Suppose you’ve kept an eye on our social media and the website over the last week or so. In that case, you’ll have first seen the announcement, and then the full reveal, of the NOMOS Glashütte Weltzeit “The Hague Edition” for Fratello. This project was the brainchild of our Managing Editor, Rob Nudds.

The watch is available from the Fratello Shop right now, and it’s limited to just 25 pieces. The price is €4,620, including VAT, which may differ slightly depending on your region. We include FREE worldwide shipping on all orders and the watches are ready to ship in 3-5 business days. Don’t hang around as we’re expecting these watches to move fast! If you’ve not already, I implore you to take a read of his article that explains how this watch came to be and why it’s such a big deal. And a big deal it is! Before we dive into the subtle and the not-so-subtle changes we’ve made to the standard Zürich Weltzeit model. Let’s first take a look at the core specifications of this piece, which is undeniably one of the finest to make its way out of the doors of NOMOS Glashütte‘s German manufacture. 

An illusion in black and white

Starting with what is usually the most simple of details is not actually that simple. I can vividly remember taking NOMOS Glashütte Weltzeit out of the box when I saw it for the first time. I strapped it onto my wrist and struggled to believe the spec sheet in front of me. Reading the dimensions out loud just did not tell the whole story with this watch. The case measures 39.9mm in diameter and stands just 10.9mm tall on the wrist. The lug-to-lug is 49mm, and the case is topped by a slightly domed sapphire crystal treated with a strong, blue anti-reflective coating.

Upon first impressions, I thought the NOMOS Glashütte Weltzeit wore larger than the 39.9mm. I had guessed closer to 41mm or 42mm. Still, a quick sanity check using an on-hand vernier caliper confirmed the 39.9mm sizing was correct. It’s a delightful optical illusion caused by the combination of the narrow bezel and the large dial. The slimness of the watch only increases the illusion. The large dial allows for optimal legibility (essential for what is essentially a tool watch) without sacrificing compactness on the wrist. Collectors familiar with NOMOS will only be too aware of the German brand’s ability to maximize wrist real estate in this way. That’s the power of Bauhaus, baby!

The NOMOS Glashütte Weltzeit’s DUW 5201

The case back of the NOMOS Glashütte Weltzeit boasts a sapphire display case back, revealing the beautifully finished in-house DUW 5201 movement within. The DUW 5201 is an automatic caliber with an operating frequency of 21,600vph (3Hz) that equates to six ticks per second for anyone planning on getting this thing under a slow-motion camera. Additionally, it has a sufficient power reserve of 42 hours.

Watch design is an endless balancing act…

One of NOMOS’s fundamental design tenets is slimness. It’s a core part of the Bauhaus design. Watch design is an endless balancing act: you might take a little here, so you must give a little there in return. The slimness of the watches means the movements within them also have to be relatively slim too. The DUW 5201 inside this beauty is actually NOMOS’s thickest caliber, measuring a svelte 5.7mm, but that actually makes it NOMOS’s thickest movement. To have this complicated movement come in at under 6mm is just damn impressive. There are no two ways about it.

Going back to that balancing act, slim movements mean that the mainsprings powering them are also relatively thin. In turn, they are not able to generate as much torque as a thicker mainspring would. A lack of torque means a reduction in the total power output of the spring. Operating frequency can literally be translated into ticks per hour. With that in mind, it’s not too hard to visualize how reducing the frequency of the movement’s operation can save you power, thus extend the power reserve of a slimmer mainspring.

A longer service interval by design

Finally, there is a pretty obvious benefit to the customer. Given that a 21,600vph operating speed means a movement’s escapement will unlock 7,200 times fewer per hour than its 28,800vph counterpart, the components of your watch find themselves operating 25% less often. The knock-on when it comes to necessary service intervals really shouldn’t be overstated. If you’re after a simple everyday accuracy, a 3Hz movement is more than sufficient.

if your day job is a professional boxer, perhaps don’t wear the Weltzeit as your daily wear.

