The AW 50 is one of the only two analog watches designed by Dieter Rams. The other one is AW 10. The Braun watches are iconic, and most of them are designed by Dietrich Lubs, a longtime friend of Dieter Rams, who worked together on many projects back in the day at Braun.
This wasn't the first watch that Dieter Rams designed. Before the Analog Watches, he had his hands on two iconic Digital Watches, the DW20 and DW30. Both are extremely rare and hard to find. The DW 30 is available on eBay for around 5500 euros (rare black painted model).
I recently started wearing my old watches. The idea of having a watch that I had to charge constantly and that sought attention for most of my daily life was depressing. I wanted to change that. When I visited Munich in the past weeks, I bought several watches. One of them was the AW 50.
The AW 50 is made in Germany, unless other Braun watches which are mostly Chinese-made. There is a huge quality difference. Not every Braun watch is, unfortunately, well-built. Hence, many people try to get vintage Braun watches in good condition. Dieter Rams was a forerunner of long-lasting design, but the Braun Watch department changed hands several times. I can't say they followed Ram's vision that much until recently.
I'm a huge Dieter Rams fan. Especially the furniture that he designed in the late 60's. You can still buy it if you want (see Vitsoe.com). I love it so much that I imported the Vitsoe 606 shelves system and the Vitsoe 620 Chair Programme furniture to Turkey.
As a huge fan of Dieter Rams's work, I wanted to acquire more of his work. The AW 50 was first released in 1991, and can be bought second-hand, but Braun re-released the AW 50 with no significant changes from its original design in 2017.
As with the furniture design, the AW 50 reflects all that Dieter Rams embodies: Less, but better.
The AW50 has a grey dial, black hands (no second hands), and a date complication. A red arrow emphasizes the date and ensures it doesn't blend with the rest of the dial.
Compared to today's big watches, the AW 50 has a 33.35m case. It's rather on the small side. But it works for the watch. It would probably be a tad bigger if designed today, as the watch industry has a trend of creating large watches in the past decade.
With its stainless steel case and the grey dial, it doesn't provide a lot of contrast. But given the history of Dieter Rams, it's a known feature of his products. Rams used colors only if needed and only for important details (such as the red arrow emphasizing the date).
The minimalist design carries over to the indices as well. They are straight lines. No Roman or Arabic numerals are used. Hence, the dial is not crowded at all. It's a blank slate. Even the Braun logo is small.
It has a scratch-resistant mineral glass. For the price point, that's a fair compromise. Using sapphire would bump up the price significantly. With its 3ATM Water resistant, it's not swim-proof, but the occasional splash shouldn't harm the watch.
I bought the watch directly from Amazon for ~€140. It seems cheaper than the official Braun website, which lists it for $300. As you would expect, you get a Quartz movement for the price.
The movement itself is made by Ronda, with the number 715. It's a highly repairable movement, and the battery lasts around five years. As with all Quartz movement, the battery can die; if not changed, it could leak and destroy the movement.
As a daily driver, the minimalist, monochrome design of the AW 50 speaks to me. I wouldn't use it as a beater watch (talking about you, Casio), but it finds its place at home. Together with other Bauhaus-inspired watches, I think it has its place. And a bonus if you're a Dieter Rams fan.