Become A Modern Explorer With The NOMOS Glashütte Metro & Tangente Neomatik 41 Updates
Located in the small “watch town” of Glashütte, near Dresden, Germany, NOMOS Glashütte is a relatively new watchmaker, founded in 1990. However, in such a short period of time, it has become Germany’s largest timepiece manufacturer. Because of both its passionate design direction and perhaps its proximity to the epicenter of the movement’s birth, it is also arguably the pre-eminent creator of artful, thoughtfully designed modern watches that carry the spirit of the Bauhaus art school.
Growing out of the work at the Staatliches Bauhaus art institute in mid-Eastern Germany during the pre-war Weimar era, the Bauhaus movement created an overarching and profound new visual aesthetic that transformed art, design, architecture, fashion, and more. It not only stripped away an outdated reliance on ornamentation, but inspired a cadre of global devotees, like painter Paul Klee, architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, textile designer Anni Albers, and many other talented individuals.
One can even draw parallels between the movement and modern clothing designers, like Jil Sander and Paul Smith. It provided the core for what is now called mid-century modernism, which, while it is experiencing a recent uptick in popularity, has been an important piece of our visual lives for many decades.
We have grown up surrounded by the aesthetic without even knowing it by name. But, more to the point, the call words for the Bauhaus design movement could well be rational, functional, minimal, and structural.
Metro (As In) Politan
NOMOS Glashütte debuted the first member of the Metro watch line in 2014 with a manually wound movement. Two years later, the ultra-slim neomatik automatic movement (calibre DUW 3001) was incorporated into the package. Now, the line has an updated in-house neomatik calibre DUW 6101 that brings an uncannily elegant and simple patented date ring function to the far edge of the dial, butting a bit of colorful Bauhaus functionality right up to the slender steel bezel and case.
Capsule-shaped apertures framing the date numerals on either side of the day fill with a bold orange indicator ring as the month progresses, providing superb legibility for such a reedy, circular execution. “This design makes specialist watchmaking expertise visibly for all to see,” said NOMOS CEO Uwe Ahrendt. “A pure representation of what this calibre is capable of.” Quick date adjustments can also be made in both directions.
Minimalist in Motion
Moving inward towards the center, the designers at NOMOS Glashütte have somehow managed to resolve the alignment problem of orienting odds and evens. An even 60 small dots just under the date ring index the 60 minutes of an hour. But they lie under the odd 31-day indicators while retaining balanced and seamless alignment proportions and providing a graphic visual border between the date ring and the additional hour and minute indexing, which also carry its own out-of-the-box minimalist approach.
Numerals indicating five-minute intervals for 5 to 60 ring the dial, but there are no numerical hour markers at all. To a Bauhaus designer, individual hour numbers could easily be viewed as unnecessary, especially considering the familiar orientation of a watch face.
However, dots underneath the twelve five-minute interval numerals do some beautiful double-duty by providing a separate visual cue for your mind to parse hours from minutes. Plus, the dots for three, nine, and twelve o’clock are larger than the others without unbalancing the overall design; thus, offering an inventive and extraordinarily effective visual guide.
Truly, it's the perfect minimal amount of visual information to orient your time-telling. A NOMOS-signature graded small seconds hand rides at six o’clock to complete the design.
Modernist in Spirit
All of this reductive and recombinant design innovation adds up to a decidedly fresh and youthful approach to telling time, without completely breaking from the familiar form of a hands-and-dial wristwatch. The clean, galvanized white silver-plated dial, thin aspects of the 41mm x 9mm steel case, artfully functional wire lugs, and dark grey woven strap complete the design language of this stylish modern marvel.
Going Off on a Tangente
NOMOS Glashütte’s popular Tangente line originally debuted in the early ’90s as part of the brand’s first collection and has since become a brand icon. Fast forward to 2018, and the Tangente got its first “Update” with a white silver-plated dial, featuring the innovative (and patented) ring date powered by the neomatik calibre 6101. However, the model featured here has a creamy dark blue midnight dial that we think is a timely addition.
But, even more so, the current Tangente neomatik 41 Update retains the same DUW 6101 neomatik calibre as the 2018 Update and its Metro sibling discussed above, as well as that movement’s innovative outer dial date ring function, making the classic, well, up to date.
This time, Super-LumiNova green frames the date numerals on the ring, bringing a welcome level of color-popping legibility to the function. The 41mm x 7.8mm stainless steel case is topped by a flatter sapphire crystal than the Metro, which dials in the thinness overall, and, in concert with the Tangente’s noted classic appeal, adds a more elegant, sober presentation.
That vibe is reinforced in the indexing and marking. Once your eyes ride inward from the date ring, rhodium-plated Arabic numerals and baton hour markers, minute hash marks, and a small seconds sub-dial at six o’clock make for a familiar time-telling process.
Although, it must be pointed out that NOMOS designers made the unorthodox choice to use numerals for two, four, eight, ten, and twelve o’clock. But, you should always expect a bit of artful outlying from this watchmaker, even in a more classical approach. A sleek Cordovan strap wrapping around the thin wire lugs will bring you back into the comfort zone if your rational, functional, minimal, and structural adventures become too diverting.
Pricing and Availability
The NOMOS Metro neomatik 41 Update (ref. 1165) lists for $4,660. The NOMOS Tangente neomatik 41 Update midnight blue (ref. 182) is priced at $4,100. To learn more, visit NOMOS Glashütte’s website.
(Photography by Kat Shoulders)