Of course, there is one drawback of lower operating frequencies: they are more susceptible to shocks. That’s why you’re more likely to see ultra-high frequency movements in sports watches. Considering NOMOS Glashütte generally makes dressier pieces, a lower operating speed is a perfect compromise. It does not drop the frequency so much that it would affect the watch’s isochronous performance noticeably during general wear. However, if your day job is a professional boxer, perhaps don’t wear the Weltzeit as your daily wear. Otherwise, you’ll be fine!

A watch for traveling the world with!

The 30 meters water resistance means the NOMOS Glashütte Weltzeit “The Hague Edition” is perhaps not meant for ocean exploration. In fact, it is designed for quite the opposite. This is a jet-setter’s timepiece, a model perfect for the debonaire globetrotter that wants something a little more business-appropriate than your standard GMT-Master II. It works just as well with smart casual wear as it does with a suit, but it really comes into its own when it’s the finishing touch to some sharp workwear.

The Weltzeit series is defined by its unusual GMT complication. While the name literally means World Time, this is not a true world timer as not all 24 time zones are simultaneously displayed. That’s because the home time disc at three o’clock partially obscures a couple of them at all times. This means that we’re left with an incredibly visually intuitive GMT complication allowing the wearer to track a second time zone. The somewhat more graphical representation of the second time zone here makes interpreting the information at a glance much more intuitive, thanks to the 24-hour home disc next to the handy little home icon at 3 o’clock.

Setting up the NOMOS Glashütte Weltzeit

So now we know a little more about the technology of the impressive DUW 5201 movement, let’s have a look at how it works. It’s actually surprisingly simple to operate — always a positive quality for any movement. When you first set up the watch, you need to align your preferred home city at the top of the dial. For example, we’re in the Hague, so I would press the 2 o’clock pusher until “The Hague” clicks around to the top of the dial at 12 o’clock. You don’t have to worry about the time at this point. Just get the city in the correct position.

Now you’re ready to grab your passport and hit the road.

Next, you need to set the 24-hour disc using the crown pulled out to the first position. Once that is set to your home time, use the small metal stylus or setting tool to depress the recessed pusher in the case band at 10 o’clock. Handily NOMOS includes this tool with every watch. This will advance the hour hand independently from the city ring, meaning you can set it to the same time as the 24-hour disc. That’s it. Now you’re ready to grab your passport and hit the road.

Depressing the pusher at 2 o’clock advances the central hour hand in one-hour increments. Simultaneously, the city disc, which shows a representative city of that time zone, moves forwards by one notch. When you’re traveling, simply use the pusher to select your destination (or city that represents the time zone of your destination), and you’re good to go! The action of the pusher is solid and very definite, but the sound of the “click” is also rather lovely. It’s a joyous complication to use! You can find a more detailed explanation of the Weltzeit complication in the video, below.

The Hannes Wettstein case

Now let’s move on to the case design. Case designs are all too often treated to a mere cursory glance, but to do the same with the Weltzeit case would be criminal. This case was designed by the late great Hannes Wettstein, a Swiss designer who had his world-renowned studio in Zürich, hence the collection’s name. It is, without doubt, the brand’s most complicated case. Despite the relative simplicity of the case from the exterior, it is a complex beast. Like the architecture Wettstein was known for, it is a mixture of industrial lines and organic curves.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the NOMOS Glashütte Weltzeit’s case is the lugs’ lines, which seem to defy possibility. That’s because they are removed from the case early on in the manufacturing process. They can be individually finished before being attached to the case. This multi-component construction means that the Weltzeit case is fascinating to wear over a long period. The more you wear it in different light conditions and environments, the more it reveals its true personality to you.

Available to purchase now!

The NOMOS Glashütte Weltzeit “The Hague Edition” for Fratello is limited to 25 pieces, available right now, only at the Fratello shop. The price is €4,620, including VAT, which may differ slightly depending on your region. We include FREE worldwide shipping on all orders and the watches are ready to ship in 3-5 business days. If you’d like to add one to your collection, visit the Fratello Shop right here, but be quick!