The best minimalist watches—much like the most enduring designs from brands like Jil Sander and Helmut Lang—offer a masterclass in the power of restraint. Kicked off by the form-follows-function credo of the Bauhaus school of the 1920s, minimalism eschews decoration for its own sake, cutting straight to the good stuff with clean lines, unadorned surfaces, and tasteful, monochromatic color palettes. While the ethos is sometimes criticized for its lack of warmth, the lasting appeal of understated designs like Marcel Breuer’s Cesca chair, Montreal’s Habitat ‘67, and sleek white sneakers show just how powerful a light touch can be. No shade against big, chunky, complicated timepieces that offer barometric readings or a Swiss bank vault’s worth of precious stones, of course, but just as there’s a place for a black turtleneck in every closet, there’s a lot to be said for adding one of these pared-down watches to your rotation. Sometimes less really is more—the best minimalist watches on the market are proof.
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