The new Nomos Glashütte Tangente Sport neomatik 42 date marine black marks a new chapter in the German brand’s history. This sports watch features an impressive water resistance of 300m, robust characteristics and a new ergonomic bracelet. However, Nomos’s loyal fans should not despair as the brand’s legendary styling expertise remains undiminished.
My wife and I have a good friend called Liz who always exhibits a notable degree of style. However, she does not spend colossal sums of money on designer clothes to achieve her elegant look. Her eye for aesthetics is coupled with a capacity to shrewdly procure garments that accentuate her natural beauty.
Liz’s capacity for skilfully pairing items in order to achieve a chic appearance also extends to the interior design of her home. Muted hues sit in concert with rich textures. Liz cleverly selects stylish items which won’t lose their appeal with the passage of time. Quite simply, our friend Liz has an innate talent for design.
This prowess for design is something you either have or you don’t. Nomos Glashütte has an extraordinary prowess for design. It freely embraces the timeless charms of Bauhaus and distills this into horological forms.
Every year, the German brand unveils new models, each one delivering originality. Some of its watches come from nowhere, such as the company’s eye-popping Autobahn model. However, irrespective of the style, every Nomos watch is imbued with a timeless minimalism. It is this approach to watch design which ensures each reference, even those dating back several years, retains relevance and is not rendered obsolete with the release of new models.
At Baselworld 2019, the Saxony-based Manufacture unveiled three new sports watches. The Club Sport and two versions of the Tangente Sport one with a white silver-plated dial and another with an incredibly deep black dial.
The Club Sport is also endowed with a deep black dial and incorporates a gorgeous rounded bezel and plump indexes. At some future point, I will return to this model and review it in detail, however, for now, my eyes are solely fixated on the Nomos Glashütte Tangente Sport neomatik 42 date marine black.
Considering its 42mm case diameter, the dial of the Nomos Glashütte Tangente Sport neomatik 42 date marine black seems exceptionally large. This characteristic can be attributed to the supremely slender bezel which grants greater space for the dial canvas.
The hue of the dial is incredibly black, causing the hands and indexes to seemingly step forward. The hour and minute hands are lined with sand coloured SuperLuminova, augmenting legibility in restricted light.
Nomos has chosen to depict the indexes in a delicious shade of mint green. Stylised Arabic numerals are employed for the even-numbered hours, while matching slender batons indicate the odd-numbered values. Adjacent each index is a cambered, luminescent square, aiding legibility. Succinct, narrow lines sit between each index, again, expediting read-off. The indexes are treated with SuperLuminova which emits a light blue hue in dim conditions.
A snailed small seconds display is positioned in the lower portion of the dial and sits slightly below the main dial epidermis. The small seconds hand is presented in a cheerful shade of red. This latter ebullient touch does not detract from the overall cohesion of the dial, quite the contrary, it adds a delightful soupçon of colour which enriches the aesthetic.
Last year, Nomos showcased the Caliber DUW 6101 in the aforementioned Autobahn model as well as other 2018 novelties. One of the attributes of this movement is that it allows the positioning of the date disc to hug the periphery of the dial, facilitating a large-format indication. The Tangente Sport neomatik 42 is fitted with the Caliber DUW 6101 and, therefore, fanfares the prevailing date at 3 o’clock, in highly-lucid widescreen form.
The first thing NOMOS disciples will notice about the Nomos Glashütte Tangente Sport neomatik 42 date marine black is the stainless steel bracelet. In itself, this may not sound remarkable but it is the first model to leave the brand’s Glashütte atelier equipped with a bracelet.
Typical of Nomos, it is engineered to an unerring standard. While there is a palpable robustness to the bracelet, it is also very slender. The hand-assembled bracelet, comprised of 145 parts, is notably flexible and comfortably articulates around the wrist. Links can be added or removed easily and the deployant clasp is beautifully engineered, contributing to the ergonomic excellence of the watch.
