Seven minimalist watches to invest in now

These minimalist watches are united by a focus on clean design and technical excellence, for timeless style

Minimalist watches, by Laurent Ferrier (left) and Rado (right)
Left, Laurent Ferrier Classic Micro-Rotor Evergreen; right, Rado True Thinline
(Image credit: Courtesy of brand)

When it comes to watchmaking, some brands out-dazzle each other with gems and otherworldly designs when all we want is wrist zen. Minimalist watches with a pared-down essence of style are a strong trend. And to paraphrase Mies van der Rohe, God is in the minimal details.

7 minimalist watches for timeless style

Cartier Tank Louis Cartier

black minimalist watch by Cartier

(Image credit: Cartier)

This is the distilled essence of French watchmaking with its deep gloss dial and architectural case. The Louis Cartier is the equivalent of a black Chanel dress and an understated instrument of time, and black goes with everything, right? Set in gold, the Tank Louis Cartier might just be the perfect one-watch collection.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ceramic

Bulgari minimalist watch in ceramic

(Image credit: Courtesy of brand)

The ascent of Bulgari’s Swiss-based watchmaking division has made the Roman jeweller a force to be reckoned with. This time, designer Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani offers up a dark reinterpretation of the architectural Octo Finissimo. Stealth is the word when the spectacular wrist presence of the Finissimo is toned down with a muted shade of black ceramic.

Laurent Ferrier Classic Micro-Rotor Evergreen

Driven by a quest for subtle perfection, the small team of Laurent Ferrier has a bespoke approach to the art of wristwear. With impossibly slim spear-shaped hands and elongated indices, the result brings a quiet balance to the Classic Micro-Rotor in pink gold (pictured top). With the studied calm of a sartorial brushed dark green, time itself seems less than important.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle

Green watch by Vacheron Constantin

(Image credit: Courtesy of brand)

In this story of minimalist-watch joy, the new Traditionelle from Vacheron Constantin seems more detailed than the rest. But with its subtle shade of green and gold, it emanates a calm confidence only the world’s oldest existing watch brand could offer. And that includes the zen feeling of a manual winding movement finished and assembled by hand.

H Moser Endeavour Vantablack Tourbillon

minimalist watch on man's wrist, in black, by H Moser

(Image credit: H Moser)

Vantablack is the darkest form of black known to man (and artist Anish Kapoor, in his Vantablack sculptures), and H Moser & Cie uses it to full effect. An infinite feeling of deep space sets the stage for the company’s Tourbillon in a classic 42mm gold case. It takes a strong will to not get drawn in by the twirling mechanical art of the prima ballerina at 6 o’clock, set in a deep abyss of black.

Kurono Grand Urushi Aoyama

three minimalist watches, with red, green and black dials respectively

(Image credit: Courtesy of brand)

Kurono is the accessible brand of Hajime Asaoka, the sensei of independent Japanese watchmaking. This 37mm threesome offers traditional Japanese urushi lacquer dials within a smooth case. The deep gloss emanates from a plant-based lacquer that takes up to two months to dry, lending an ethereal air to the dials. With a thickness of only 9.5mm, these svelte watches offer showstopping dials at their most minimal.

Rado True Thinline

Rado was the first brand to offer a ceramic bracelet, and the high-tech gloss is still its calling card. The Rado True Thinline (pictured top) is perhaps the ultimate expression of its design nous, with a paper-thin 4.9mm case. This sleek expression of darkness is in fact the slimmest the brand has ever produced, with a 39mm scratch-resistant case and a quiet, stealthy presence.


Thor Svaboe is a seasoned writer on watches, contributing to several UK publications including Oracle Time and GQ while being one of the editors at online magazine Fratello. As the only Norwegian who doesn’t own a pair of skis, he hibernates through the winter months with a finger on the horological pulse, and a penchant for independent watchmaking.