Braun’s Affordable Bauhaus Watches Go Swiss Automatic for the First Time
And two of the new BN0279 are made in collaboration with British fashion designer Paul Smith.
An affordable Bauhaus design icon is stepping up its watchmaking game with an automatic movement and Swiss-made label. Four new limited-edition Braun watches, dubbed BN0279, will elevate the German brand’s standing among enthusiasts—and two of them are made in collaboration with British fashion designer Paul Smith.
Braun? As in the shavers? Yes, but also…
You may be familiar with Braun’s affordable, minimalist watches. But then again, you may not be. Yes, we’re talking about the same Braun of electric-shaver fame. But the German company has also been making watches since 1977 and is a prominent name in Bauhaus industrial design.
Any Braun watches you might have seen recently, however, were likely nicely designed, but also quartz and at the very affordable end of the watch spectrum, starting under $200 (sometimes even less on Amazon). Though they’ve made Seiko movement-powered automatic watches before, the brand has been more mass market than enthusiast focused and might not have registered on the radars of some collectors. But the new BN0279 watches are different and they deserve your attention anew.
It’s the brand’s first Swiss-made watch, and it’s automatic
For the first time, Braun has produced a Swiss-made watch. Swiss quartz, perhaps? No, they went full Swiss automatic, and if that and their German design provenance weren’t enough, they also teamed up with Paul Smith for a collaboration incorporating his signature and some vibrant highlights on two of the four models. It’s a splashy way to announce a new level of watchmaking from the brand.
Already, you can see there’s a lot going on in these watches. But when a brand previously associated with another industry or which specializes in inexpensive watches suddenly breaks into the competitive world of Swiss automatic watches, you probably have some questions. Can’t fault you there.
They got the specs right, with a solid movement
But we’d say there’s a lot to like about the new Braun BN0279. Not only does it bring German design heritage and a distinctive look, but it’s got all the specs skeptical watch snobs scrutinize from sapphire crystal to reasonable water resistance (50m) and a nice 40mm diameter. Most importantly, however, it seems to offer all this for a pretty competitive $950, retail.
Similar specs for a similar price isn’t exactly rare, but one particular area in which the brand packs more value is in the movement. For most Swiss watches in this range, you’d expect to find a basic Sellita SW200, ETA 2824 or similar, but Braun went for a more premium option, the ETA 2892 for the three models featuring center seconds hands and a variant of it in the 2895 which offers a small seconds subdial for one Paul Smith model.
This is a comparatively thin movement that was the base for early versions of Omega’s Co-Axial movements. It’s overall a good movement and you can see it in all its nearly undecorated (in this case) glory through the watch’s caseback. While it can certainly help a watch stay thin, the Braun isn’t exceptionally thin at 11mm, but it ain’t egregiously chonky either. While we approve of the watches’ overall dimensions, the lugs do appear longish and the rubber straps seem to extend from them, so we’re curious to see how they actually wear.
It’s cool to see Braun’s watch designs elevated
A previously budget-focused brand announcing a halo piece that breaks new price territory with a design-focused watch boasting a Swiss automatic movement: does it sound familiar? To us, Timex’s Giorgio Galli S2 announced earlier this year comes to mind, and it would seem yet another signal of growing watch enthusiasm and a strong market, manifesting at all levels.
Though we haven’t seen and handled Braun BN0279 in person yet, we like what we see so far. The downside? These are all limited editions. The two Paul Smith models are limited to 100 examples each while the other two are 150 examples each. Will such fun and affordable yet enthusiast-friendly watches become part of the brand’s permanent lineup in the future? We’ll certainly be paying attention.
Movement: ETA 2892, ETA 2895
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case: 40mm stainless steel, 50m water-resistant
Availability: Limited to 150 examples each; 100 examples of each Paul Smith edition
Learn more on the Braun website here.
|Self-winding extra thin Dandong caliber SL1588; 41-hour power reserve
|Hours, minutes and seconds
|40mm; grade 5 titanium; water resistant to 100m
|Champagne guilloché with “Sunmao” structure; rhodium plated applied indexes
|Titanium bracelet (upgraded, polished inner angles of centre links) and additional grey rubber strap with folding buckle
|Limited to 100 numbered pieces