I’ve often said that the real skill in watch design is creating something that is new that initially looks familiar. True art can and perhaps should be challenging, but challenging does not mean ugly. It does not mean unpalatable. Objects should encourage you to ask questions of them. The best provide you with satisfying answers over time. The latest wave of NOMOS Glashütte limited editions sees the oft-overlooked Club Automatic line get three new entrants. We have one in onyx, one in navy, and one in a very fetching olive. Nomos Glashütte Club Automatic
All three of these new models are presented on different bands. The onyx dial is presented on the popular NOMOS Sport Bracelet. Both the navy and the olive dials are suggested to pair with fabric straps. Sensibly, the navy dial is paired with the blue/black strap NOMOS first debuted on its Aqua collection of 2017. Strutting its stuff on the cool gray fabric strap that doesn’t get rolled out on men’s watches as often as I’d like to see, is the sharp olive dial. However, it is important to note that all three can be delivered on any strap/bracelet you desire so don’t let that put you off.
This shade of olive is becoming a bit of a NOMOS calling card. I first remember seeing it in a modern model when the Orion Neomatik Date 41 was given an update. That was actually way back in 2018. Back then, I thought it was a pretty ripe color to go with and showed that brand otherwise known for its fanciful experimentation with color was edging towards a new, more mature identity. It would seem, two and a half years later, that identity is rounding into shape…
The Club range wasn’t around in those early days. In fact, it didn’t debut until 2007. At that time, it was the perfect addition to a catalog that needed some core youthfulness to continue riding the wave of good-feeling aimed at the brand since the explosion of color that was the Super 30 collection of 2004. Since then, the Club has been joined by the Club Campus sub-collection (the brand’s take on a California dial) and been the recipient of some interesting special editions.
The success of the Campus collection and the rock-solid identity of the Club as the brand’s entry point left its more expensive models on a bit of an island. The bigger and more complicated Club models never stacked up as favorably against their own, in-house price point competitors as perhaps they deserved to. In my opinion, that had something to do with an identity crisis for the Club. Thankfully, this latest release has solved that once and for all.
Watches and watch families should never try to be all things to all people. The Club, especially the original 701 reference, was a perfect model released at the perfect time. It was a surprisingly wearable 36mm (thanks to an unusually long lug-to-lug), an injection of vitality the core collection sorely needed, and a preposterously good value mechanical watch.
That was the identity of the Club. Simply enlarging it didn’t so much widen its appeal. Yes, it made some people very happy because they liked the style of the 701 but perhaps wanted a bigger or automatic watch. But, crucially, those models always felt like bigger versions of something else rather than something distinct.
We took a while to get there, but this trio of Club automatics, which all use the DUW 5001 (which is NOMOS’s older automatic movement, not the new, slimmer DUW 3001), keep the price point very approachable for a NOMOS automatic (which has, on average, increased because of the investment made in bringing both the DUW 3001 and DUW 6001 movements to life), while the dial colors ooze a maturity that makes this capsule collection feel entirely separate from its origins.
This is what I like to see. This is truly brand (and, on a micro-level, model) maturation. While the Campus collection will remain an exciting entry point for German watchmaking fans, these three models offer something hitherto unavailable. They make the NOMOS catalog make more sense, not less.
That is always a struggle for a brand that is constantly reaching for something new. This time, however, NOMOS has got it very right indeed. The only downside, perhaps, is that these models are not joining the core collection themselves.
Instead, each piece is limited to 175 pieces. This release acts as a continuation of last year’s 175th anniversary of Glashütte watchmaking. These 40mm pieces are water-resistant to 200 meters. That is another benefit of the larger Club case. To achieve this depth rating, the Club family uses a double gasket crown rather than a screw-down alternative. The version you see in the photographs here (with the navy dial) is available for $220
The new Nomos Glashütte Club editions come in three colourways, each limited to 175 pieces: onyx black (ref. 753.S1), navy blue (ref. 753.S2) and olive green (ref. 753.S3).
Protected by domed sapphire crystals, the refined galvanized dials are enhanced by yellow five-minute markers and white Super-Luminova coating used for the hour indexes and numerals as well as for the hour and minute hands. The snailed sub-dial at 6 o’clock displays the running seconds.
The 40 mm x 9.7. mm case is crafted from stainless steel with polished surfaces. It guarantees water resistance to 200 metres / 660 feet, making the watch highly versatile in all situations and suitable for diving.
The edition with black dial is proposed with a stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp while the blue and green models are matched to blue-black and light grey textile straps, respectively. Of course, at order time, you can choose a different bracelet/strap option for each of these models.
Just like for the dial, a sapphire crystal is used on the caseback to provide a view of the beautifully refined DUW 5001 self-winding calibre. Introduced in 2018, it was the first automatic movement developed by the Saxon brand.Beating at the frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (3 Hz) with a power reserve of 43 hours, it features a stop-seconds mechanism and the proprietary NOMOS swing system adjusted according to chronometer standards.