5 Best Bauhaus Watches: Clean, Minimalist Timepieces

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William Barton Avatar by  William Barton | Last Updated:  Oct 28, 2020
best bauhaus watches

Do you love a minimalist inspired look but crave more functionality than those junk watches you’re seeing plastered all over your social media feeds? The Bauhaus movement has been inspiring design for decades, and the watch world caught on early.

So rather than wading through endless lists, we put together the five best Bauhaus watches for any budget. 

Best Value
  • Domed sapphire crystal and Japanese quartz movement
  • Crafted by famous Bauhaus designer, Jakob Wagner
  • Special discount available
Best Hand-wound
  • Small 32.8mm diameter
  • Hand-wound Nomos caliber beating at 21600vph
  • Galvanized, champagne-colored dial
Best Chronograph
  • Gold plated stainless steel case
  • Clean, minimalist look in a complicated chronograph
  • Automatic Junghans movement
Best Automatic Under $500
  • Domed mineral crystal
  • Larger 40mm diameter
  • Super thin 6mm thickness—dress-watch territory
Top Budget Pick
  • Minimalist dial with a few pops of color
  • Firmly under $100
  • Easy to change strap

Building a watch collection is tough business. 

You’d think it’d be fun. That’s why we do it, right? 

Well, it’s all fun until you shoot down one rabbit-hole after the other until you eventually need to lie down and take a break. 

In my opinion, no watch collection is complete without a clean, minimalist timepiece. The versatility is hard to beat, and no school of design has done so much for a minimalist aesthetic as the Bauhaus movement. 

To make your watch collecting efforts easier, and to pay homage to the Bauhaus pioneers, we’ve put together our top picks showing how crispy-clean German design can be. 

What is a Bauhaus Watch?

Bauhaus design blew up in the 1920s and 30s in Germany, but quickly spread through Europe because of its clean, simple aesthetic. 

The typical Bauhaus look is all about a combination of form and function. Efficiency is just as much a priority as the art of the design. Bauhaus aesthetics are found in architecture, cookware, furniture, and so much more. But really, we only care about the watches. 

Most Bauhaus watches can also be considered minimalist watches. You’ll typically see a white or eggshell dial, though black and navy dials are becoming more common. 

Historically, these kinds of timepieces have been much smaller in diameter—between 32 and 36mm. It’s much harder to find watches with such a small footprint now, but there are still some brands holding down the classic style.

5 Best Bauhaus Watches for Men

1. Nordgreen Native

Nordgreen Native White Dial closeup

Based in Copenhagen, Nordgreen has taken the German Bauhaus design aesthetic to the next level. 

The Native is crafted by the legendary designer, Jakob Wagner, the creative force behind many of Bang & Olufsen’s most famous Bauhaus pieces. 

The Native packs a minimalist punch, with its 38mm diameter, domed sapphire crystal, and “invisible” indices. If you’re looking for a good, inexpensive middle ground between a dress watch and an everyday piece, the Native is worth looking into.

What I Like

  • The domed crystal and “invisible” indices make for a dynamic timepiece. 

  • Mix and match dial and case colors for a ton of options.

  • When you buy from Nordgreen, you can donate to one of three amazing causes.

What I Don’t Like

  • With only 3atm of water-resistance, this watch is sensitive to water. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Over 1,200 Google reviews for the Nordgreen Native average out to a 4.8 out of 5 score. Many reviewers praised the brand for their customer service. A few negative comments noted that the “invisible” indices make the watch hard to read. 

They’re not wrong, but the pure minimalism of the Native is one of its strongest features in my mind.

The Verdict

For a pared back minimalist design that won’t break the bank, the Nordgreen Native is an excellent choice. 

With features like a domed sapphire crystal and slim case, the Native is a versatile timepiece that matches just about any wardrobe.

