Introducing: Nomos Glashutte – Pure Precision Watchmaking Comes to India5:23 pm
50 years ago, watches were made all over Europe (not just Switzerland), and it shouldn’t be surprising that the Germans were also into watchmaking. With their global reputation of precision, punctuality, and perfection, the Germans were, in fact, into fine watchmaking from as early as the 15th century! Germany, after all, is home to some bizarre timekeeping concepts like ‘akademische viertelstunde’ or “academic 15 minutes” –which means you’re allowed to be late by 15 minutes for class if you’re a student or professor. Germany is perhaps the only country in the world that has figured out how to be late on time.
And just like their rules, Germans do things a little differently with their watchmaking.
German watchmaking, from the very beginning, has never been about unnecessary ‘fluff’ compared to its Swiss counterparts. Try using “fluff” and “German” together in the same sentence and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Good quality, well-built and well-engineered mechanics are the main pillars of German watchmaking and Nomos is probably the only brand in today’s Germany, after Lange, that follow the same principles and have played a key role in keeping the German watchmaking dream alive.
Of course, they’re relatively young compared to 15th century old Lange, but have earned their ranks in a really short span of time, thanks to their fantastic timepieces.
Nomos was founded in the year 1990 (27 years ago), just a few months after the fall of the Berlin wall. They didn’t have a big workhouse or factory to start off with. In fact, they started their journey in a rented flat with just three watchmakers and founder Roland Schwertner, in the heart of German watchmaking – Glashütte. It took them a two good years of research to come up with their first few timepieces.
Today, Nomos is still the small independent brand, but now with almost 260 employees and over a 130 worldwide awards for quality, value and design. They have a very simple goal – to make in-house, high precision, and well-designed wristwatches at a price to fit any budget.
And it gets better. If you’re really into the art of mechanical watchmaking, what will excite you the most about Nomos is that they’re totally independent of not just any kind of big brand ownership, but any Swiss component suppliers as well.
Over 95% of the Swiss watch industry (and many non Swiss brands) relies heavily on suppliers like ‘Nivarox’ who produce small, but necessary parts (like screws, balance springs) that go into making any mechanical movement. So crucial are some of these components (like the hairspring) that without them a watch would stop immediately. Watchmaking greats like Omega, Ulysse Nardin and even Patek rely heavily on suppliers like Nivarox for parts. Nivarox has over a 90% control in the supplies and such is their monopoly that if they stopped supplying materials or parts, the manufacturing process of many brands could come to a standstill.
To build parts like an escapement for small watchmakers is out of the question –it’s just too complicated to produce and costs would considerably rise. But Nomos pulled off the unthinkable. The ‘Nomos Swing System’ or escapement technology is built from scratch by Nomos without a single part being outsourced. They craft every little component by themselves – which includes making essential components like the balance wheel, the balance, and escapement, completely in-house.
To summarize their feat in a few points:
1. The Nomos Swing System completely broke away from the Swiss monopoly of sourcing parts.
2. Their in-house calibers have three patents and have won Over 130 prizes for quality, design, and value-for-money.
3. No other company makes more mechanical watches than Nomos in Germany.
4. Up to 95 percent of their calibers are completely made in-house. The mandatory mark is 50 percent.
5. All their movements are tested rigorously and promise accuracy to chronometer levels.
‘German Thoroughness’ – in both craftsmanship and design:
While Nomos watches are simple in design, it’s not something brainstormed and something thought over by the brand strategically. Instead, they’re deliberately simple and fun watches, and you’ll agree after you learn the thought that goes into crafting each one of them. The watches have a very honest approach towards their inspiration.
The design process is completely organic and done in collaboration with designers and the watchmakers of Nomos together. What inspires them ranges from door hooks, pens, and swimming pools to even an ice cream stick (not kidding!). From different typefaces, hand shapes, and colour schemes, it’s amazing how honest and liberal Nomos are with their thought process and execution.
While the overall dial layout from numerals, hour & minute indexes and hands is very ‘German’ and distinct to the brand, Nomos doesn’t deny in taking inspiration from some classic dial designs from their neighbouring Glashütte watchmakers, like the great Lange. And Lange doesn’t mind that either.
How do they pull it off & why are they so loved all over the world?
It’s incredible how Nomos has been able to keep full control of the price of their timepieces, despite having a full-scale production unit with so many costs involved, I mean you couldn’t ask for more from a watchmaker. But one of the main reasons why Nomos stays minimal and intends being there is because they follow the same principles of Deutscher Werkbund – the German Association of Craftsmen and Artists, who promote the concept of minimal, high-quality products for a “lower” cost. Nomos avoids the astronomical costs and snobby clientele by completely foregoing the “luxury” fluff, something Swiss watchmakers can’t live without (mostly).
For example, they don’t make over the top presentation boxes. Instead, they offer high-quality leather carrying cases with their watches, in colours matching the leather strap used in the respective watch.
“Nomos does not employ a huge sales force and does not spend on huge marketing and roll-out campaigns like some brands” – Uwe Ahrendt, CEO Nomos.
Today, they have a presence in over 40 countries in the world (without the fluff) and it’s all driven by a sheer love for brilliantly made mechanical timepieces.
Like we mentioned earlier, the goal of the brand is to deliver “well-designed wristwatches at a price to fit any budget.” Nomos has over 12 different collections which you can discover here and the complications range from simple date display and power reserve indicators to world timers. Let’s take a quick glance at their bestselling and most popular collections:
By far their best selling collection, co-designed by one of Berlin’s most renowned designers, Mark Braun. The Metro is young yet sophisticated (like all other Nomos timepieces) with clear minute indexes, an innovative power reserve indicator, finely crafted thin hands and a slim case that makes this watch extremely comfortable to wear. The movement too boasts of its in-house roots through and through.
Reminiscent of the brand’s first watch built in 1992, the ‘Tangomat’, the Glashutte Ahoi is a sportier take on the original classic with an aligned bezel and a domed sapphire crystal display. The dial is more or less the same but what’s inside the Ahoi is what should excite the wearer the most. The Ahoi collection is powered by Nomos’s newest in-house movement: the ultra-thin automatic calibre, DUW 3001. The Ahoi also has a superior water resistance up to 200m.
Though the most youthful, the Club collection has some of Nomos’ most diverse offerings. At heart, it’s an attractive looking semi-casual watch in eye-catching shades and even comes with an option of a bilingual dial! But in function, the Club’s variations range from a simple hour & minutes watch to a professional divers watch resistant up to 20 atm.
One of the only two Nomos watches that don’t have a circular case. The Tetra is also one we’re looking forward to because of its sheer uniqueness.
Nomos themselves admit that rectangular watches don’t sell as well as rounded ones, which is why the Tetra is made only in limited quantities. But those who own the Tetra are in love with it because, in the brand’s own words – a rectangular watch looks great on some wrists. It’s a personal preference but we’re sure there are many out there who would rather want to add a classic rectangular to their collection. The Tetra comes in two different sizes with an in-house hand-wound as well as an automatic movement.
Now in India
Nomos Glashütte watches are now available in India! Their timepieces start from INR 100,750 and are available exclusively at Ethos Watch Boutiques.
Are you excited about Nomos coming to India? Let us know in the comments section below!
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