The Guardian had a special offer on a handsome Mondaine watch, which reminded me of the watch I wear, which led me to a design article about it and some weird new Braun watches.
The AW was designed by Dietrich Lubs in the almighty Dieter Rams‘ Braun design studio, I think in 1989. It’s a beautifully restrained simple design: the watch face is quite small, and the brushed finish is fantastic. It’s not completely minimalist, the touches of Bauhaus red and yellow bring it to life. My AW20 CS model from 1990 shown above is the consummate form, but Braun came up with dozens of variations: black face, chrome/black rim, dateless, Bauhaus blue/red straps, no hour numbers, platinum finish, etc. The last is the AW50 P, lovely but different in its details.
The watches were available from lots of museum stores and design catalogs in the USA, but availability dwindled and sadly I’ve not seen one for sale in stores for years. They are reasonably priced; I think Braun gave some away with their top of the line shaver. I ordered mine from timedesign.de . The watch is durable, but in case it is discontinued I ordered a spare, plus an AW50 P that I’ve never removed from its box. I also ordered a bunch of spare straps because the smooth band of leather eventually disintegrates at the clasp. My first order never arrived— some postal employee in the delivery chain has a couple of nice wristwatches ☹—but to their credit TimeDesign resent the order.
There are similar designs. Ruedi Külling designed the clean Xemex Offroad classic design for a lot more money in 1996, but Xemex seems to have moved on to chunky chronometer crap.
And Mondaine the “Official Swiss Railways Watch” (as opposed to Victorinox the “official Swiss Army watch”) took Hans Hilfiker’s 1944 Swiss railway station clock and put it on a strap in 1986, e.g. their A669.30008.16SBO model. The Braun is the Futura of watches, the Mondaine is the Helvetica.