Best Value
Nordgreen Native
(Get 20% off with code THEADULTMAN)

The Nordgreen Native is a beautiful minimalist watch. Even with 10+ watches in my collection, I find myself reaching for this timepiece many times a week. It’s subtle and slim but looks rich and elegant.

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2. Nomos Tangente

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Straight from the home of the Bauhaus movement, Nomos has won the watch world over with their classic hand wound and automatic timepieces. 

The Tangente was part of Nomos’ first collection and has led their push to world-wide visibility. 

Part of the brand’s popularity is because they keep their designs classic—you’ll only find a few models with a diameter above 35mm. Also, with in-house built hand-wound and automatic movements, Nomos is keeping haute-horology affordable.

What I Like

  • If you’re a fan of the Bauhaus movement (and not just the aesthetic), the Nomos Tangente is the closest you’ll get historically.

  • The 32.8mm diameter is classy and far outside the norm.

  • In-house hand-wound movements are super rare—there’s even some investment potential with Nomos.  

What I Don’t Like

  • The case diameter might be a little too small for some guys.

What Other Reviewers Say

There aren’t a ton of crowdsources reviews for Nomos or the Tangente. But there’s no shortage of professional reviews. This is a watch-lovers piece. A lot of folks say it’s entry-level, which is a bit of a stretch with a price over $1000. Still, these are watch-junkies we’re talking about here. 

Reviewers love the unique German movements and really have little of anything negative to say about Nomos.

The Verdict

Looking to step into the world of haute-horology? Well, Nomos is a great place to start. 

Their in-house, hand-wound movements are something to behold: true expressions of German craftsmanship. 

And the design of the Tangente draws more than a little inspiration from the days of the first Bauhaus generation.


3. Junghans Max Bill Chronoscope

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The Junghans Max Bill is another beloved watch in the world of horology. And it’s one of the few Bauhaus-inspired timepieces that really pulls off the minimalist look while still offering the extra functionality of a chronograph caliber.

This puppy is gold-plated and makes for a bold dress watch at 40mm in diameter. Junghans timepieces, if you couldn’t guess already, are also crafted in Germany and the Max Bill Chronoschope features an in-house automatic movement. 

Check the crystal on this thing, too. The convex plexiglass window gives this timepiece a serious presence on your wrist.

What I Like

  • The Max Bill Chronoscope has vintage vibes, but modern sizing. It’s a mix between dressy and casual—I like that it defies categorization.

  • Yes, it has the added chronograph complication, but it remains true to the Bauhaus method of design.

  • The in-house automatic movement feels rich and has a storied history. 

What I Don’t Like

  • The plexiglass crystal is worrisome, but the Sicralan coating should help with scratch-resistance. 

What Other Reviewers Say

When you get up into the fine $1000+ air, there aren’t a ton of reviews to go around. Still, the Max Bill Chronoscope has a 4.7-star average rating on Amazon with 5 total reviews. The professional review world is different—they go ga-ga for this thing. 

Most positive comments discuss the design—it is a beautiful piece. The only negative comments are directed toward that bubbly plexi crystal. It’s easier to scratch than sapphire, but there’s no way to get that same convex shape that makes the Max Bill unique.

The Verdict

Of all the designs on this list, the Junghans Max Bill Chronoscope is the most “out there.” It’s still firmly in the Bauhaus camp, but the bubbled out crystal, added chronograph complications, and size of this timepiece make it stand out.

Best Chronograph
Junghans Max Bill Chronoscope

The in-house automatic movement makes Junghans a watch-lovers brand. The balance of detail and minimalist make the Chronoscope a unique timepiece.

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4. Junkers 6060-5

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Ok, let’s tone it down a little and get back under the $1,000 price range. If you want some of the same elements of the previous two luxury-level watches, but don’t want that hefty price tag, check out the Junkers 6060-5

Junkers is another German-built brand and the 6060-5 features an automatic movement for a fraction of the price. 

You’ll also get a domed acrylic crystal, which is a scratch-liability. But it just looks so cool.

