Sometimes, when you read or hear a word, a song pops up into your head. Every time I read or hear about this watch, the [22 minutes lasting version of] Kraftwerk’s Autobahn song is very difficult to get out my head again. If you’re not familiar with it, make sure to search for it on Spotify or whatever service you use. The NOMOS Autobahn Neomatik 41 Date has been presented to us during BaselWorld last month, so about time to have a closer look at it. It has been much talked about since then, so I would like to share my thoughts about this NOMOS Autobahn Neomatik as well.
At first, I wasn’t very convinced about the autobahn (highway) association even though I spend many hours on the German autobahn. Having a closer look at the dial, especially in low-light conditions with the luminous ring it suddenly reminded me of the many hours spent on the German highway during the evening and nights.
The Autobahn is a collaboration between designers Werner Aisslinger and Tina Bunyaprasit and NOMOS from Glashütte. A playful watch that is very different from any of the other NOMOS watches. Relatively, of course, the typical design style of NOMOS has been respected by the designers of the NOMOS Autobahn Neomatik 41 Date. My reference to Kraftwerk’s song from 1974 is a logical one actually, as this song was the inspiration for the designers to come up with the name for this watch. The design elements of the NOMOS Autobahn Neomatik 41 Date are inspired by the instrument panel of cars. I wasn’t really into the Autobahn watch when I saw it at first during NOMOS’s evening event that they organize every year on the first night of BaselWorld. However, when I returned to them a few days later to have a look at the new NOMOS watches I noticed all the little design elements that make this watch quite special.
The dial has a lot of depth, using smooth shapes and forms. Beautiful curves can be found on the dial, look for example at the smooth shape all the way from the centre of the dial to the bezel. Then, there’s the subdial for the seconds hand that is adding another layer to its depth. It all looks very organic, no real hard edges or corners to be found, except for the large date aperture of course. A function that I would have left out, to be honest, but visually I think the aperture for 3 dates is a good one. If it would be a smaller aperture to show just one date, it would have looked more out of style. Yet I am of the opinion that they could have solved it in a more elegant or fitting way to a ‘dashboard’. Luckily enough, the rest of the dial attracts all the attention due to the shapes and the use of bright colours. Speaking of which, you will find three different models of the NOMOS Autobahn Neomatik 41 Date. There’s the midnight blue version with a white luminous ring, and two with a galvanized dial: one with a grey luminous ring and one with a blue luminous ring. All three watches have the same price tag, of €3800,-.
One remark I have to make is that despite I like the set-up of the hands, they are a bit confusing at first. The minute hand is easily mistaken for a central seconds hand and the hour hand for a minute’s hand. It all has to do with the slim and long minute hand and the bright orange tip and the rather long hour hand. You might find yourself looking if there’s a short hour hand hidden under the actual hour hand. Anyway, once you get it, it is an easy to read watch. The hour hand uses the beautiful luminescent scale, from 8 o’clock till 4 o’clock that is, between 4 and 8 o’clock it is floating a bit. The minute’s hand reaches the end of the dial, where the minute track is located. The recessed subdial indicate the seconds. On the NOMOS Autobahn Neomatik with galvanized dial and grey applied luminous ring, reading time can be a bit difficult as there’s only little contrast. The version with the blue luminescent ring gives more contrast, also because the hour hand is there filled with orange luminova.
Inside the NOMOS Autobahn Neomatik 41 Date you will find their in-house built calibre DUW6101. It is the first Neomatik calibre with a date complication. NOMOS managed to keep it very thin, at 3.6mm in height. The power reserve is no less than 42 hours. The diameter of the movement is 35.2mm, and as you can see on Berti’s picture below, the sapphire case back shows a nice and large movement inside its 41mm case. The movement is finished with the Glashütte striping and has beautiful bas-relief wording on the rotor. The date can be corrected using a quick set adjustment, where you can advance and reverse the date with a few simple operations. It is a beautiful large – but thin – movement to admire for the future owners for one of these NOMOS Autobahn Neomatik 41 Date watches. The bezel of the case back indicates the model name and the fact that they are water resistant to 10 bar (~ 100 meters), indicated together with a happy looking whale.
The stainless steel 41mm case is very comfortable on the wrist and has the same minimalistic design ingredients as the other NOMOS models: thin lugs, thin bezel resulting in a large dial aperture. Yet, the NOMOS Autobahn Neomatik has its very own case design. The designers really made sure that the Autobahn is a new addition to the collection.
Do I like it? As written above, not at first sight. It needed a closer inspection for sure, and not all models have great readability, but the beautiful curves on the dial and the luminescent ring made me like it for sure. The issue with this watch I have is that I am not very sure if I will still like it in years from now. The Autobahn has a few elements that might be a bit gimmicky (but exactly the elements I like about it today), and I know that I can become pretty fed up with gimmicky design elements after a while. So time will tell.
The NOMOS Autobahn Neomatik 41 Date retail for €3800, all three versions. The all galvanized dial with grey lume has reference 1301, the midnight blue version has reference 1302 and galvanized dial with a blue luminescent ring has reference 1303. The latter one is also referred to as ‘sports gray’.
More information to be found on the official NOMOS website.
Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in... read more