Nomos Glashütte Orion 38 Silvercut for L’Oro

Today I get to introduce you to Nomos’ ultimate dress watch, the Nomos Glashütte Orion 38. It takes Nomos’ already ultra-clean dial and takes it up a notch while, like any proper dress watch, it loses the date (although a date complication is available).For the few who haven’t heard yet, Nomos is rapidly becoming a legendary German watchmaker based out of the famous town of Glashutte, which houses other amazing German companies like A. Lange & Sohne as well as Glashutte Original.Nomos made a name for itself with its ultra-modern bauhaus design and its amazingly rapid progression into making its own movements. For years now 100% of Nomos movements are made in house and their decoration at this price point is second to none. Nomos watches are ideal for someone who appreciates quality and great design but doesn’t feel the need to shout about it–their watches are, without exception, very subtle by contemporary standards. I love them.The dial, as with all Nomos watches, is gloriously uncluttered–but unlike its predecessors, it’s made even cleaner by removing any trace of numerals.In the place of numerals are gorgeous gold applied markers. Thin sticks cohere perfectly with the stick hands and the gold contrast against the blue of the hands is bold without being over the top. This is Nomos’ best looking watch, period.Like all Nomos watches, a seconds subdial is placed in the 6:00 position. Its very subtle (basically viewable only under magnification) guilloche texture helps subtly, nearly subconsciously, separate it from the rest of the dial without requiring a frame or different color.Black hash marks are used on the subdial, which look great–but I’m curious (and it might be a disaster, but I’m still interested), what would the subdial look like with gold printed marks instead?Also of note is Nomos’ characteristic decision not to use a marker at 6:00 whether or not you get the date. To me, the dial is better balanced with a date there, but for a pure dress watch like this, dates should be avoided. So I would like to see what the dial would look like with an abbreviated applied marker there in the sans-date versions like this one.Those heat blued stick hands are one of the best things about most Nomos watches. They’re extremely minimalist, yet highly visible against the silver plated dial. The contrast of blue on white always looks good in watches, but even better with the gold accents.At this price point, there is no better looking dress watch out there–maybe at any. Stylistic competitors might include the Vacheron Patrimony or Nomos’ neighbor, the A. Lange Saxonia, but short of those very expensive options, it’s hard to do a better dress watch and still not be boring.As the name would suggest, the defining characteristic of the Orion 38 is its 38mm size. Nomos watches tend to run small, which is perhaps an homage to traditional watch sizing, but also consider that their all-dial layout makes them wear large. I’d say the Orion 38 wears like a 39 or even a 40mm watch, which is just right by me. The smaller size is a bit small for my tastes, so the Orion 38 is right at that sweet spot between tradition and modernity.The Orion’s case in either size is one of the most dynamic of Nomos’ lineup. Gone are the straight lines and hard angles–this cases flows in a more conventional, and in my opinion, more attractive way.Nomos loses the wire lugs of the famous Tangente in favor of these more conventionally curvy ones. I prefer how these look and as an added bonus, they look like they’ll be tougher than the Tangente’s.Naturally, as a hand wound dress watch, the crown does not screw down. It’s quite small and subtle, as coheres with the rest of the watch’s design, but I didn’t find it difficult to wind at all. In fact, it was easier to wind than another large crown I happened to be testing the other day. So arthritis sufferers needn’t worry about this one despite the tiny crown.Another change for the Orion’s case is the curvy sides and back. The smoothed, rounded out case compares favorably, in my opinion, to the hard-edged and flat Tangente/Tangomat case. I never found either uncomfortable to wear, but I think the Orion is the more attractive option.The Nomos Glashütte Orion 38 is powered by the venerable in house Alpha movement, its simplest, and arguably most beautiful, calibre.You simply won’t find a movement with better finishing anywhere near this price point. It’s truly astonishing and puts watches several times its price to shame. This is a watch you will find yourself looking at the movement of often.Here’s the balance wheel with Nomos’ unique balance cock. It’s bent at an almost 90 degree angle, quite unusual, but it looks great. Also worth mentioning is the lack of an obvious fine adjustment system. Normally you’d see an index on the balance cock to regulate the watch, but the Triovis fine adjustment mechanism on a Nomos leaves the movement gloriously uncluttered.Take a look at two distinctive Germanic design elements on the movement. First, notice the Glashutte sunburst on the barrel, which looks amazing. Second, check out the German click (at 6:00 in this photo) which is one of the most attractive ways to design this part.The 3/4ths plate is another traditional German touch and the angular cotes de Geneve really set it off. The blued screws add great visual contrast with the gold Nomos writing and rubies.As with most Nomos watches, a Shell Cordovan strap is used. Shell Cordovan straps are tough horse hide and Nomos’ clean and shiny black is deadly serious, a perfect compliment to a dedicated dress watch.Despite the durability of the Shell Cordovan straps, the inside is very soft. The straps are a little firm for my taste, but that’s just because they’re new–after a few days of wearing them they should break in great.Nomos only makes watches with old-school buckles. I’m a fan of deployants personally, but that’s just preference.Really, what more can be said about the Nomos Orion 38 except that it’s easily the ultimate under-$5000 dress watch and perhaps even a substantially greater sum. It is traditional German watchmaking done right. The utterly clean dial, sans numerals, would have been easy to make boring–but the Orion keeps things interesting with blued hands and gold indices. The Orion’s case loses the Tangente’s quirks while staying super thin, making it surprisingly versatile.The fact that it has a gorgeous in house movement is icing on the cake–this is the rare watch where the back deserves just as much attention as the front. But regardless of which side you’re appreciating, the Nomos Glashütte Orion 38 will stand the test of time, with its versatile size, thin case and timeless beauty.