As a watch lover, I can appreciate the intricacies and aesthetics of different watch complications and the look of the subdials on my favorite Chronograph. But on some occasions, I just want a classic-looking watch to tell the time.
Apart from the simple and minimalistic design of a time-only watch, these watches remind us of the timeless traditional charm of an old-fashion timepiece.
If you are in the market for a classic ‘no bells and whistles’ timepiece, then these time-only watches should whet your appetite for a watch that focuses on heritage. Purists will undoubtedly enjoy this list, and enthusiasts will appreciate the simplicity of these classically designed watches.
The criteria for this list was that the watch has no complications – not even the day or date window– just good old-fashioned timekeeping capability. This curated list is roughly in order of price, we started with the most affordable budget watches and worked our way up to luxury options.
Best Time-Only Watches
Timex Fairfield 41 Watch (TW2P97800)
Affordable, classy, and reliable. The Timex Fairfield 41 features a sleek 41mm stainless-steel case with a mineral crystal window. The brown slip-through leather strap adds a layer of ruggedness to the Fairfield, counter-balanced by the blue dial.
The dial incorporates gray-tone index hour markers and a three-hand analog display. The rudimentary build of this Timex watch exudes a good deal of confidence despite the minimalist appearance. Underneath the hood lies a Japanese quartz movement and an Indiglo light technology for added visibility in the dark.
The Timex Fairfield delivers a simplistic charm with its incredibly unassuming numberless dial design. However, the watch also offers a good deal of style, making it a suitable timepiece for casual and formal occasions.
Nixon Time Teller Watch (A045)
Looking for an affordable time-only timepiece that offers top-notch versatility when it comes to its design? Check out that Nixon Time Teller collection, and we guarantee you will find one that will complement your style.
For this particular entry, we chose the all-gold variant due to its luxurious appeal. There are over a dozen options to choose from, such as a slick modern all-black variant and a green dial version, to name a few. The high-class and neat design of the Nixon Time Teller does its name justice. This watch tells time, and it tells time quite well.
The dial is pristine, with only thin index hour markers and baton analog hands taking up the spotlight. Within the simple design is a Miyota Japanese quartz movement that delivers excellent precision. The Nixon Time Teller also features a 100-meter water-resistant build, making it a suitable wristwatch for recreational marine activities.
Timex Expedition Scout (T49961)
For those looking for a time-only watch that offers an extra level of durability and outdoor aesthetic, might we direct your attention towards the uncompromising and affordable Timex Expedition Scout? This timepiece features a more robust 40mm brass case with a mineral glass dial window and green nylon strap; this watch is decidedly a field timepiece.
The black dial incorporates luminous and bold Arabic numeral hour markers both in 12 and 24-hour format. The three-hand analog hands feature a radiant finish, with the seconds arrow hand featuring a contrasting yellow tone for added legibility.
Additionally, this field watch comes with an Indiglo light-up technology, further enhancing its legibility in low-light environments.
Citizen Eco-Drive Chandler (BJ6500-21A)
Classy with a dash of modern charm, the Citizen Chandler watch features a pretty rudimentary aesthetic. Within its 46mm stainless steel case lies Arabic numeral hour markers partnered up with slim baton analog hands accentuated by the cream-tone dial.
Inside the refined case lies the ever-accurate Japanese quartz movement. The case is further accentuated by brown leather straps, adding a layer of formality to Chandler’s appearance.
In addition to the timeless aesthetic, the Citizen Chandler also comes equipped with the brand’s signature Eco-Drive technology. This feature allows the Chandler to recharge using both natural and synthetic light. Thus, eliminating the need to change batteries after a year or so regularly.
Seiko Solar Watch (SUP880)
For watch lovers looking for a time-only watch with a more vintage appeal, the Seiko Solar SUP880 is an excellent option to check out. The rectangular case is exceptionally sleek and compact at 28mm in diameter. This size makes the Seiko Solar SUP880 a perfect dress watch as well.