Measuring 42mm in diameter, the Nomos Glashütte Tangente Sport neomatik 42 date marine black could not be described as a leviathan, albeit it is larger than many of the German brand’s other models. Personally, I found the scale of the watch very much to my liking. The height of this timepiece is 10.9mm, which may sound surprising when contrasted with other models equipped with the svelte Caliber DUW 6101 (3.6mm height). However, Nomos has capitalised on the slender profile of the movement, imbuing the watch with an ‘extra-robust case, reinforced seals, and sapphire crystal glass’, protecting the watch from ‘knocks, blows and leaks’. The impressive water resistance of 30 atm (300m) stands testament to the toughness of this watch.
It’s interesting to look at the design of the case and bracelet closely. Some elements evince a sturdy character such as the crown protection device on the right hand flank of the case. In contrast, the lugs are slender and angular, conferring a visual lightness typical of a dress watch. The watch head features highly polished stainless steel, while the bracelet is satin-brushed. Despite these seemingly disparate elements, everything comes together in harmonious union.
Up to this point, I have repeatedly talked about design, however, beyond the outer beauty of a Nomos watch, there is an inner virtue which cannot be ignored.
The German brand makes its own movements. Moreover, it makes its own ‘swing system’, something the Swiss refer to as the ‘assortiment’. This in-house ‘escapement’ includes the balance staff, balance wheel, balance spring, pallet lever, escape wheel and a number of other tiny parts.
Nomos has used a tempered blue balance spring and paired this with its own balance wheel. Often horophiles fixate on the composition of the balance spring, but it is also critical that the hairspring and balance wheel are optimally matched. To produce a complete and reliable escapement necessitates huge investment. However, by creating its own ‘swing system’, the German brand is able to enjoy independence from the big players in the Swiss watch industry.
The bi-directional oscillating weight is openworked, affording views of the decorated Glashütte three-quarter plate below. Both the rotor and the three-quarter plate are embellished with Glashütte ribbing. The mainplate is adorned with perlage, a detail which is visible beneath the balance wheel. An abundance of thermally-blued screws populate the movement, upholding best watchmaking practise. The rotor and bridges feature golden engravings and the balance bridge is affixed at two points, providing superior stability when contrasted with a balance cock.
The Caliber DUW 6101 features 27 jewels. The barrel is capable of harnessing sufficient energy for 42 hours of autonomous operation.
The typeface of the numerals denoting the hours is unique to Nomos. It is a small detail which the German marque will have obsessed over for many hours. It may not sound of huge significance, however, it does demonstrate the brand’s exactitude. By synergistically fusing lots of small details each Nomos watch is imbued with an exquisite appearance.
By equipping the Nomos Glashütte Tangente Sport neomatik 42 date marine black with a slender bezel, the dial is unusually large for a 42mm watch. This provides an expansive canvas, ideally suited for displaying indications. Indeed, every element of the dial has sufficient space to breathe, conferring an extraordinary degree of lucidity.
There is a welcome air of conservatism that pervades the corridors of Nomos’s HQ. Quite simply, the brand does not embrace the radical, preferring a strategy of considered evolution. This has led to its former watches retaining eye-appeal despite the brand subsequently releasing new models. While the introduction of a new steel bracelet may not seem unusual for some watch companies, it does represent a bold step for Nomos.
The styling of the stainless steel bracelet subscribes to the Bauhaus doctrine and provides a cosseting embrace with the wearer’s wrist. There is a palpable sense of quality which pervades the hand-assembled bracelet.
Occasionally, I am asked to proffer a selection of watches imbued with notable merit. Clearly, my suggestions are based on the available budget. Nomos is one of the first names to roll off my tongue. Not only does the brand make gorgeous-looking watches, it also has an impressive technical competence which differentiates it from most of its rivals. Few brands, in this price segment, make their own movements. Moreover, even fewer brands make movements equipped with an in-house escapement. Nomos stands out in this regard.
Examine a Nomos movement with a loupe and you will discover a high-level of finishing, often lacking in watches costing twice as much. In addition, there is a refreshing integrity to the movement’s composition. For example, the blued screws are not subject to a galvanic treatment but assume their rich colour through superior thermal treatment. Considering the modest asking price of £3980, the execution of each element is superb.
Which brings me to my final point. Spending vast sums of money on a watch will usually, but not always, provide greatness. However, Nomos, and my friend Liz, have also shown that price does not have to preclude quality and style, it’s merely a matter of knowing where to look. In this instance, I would suggest looking to the German watchmaking enclave of Glashütte. I don’t think you will be disappointed.