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Mudita Element

A Legitimate Minimalist Watch

Before becoming a watch person, I was (and still am) a minimalist. This term has been thrown around in many ways for several years. What I believe it means is: simplicity, the essential, and harmony. When it comes to interior design, it’s about having just the right amount of decor to make a space look cozy and uncluttered. When it comes to everyday living it’s about having the essential items, the necessary clothing, and functional furniture. And, globally, living a life where little is enough and where having the essential is the ultimate goal. How does that translate to horology? That’s a great question. A minimalist watch could be so because of the simplicity of its design or lack of complications. Or both. Minimalism is, to look at it globally, about having what is necessary and nothing more. 

A watch is no longer a necessary or essential item. However, I would argue that there are some people like myself who prefer to use one to keep track of time. It’s about opting to live a life that is a tad more analog and simple, instead of adding yet another gadget or technology in my everyday life. As a self-proclaimed minimalist, the first watch I bought when I officially started my watch nerd career was a single-hand dress watch which I bought on eBay for $35. I loved it but unfortunately it broke after three months. Then I became more and more into tool watches and started to appreciate having two additional hands on the dial. But if I were to be in the market for a true , yet robust, minimalist mechanical timekeeping device, then I would go for the Mudita Element


Unlike many of the “minimalist” fashion watches we’ve seen one too many times online, the Mudita is what I would call a proper mechanical watch for watch nerds. Not only because of its dimensions—which are described as being unisex by the brand—but also thanks to the way it’s made and what it is made of. Dimensions wise, we’re looking at a case 39mm in diameter, 42mm lug-to-lug, 7.85mm thick and having a 20mm lug width. Although it’s obviously larger than you know I would like it to be, it wears superbly on my 6.50”/16.50cm wrist thanks to having a compact lug-to-lug and for being ultra thin. What further makes the Mudita Element comfortable to wear is the fact that the case is made of bead blasted Grade 2 Titanium bringing the lightness of the watch to 35g on the supplied bracelet. 

That is superbly light and therefore the Element is very comfortable to wear. Though, because it has a 39mm diameter, it does not disappear on the wrist which is something that I appreciate. I’m of course your de facto small-watch-guy but I do like to feel—ever so slightly—that a watch is indeed on my wrist. I don’t daydream not knowing that I strapped a watch on my wrist otherwise I wouldn’t bother wearing one. And its dimensions make the Mudita equally appropriate for modern male and female watch enthusiasts. Furthermore, within the thin and light titanium body we find a Sellita SW300-1 Élaboré which ticks at 28,800 BPH/4Hz and comes with 56 hours of power reserve. 

The SW300-1 has a stated accuracy of +/- 5 seconds which is great for all humans, and one can further see that Mudita did not cut corners on materials as the crystal is a flat piece of sapphire with three layers on inner anti-reflective coating, and that the strap is made of Desserto Black—in other words, a cactus-based leather substitute that looks and smells like leather, and feels like a FKM rubber strap on the wrist. Combined with the titanium case, we do find an interesting combination of materials here. 


Talking about the design of a minimalist watch is an exercise in creativity and specificity. And one of the many elements of minimalist design I’ve always been attracted to is the fact that simplicity is difficult to achieve. The less there is to work with, the more potential for mistakes and for creating asymmetry. The Mudita Element reminds me of the iconic Swiss Railway Clocks as well as many wall clocks I’ve seen in classrooms, offices, and public spaces during my 40-year life tenure. Moreover, it reminds me of a minimalist watch the home decor and fashion brand Muji had created a few years back. Though their version was much cheaper and made of cheap materials. (I will talk about the Mudita’s price in a bit.) 

So, what do we have here? Well, first of all we have an obviously clean and legible white/silver dial with contrasting Arabic numerals and hands painted in black. The typeface for the hour markers seems to be specifically made for this model which is an additional nice touch. I appreciate the proportions of the hour and minute hands in relation to the printed hour markers and the fact that the hour hand is shorter and wider than the minute hand. Yes, there is no seconds hand here as it was deemed unnecessary to have one. And this is a fact that is surprising given that the Element is powered by a mechanical movement and not a quartz one. 

Mudita prides itself on getting the Element made in Switzerland even though the words “Swiss Made” do not appear on the dial. (They do appear on the case-back.) This is due to one reason or another and perhaps because printing the words would have been superfluous. The Element is about telling the time simply and elegantly and wherever you land on the “Swiss Made” label—whether it is worthy to have it or not—here it isn’t. And regardless, upon closer inspection I can tell you this: the hands are superbly finished and the printing of the hour markers is crisp. 

To make the Mudita Element a true minimalist timekeeping device, one also had to pay close attention to the design of the case. Here we find short and thin lugs that turn down toward the wrist, a tiny push/pull crown which yet has enough knurling to make it easy to wind the movement and set the time, as well as a screw-down case-back. The entirety of the titanium case being bead blasted,, the Element is darn comfortable to wear and smooth to the touch and easy on the eye. 

The Heat of the Matter

At the heart of the matter is the fact that Mudita—a Polish brand that specializes in creating minimalist everyday objects from cell phones and clocks to software—created a second watch when releasing the Element. (The first one is called Moment LINK and is, visually, less my thing.) And the brand wanted to not only create a model that looks simple and to-the-point, but also one that is well-made. If I were to use an analogy, it’s akin to buying an Apple MacBook Pro (which I use to work) that is also simple in design and robust in functionality. But before this conversation goes too far, you should know this: I’m not a computer geek but I’ve always appreciated the harmonious balance of design and functionality of Apple computers. (No, I don’t sell them.) 

I am obviously no watch designer but I’ve seen quite a few watches in the past three years. (At least 150 to be precise.) And as far as my 40-year memory can recollect, I don’t remember ever coming across a watch such as the Mudita. And what I mean by this is: a true minimalist and ultra simplistic looking timekeeping device made of great components and constructed beautifully. Whoever is behind the Element clearly paid attention to the details. A fact that can easily be illustrated looking at the strap. It smells and looks like leather but isn’t made of cow skin, which is better for the planet. It’s also smartly designed with matching titanium hardware and a sliding keeper. (The second is fixed.) 

What I’m trying to get at here is this: for a brand that doesn’t specialize in designing watches, Mudita certainly took the time to design a proper one by paying equal attention to the design and to the materials used. Unlike the myriad of fashion watches we see (and generally hate,) the Element is solid: it’s made of titanium, comes with an élaboré grade Swiss caliber, sapphire crystal, and a unique type of strap which I would describe, functionally, as being in-between a NATO and a two-piece leather. 


You may now wonder how much does the Mudita Element cost? Well it is currently available on Kickstarter for an Ultra Early Bird price of $650 USD, a Super Early Bird price of $706 USD, an Early Bird price of $760 USD, a Just in Time Bird of $815 USD (what the heck Kickstarter?) and a full retail price—once the campaign has ended—of $999 USD. Note that in total the production will be limited to 700 units and delivery is slated for July of 2024. (By the way, I converted the original prices in Euros so it’s give or take a few dollars.) 

You can learn more about the brand Mudita here and this model by checking out their Kickstarter campaign

Thanks for reading. 


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