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Ten of the Best Bauhaus Watches

Posted on November 15 2017

Northwind Watches

Bauhaus WAtch

 

Founded by Walter Gropius in 1919 Bauhaus was an influential and revolutionary German art school. Initially based in Weimar the school aimed to bring together the different disciplines of architecture, design and art to produce what they referred to as a 'total work of art'. The word Bauhaus means literally “construction house”, or “School of building”.

The schools influences were varied, from the post-revolutionary Russian 'contructivism' to William Morris' idea of the marriage of artistic design and functionality. Speaking of art Morris said that it “should meet the needs of society and that there should be no distinction between form and function.” Teachers at the school included reknowned artists Wassily Kandinski and Paul Klee.

Closed by the Nazi's in 1933, the Bauhaus influence has been immense, particularly following that closure as it's artists fled Germany before and during WW2. Now when we think of a Bauhaus style we think of minimalism and very simple, functional designs. Most of all Bauhaus is regarded as uniquely German. Their expression of modernism – a departure from both classical and traditional designs.

However, modern Bauhaus styling is evident in our daily lives and in the design of many of our favourite products. Steve Jobs, a Bauhaus fan, spoke of Apple's design ethos. “What we’re going to do is make the products high-tech, and we’re going to package them cleanly so that you know they’re high-tech. We will fit them in a small package, and then we can make them beautiful and white, just like Braun does with its electronics.”

Watches are ideal for Bauhaus design.

A watch is a  tool, with a mechanical base, that is often bought for it's aesthetic qualities. Where the owner intuitively knows that both form and function are equally important. Like Apple's laptops the design is as crucial as the performance.

Here we take you through ten of the best watches inspired by the Bauhaus school.

 

Stowa Antea Klassik 390

Stowa Bauhaus watch

The first Bauhaus watches appeared in the late 1930's as German manufacturers Lange & Söhne and Stowa released their early designs. Stowa produced it's first Antea watch in 1937. The watch is a timeless design and today's Antea Classic, introduced in 2004, is a reissue of the original.

Interestingly the watch comes in a range of sizes from 35.5mm reminiscent of vintage tastes to 41mm, more in keeping with contemporary expectations.

The specs for the 390 are:

  • 39mm Diameter
  • Choice of ETA Automatic or Handwinding Movement
  • Stainless Steel Case
  • 5ATM

 

 

Nomos Tangente

Nomos Bauhaus Watch

Two months after the fall of the Berlin Wall Nomos was founded in Glashutte, Saxony. From the very beginning the company began to produce Bauhaus inspired pieces designed by Susanne Gunther. Since 2005 the range has been powered by their own inhouse movements.

The Tangente and Tangomat models are most associated with the Bauhaus aesthetic. Indeed, they're very similar to the earlier Stowa watches, though more desirable to the average watch enthusiast.

The Tangente is the handwinding version with Nomo's Alpha Calibre. It's another smaller watch at just under 38mm. The Tangomat is an automatic and uses the inhouse Epsilon and has both white and black dialled versions.

  • 35mm to 38.3mm
  • Handwinding or Automatic Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal

 

Junghans Max Bill Automatic 027/3502

Junghans Bauhaus watch

Swiss artist Max Bill was a student at the Bauhaus school during the mid 1920s and went on to produce work as an architect, artist, painter, typeface designer and graphic designer. Beginning in the 1950s German watch manufacturer Junghans worked with Bill on a number of Bauhaus inspired clock designs. By the beginning of the 1960s he'd also began to design wristwatches.

The Max Bill range has been a mainstay of Junghans, indeed its probably the series of watches that they're most famous for. Bills design for these watches is slightly less minimalist than the Stowa or Nomos but the appearance is no less impressive.

Where the previous watches have bold blue hands Junghans have opted for a more traditional stainless steel lumed set. The Max Bill range includes white and black dial options as well as the Chronoscope, a chronograph model. Like the Nomos there are two mechanical options and an additional Quartz model. One nice touch is the engraved Max Bill signature on the case back.

  • 38mm
  • Automatic Movement
  • Stainless Steel Case

 

 

 

Braun BN0021

Braun Baushaus watch

German company Braun are probably best known as a manufacturer of household items and electric shavers after having initially began as a producer of radios. Braun designer Dieter Rams created a number of iconic and influential designs that were to inspire Steve Jobs amongst others.

Although not known as a watch brand the BN0021 is a very well designed and very affordable alternative to the bigger names in Bauhaus watch design. With a black dial and simple numerials and indices the watch is very minimalist. The yellow secondhand adds just enough to colour to catch the eye without overwhelming the plain dial. With the diameter at 38mm but the strap width at 22mm the proportions are just a little different to the Junghans that takes a 20mm strap. The Braun also has hidden lugs rather than the angular lugs of the previous three watches.

