Bauhaus Remixed: First Look At The New NOMOS Glashütte Tangente Midnight Blue
Team Watchonista has just returned from a trip to Germany to discover all things NOMOS. And while we’re eager to share the full recap of the inside knowledge we gathered at their Berlin design studio and their mountain town manufacture, we have exciting news to share first.
In keeping with their holiday tradition, NOMOS Glashutte is releasing a special edition watch, or should we say watches, that are affordably priced for the season of giving. What have the elves been working on this year? It’s none other than the iconic Tangente, one of the brand’s flagship watches released nearly 30 years ago alongside the Orion, Tetra, and Ludwig models.
The Bauhaus-inspired Tangente gets an update for 2019 with a dial the same color as the winter sky on the night before Christmas. This is not the first time we’ve seen a Tangente in a Midnight Blue colorway - or “Nachtblau” in its native tongue - as NOMOS released a collection of four watches in this shade in 2016. But this is, however, the first time we’ve seen this particular color combination with a hand-wound movement underneath, and that shift only further cements what was already one of the watch world’s greatest value propositions.
The new Nomos Tangente Midnight Blue is priced at $1,900 USD for the 35mm version and $2,030 USD for the 38mm variant.
To learn more about this special edition and the thought process behind it, we spoke with the brand’s head of communications, the Scottish-born Katrin Bosse-Foy, at NOMOS’s design studio, Berlinerblau, in the Kreuzberg neighborhood of the German capital. “This is a good representation of how NOMOS does it,” she explains, “We take design elements that we have and that we know look good and combine them in new ways to fill gaps in our range.”
By swapping an element or two on a time-tested design, brands like NOMOS can take calculated risks that they are confident customers will enjoy. And since the Germans are jokingly (but actually) known as the most insurance-inclined country in the world, these measured alterations are the name of the game.
Virgil Abloh, the Creative Director behind the wildly popular streetwear label, Off-White, and now the Louis Vuitton men’s collection, has sworn by what he calls a "3% redesign.” Small edits like reversing the Nike swoosh or adding a simple pair of quotation marks have made him a household name. NOMOS employs a similar tactic here, but instead of ironic punctuation, they use studied color palettes and injections of precious metals like gold hands in the new 35mm model. The result is the same tried and true German engineering but with some fresh personality on the face.
And when Katrin Bosse-Foy referenced filling in the gaps in NOMOS’ lineup, one strategic box that was checked off was the perennially-popular blue dial watch. They’re not the only Glashutte-based watchmaker to tackle the category this year as we’ve seen with Lange’s Odysseus. But whereas Lange and others have opted for a medium blue not too far from, say, the Nautilus, the Nachtblau leans more sophisticated than sporty.
The particular blue used in these watches has an impressive depth akin to that of fine suit fabric. The pops of neon orange from the previous Nachtblau collection have been replaced with soft neutrals that harmonize beautifully with the beige and anthracite suede straps. Adding to the effortless style of these watches is the sheer slenderness. Featuring the brand’s manual-wound Alpha caliber, the cases measure only 6.8mm thick at most, perfect for slipping underneath your shirt cuff, or sweater cuff, or jacket cuff, or whatever layers you need to keep warm this winter.
Although intended for the holidays, they thankfully don’t scream seasonal. NOMOS’s Communications lead Katrin Bosse-Foy herself was wearing a previous year’s holiday release - the Orion Rose. At 35mm and 38mm, the new Tangentes appeal to an array of wrist sizes and could even be a his-and-hers gift set - and here’s hoping this article helps you make your case.
(Photography by Liam O’Donnell)