These days, there's no shortage of options for affordable, minimal quartz watches with Swiss movement and understated design.
Most of them are born on Kickstarter and huge on Instagram, bruh.
The Linjer watch is one of the newest kids on the block, and I recently got my hands on one (or should I say, got one on my wrist…).
In this review, I'll try to answer the following questions:
Do I like Linjer watches?
Are they better than Daniel Wellington watches?
What is sapphire crystal? Swiss movement? Vegetable tanned leather?
Are these watches worth the price tag?
The short answer is: yes, I like this watch and think it's better than a Daniel Wellington or MVMT watch in every way.
Read on to find out why…
What makes Linjer watches different?
At first glance, Linjer's watches may look similar to other minimalist watches on the market, but if you look closely you'll notice several things that set it apart.
I'm talking about the design choices and materials used. Specifically, this watch features:
- No branding (unlike MVMT, Daniel Wellington, etc.)
- Domed sapphire crystal
- Ronda 5 Series movement (includes date window)
- Full grain vegetable-tanned leather
- Smaller sizes
That last feature – smaller sizes – is crucial for men with smaller wrists. Mine are 6.5″ around, and anything over 40mm looks too big on me.
Let's look at each feature in more detail.
There isn't exactly a shortage of minimal quartz watches on the market, but have you noticed that most of them have very obvious branding on them? This Linjer watch face is totally unbranded.
It's funny how many men would never wear a shirt with a big logo on it, but we'll tolerate a logo on the face of our favorite watch. In fact, noticeable branding is a selling point for many guys.
Personally, I prefer to wear clothes and accessories with no branding whenever possible, soI really appreciate the simple, unbranded face of this watch.
When I hear something like “domed sapphire crystal” I'm immediately impressed, and then I realize that I have no idea what it means.
What is sapphire crystal? Why is it better than other types of glass used for watch faces? What's up with the domed shape? Is it better than a flat face?
There is one major benefit of owning a sapphire crystal watch versus a mineral glass watch:
Sapphire crystal doesn't scratch easily.
I don't know about you, but I don't like to baby my watches. And even if you're careful, you're going to accidentally knock your watch against a doorframe or even drop it on the ground every now and then.
It's nice to know that the face won't get scratched up every time something like this happens.
The domed shape is purely aesthetic, but you should know that it's harder to manufacturer and, therefore, more expensive. That's why you don't see it on many affordable watches.
Ronda 5 Series Movements
A watch's “movement” is the mechanism that makes it run, and it's often the main selling point or justification for the price of a watch.
You've probably seen a new watchmaker advertising the fact that their watches have “Swiss movement” which, like sapphire crystal, sounds really nice.
But what does it actually mean?
Here's my honest opinion: when it comes to quartz (i.e., battery powered) watches, it doesn't really matter if the insides were made in Switzerland or Japan or wherever.
A watch with Swiss movement won't necessarily function any better than a watch with Japanese movement or Chinese movement.
That said, I do love the Ronda 5 Series movements in these Linjer watches for one reason: it includes a date complication.
This means that, in addition to telling the time, these watches also keep track of the date via the little date window on the watch face.
The date window is the most basic extra function (or “complication”) that a watch can have, but most watches in this price range don't have it.
It's surprisingly useful and, given the choice, I'd put a date window on every watch.
Full Grain, Vegetable Tanned Leather
Here's another thing that sets Linjer apart – the leather they use for their watch straps. Linjer started out as a leather good company.
I actually reviewed their first product – a black briefcase – a few years ago, and their navy portfolio is my go-to laptop carrying case.
So I'm speaking from personal experience when I say that Linjer knows their leathers. The leather used for these watch straps is from a tannery in Santa Croce sull'Arno, Italy – about 40 minutes from Liner's design studio.
This is the kind of leather than will develop a nice patina over time.
It's full grain, which means it uses the best part of the hide. This layer of hide is tanned (or soaked) in a solution made from natural materials (tannins) extracted from trees, roots, plants, fruits, etc. Hence the term “vegetable tanned”.
Basically, full grain vegetable tanned leather is as good as it gets.
No matter how nice a watch is, I won't wear it if it's too big. It's always painful when I have to pass up an otherwise great watch because of its 42mm case diameter.
But I can't change the size of my wrists, and you know as well as I do that short men need to pay attention to proportion, lest we end up looking shorter or younger than we really are (in a bad way).
That's why it's so cool to see a brand offering the same watch in different sizes (41mm, 38mm and 34m). With 6.5″ wrists, I prefer the 38mm. The 34mm is just a hair too small for my tastes.
But if you have wrists that are 6″ or smaller, you might want to consider the 34mm size. Just keep in mind, this smaller watch was made with more “feminine” proportions, including the strap size, etc.
If you're not sure which size is best for you, check out these printable size charts.
If you can't tell, I'm a fan of the Linjer watches. This one has quickly become my go-to quartz, and I've been alternating between the dark brown and navy leather straps (which can be swapped in about 10 seconds).
If you're in the market for a minimalist watch, and you want something that's higher quality and more unique than the ubiquitous Daniel Wellington watch, check out Linjer (15% discount with that link).
Do you like this watch? Let me know in the comments below!