The Roman numeral hour markers and elegant leaf analog hands give the SUP880 that added a level of sophistication and elegance regarding its design. Furthermore, the gold-tone case partnered with the black leather strap also provides the Seiko with Solar SUP880 a more refined charm.
Inside the rectangular case is a Japanese quartz movement and a solar-powered battery. As a result, this watch has approximately 12-months of power reserve on a single full charge, making it virtually impossible to drain the power inadvertently.
Longines Heritage Military Watch (L2.8188.8.131.52)
Longines Heritage Military features a classic aesthetic delivered in a high-end presentation. This luxury time-only watch earns its ‘heritage’ moniker with its high-quality and intricate build. It also comes with a unique body that provides top-notch durability in the field.
The watch itself is pretty unassuming with its 38.5mm stainless steel case and leather strap. However, the dial is the main star of this timepiece with its rather unique aesthetic. The cream hue of the dial incorporates visual spots that emulate the appearance of aging or ‘molds’ that give the dial an added depth of character.
The Arabic numeral hour markers are pretty prominent and legible, while the spade analog dial hands feature a blue-tone finish that gives it a memorable visual hook.
Swatch Big Bold Quartz Watch
This timepiece stays true to the Swatch reputation; the Big Bold timepiece collection features a modern and eye-catching design. The Big Bold watch series comes in several cases and dial color options, each capturing that chic urban appeal that Swatch is known for.
The Big Bold also takes its name to heart with a substantially sized 47mm round case. In addition, all Big Bold options incorporate a rubber strap with the dial featuring four prominent Arabic numeral hour markers (3, 6, 9, and 12).
The modern and sporty design of the Big Bold also makes it quite an appealing time-only watch for the younger generation of timepiece aficionados. Overall, the Swatch Big Bold pretty much delivers everything you would expect from this beloved brand – affordable, reliable, and chic.
Mondaine Swiss Railway 36 Watch (A400.30351.11SBB)
Simple with a retro charm, the Mondaine Railway also has an ultra-sleek case to visually pleasing aesthetics. This watch combines that vintage appeal with a modern minimalist twist that delivers the best of both worlds regarding its appeal.
The white dial features black hour index markers with broad baton hands, which gives the dial excellent legibility. A red lollipop second’s hand further adds a layer of legibility and style to the mix.
In addition, the simple and elegant dial, the Mondaine Railway also caps off its design with a black leather strap that adds a certain degree of finesse and comfort to the timepiece.
Laco Augsburg Type-A Pilot Watch (861688)
We have another vintage-style timepiece in the form of the Laco Augsburg Type-A Pilot Watch. This particular timepiece is a homage to classic WW2-era German Pilot watches with its clean black dial with luminous Arabic numeral hour markers. There are also nifty luminous leaf analog hands round off the Laco Augsburg retro visual flair.
The Laco Augsburg Type-A also features a premium-grade horological build with its sturdy stainless-steel 42mm case with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal window. The analog dial operates via an automatic self-winding movement, providing the Laco Augsburg Type-A with fantastic precision. As a pilot watch, this timepiece provides excellent legibility in day and night settings.
Cartier Santos Watch (WSSA0029)
Next up is another vintage-style time-only timepiece for those who love a refined no-nonsense timepiece. The unique opaline dial of this Cartier Santos timepiece excels with its elegant presentation. Accompanying the Roman numeral hour markers is sword-style analog hands with a blue-tone finish.
The sleek 35mm silver-tone stainless steel case features a stainless-steel band, which you can switch to a brown leather strap if you wish – adding versatility to this vintage watch. The relatively robust square case also provides solid 100-meter water resistance, making it suitable for most recreational aquatic activities.
IWC Mark XVIII Watch (IW327001)
We have another retro-inspired timepiece with some similar aesthetics to the Laco Augsburg Type-A watch that we showcased earlier. This time around, we have one from the IWC brand, the Mark XVIII Automatic timepiece.
This timepiece features a jet-black dial with luminous leaf analog hands and bold Arabic numeral hour markers. In addition, there is an added detail over in the outer rim of the dial, which features minute markers. The dial is also well-protected within a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal window.
