It’s the little things that matter. If you believe so, please take a closer look at the new Nomos Orion Neomatik New Black, which comes in three iterations. At first glance, these watches all look pretty much the same, but they’re not. There are three sizes, for instance, and Nomos also plays with different color combinations of hands and indices. Plus, one model comes with a date function. What nearly all watches from the German watchmaking town of Glashütte have in common, though, is a minimalist approach to design. And in the case of these three new Orion models, the deep (new) black dial is also a common denominator. By doing a hands-on with all three, I picked the one dark Orion that fits me best.

Do I start with the biggest Orion and work my way back, or do I go in the opposite direction? I had fate decide. It was not through a coin toss but by picking whichever Orion was in the box that I opened first. So I could have started this hands-on with the middle “kid,” the one that, if you believe in “middle-child syndrome,” gets less attention and feels caught in the middle. But the watch in the box that I opened first wasn’t the one in the middle. Instead, it was the smallest of the lot.

Nomos Orion Neomatik

Nomos Orion Neomatik New Black: three sizes fit all?

It’s not the size of the watch that matters. Rather, it’s the size of the wrist/the taste of the wearer/the attire you wear. Take your pick. Well, my wrist is 18.5cm in diameter, I like both small and big watches, and during the hands-on, I didn’t get a change of clothes. In other words, the outcome is very unpredictable. First up is the smallest of the trio, the Orion Neomatik New Black reference 396 (€3,040 / US$3,580). This is a 36.4 × 45 × 8.5mm watch with an 18mm lug spacing. Inside the subtly rounded steel case, which is water resistant to 5 ATM, beats the automatic 3Hz caliber DUW 3001. Although not an officially chronometer-certified movement, Nomos claims that it is adjusted according to chronometer standards

The made-in-Glashütte DUW 3001 has a power reserve of 43 hours, a stop-seconds mechanism, a bidirectional winding rotor, and a characteristic Glashütte three-quarter plate. More regional goodness is the decoration with Glashütte stripes, which you can enjoy through the display case back.

Nomos Orion Neomatik New Black

The watch equivalent of the little black dress?

Is the Nomos Orion Neomatik New Black the watch equivalent of the little black dress? Well, it seems to be just as versatile as Christian Dior’s 1950s dress that was part of his revolutionary “New Look,” which grew to be a uniform and a symbol. On the wrist and combined with a rather conservative shirt and cardigan, its modest proportions work just fine. The design of the watch with its timeless black galvanized, domed dial and matching strap is sober, introverted, and modest.

The black Horween Genuine Shell Cordovan leather strap is also a modest affair. Not everyone is a fan of this type of leather, but I find it very comfortable on the wrist, and I like the way that it ages.


The Orion Neomatik New Black does allow itself a frivolity, and it’s a most charming one: the slender indices are plated with gold. This adds warmth, richness, and luster to a subdued design. Although the watch is rather small, its visual impact and the way it wears on the wrist are big enough. It never feels little, and I’m quite sure that onlookers also won’t perceive the smallest of all the Orion Neomatik New Black models as a petite timepiece.

Nomos Orion Neomatik

Nomos Orion Neomatik 39 New Black: covering the middle ground

You might think the Orion Neomatik 39 reference 346 is a 39mm watch. It’s not by a few tenths of a millimeter. The second in line has a 38.5 × 47.5 × 8.7mm case with a 19mm lug spacing. As you can see/read, everything is proportionally bigger, and so is the price of €3,180 / US$3,920. Does this watch, which uses the same DUW 3001 as its smaller “brother,” also make a slightly bigger impact? Not to me, it doesn’t. It’s not because the case is too big for me. No, not at all. In fact, it sits perfectly snugly on my wrist, not just because of the size but also because of the watch’s lens-shaped case and curved, flowing lugs.

It’s the dial that lacks a bit of dynamism. There are no significant golden touches on this Orion Neomatik 39, making it the most sober one of the bunch. Nomos chose to use silver-plated, diamond-polished indices and polished, rhodium-plated hands, resulting in a soft-spoken watch. It almost whispers, and although I could think of a formal setting in which this watch would be right at home, it doesn’t really speak to me. The extra millimeters don’t give this Orion more presence than the smaller version, and I’m under the strong impression that the lack of gold on the dial is the reason for that. Sure, as with the other two iterations, the “neomatik” text is in gold letters. Nevertheless, the font is very small, and the color is hardly noticeable in the grand New Black scheme of things.

Nomos Orion Neomatik 41 Date New Black: you’ve got a date

There’s some gold to be found on the Orion Neomatik 41 Date New Black reference 366 (€3,500 / US$4,200). This proportionally bigger 40.5 × 50.5 × 9.4mm version with a 20mm lug spacing has gold-plated hands. In addition to those, the date indicator has gold-colored numbers to match the gold “neomatik” text.

The presence of a date at 3 o’clock means that there’s a different movement inside this Orion’s steel case. It’s the automatic caliber DUW 6101 with a patented date mechanism. The DUW 6101 is nicely decorated and recognizable as a movement from Glashütte.

It’s responsible for the most outspoken of all three New Black Orion models. That is, of course, due to the version’s generous size and its extra function. The presence of a date is often a polarizing matter. I’m neither a date nor a no-date purist. There’s a time and place for everything, so to speak, and that also applies to date apertures. In my humble opinion, for this Orion with small seconds at 6, having the date at 3 o’clock doesn’t do the otherwise balanced dial design any favors.

The little black watch is the apple of my eye

You should never choose between your children, but luckily, that’s not the case when you have to pick your favorite timepiece from a watch family. In the case of the three new Orion iterations, Nomos didn’t make it particularly difficult for me to choose. The apple of my eye is the smallest of the lot, the nearly 37mm Orion Neomatik New Black. It’s stylish, subtle (yes, I’m referring to the touches of gold), and well balanced in terms of design. Plus, it covers all the essentials and wears incredibly well. Do you agree, or do you prefer a few extra millimeters or the practicality of a date? Please share your thoughts in the comments, and visit the Nomos website to see the full Orion family.