NOMOS Glashütte has done it again. The Tetra series has a history of striking visuals, with well-received micro-ranges such as “Petit four” and the “Berlin set”. Unsurprisingly, the brand is following the same formula again with the Tetra symphony collection.

The symphony line-up has been released to honor a very famous German: Ludwig van Beethoven. Also obsessed with quality and timeless classics, his famous music is still heard around the world today. Fall 2020 will mark his 250th birthday, which provided the quirky Glashütte manufacture the ideal opportunity to celebrate in its own inimitable way.

The Tetra collection is known for being a very creative corner of the NOMOS catalog. With this off-beat, Deco/Bauhaus classic, the designers seem unburdened of expectation. With this watch, they can experiment. And this time, the results are particularly sophisticated.


A call for Spring

Four watches — named Ode to Joy, Immortal Beloved, Fidelio, and Divine Spark — each with an original pastel colorway, feel like a call for spring. The colors remind me of the buds that peek out above the soil following a long winter. A poetic image, perhaps, but certainly a positive one.

While I was working for NOMOS as a brand representative, retailers and clients were either impressed and in love with this watch or they just didn’t care. It is probably a bit like the city of Berlin itself: You either hate or love it. Maybe that is why one of the first special collections of the Tetra models was called the “Berlin set”. That kind of polarization is good for a watch company (as long as the quality is high) because it starts discussions.

He put the Tangente, the Tetra, the Orion, and the Ludwig in a suitcase and traveled through Germany.

As with the first Tetra from 1992, the cases measure 29.5×29.5mm square. The model that started it all was part of the “original“ collection, that Roland Schwertner revealed to the world, shortly after the reunification of two very different countries in Germany. He put the Tangente, the Tetra, the Orion, and the Ludwig in a suitcase and traveled through Germany. With a humble and hopeful sales strategy straight out of the gate, he found a surprising amount of success by simply knocking on retailers’ doors. It is an unthinkable plan these days, but Schwertner had one significant advantage over most modern brands dreaming of similar success…


The stars of the show

Perhaps his success is less surprising when we consider exactly what he packed in that suitcase. These were not just watches. Rather, they were classics of the future. And while each individual family’s popularity has fluctuated through the years, all four families remain part of the catalog.

Form follows function.

Since its foundation, the company has lived by one famous mantra. “Form follows function.” Those words blazed the trail NOMOS is still treading. By taking that mantra and figuring out new and appealing ways to be different while adhering to it, NOMOS remains relevant. Once again, the selection of less common colors sets the Symphony collection apart. The Tetra Divine Spark has a rich copper dial, the Ode Joy comes in olive green, the Immortal Beloved is turquoise, and the Tetra Fidelio sports a dark blue display. In comparison to previous Tetra collections, the colors are quite understated. In my opinion, this is a refreshing release to begin the year.


Tetra in its origins: Alpha inside

The Tetra symphony watches employ the classic movement from NOMOS Glashütte: The Alpha. It is an in-house built caliber with manual winding. Only 2.6 mm high, it fits perfectly in the Tetra’s elegant case. This caliber is one of my favorites. Its proportions make it perfectly suited for use in ladies’ watches. And while the general perception of women’s tastes tends to assume apathy towards the mechanism, I believe more and more women are finding their way to watchmaking via a technical appreciation of the movement.

Diamonds are also not really my best friends…

Speaking personally (as a woman) I am also very much into the technical background and the amazing craftsmanship of watchmaking. Diamonds are also not really my best friends, which maybe explains why I like this watch and this simple movement so much. The Alpha comes with the very typical Glashütte features. There is a Stop-seconds mechanism, Glashütte stopwork, Glashütte three-quarter plate, tempered blue screws, and rhodium-plated surfaces with Glashütte ribbing and NOMOS perlage. And, of course, also the crown wheel with Glashütte sunburst. All this can be seen at work through the sapphire crystal glass back.


Why I would consider buying the watch

The special Tetra sets always have been desirable. The Symphony is no exception. Especially because they are only available for a limited time. That makes it even more interesting to think about it. And not only do these watches look incredibly nice on the wrist but also the quality of NOMOS has always been good. You can’t go wrong if you are after a mechanical, manual winding watch “Made in Germany.” The colors are a nice addition. And I could see them appealing to all customers, not just women as one might anticipate. Prices start at just €1,660 each. Learn more about NOMOS Glashütte here