What I Like

  • The Junkers 6060-5 is an affordable automatic and offers many of the same German-designed elements as more expensive brands.

  • The indices are high-contrast and make for an interesting dial.

  • This model comes with a stainless steel mesh band, which looks great on Bauhaus-inspired watches.

What I Don’t Like

  • The acrylic crystal, even though it has a scratch-resistant coating, is still much easier to scratch than sapphire.

What Other Reviewers Say

The Google reviews for the Junkers 6060-5 rank it at a 4.7-star average with over 25 reviews. The consensus is that the 6060-5 is a nicely constructed timepiece at a fair price. Two reviewers mention disappointment with the mesh bracelet, but they’re in the minority.

The Verdict

If you got a bit of sticker shock looking at Nomos and Junghans, take a peek at Junkers. This watch is about 1/2-1/3 of the price of those more established brands (mainly because the movement isn’t made in-house), but it still has that mechanical feel of an automatic.

Best Automatic Under $500
Junkers Bauhaus Automatic Watch (6060-5)

If you're a German Bauhaus purist with a passion for automatic watches and a budget under $1,000, this could be your pick. It's a timeless design with all the hallmarks of a great horological companion.

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5. Skagen SKW6273

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Want a crisp minimalist watch, but you’re on a strict budget? Check out the Skagen SKW6273.

Don’t let the marketing fool you—Skagen is an American brand based in Texas. But they’ve been making inexpensive Bauhaus-inspired watches for decades. 

You can pick this piece up for well under $100, so while it lacks a lot of the refinement you’ll find in our other top watches, it’s more wallet-friendly. 

This Skagen model stands out to me the most with its dash of  color in the seconds subdial—it’s a nice touch.

What I Like

  • It’s inexpensive. If you’re new to watches and want something minimalist, it’s a fine place to start.

  • The quartz movement is reliable and will keep chugging for a year or two before needing a battery swap. 

What I Don’t Like

  • The leather strap looks cheap.

  • It’s not the most durable timepiece.

What Other Reviewers Say

This Skagen picked up a 4.2-star average through 10+ reviews on Amazon. For most reviewers, it does the trick—it’s an inexpensive watch that tells time and looks pretty cool. A few reviewers were expecting a more refined strap and design.

The Verdict

Skagen is one of the best brands for sub-$100 watches. That said, I only buy from one sub-$100 brand and that’s Casio. I buy the digital stopwatch piece for $20 and I break it every year. It’s great. 

I only recommend the Skagen SKW6273 if you’re buying your first watch and you’re aiming for a minimalist aesthetic. 

If this watch is interesting to you, you’ll be better served in the long-run with the Nordgreen Native: it’s just a much better (and more refined) timepiece.

Top Budget Pick
Skagen Hagen Leather Watch (SKW6273)

Don't bump your noggin on a toboggan when you're wearing your Skagen Hagen. It's a terrible play on words, but it beats "squee with glee at the SKW6273." Alright, I'll stop. This is a decent watch for the price and your best best at getting classic minimalist style under $50.

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Al Vita Zein

Whether you’re feeling spendy or thrifty, these five Bauhaus-inspired watches run the gamut from classic to modern and represent the best minimalist timepieces the watch world has to offer. 

Minimalist watches happen to be a favorite subject of mine, and I routinely dissect new watches and how to pair them in a minimalist wardrobe over on The Adult Man YouTube channel. Check it out and go subscribe if you haven’t already.

So what do you think? Are you feeling the Bauhaus vibes?

FAQs

What’s the best type of watch band for a Bauhaus watch?

Bauhaus watches look excellent with simple leather straps. Most watch brands will offer their own leather straps.

Who invented the Bauhaus watch?

Bauhaus design came into prominence in 1920s and 30s Germany. There was no “invention” of the Bauahaus watch, but the first examples became widely available in the 1960s.