Hands-On With The NOMOS Glashütte Tetra Neomatik — Be There AND Be Square!
I love me a good rectangular watch. So, when the all-new and limited NOMOS Glashütte Tetra Neomatik arrived, I immediately asked if I could wear it for a few days. It’s big and it’s bold, and therefore, it’s very much a statement on the wrist. But it’s also so much more wearable than you’d expect. Let me tell you why I think this is my favorite watch from the NOMOS collection. Oh, and beware, dear Fratelli: after reading this you might feel the urge to get yourself a square watch!
Up until now, I had never had the opportunity to wear a NOMOS watch for more than just a quick try-out session. The minimalistic design of the Saxon brand’s watches, however, has always intrigued and attracted me. So even before I really got into watches, I was already quite familiar with NOMOS. But for some reason, I’ve never decided to add one to my collection. I think that’s because the designs now come across to me as a little too clean and too simple. However, after having worn the Tetra for a few days, I feel it’s actually the perfect mix between clean and daring. And we have the square shape and those beautiful lugs to thank for it.
Hymn to the square watch
With a Cartier Santos Galbée and a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso in my collection, I’m now known as the “square-watch guy” around the Fratello offices. It’s true that I really enjoy the different wrist feel that a square/rectangular shape provides. What excites me about it is that it actually works so well on the wrist. I remember trying on the Santos for the first time and being instantly smitten. It’s the perfect balance between sporty and elegant while it very comfortably hugs your wrist. The same is so true for the Reverso.
Of course, it was initially introduced as a sports watch — so the story goes. But people often refer to it as being more of a dress watch. I think that completely depends on how you wear it. In my day-to-day life, I dress quite casually, and I just put the Reverso on a strap from the Casa Fagliano summer collection. It totally dresses down the watch, allow me to wear it on any occasion now. I love how different the Reverso feels on the wrist compared to my other watches. This is a feeling I also experienced while wearing the Tetra.
I must admit, the red dial looked a little intimidating at first. It’s very, very red. It’s quite a lot brighter than the dial on my bronze Fratello × Oris Big Crown Pointer Date. And don’t get me wrong, it’s still very, very red, but I’ve become a little used to it now. It also very much depends on the strap you pair it with. I’ve tried a few of my own — the Tetra has a very convenient 20mm lug width — and this desert-sand calfskin strap from Molequin was the winner in my opinion. It matches nicely with the beige printing on the dial, and the grain on the strap makes the whole thing look a little more casual, just like a nice, soft nubuck strap would do. I could even imagine this watch on one of those textile straps from NOMOS to make it look even a bit more sporty. But enough about the straps!
Apart from the red background color, there are indeed the beige markings on the dial. The hour markers are all printed in the stretched style that NOMOS often applies to its watches. It kind of reminds me of the Roman numerals on the Santos Galbée, which almost seem to stretch toward the center of the dial. I’m not so sure about the minute markers in the corners of Tetra’s dial, though. They seem a bit out of place. What I do really like is that sub-dial at 6 o’clock. It sinks really nicely into the surface, and in my time with the Tetra, it always appeared to be a little darker than the rest of the dial. That way, it adds a playful touch to the otherwise very clean square. But the thing that really steals the show is that proud, angular case!
Strong lines and sharp corners
Compared to the Tetra, the Santos Galbée and the Reverso almost have no right to call themselves “square” watches. Their dials might not be round, but their cases still have many rounded edges. The Tetra, on the other hand, is unapologetically square in its shape and form. It takes courage to take away almost all the rounded edges on a watch, but NOMOS did just that back in 1992, and it still works very well to this day! The lugs, which were taken directly from the Art Deco era, contribute to this significantly.
They add just the right amount of heft to the overall design, and they’re not as long as they seem to be on many other NOMOS watches. They also angle down a bit when they leave the case to help compensate for its otherwise plank-like shape. I also applaud NOMOS for adding lug holes to the design. They cleverly break with the pristine, mirror-like flanks and add a touch of sportiness. It’s a minor detail, but in my eyes, it makes the otherwise surgically clean case just that little bit more wearable!
My ideal Tetra
So, is the Tetra Neomatik going to be my very first NOMOS? Unfortunately not, even though I love the way it looks. I also love the fact that it’s powered by the DUW 3001 so that I don’t have to worry about winding it in the morning. And I really love how different it wears compared to my other watches. But, as Rob already pointed out in his introductory article, the 33mm Tetra Neomatik measures 46.67mm from corner to corner. And I must say, it also looks a bit like on my 17cm wrist. I’d rather go for the 29.5mm Tetra. The Ode to Joy version from the Symphony series is my favorite by far.
But then you lose the automatic movement and that universal 20mm lug width. That one is almost half the price of the Neomatik though, so that’s a nice bonus. Maybe I should just go and try it on somewhere. All-in-all, I must say that after this experience, the NOMOS Tetra Neomatik has gained a lot of respect from me. As Kermit used to say, “It’s not easy being green,” and I think the same goes for square watches in a world dominated by round ones. Rob even mentioned the “10% rule”, meaning only one of every 10 watches isn’t round. Come on, people!
The NOMOS Glashütte Tetra Neomatik is a very square watch and proud of it! I think a lot more people should try a square watch for once. You’ll see that they’re a lot more comfortable and fun to wear than you might expect. You can dress ’em up and dress ’em down, but most important of all, they’ll give you a smile from ear to ear when you glance down at your wrist. Now, go and try one out for yourself. You can thank me later!
This red NOMOS Tetra Neomatik is available for €3,060 and is part of a commemorative series celebrating 175 years of watchmaking in Glashütte. There are also versions with blue, white, and black dials. Each colorway is limited to 175 pieces and individually numbered.
What do you think of the Tetra and square watches in general? Do you own a square watch, and if so, what has your experience with it been like? Let me know in the comments below!
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