I worked for NOMOS Glashütte for three years. I traveled all over the northern hemisphere on behalf of the brand. Wherever I went, the questions were always the same. “Will NOMOS ever make a bracelet?” As it turns out, yeah, the brand did exactly that in early 2019. I thought it was fine, but I never needed my NOMOS watches on bracelets anyhow. No, I was more interested in the second (at the time), ridiculous question: “Will NOMOS Glashütte ever make the Lambda model in stainless steel?” Hahaha. No. Never. Or so we thought…

LIVE FROM GLASHÜTTE: NOMOS Glashütte HAS released the Lambda in stainless steel. I bet you never saw that coming (what do you mean I gave it away in the title?). I apologize. I’m excited. Although I am a watchmaker, a brand rep, a writer, blah, blah, blah, before all of that nonsense I am a watch lover. And I love the Lambda model. Specifically, I love its movement — the DUW 1001. This is the movement NOMOS said would never be delivered in anything but a gold case. Well, the brand went back on that word today (finally) and, as a result, we have one of the very best dress watches on the market to enjoy.

And I’m really not exaggerating. When you see the price, you will know what I’m talking about. Bear in mind that the rose gold Lambdas start at €12,477 in the 39mm cases. The 41mm white gold version with a blue dial retails for €14,816. Bank that info and revel in it later when you get to the bottom of this article…

But for how long?

This year marks the 175th anniversary of watchmaking in Glashütte. As such, NOMOS has released a few 175-piece limited runs. For the steel Lambda, it is no different. There will be three “enamel” (paint) dials released. One in white, one in blue, and one in black. There will be 175 pieces of each. Normally, I don’t love shiny enamel paint dials, but these do look very classy with the Lambda’s typeface and beautifully considered dial layout. The blue one is — as blue NOMOS dials often are — a thing of sweet serenity.

If Ace Jewelers in Amsterdam ever produce a flat black version with white and red printing as part of their Amsterdam series, you can sign me up — especially if it came in 39mm, which was always my preferred size for the Lambda.

…this thing is a wrist devourer.

But in that regard, I was in the minority. The vast majority of people I met and colleagues I spoke with were adamant that the 41mm (actually 40.5mm × 8.9mm) Lambda is better. And I do see their point from a “purity of design” perspective. The watch was designed to be big. And although 41mm sounds positively humble on paper, be warned that this thing is a wrist devourer. It is, without a shadow of a doubt, the biggest 41mm object you will ever encounter. And it is odd because that apparent dimensional bloating gives it a huge amount of presence while its subtle and precise dial design keeps things humble).

…this one is going to fly, fly, fly off the shelves.

In a nutshell, this one is going to fly, fly, fly off the shelves. And so it should. The DUW 1001, with its sun-ray Glashütte ribbing, screw-down gold chatons, and hand-engraved balance cock is a thing of beauty. In the gold cases it was barely attainable (and a reach for even the most ardent NOMOS lover). In steel, at this price, it is the best value dress watch on the market right now. There. I said it. And I’m sticking to it.

2 NOMOS Lambda 175 white

The end of an era

But this news heralds more than the fireworks and fizz of celebration. It is the end of an era. The very same words that broke the news of the steel Lambda’s birth almost certainly whispered the passing of its gold predecessor. Given that this stainless steel version will be priced at €5,800 — good grief, I wish I could capitalize numbers — paying an extra ten thousand (or thereabouts) for a gold case now seems, as the Germans would say, “ganz bescheuert”.

5 NOMOS Lambda 175 detail

And herein lies the intrigue of this release. A great many high-end luxury watch brands that produce certain or all models in gold cases are often asked by would-be customers to produce the same watch in steel. Sometimes these customers simply prefer the hardiness of the metal. That’s fair enough. The majority, however, imagine that this will vastly reduce the price of the piece. The truth is, in most cases, that when you’re dealing with very expensive movements, you almost might as well put them in a gold case because it seems to add a bit more overall justification to the cost. Truthfully, in many instances, if you switch out the gold for steel, you end up with a heinously expensive steel watch rather than a palatably priced gold alternative.

Here, however, NOMOS has completely upended the apple cart. And as apples roll around my ankles I find myself staring at this release in wonder. I am not just amazed that it has, at long last, come to pass, but gobsmacked that the Lambda is now seriously affordable. Yes, this is still a luxury product and a real privilege to own, but at under 50% of the Lambda’s previous cost, I cannot imagine my collection will remain without one for much longer (especially if this opens the door for future variations of the concept, as I imagine it will). Learn more about NOMOS Glashütte here.