts on their experience with the watch, and about 75 percent rated it with five stars. Many buyers said they would highly recommend the timepiece to other shoppers due to its stylish and luxurious appearance but affordable price tag.
Some negative reviews mentioned latch issues ranging from watches that wouldn’t stay on to some who found it very difficult to take off.
Although several reviewers mention that the watch does come with a warranty, the listing information does not include specific details as to the length of the warranty or what it covers.
Buying a watch is a highly personalized choice so a piece will speak to you or it won’t. What one person considers a classic, someone else may find gaudy or gauche.
Normally in this section, we’d recommend which items on our list could be the best depending on the product’s intended use or features. However, given that we compiled several highly rated minimalist watches that buyers either loved or didn’t, we’ll leave the final verdict on this one up to you.