The year is 2013, and Nomos is still a relatively small and unknown brand outside of the true Nomos Glashütte Ahoi Neomatik Atlantik watch-enthusiast circle. All the models we know them for now were around – from the Club to the Tangente, but Nomos sought to create a dive-capable watch. Now, when a brand normally does this, it often follows a simple formula – diving bezel, screw-down crown / caseback and circular lume plots for visibility. Nomos had to do things the Nomos way, however. Rather than slapping a dive bezel onto the Tangente and doubling it in thickness, they said “how about we don’t do that?” The result was the Nomos Ahoi, clearly borrowing some design styles from the Tangente, though without compromising on the suave and slim nature of the brand. Going through many iterations and some movement updates in its almost 10 year lifespan, the latest version of the Nomos Ahoi Atlantik is what we’ve got for you today.
I’m definitely on board with the concept the Nomos is going for here. While the case profile never really settled on my wrist, it was a comfortable experience that may work even better on a differently shaped appendage. I’d call the Ahoi more of a dive-capable watch due to it lacking a rotating bezel and relatively poor legibility when comparing to purpose-built divers. It isn’t a case of confused identity however, it’s the ultimate, unassuming sleeper, which shows what Nomos can do when they max out the specs of an everyday watch.
Ahoy, landlubbers! For those of you who love the ocean and all things inspired by it but prefer not to venture beneath its surface in a professional capacity, the NOMOS Glashütte Ahoi is the watch for you. Released in 2013 as the Saxon darling’s “dive watch”, the Ahoi has gone on to become a design favorite. Bulkier and more resilient than the Tangente model that made the brand famous, the Ahoi lacks some of the typical “dive watch” specifications but treks far enough along the trail blazed by genuine dive tools to wind up as the perfect beach watch for both fashion and fun.
As a “dive-inspired” watch, the Ahoi’s most notable carryover is its water resistance. Good for 200 meters beneath the surface, this one extremely over-engineered aspect of the design is a game-changer for the brand and a life-saver for the concept. Beyond that water resistance, the subtle but useful crown guards flanking a screw-down crown, and the quick-drying woven strap (and now bracelet), the Ahoi isn’t really much of a diver at all. And yet, somehow, perhaps because of the clever use of color and NOMOS Glashütte’s typically accomplished way of telling a story with its press images, the watch definitely seems to yearn for the sea (or at least the pool). While it isn’t a tool of any sort, it is perhaps the most suitable NOMOS for daily wear.
My favorite Ahoi model ever remains reference 567. That’s the very first Atlantic Blue neomatik from 2017. It benefits from the RAL 2005 hand, RAL 2005 neomatik text, and the rose gold hands and numerals that add an inviting sense of warmth to proceedings. Of the new models released today, I would take the 567. It has the same proportions and functionality as the 561 but can argue its superiority on the back of those awesome luminous numerals.
I’ve long been a fan of NOMOS watches; they have an instantly recognizable design language, unparalleled feel for color, interesting and attractive in-house movements, and a reasonable price point. Plus, they hail from the German watchmaking mecca of Glashütte, so that gives them some bonus marks, in my book. That being said, I’ve yet to buy a NOMOS, and this is the first chance I’ve had to spend some extended quality time with one on my wrist. The reason I’ve never pulled the trigger on a NOMOS mostly comes down to thinking that, although I love their designs, the watches are just a bit too dressy for my lifestyle, which consists of a disproportionately high amount of time spent outdoors and a disproportionately low amount of time dressed up.
I’d always suspected if there was one NOMOS that would work for me, it would be the Ahoi. And work it most certainly does. The sizing is great, and the watch is comfortable to wear anytime, with the added assurance that it’s plenty tough enough to stand up to my daily outdoor adventures. But one criticism that’s always been leveled at NOMOS and other brands that embrace the Bauhaus school of design is that, if done poorly, simplicity can be boring — beautiful and functional, but lacking the visual interest to motivate you to pick it up and strap it on every day. The Ahoi, to my eye, is anything but boring. This largely comes down to complex color choices married together in a harmonious design. Despite a watch box full of more complex watches, I kept coming back to the Ahoi, over and over, simply because it was a pleasure to see on my wrist and I knew it would work with anything I chose to do or wear.