The best Amsterdam retailer just got better. They managed to do another exclusive watch with Nomos. I am talking about Ace Jewelers of course, who teamed up with Nomos to launch a second limited edition exclusively to be sold via their boutiques and e-boutique. Based on the existing Nomos Club Campus Nacht (or Night, in English), they came up with the Nomos Club Campus Amsterdam.
After their first launch of a special Nomos, the Orion 38 Stijl Limited Edition (we reviewed it here), we now take a look at the Club Campus Amsterdam.
Based on the 38.5mm Club Campus, Ace Jewelers – who is an authorized dealer of Nomos as well as many other brands – decided to add some more colour to their ‘Nacht’ version. The original Nacht version has a black and white dial with a small bright neon orange coloured second hand. For the Club Campus Amsterdam edition, they made some drastic changes. A white subdial with bright red small second hand and red coloured hour markers. The hour markers are – just like the original Club Campus Nacht – a mixture of Arabic, Roman and stick marker numerals.
Limited to 75 pieces only, which you could call truly limited, but also realize that the total production number of Nomos isn’t very high. That said, at this price point and for a brand with the ever increasing credibility and popularity it is definitely a nice number of watches. Always buy a watch because you like it for what it is of course, not because it is a limited, special or numbered edition only. Enough with the advice, let’s have a look at the watch itself.
The attention for details is amazing. What about the XXX in the crown, which is based on the symbol of Amsterdam. It also explains the red and dark tones in the watch. As the weapon consists of a red background, a black thick line and three white Xs. The dark (grey) dial and red (luminous) indices, as well as the XXX on the winding crown, refer to the capital city of The Netherlands. It is the city where Ace Jewelers is located (and founded) and they are not shy of showing this. The Amsterdam born Ace Jewelers CEO Alon Ben-Joseph is “paying homage to the city that we call home and love” with this watch, as he stated in the press release of this Club Campus Amsterdam.
What I liked about the first collab that Ace Jewelers did with Nomos, was that their ‘De Stijl’ watch (Orion based) had an interesting dial with markers in different lengths. The use of primary colours that were so typical for ‘De Stijl’ painter Mondriaan and designer Rietveld could only be seen via the see-through case back. The colours used for the movement (blued screws, red rubies, (yellow) gold balance wheel) were perhaps a bit far-fetched when it comes to honouring the ‘De Stijl’, the watch actually looked good and was mainly about the dial and its a-typical hour markers.
Above is an image we took of the previous Ace Jewelers x Nomos edition, based on the Orion 38. As you can see, a completely different case design from the Club Campus Amsterdam. The Club is also a younger design by Nomos, also aimed at a slightly different audience perhaps.
The second limited edition, the Nomos Club Campus Amsterdam, is based on a different watch (Club Campus) and is technically identical to those standard editions. A case diameter of 38.5mm and thickness of 8.5mm, and inside you will find the Nomos Alpha caliber. A hand-wound movement with 43 hours of power reserve.
As you can see below, the case back of the Nomos Club Campus Amsterdam has a special engraving in its bezel, indicating that this limited edition watch is exclusively for Ace Jewelers. It also contains the unique number (of each watch). Aside from that, it allows you to enjoy the mechanical movement by Nomos. Beautiful ‘Glashütter’ striping on the plates, blued screws and a large balance-wheel.
Some people assume that the base of this caliber is the ETA/Peseux 7001, but that’s not the case. It might have been the inspiration for this movement (and Nomos did use the Peseux caliber in the past), but the Nomos Alpha is their own developed movement. Although it might look similar in design, only very few movement parts would be suitable for a swap with the Peseux 7001 caliber. The Nomos Alpha was their first in-house movement and ticks at 21,600vph. It also has a hacking feature (which the 7001 lacks).
I love it when someone goes the extra mile and do something out of the ordinary like Nomos did with this limited edition Club Campus Amsterdam for Ace Jewelers. It is not completely without risk, as the keyboard warrior game is strong and it has become a “hobby” for many to not only criticize everything that is different from the ordinary but also to take it one step further and truly spread trash talk about these initiatives. As a manufacturer, or collaboration partner (Ace Jewelers in this case), you need to be very careful in what you do and how you do it. I think both parties played their cards right as the watch shows playful elements and has a clear link to Amsterdam. Kudos for that, as the stakes are very high at the moment when you do ‘another’ limited edition.
For myself, I decided to look at watches just as they are. Limited editions are outnumbering some regular editions for sure with certain brands, and I do understand they need to come up with new and different variations as you can’t have a sustainable business only producing the same watches for decades unless your company is located at Rue François- Dussaud 3-5-7 in Geneva. It is very easy to criticize a watch for being a limited edition, but does it still hold up if you judge a watch purely by its looks/aesthetics and other specific features?
This Nomos Club Campus Amsterdam is truly different with the red indices and anthracite/grey dial, a combination we don’t see that often in this specific layout. The red numerals look actually quite nice, although I am not sure how long I would look at them in – let’s say – 10 years from now. Perhaps, if Amsterdam is your home city, or has special meaning for you (for whatever reasons : ) ), this plays no role.
Both Nomos and their customers have a tendency to look closely at details. Whether it is the movement’s accuracy, details on the dial or the strap, it is always under the loupe with all parties. Nomos buyers seem to love details. This Club Campus Amsterdam is no different, with its funky red colour, white sub dial and awkward hour markers. As you can see above, the printing on the dial is nicely done and even looks good under a macro lens.
The hands have been applied with luminous material but unlike the regular ‘Nacht’ version, the hour markers are not. So in low light conditions, only the hands will glow. The red paint for the hour markers is quite thick and this adds some depth to the dial. A job well done.
As you can see on the detail shots that Bert Buijsrogge took of the Nomos Club Campus Amsterdam, the printing on the dial is very sharp.
The Club Campus Amsterdam comes on a nice suede anthracite strap (20mm lug size) and has a nice light grey stitching to give it a bit of contrast. Of course, the buckle has been signed with the Nomos logo. The strap has a nice soft touch and feels very supple.
Not too long ago, I wrote that Grand Seiko has become the watch journalist’ favourite, for many different reasons. But to be fair, I think the same goes for Nomos and I believe that this has been the case long before Grand Seiko did. How come? Nomos has an interesting style, they do a lot of the work themselves, have been eager to work on interesting projects with retailers and media, they are friendly people with a good sense of humour, know how to throw a good party during Baselworld, but most of all: they produce a good watch at a fair price. And not unimportantly, the watches look good too. This Club Campus Amsterdam is no different, the design is appealing and the colour scheme is something different (than they normally do). The 38.5mm case size is a good fit for a lot of different sized wrists, including my 18cm wrist (which can be considered large).
The Nomos Club Campus Amsterdam has a retail price of €1400,= (including VAT), which is, in my opinion, a more than fair price for this watch. Nomos, located in the watchmaking heart of Germany, designs and develops an interesting line up of watches, including the Club collection that is clearly targeted at a younger audience than their Tangente and Tangomat for example. I like the little Amsterdam twist in this version of the Club Campus, with its red hour markers, XXX-signed crown and white subdial for the running seconds. I don’t think you need to be a fan of Amsterdam to like and buy this watch, if the design of the case and colour-scheme speaks to you, then you know what to do.
This watch is available via the Ace Jewelers website or one of their stores in Amsterdam.
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