Within the retro-style dial is an IWC caliber 30110 automatic movement with approximately 42-hours of power reserve. In addition, the IWC Mark XVIII features a simple aesthetic which is also its main appeal.
Montblanc 1858 Automatic Smoked Champagne Watch (119065)
With its highly refined rose gold-tone case and smoked champagne dial, the Montblanc 1858 certainly delivers a highly sophisticated and elegant charm to the proverbial table. The Montblanc 1858 also features an automatic movement within its 40mm stainless-steel case and sapphire crystal construction to further add to its prestige.
The elegant rose gold-tone case is accentuated by using a brown calfskin leather band, which adds a certain level of ruggedness to the aesthetics. The Montblanc 1858 timepiece also offers up to 100-meters of water resistance, making it suitable for swimming and snorkeling.
All in all, the Montblanc 1858 captures the elegant and timeless charm of classic timepieces. Simple, innovative, and accurate – precisely what you need in a watch.
Hamilton Khaki Field Murph Watch (H70605731)
Hamilton watches are always known for their bold American-style qualities, which deliver both a refined and rugged charm. The black dial offers a simple yet sophisticated aesthetic with its luminous Arabic numeral hour markers and minute markers at the outer rim.
To add a considerable layer of intricate elegance to the relatively rudimentary design are cathedral-style luminous analog hands. But, of course, these visual flourishes will be for naught if it does not offer precision. In that regard, the Hamilton Khaki Field Murph manages to meet and exceed all expectations with its high-precision automatic movement.
This watch manages to blend a robust build with a refined charm. Seeing as this is a Hamilton watch, that achievement is not exactly surprising.
Tissot Clock (T109610360300)
So few brands can blend an effortless aesthetic with a premium-grade charm like Tissot. The Tissot Clock timepiece is sublime with its design, making it a pretty charming dress watch..
The 42mm stainless-steel gold-tone case comes with dark brown leather straps, which adds a good dash of class to its appearance. Underneath the conservative elegance of the case is a Swiss quartz movement. The case build also provides the timepiece with up to 30-meters of water resistance.
Junghans Max Bill Automatic Watch (027/3501.00)
Let us step away for a second from the vintage timepieces and introduce one that fully encapsulates a modern style aesthetic – the Junghans Max Bill timepiece. The super-thin luminous analog hands are accentuated nicely by similarly designed index hour markers.
Accompanying the slick and minimalist linear markers are luminous circles strategically placed on the cardinal directions of the dial. The 38mm silver-tone case features a clean build that complements its minimalist design nicely. The Junghans Max Bill delivers a highly distinguished design that oozes a modern, confident charisma along with the black leather strap.
Panerai Radiomir Mechanical Watch (PAM00424)
The Panerai Radiomir watch is an impressively built and tough timepiece with many heritage behind its name. The PAM00424 features a unique dial design incorporating Arabic and Roman numeral hour markers. Along with pencil-style analog hands – the Panerai Radiomir delivers a precise and practical timepiece.
The watch comes with a construction that gives it solid 100-meter water resistance. The durability of this watch is unquestionable, which it wears on its proverbial sleeves with its large 47mm stainless-steel case.
Over at the back, this Panerai Radiomir watch utilizes a transparent back case for an excellent view of its automatic movement. This watch is from a classic watch brand known for its sturdy and vintage style – definitely, a watch that should be in your collection.
Rolex Airking Watch (114200BLASO)
We have finally reached the end of our list and what better way to top this off than with a prestigious Rolex timepiece? With the timeless silver-tone 34mm stainless-steel case and stunning blue dial design, this Rolex timepiece hits the bullseye regarding a classic design.
The case is accompanied by an Oyster steel band and up to 100-meters of water resistance. We also enjoy the fixed domed bezel incorporated with the durable case, which adds a nice and subtle visual flair to the design.
Underneath the premium-grade construction is an automatic movement that ensures absolute precision in timekeeping. If you are looking for a premium-grade time-only watch – you cannot go wrong with a Rolex timepiece.