If NOMOS Glashütte was Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, they’d be singing Bauhaus, is a very very very fine haus. All of the German watchmaker’s timepieces conform to the artistic movement’s form-follows-function minimalism. Choosing “the best” is difficult – a lot of NOMOS’ watches look like a lot of their other watches. So I’ve selected two of the more distinctive models and one that’s [relatively] affordable. Here we go, from high to low . . .
NOMOS Tangomat GMT – $4920
There’s a metric ton of GMT (second time zone) watches with a hand pointing at an outer track of hour indices. There are almost as many GMT watches with a rotating list of foreign cities. If that’s your jam, the $6100 NOMOS Zurich World Time does just that.
The Tangomat GMT listens to the beat of different drummer. Pressing the pusher at the 2 o’clock selects an airport city code in the 9 o’clock window. The selection automatically displays the local hour for that airport’s time zone in the window at the 3 o’clock position.
The setup requires familiarization with a dozen or so of the hundreds of airport codes. You may also need to Google which airport represents the time zone for a desired location. And the patience to scroll through all the options.
The reward: a 40mm GMT watch that’s as clean as a freshly laundered dress shirt. Your six grand also buys you the top notch German watchmaking (e.g., in-house automatic caliber DUW 5201 with patented swing system) and the custom finishing (blued screws!) for which the brand is justifiably famous.
The original Tetra was, is and will remain a niche product. No surprise there. By the watchmaker’s own admission, the 27.5 mm × 27.5 mm Tetra is for “more delicate wrists” (i.e. women). Although most women abhor the drudgery of a manual wind watch, and NOMOS lacks fashionability (by design), the Tetra is still a solid little earner. Emphasis on little.
Four years ago, the horological sultans of Saxony rejigged the Tetra for XY chromosome buyers. They upsized the square timekeeper to 33mm × 33mm (46mm corner-to-corner), equipped it with their new in-house automatic caliber (DUW 3001) and offered it in Midnight Express. I mean Midnight Blue.
These pictures fail to highlight the Tetra’s killer app: its thinness. The watch stands 7.3mm tall. But don’t get to thinking the Tetra is best worn as a flat-sitting funky chunky dress watch. In the blue hue, the Tetra is as casual as you wanna be – as long as you don’t wanna be casual in a swimming pool. Or perform a hand-washing demo for COVID-free kids. Otherwise, once again, it’s hip 2B square.
Club automatic – $2620
Scanning all the watches in NOMOS’ 13 collections brings you face-to-watch face with over 200 timepieces. You’d be forgiven for thinking they’re all pretty much of a muchness. And find a great many models small by today’s standards (NOMOS considers 37mm a unisex size).
I reckon the the Club Automatic offers the best combination of whistle clean design (with enough color not to be a snoozefest, blissfully bereft of the dreaded date window), a modern size (40mm) and daily practicality (water resistant to 100m). The Club automatic transcends fashion without breaking the bank.
Although it may damage the bank. Assuage your guilty conscience/significant other by focusing attention on the in-house automatic caliber DUW 5001 keeping near-perfect time underneath that screwdown caseback. If buying the Club leaves you cash-strapped, console yourself with the quality of the Horween Genuine Shell Cordovan strap.
And the fact that you’ve joined a club of German watch aficionados who appreciate the fact that less is more – except for the aforementioned bank balance. But with refined taste like yours, it’s only a matter before you top it up, congratulating yourself on the wisdom of “investing” in a NOMOS Glashütte watch. Or something like that.
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