The name “Bauhaus” watch may be interpreted and executed differently by each distinct watch manufacturer. To understand this design principle, let’s break it down and look at the translation of the word. This very act defines this ideology of stripping down design to the very basics of form and function.
Translated from German, the word “Bauhaus” literally means the house of structure. It’s also the appropriate name of the school of fine arts and design that operated in Germany between 1919 and 1933. The working tenet of the school was that form should follow function. This means that anything unnecessary and superfluous would be cut out from the final product.
This philosophy of minimalism doesn’t necessarily prohibit incorporation of design flairs. It simply means that every piece should be functional. This Bauhaus design principle makes for an excellent watch. A typical Bauhaus-inspired watch has all the important components required of a watch and none of the more extravagant – and let’s be honest – unnecessary parts. What is left is a versatile timepiece that is elegant and timeless.
Since Bauhaus is a German philosophy of design, don’t be surprised to find a lot of high-quality German watches on this list.
Here are the best Bauhaus watches.
The Junkers brand of watches is a proudly German-made product line established in 2003 with a rich history that hearkens back the glory days of aviation. The Junkers name is associated with German aircraft engineering. It was established in 1895 and closed down in 1969. The aircraft business has since been defunct, but the brand lives on in its watches. The watches are made in the same spirit of precise and functional German engineering that gave the Junkers aircrafts their place in history.
The Junkers 6050-5 Bauhaus is undeniably Bauhaus in name and form. The clock dial comes in a very elegant beige color and a stainless steel chassis. The hands are stainless steel with fluorescent strips. The design elements that are pronounced in this minimalist watch are the outstretched lines for each 5-minute interval. This design feature, though prominent, is in no way distracting. These lines are evenly spaced by dots that culminate in retro 40s or 50s style numerals every 5 minutes around the watch face.
This watch also features a squarish date window that shows the day of the month. To complete the look, choose between a leather or stainless steel band.
The distinct Swatch look cannot be mistaken for anything else. Who knew that in the beginning the Swatch name had a rather nasty connotation? The name was meant as a portmanteau for “Second Watch,” meaning that it’s your back-up watch. The entire product line was made as a cheaper line of almost disposable quality products that would compete against the much cheaper digital watches produced by Japan. Today, most Swatch watches retain a more toy-like appearance, though this just allows the brand to position itself as a fun, affordable, and durable Swiss watch with colorful designs that the more youthful of us prefer.
The Swatch Skinbrushed SYXS102 features toned-down colors in a more grown-up design that contrasts a black dial in a stainless steel case with a dark brown leather strap and a stainless steel buckle. It’s a battery-operated quartz watch that’s rated waterproof up to 3 bars.
Every design aspect in this Swatch product is Bauhaus. It’s a strong entry with a sophisticated, versatile style. It works well as both your daily beater or as a dress watch for special occasions.
The Stowa brand has been a renowned German maker of high-quality watches since 1927. The Stowa name is a word derived from combining the first sounds of the founder’s last and first names, which happened to be Walter Storz. The brand is now owned and operated by Jörg Schauer, a professional goldsmith turned world-class watchmaker.
This entry on this list is a classic in all sense of the word. The Stowa Antea Klassik is a reissue of their original watch, which was released in 1937. This makes the design authentically Bauhaus. The watch features a round silver dial housed in a glossy stainless steel case. To contrast with the light background, the hands are made out of a very eye-catching blue metal. The font style for the Hindu-Arabic numerals has not been changed since its original issue in 1937. It’s very faithful to the aesthetics of the 1930s – something that you’ll love if you’re going for classic. It comes with a black leather strap, making the Antea an excellent choice if you’re in the market for a handsome dress watch.
At its founding in 1925, Laco was not the proud German brand it is today. In its early years, Laco imported Swiss-made watch movements and housed them in German cases. It was a few years after their founding that Laco started producing their own German-made movements, making their products officially 100% German. The watch movements they produced were so good that another popular German watchmaker, Stowa, started using them in their own watches.
Laco’s entry on this list of awesome Bauhaus watches is an entire product line and not just one single product. If you’re the type who likes the appeal of a simple yet very stylish timepiece instead of an overly designed behemoth, then the Laco Classics Line is for you. It may be simple, but the Laco Classics Line is in no way boring. First off, you have a wide array of colors to choose from. These choices correspond to the different colors and materials of dials and bands. You can either go old-school with timeless, toned-down colors or go with a more modern look with bolder colors.
For more stylish and functional timepieces, check out our guide to the best Citizen watches.
Sternglas is a modern watch brand with a big Kickstarter success under its belt. It was back in 2016 that Sternglas first offered their first watch for crowdfunding. The campaign had a set target of 10,000 Euros, but the amount that was pledged by backers reached more than 16,000. Needless to say, their first campaign was a massive success. Out of this crowdfunding experience, the brand developed a penchant for minimalist, Bauhaus designs and sapphire glass. Their backers and customers couldn’t be happier.
The Topograph is a beautiful watch with a black dial with black and white-colored hands. This color combination is pure genius on their part. Had the hands been totally black, this wouldn’t have worked, but Sternglas only made the base of the hands black and the rest white, achieving the illusion of floating hands. The dial is encased in an impressive brushed stainless steel chassis.
