It’s no secret that the Fratelli are big NOMOS fans. The brand’s signature Bauhaus minimalism makes for a wonderful, clean, classy watch. Yet the Glashütte brand is also not afraid to include small details in its designs. These small details often serve as a nod (or a wink) at either the brand’s own history and DNA or its collaborators. An example of this can be found on the Fratello × NOMOS Weltzeit with the house icon replaced with a Dutch windmill. Today, Nomos Glashütte 262 Ludwig Neomatik 41 Date introduces a watch with one such detail, something only possible due to the brand’s DUW 6101 movement. Are you wondering why? Then keep on reading, as I’ll touch upon that later in the article.
All you need to know is this: the Nomos Glashütte 262 Ludwig Neomatik 41 Date is now fully Roman. Meaning that its date window now also includes Roman numerals. It may not seem obvious at first, but a date wheel with Roman numerals is not a common thing for one good reason. And that reason is the fact that the Roman numeral system makes numbers take up a lot more space than their Arabic counterparts. All numbers under 100, can be represented by two Arabic numerals. But in Roman numerals, a number like LXXXVIII (or 88) certainly requires quite a bit of space. Luckily, there are only a maximum of 31 days in a month. But that leaves us with 28 — or XXVIII — in all its six-character glory. Most date wheels and windows shudder at the thought.
Whereas most movements simply can’t accommodate more than two characters on their date wheel (without making them far too small to read with the naked eye), NOMOS makes the impossible possible. This is all thanks to a clever mechanical ace that the brand’s DUW 6101 date caliber has up its sleeve. This is, of course, the movement’s peripheral date ring. Unlike most mechanical movements, which integrate the date wheel into the base plate, NOMOS developed a system that allows it to sit around the movement. This means that even in the brand’s larger models, the date can be shown right at the edge of the dial. The movement also has a date-setting position which allows for the date to be advanced or reversed, with only a half turn of the crown.
The date advances in 30 minutes, meaning there’s only a relatively small 90-minute “danger zone” for setting the date. Not only that, but it also allows for some neat tricks, such as the triple-date display on the Autobahn or the date-ring system found on the Tangente and Metro Update models. In a rather suitable nod to the Ludwig’s Roman numeral dial, the brand uses this real estate afforded to the date wheel to include even the longest of Roman numerals (under 31) without needing a loupe. I must admit that though it’s only a small detail, I love it. The significance of the movement’s unique mechanical architecture, which makes this possible, coupled with the coherence it gives the Ludwig is brilliant. In the world of watches, small details go a long way, and NOMOS gives a perfect lesson on how this is exactly the case.
Is this my new favorite Nomos Glashütte 262 Ludwig Neomatik 41 Date ? Well, my love for the Club Campus is hard to shift. But I have to admit that this kind of small, clever detail with mechanical chops making it possible certainly raises the appeal of the Ludwig for me. And if I should ever happen to be in the market for a Ludwig, you can rest assured that it would have a Roman numeral date display! That said, I’d love to hear your opinions. Do you also appreciate these small details? Or is it a bit too gimmicky for your taste? Regardless, let me know your thoughts in the comments.