Design Classics: modern minimalist timepieces

Mondaine's Official Swiss Railway Watch is probably one of the most recognisable timepiece designs in the world. Launched in 1986, it's an inspired replica of the classic Swiss railway station clock designed in the 1940s by Hans Hilfiker and renowned for its technical accuracy. Hilfiker designed the face to be easily readable from a distance, with a red second hand to act as a beacon enabling passengers to judge precisely when trains would arrive and depart.

Although the watch is available in a variety of different shapes and sizes (from £139 at, it's the original that is, in my opinion, still the most desirable. With its clear white dial and lack of unnecessary ornamentation, it's a classic and understated piece of modern design. 

The Bauhaus inspired NOMOS Tangente is a another timepiece that adheres to similar minimalist design principles. As watchmakers go, amongst the likes of Cartier and Omega, NOMOS is a relatively newcomer to the scene. Founded in 1991 in the East German town of Glashütte, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the brand has a design philosophy that is strongly influenced by the Deutscher Werkbund, a German association of artists, architects, designers and industrialists, of which it is a member. The Werkbund, which dates back to 1907, was important in the development of modern architecture and industrial design, and particularly in the creation of the Bauhaus school of design.

The Nomos Tangente (£970 at is an enduringly good looking design that's built to last a lifetime.

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