If you choose this watch, be sure to check out their selection of metal and leather straps for further customization.
Our guide on the top Omega watches offers more cool options like this. Don’t miss them.
The Defakto brand embodies the very teachings of Bauhaus. At the core of their brand identity, they describe themselves as purists. This is at the heart of all their designs, which are all very simple and elegant. The brand was founded in 2009 in Germany and is now regarded as a manufacturer of high-quality modern classics. The brand doesn’t shy away from imports and openly uses Swiss and Japanese movements in their German casings. They claim that their watches last a lifetime, so if you’re looking for something built to last, then choosing Defakto could be right for you.
The Akkord is Defakto’s entry on this list of the best Bauhaus watches. Its design is refined and is faithful to the minimalist aesthetics of the artistic principle. The Akkord model features a selection of different casings, from a more faux-antique-looking bronze to a very modern sand blasted stainless steel. You can also choose from a light or dark watch dial. You also have your choice of leather, non-animal straps (such as nylon or rubber), and stainless steel.
The Ruhla brand is a pioneer in the field of watch production. Not only is Ruhla the first brand manufactured by means of mass production but it’s also the first watch brand from Germany that reached space. The Ruhla story starts in 1862 when the company first started as Gebrüder Thiel GmbH. It was under this name that they pioneered mass production of the pocket watch and the wrist watch. It was only in 1952 that the Ruhla name became part of the brand name as the company was renamed Uhren und Maschinenfabrik Ruhla.
In keeping with Ruhla’s history of naming convention that doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, the next entry on this list is the Ruhla Classic 91234M. Despite its awkward name, this timepiece is one beautifully crafted machine. It features a two-toned design that sets stainless steel hands, casing, and strap against a black dial. If you enjoy this high-contrast look, then this watch is definitely for you.
You may also be interested in top-rated Rolex watches from our list. Check them out.
Uniform Wares is a watch brand that is making waves through its online sales. Even though the brand isn’t as old as some of the brands on this list, they still produce world-class timepieces that embody the spirit of Bauhaus. The watches themselves are the result of a joint international effort. The watches are designed in London, and the components that go into them are outsourced to international partners. These are then shipped to Switzerland where they are expertly assembled.
The Uniform Wares 251 watch is going to be one of the simplest watches you’ll want on your wrist. It’s a perfect harmony of form, function, and classical aesthetics. The casing and buckle are made of stainless steel that comes in a few different finishes, such as gorgeous gunmetal. The strap is made of leather.
The watch dial comes in a solid color of your choice. The 5-minute interval and minute markers are all indicated with bars, and the hands themselves take on the shape of bars. This dress watch under $500 evokes the aesthetic of minimalist, industrial sensibilities.
NOMOS Glashütte is a German watch brand that produces manual and automatic watches. It was founded in 1990 and is deeply influenced by the Bauhaus movement. Much like the architecture of their factories, the NOMOS watches are handmade to look clean and modern.
The Tangente 38 Date features a large 37.5mm diameter face with a stainless steel casing and sapphire crystal glass covering both front and back. The dial is white with legible fonts and a striking set of blue hands. Secure it to your wrist with a Horween black leather strap. This elegant piece is manual, so don’t forget to wind.
The Junghans brand is synonymous with maximum minimalism. This German brand was founded in 1961 and since then, they have made wristwatches that are minimalist in both appearance and function. What they create are true Bauhaus watches. While the brand has changed ownership over the years, it still remains true to its original identity and mission.
The Max Bill Line of watches from Junghans is a perfect example of just how perfect a German watch can be. Everything about the design of this series is absolute Bauhaus. It’s a big watch with your choice of dials and straps as well as a choice of numeral design. Choose from the many different unique design combinations in the series.
Aristo was established in 1907 in Pforzheim, Germany. They produce both automatic and manual wristwatches that primarily use Swiss movements encased in German casings. The Aristo watches today are manufactured under the Aristo Vollmer GmbH Company. They manufacture a large number of designs that are inspired by the military, aviation, diving, and motorsports. They also produce minimalist watches inspired by the Bauhaus movement. One such watch is the Dessau 4H132.
The Aristo Dessau 4H132 is an automatic silver wristwatch that is obviously designed to look futuristic. This stylistic choice doesn’t take away from its minimalist look though. Its silver-white dial is enclosed in a polished stainless steel case with a band made of a stainless steel mesh. This is a really stunning dress watch perfect for the most formal of occasions, just like these beautiful nice watches.
The Ressence brand of watches is a relatively young company from Belgium. The name is a combination of Renaissance and Essence. The choice of these words for their brand name proves just how confident they are with their products. This is not an empty boast either since the timepieces they produce are certainly some of the most unique in terms of design and function. Even though their design aesthetics clearly draws upon 21st-century sensibilities instead of hearkening back to the older classics, they are still undeniably Bauhaus.
The Ressence Types 1, 2, 3, 5, and 12 employ rotating discs instead of hands to indicate the time. At first glance, telling the time is difficult and confusing, but once you get the hang of it, it’s quite easy. Some of the words that come to mind when viewing this all-black watch are: futuristic, space age, cool, and crazy (in a good way). The Ressence Types 1, 2, 3, 5, and 12 pretty much use the same movements, but each type has unique features that are not found in any of the other types, like the oil-immersed dial of the Type 3.