Watches and robots have a closer relationship than you might think. Early 18th-to-19th-century automatons were built to mimic human or animal movements and were powered by clockwork engines, not unlike those found in a complex wall or table clock. This might seem a very lateral way of introducing the Robot watch brand, but bear with me.

Robots are also automatons, and like Robot Watch, the name has a Czech origin. The term was coined in a more than 100-year-old play written by a Czech playwright, using the Czech word for forced labor, robota. I bet Elon Musk doesn’t know that, but what does it have to do with this small brand?

Robot Watches

After starting as Bohematic, entrepreneur Josef Zajíček changed the name to avoid potential conflicts with Montblanc’s Bohème collection. With a modern outlook free of the vintage-rehash love populating our wrists these days, Zajíček and his team of watchmakers offer fresh ideas. And with the tempting possibility of customization, the brand is worth a closer look.

introducing robot watch

In coining the term “robot,” Czech playwright Karel Čapek’s vision of the future includes the work of robots, allowing us to make the most of our time and enjoy ourselves. This holds a big place in Josef Zajíček’s heart, as does a deep passion for mechanics and craftsmanship. Let’s look closely at some of the brand’s watches and, very importantly, how personal they can be.

introducing robot watches


The Minor Chronograph is a good example of the modern vibe that permeates the Robot range of wristwatches. This burly-looking sports watch has a tri-register layout (including the subtle running seconds) powered by a La Joux-Perret movement in a muscular 44mm case. But on its 22mm perforated leather strap, it will no doubt surprise you with its Grade 5 titanium weight, which is noticeably lighter than steel. The innovative monochrome of the perforated gray mesh dial allows a peek through to the mechanical heart, and I’m a big fan of its asymmetric design. There is always something refreshing about a brand that carves out its design path, and larger sports watches are seeing a well-deserved comeback these days.

As you see from the dark edition above, the Minor range offers plenty of variation on the go-tough theme, while the motorbike counterweight hints at its motorsports inspiration. Date windows are a big thing for many, and while I enjoy the calm of a date-less dial, I’m all for the function-forward aesthetics of the Minor and its ultra-quirky date window sitting almost at 11 o’clock. With a black background, it is unapologetically prominent and is another detail that lends the brand a distinct identity. The Spa Grey version of the Minor (top image) is available for €5,950 from Robot Watch.

introducing robot watch

Robot Aplos

The Aplos is another unapologetically modern piece by the Czech design team. Housing a G100 movement by La Joux-Perret with an impressive 68-hour power reserve, it has a well-judged 39.4mm case. The LJP caliber is slim, affording the Aplos a comfortable 10.3mm thickness, suiting its dressier demeanor. With a base price of €2,780, the minimal modernity of the Aplos with its textured dial is a nice alternative to the Bauhaus vibe of a Nomos. But it has its very own style, and there is a strong dynamic in the graphic drama of the dial, where incredibly long indices seem to stretch in towards the center. But even with 10 standard versions, the possibilities don’t end there. Why not customize it?

This is where the customer-friendly, rather tempting customization option comes in. With the Aplos and most other models, you can enter the rabbit hole of the Robot watch configurator. The image above results from my take on the Aplos. What do you think? Believe me, I could have spent another half hour playing watch designer. The minimal dark navy Aplos is the spawn of my creativity, and the choices are vast. The configurator will let you choose everything from dial color to straps, the date’s background color, and all the hands. I also chose the cheeky black crown to match the black date disc.

Robot: thoroughly modern Czech watches

I’ll end this Czech design journey with the unique dial design of the Aerodynamic, another automotive-inspired watch. Designed by Studio Olgoj Chorchoj, the 39.5mm watch salutes the legendary Czech aerodynamic cars. These include the pre-WWII rear-engined Tatra T77, the first to see serial production, and the slightly earlier Wikov 35 “Kapka,” which lent the design of its front vents to this watch’s dial. At €7,280, this sandblasted futurism jostles with some big brands, but it is very charming and refreshingly modern. The Aerodynamic is also La Joux-Perret powered, this time with an impressive eight-day power reserve. I love its quirky coolness and the almost chocolate-tasting copper minute track and registers on the Streamline Beige dial. But the configurator will surely have even more tempting options, so you know where to find me.

How do you feel about the option of customizing all six models of a brand? Do you feel the need for a more modern watch design? Let me know in the comments.