More is not always more. Especially when it comes to wrist watches. Yes, there are a solid group of us who are attracted to busy chronographs and other watches with tachymeters, GMT hands, and even slide-rules. But then there are those who prefer watches that are less… cluttered?
These are the watches with a clean dial that tells the time, and maybe the date. And that’s it. These are the kinds of watches that often look best dressed up, but can also be worn casually. Here are ten of the best, with affordability kept in mind. Because sometimes you’re just not timing a deep sea exploration, figuring out how many amps you’ve got to cut from the LEM, or calculating the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow.
Orient’s Brand New Bauhaus inspired Bambino. Still has the domed case, the in-house automatic movement, and the works-for-most 40.5 mm case diameter. But they’ve simplified the dial with slim indices & hands, & added a blue & grey face options. Still $182 with the numerous 30% off codes that are floating around out there.
To say it’s an “homage” of the NOMOS Tangete would be an understatement, but it’s also less than a tenth of the price. From the largest manufacturer of mechanical movements in the world. Sapphire crystal with an automatic movement. And while it doesn’t look like it costs a hundred bucks, it does sorta feel that way. Not terrible though. Full review here.
Swiss made simplicity. And get a load of that circular date window. Nice touch from their design team. Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement, exhibition case back, and 39 mm case. “Galvanic” one piece metal dial. Like all other Christopher Ward watches, this one comes with a 60 day free returns window, and a 60 month movement guarantee. Too spendy? They’ve got a quartz version for $275.
This is what the Daniel Wellington brand does. They produce ultra simple, slim watches in a couple of different case/indice/hand colors, and then provide a bunch of different strap options. From simple black or brown leather straps, to mutli-colored & striped bands. 40mm case diameter. Quartz of course. No date window.
So simple it might be… difficult to tell what time it is. Monochrome. Uber minimalist. Sueded watch strap and a 42mm case. Might be a little darker in person, if this one from Amazon is the same model?
Another new design from Orient. Automatic movement, but noticeably larger at 43mm compared to the Bambino. Arabic numerals as well. Available in champagne (shown above with the blue hands), black & silver, and a couple of gold-tone options. Full review here.
Inexpensive and hugely versatile. You could slap an after-market NATO strap on that thing, and you’d have something to compete with Daniel Wellington’s fabric-band styles.
One of Seiko’s fancier models that’s quite popular with the watch-loving crowd. Hacks and hand-winds thanks to the 23-jewel 6R15 movement. Domed Crystal. Very slight blue-tinge to the sunburst dial (as seen at the top of the post) that can appear silver in some light. 40mm case with a nice bit of heft to its weight. Exhibition caseback and comes with an extremely smooth (think patent with a little less shine) strap with blue stitching. Deployant clasp.
One for the larger fellas, and/or the guy’s who prefer larger watch diameters. Quartz/mineral crystal isn’t the most impressive combination, but the looks are all kinds of right. Nice texture to the outer ring. Simple indices + hands. The placement of the date window at 6 o’clock instead of the usual 3 o’clock only adds to the symmetry and cleanliness. Ships and returns for free via Nordstrom.
The Mega Splurge: Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto – $529 – $945.00
A throwback. Either a 38mm or 42mm case with a noticeably domed crystal. Retro Hamilton “H” logo at 12 o’clock, with a date window across the way at 6 o’clock. A 21st century automatic watch in a Rat-Pack package. Multiple case/dial colors available. Goes for just under $600 on Jomashop, but you won’t get the manufacturer’s warranty (which, when it comes to more expensive watch purchases, some guys really want). $945 is what it’ll cost to get it direct from Hamilton.