  • 38mm Diameter
  • Quartz Movement
  • Stainless Steel Case
  • 5ATM

 

Zeno 3767Q

Zeno Bauhais Watch

Following in the footsteps of the earlier German watch manufacturers the Swiss have also embraced the Bauhaus ethos. Zeno have a proud watchmaking history dating back to the late 19th Century. Since rebranding as Zeno they have gained a solid reputation as a reliable manufacturer.

Like the Braun the 3767Q is a relatively cheap Quartz watch. At 40mm the Zeno is on the larger side for a minimalist watch. As expected it comes with a stainless steel case and a sapphire crystal and leather strap. There's a number of dial colour options.

  • 40mm
  • Swiss Quartz
  • Stainless Steel Case
  • 3ATM

 

Panzera Breur 44 Arctic Mesh

Panzera Bauhaus Watch

Australian brand Panzera specialise in watches that they describe as 'modern vintage'. Contemporary interpretations of modern classics. Bauhaus designs therefore sit comfortably amongst the Panzera range of German inspired aviation and Italian influenced divers watches.

At 44mm this watch is firmly aimed at the modern watch buyer and is almost 10mm wider then the original 1930's watches. The dial and handset conform to the Bauhaus aesthetic but the increased size, colourful straps and display back give a subtle nod to modern trends. Retailing around £400-450, the Breur provides a lot of watch for the money.

Powered by a reliable Japanese Miyota automatic movement, with 50m water resistance and hardened mineral crystal there's nothing more to expect from that price point.

  • 44mm
  • Automatic Movement
  • Stainless Steel
  • 5ATM

 

Uniform Wares 251

Uniform Wares Bauhaus watch

Described as a Swiss made modernist dress watch the 251 by Uniform Wares is the most basic of the watches on this list. All the range have sterile dials meaning there's no obvious company branding.

The watch isn't as striking as some of the others on the list and unlike the Stowa and Nomos seems to be aimed more at the fashion buyer rather than the watch enthusiast. With a Swiss quartz movement the watches are subsequently priced nearer £200 rather than Nomo's £2000.

Like the Braun the strap is fitted behind the watch in hidden lugs adding to the very minimal, uncomplicated design.

  • 37mm
  • Quartz Movement
  • Stainless Steel
  • 5ATM

 

Aristo Dessau 4H132

Aristo Bauhaus watch

With the Dessau German manufacturer Aristo have taken the classic Bauhaus dial and added a slightly beefed up case. Whilst the Uniform Wares watch removed all but the basics, the Dessau has numerials at 1 to 12 and a date window. I little busier than most of the other watches on the list. However, it works. There's only so much room for historically accurate Bauhaus designs and the Aristo modifies the design just enough to remain honest to the concept whilst adding something fresh.

Although German made, the movement is a Swiss ETA automatic.

  • 38.5mm
  • Automatic Movement
  • Stainless Steel Case
  • 5ATM

 

 

 

Ruhla 91234M

Ruhla Bauhaus watch

German watchmaker Ruhla was based in East-Germany before the Russian occupation and was absorbed into the Soviet Union's industrial machine. During that difficult period the company built watches and clocks for the Soviet state. Their production ranged from wrist watches to aviation clocks, both built for domestic use and export. The fall of Communism resulted in the demise of the company before it was revived in its current form.

The 91234M is a cheap, but attractive Bauhaus design with the addition of a sub-second hand and date window. Powered by a swiss quartz movement and with a domed crystal and two choices of dial this ticks all the basic boxes.

  • 42mm
  • Quartz Movement
  • Stainless Steel Case
  • 5ATM

 

Junkers 6050-5

 

Junkers Bauhaus watch

This is clearly a Bauhaus inspired timepiece. On some of the models it says so on the dial.

It has all the German heritage and is available as both a quartz and a more expensive automatic version. The quartz is powered by a Swiss Ronda movement and the automatic a Swiss Eta movement.

Whilst most of the other brands have opted for a clean white or black, the Junkers has a slightly off white or beige dial. The impression is of a watch that has aged, a vintage piece rather than a modern remake. Unlike some of the other watches on the list the Junkers also has lumed hands and indices. Overall it feels quite distinctive, rather than a straight homage.

  • 40mm
  • Automatic Movement
  • Stainless Steel
  • Hesalite Crystal
  • 3ATM

 

 

Be sure to hunt out some of the other Bauhaus inspired models too. Chinese giant Sea-Gull now produce a Nomos Tangente homage and familiar brands including Timex and Skagen also do minimalist designs. Defakto and Kent Wang also market high quality modernist inspired models that appeal more to watch enthusiasts. 

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