Our contributor Gerard has been a NOMOS retailer in The Netherlands for many years, until he decided to sell pre-owned and vintage only. Every time I was in his shop in The Hague, I made sure to check-out the NOMOS section as I love their clean designs. However, it took me until 2012 before I visited their manufacture in Glashütte and from that moment on, I appreciate this small independent brand from Germany even more.
As printed in the “NOMOS Glashütte – Das grosse Universallexikon” book that NOMOS published in 2006 (also in English, and even if you don’t own a NOMOS watch, you NEED this fantastic book. Order it here.): Glashütte is not a company, it is a city. A small city at least. For over 150 years, awesome watches are being made in this little German city. It has become an establishment in (German) watchmaking and is most probably the reason why NOMOS, Glashütte Original and A. Lange & Söhne (for example) use the name of this city in their official registered brandnames.
NOMOS Tangente Automatik
The NOMOS Tangente is being regarded as the classic NOMOS timepiece, ever since 1992. In case you are wondering why we feature the NOMOS Tangente on Fratello Watches 23 years later, this has a good reason. This year in BaselWorld, the Tangente was re-introduced, this time with a completely new and in-house developed movement, the caliber DUW 3001. DUW stands for DUW stands for Deutsche Uhrenwerke, which also means that NOMOS produces these movements in-house in Glashütte.
The caliber DUW 3001 is only 3.2mm thick, has NOMOS own escapement system (NOMOS Swing system), the typical Glashütte 3/4 mainplate, rhodium finish and blued screws. Due to the height of just 3.2mm, this NOMOS DUW 3001 should be considered an ultra-flat movement. This is – of course – also the reason why the new NOMOS Tangente Automatik is so thin, just 6.9mm. The caliber DUW 3001 ticks at 21,600bph and has a 42 hour power reserve. The movement has been adjusted in 6 positions and is very accurate (although not chronometer rated, NOMOS achieves standards within the typical -4/+6s a day chronometer standards). To be able to create a movement this flat, NOMOS had to work hard to reduce the production tolerances of the parts (up to 50%). By using new materials and being creative with the construction of the movement, NOMOS managed to create this very thin DUW 3001 caliber and keep the price at an acceptable and attractive level (more below).
The diameter of the NOMOS Tangente Automatik with DUW 3001 movement remains relatively small, just 35mm. For me personally, it has been the reason to leave these models alone. Which I regret. The NOMOS Zürich is the only model – size wise – I would get away with, given the size of my wrists. However, if you can handle smaller diameter watches, the NOMOS Tangente is something that should be high on your horological wish list. I also have to admit that I’ve never worn a NOMOS 35mm (or 38mm, as some models are available in that size as well) for a longer period, only in shops and in Basel.
The shape of the NOMOS Tangente Automatik remains the same though, round case with straight lugs with a sharp angle towards the Cordovan strap. The galvanized silver-plated dial is very clean and is one of the reasons you will recognize a NOMOS watch from miles away. The Arabic numerals are only on the even numbers while the odd hour numbers have stick markers. The NOMOS Tangente Automatik has decentralized seconds, at 6 o’clock and are indicated with a red hand. Also the word ‘Automatik’ is printed in red on the dial.
Although the NOMOS Tangente collection already starts at €1360 Euro – offering an awful lot of bang for the buck – the new NOMOS Tangente Automatik with DUW 3001 movement comes with a higher price tag. NOMOS could not confirm the final price yet, but it will be between €2500 and €2900 Euro and the watch will be available this fall.
Even though this price tag is significantly higher than the cheapest NOMOS Tangente of the range, one should not forget that for a timepiece with an in-house developed movement, it is a very attractively priced watch still. To me it seems that the manual wound NOMOS Tangente watch of € 1360 Euro is very friendly priced in order to be able to offer something interesting (high value) to those new to mechanical watches and who might return to buy one of the other NOMOS models (with in-house movement) later on. You could also say that they keep their classic watch affordable, which seems a smart move to me.
Currently, I can’t think of any other watch available with an ultra-thin automatic winding in-house movement that is being offered in the price range of €2500 – €2900 Euro. So, well done NOMOS. Some other brands aren’t even capable of offering a watch in this price range (or with double and some times a tripled price on the tag) with an in-house movement, let alone an ultra-thin one. Times are changing, and consumers seem to be – more than ever – very eager on getting value for their hard-earned money. A brand like NOMOS (and of course there are others as well) always stayed true and loyal to their customers, no steep price increases that couldn’t be justified. My guess is that this strategy will be rewarded by watch enthusiasts in the coming year(s) (also see my interview with Longines CEO Von Känel on this topic).
As soon as the NOMOS Tangente Automatik becomes available, we will surely ask NOMOS to lend us one for review.
More images below in the NOMOS Tangente Automatik gallery.