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10 Sharp, Affordable Minimalist Watches

Black, restrained, and stylish, these timepieces are as versatile as they are inexpensive.

From Danish simplicity and retro silhouettes to a rugged design fit for the military, we round up our favorite pared-down pieces without maximalist price tags. In varying shades of black for your monochromatic taste, naturally.

Timex Marlin Automatic 40mm Leather Strap Watch

Simple, iconic, elegant, this classic design from the classic American company is almost the Platonic ideal of the concept of “watch.” Additionally, the mechanical movement that powers the watch is a surprising rarity at this price point. $249 at Timex.

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Casio G-Shock MASTERPIECE 42.8mm X 48.9mm Watch

It may have bells and it may have whistles. But this solar-powered, shock-resistant digital piece hides its tech inside a matte, nearly indestructible restrained shell. $200 at Bloomingdale’s.

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Nixon REGULUS 46mm Watch

Another shock-proof digital number, this one’s highly readable face and trimmed-down look come courtesy of Nixon’s collaboration with the U.S. Special Operations corps, a group for whom focusing on function is a matter of life or death. $150 at Nixon.

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Skagen Signatur Slim Titanium and Black Steel-Mesh Watch

The Danish brand has always had a reputation for steely, smart simplicity, and this black-on-black model with a dark iteration of the company’s signature mesh wrist strap is no exception. $180 at Skagen.

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Fossil The Minimalist Two-Hand Black Leather Watch

It would be quite the chore to find a timepiece blacker than this one. Pair it with some jet Stan Smiths and some all-black Persols for a fully murdered-out accessories look. 
$125 at Fossil.

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Swatch Sistem Dark Watch

While this is, yes, a list of black watches, it’s hard not to enjoy the electric blue shock that is the second hand here. The deep tone of the rugged steel wrist strap is also a rare attraction. You might think of Swatch as rather disposable, but this stealth automatic timepiece features a mechanical movement that ingeniously uses only 51 parts. $270 at Zappos.

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Adidas Archive M1 Black, Blue, Red Watch

Again, minimalism isn’t always about having a familiar silhouette. In some cases it’s about raw functionality, which in the case of this digital piece translates to high readability. $129 at Tillys.

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Lacoste 12.12 Watch with Black Silicon Strap

This would be the hardline, Bauhausian take on a minimalist timepiece, if not for that little Lacoste alligator messing around with all that very serious formalism where the date window should probably be. We love it. Hey, little guy! $95 at Lacoste.

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Optimef Fărăzece Watch

Speaking of early-20th Century design movements, there’s something wonderfully Kandinsky-ish about the hands on the Romanian timepiece, which is available exclusively through the MoMA store. The ingenious numerical display is designed to help read the time as “five minutes to” or “15 minutes past” a particular hour. $175 at The MoMA Design Store.

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Coach Delancey Slim 40mm Watch

But not every watch here offers such confrontational modernism. Fastened to your wrist with Coach leather, this one benefits greatly from hardware that’s elegantly, quietly streamlined for a more subtle approach. $225 at Coach.

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Surface’s expert editors selected and believe in every, single, one of these products. Any purchases you make using these links may earn us a commission.

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