NOMOS’s Bauhaus is a very, very, very fine haus. The Glashütte-based watchmaker has the German minimalist thing down pat. OK, their Autobahn model is busier than the Bundesautobahn 565. But the rest of NOMOS’ lineup offers everything you want in a watch design – assuming you don’t want much of anything. Which is why only handful of their 200+ watches offer a date complication. Now including the NOMOS Tangente Date 41 . . .
The Neomatik’s “ring date” complication is such a simple solution to the aesthetic affront known as the date window one wonders why no one thought of it before. “This is made possible by the precise in-house caliber DUW 6101 with automatic winding and a patented date mechanism of its own,” NOMOS avers. “Designed in collaboration with Mark Braun.”
Unless his personal grooming habits demand it, Braun has nothing to do with the Braun razor (he designs fondue pots, flatware, door handles and such). Braun’s brain is responsible for the 2014 NOMOS Metro, one of the watchmaker’s few date window-equipped models. His input on the Tangente 41 Date is unclear. Save its larger size (you need a big pie to serve up 31 slices) and the ring date, there’s nothing new about the dial.
NOMOS maintains the date ring “is not only easily legible . . . it is also up to three times larger than standard date windows.”
I’m not sure how they’re came up with that calculation. Do they mean the size of each number or the date ring’s combined footprint? Either way, the date ring numbers are small in their context; legibility is something of an issue.
A traditional date window frames the number for quick and easy location and identification, presenting each number one at a time (obvs.). Here we have 31 evenly spaced, free-floating numbers.
The Tangente’s luminescent green horological highlighter (also available in red) brackets the current date. Observed close-up, it’s nothing short of genius. Yes but, don’t let close-in product shots fool you . . .
Unless you’re Natty Bumppo (a.k.a., Hawkeye), looking at the NOMOS Tangente Date 41 from normal wrist-glance distance (image above) doesn’t immediately reveal the date. As the date ring is evenly divided around the dial, you can Meistersinger it and guess where you are in the month. Meanwhile, all but the keenest-eyed owner will have to zoom in (i.e. bring to watch to their face) to ascertain their monthly progress.
I wrote that legibility is “something of an issue” because a) the date ring is too cool to school and b) it’s not like you need to remind yourself of the date every time you look at your watch. I reckon peering at your watch when you’re filling out your COVID-19 vaccination form is socially acceptable. And if it isn’t, well, you’re masked.
The NOMOS Tangente Date 41 in-house movement allows for both forwards and backwards date setting. And quite the movement it is too. We’re talking . . .
NOMOS swing system, tempered blue balance spring, NOMOS balance bridge fixed by screws on both sides, stop-seconds mechanism, bidirectional winding rotor with gold-plated embossing, Glashütte three-quarter plate, DUW regulation system adjusted in six positions.
Seen through the transparent caseback, the Tangente’s slender engine (3.6mm) is a bit of a looker; the Geneva stripes glow in the sun like a Cote D’Azur bikini beach babe.
The glossy steel case is attached to a patent shoe leather-style band made of Horween Genuine Shell Cordovan. The strap cements the dress watch vibe.
My major quibble: the midnight blue dial is more midnight than blue, especially for a brand that’s found considerable success with bright colors, in a market where the Rolex OP41 got a technicolor dream coat.
The NOMOS Tangente Date 41 is a breakthrough design for a company known for its extremely conservative designs. I don’t think rival watch brands will offer to pay NOMOS for their patented date doo-hickey, or that NOMOS would make a deal if they did.
So if you want one of the most uncomplicated complications from one of the most German of German of watchmakers, the Tangente Neomatik Date 41 is your horological huckleberry.
Model: NOMOS Tangente Neomatik Update Date 41 Midnight Blue
Case: stainless steel, bipartite, sapphire crystal glass back
Dial: midnight blue, date ring with green Super-LumiNova
Glass: sapphire with anti-reflective coating on inner side
Strap: Horween Genuine Shell Cordovan black, remborde
Clasp: Winged clasp, square, stainless steel
Lug width: 20mm
Movement: Automatic in-house DUW 601
Water resistance: 5 atm
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Design * * * *
The patented date ring isn’t One Ring to Rule Them All, but it’s in perfect harmony with the Tangente Neomatik’s Bauhaus gestalt. I would have preferred a bluer blue dial, but the darker color makes the watch more suitable for dressier occasions.
Legibility * * * *
Time legibility gets five stars, the date ring not so much, The numbers are still a bit small on the upsized 41mm Tangente. YEMV (Your Eyesight May Vary).
Comfort * * * * *
Like a pair well-worn loafers.
Overall * * * * *
An excellent innovation from a German watchmaker whose in-house movement is a stellar achievement on every level.
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