I discovered Braun watches after reading Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible. The book itself is a must-read for any designer, offering rich insight into the design ethos of Dieter Rams, and the incredible collection of Braun designed products over a period of 40 years.
Braun watches were introduced to the market in the 1980's, including desk clocks, wrist watches, and wall clocks. One person deserves much recognition: Dietrich Lubs. He was instrumental in designing the first line of watches for the Braun family of products.
One of the most striking features of Braun watches is the deliberate simplicity of the dial design. It provides, above all, super easy readability, without any bells and whistles.
I decided to purchase the BN0021BKBKG model. I've always had a thing for black dial watches, so no exception here. Here's the description from the Braun website:
The watch is priced at $150USD, which is very affordable. I placed my order online, and it shipped from the UK. I was expecting a delivery within 10-15 business days. To my delight, the watch arrived (in Toronto, Canada) in 4 business days!
Below are photos I took, along with some thoughts on the overall product.
The watch comes in an outer casing of matte black card-stock paper. One side has the watch face, while the opposite side has a cut out circle to push the inner casing out.
The paper casing serves as a protective layer for the main plastic casing, but it could've fit more snugly around the inner casing.
After removing the paper case, we're left with a matte black plastic casing. It feels slightly grainy to the touch. The main face features a clear plastic panel, through which you can glimpse at the watch inside.
The Braun logo is prominently placed on both sides of the case, as well as the clear front panel. In total we see 3 Braun logos.
The clear plastic panel is easily removed by simply pulling out. There are no latches or special locks holding it in place.
And now on to the main event! At first sight, the watch is simply stunning. The case is silver stainless steel, the dial is matte black, and the ticks, numbers and and hands are white (with exception of the seconds hand)
It feels very light. The dial is scratch-resistant and provides good readability in direct sunlight.
Previous generations also featured the text "Made in Germany" written along the bottom of the dial. Perhaps this watch is manufactured in the UK, hence the removal of the text.
Due to its simple yet timeliness design, the watch can easily be paired with any type of outfit.
The watch features 3 hands: hour, minutes, and seconds. The minutes and seconds hands are the same length. The hour hand is shorter. From other watches I believe this is standard convention.
An iconic feature in Braun design is the choice of accents in colors. And we see it here as well: the yellow seconds hand provides a subtle contrast against the black dial and white ticks and numbers.
The leather strap has a light grain texture on the outside, and a deeper texture on the inside. Both feel appropriate, and provide a sense of professionalism. The quality of manufacturing is really great, as there are no clearly visible imperfections.
On the inside of the leather strap, the top part has the Braun logo embossed. There are two leather loops, one held in place, and the other is movable. The movable strap loop leaves more to be desired. A single stitch holds it in place, which could pose problems down the road.
On the bottom part, we see the text "Genuine Leather" embossed. There are nine holes for size adjustment. They are rectangular in shape with rounded corners, which provide a snug fit, and will likely prevent hole enlargement with use over time.
A nice subtle touch is having the Braun logo embossed on the metal buckle. Here we also see the width of the buckle pin.
The crown has only two positions. It feels slightly small when turning it, but adjusting the time is a very rare use case. There is also a circular lip below the crown for your nail to easily pull the crown out.
The back side of the watch case is also minimal, with a small ridge to indicate where to open the battery door from.
This is a size comparison with a Canadian quarter (25 cents). The main dial measures 38mm, which is great. Not too small or too large.
This is a side-by-side with the Braun BNC002 alarm clock, which I purchased many months back. We can easily spot the resemblance. The primary difference is that the alarm clock hands are thicker, which provide better readability from a farther distance. This makes sense since an alarm clock would be placed on a desk or night stand about one meter away.
And one more final look. Overall I'm very pleased with the watch, and plan on wearing it for many years to come. The black dial design draws me in completely, and I prefer having a watch that does one thing, really really well, compared to a watch that does many things poorly.
The packaging is good at best, but given the price of the watch, I can understand the choice of materials and finish. I rate the packaging a 7/10.
As for the watch itself, I rate it at 9.5/10. The dial design is just really great. The crown could be slightly larger, and the leather loop have perhaps two stitches. The watch hands could perhaps be 0.2-0.5mm wider to improve readability at close to medium range distances.
I've received great compliments on it so far. Braun design has definitely grown on me, and every product unveils a bit more of the story. I can't wait to see what I get my hands on next!