Timeless design

Some watches are produced with the kind of detail that most people would not know or dream about; Sushma Sagar meets German watch company Nomos Glashütte, to find out what makes them tick.

Though you might only be aware of the Swiss expertise in watches, 175 years of watchmaking history also lies in the German town of Glashütte and, like the term “Champagne” that can only be labelled as such if the grapes are from that specific region, “Glashütte” can only be used if over 50% of the watch’s movement parts are created from scratch in this little town. In NOMOS’s case, what would be good enough to pass, is not good enough for them – they don’t use this minimum requirement, they can proudly attest up to 95% of the movement’s components being made by them in Glashütte. No imports here, it’s impressive indeed.

The company was founded in 1990 and operates within the guidelines of the Deutscher Werkbund, a German Association of artists, architects, designers and industrialists that was created in 1907 to bring together product manufacturers with designers and craftsman.

10 NOMOSGlashütte 558 AhoiAtlantikDate

Initially, it was created to help put German products on the global map and create a unique reason to buy them. The Bauhaus movement, the famous German approach to combine artistic vision with everyday function, soon followed and operated within the Werkbund.

This Bauhaus modernist influence is present in the NOMOS Glashütte products’ look and feel, but the concepts go way deeper into their actual watch mechanisms. NOMOS Glashütte watches use a proprietary escapement – this group of components make the watch tick and is called the NOMOS Swing System – created and refined continually by the company. No less 8 out of 11 calibers have the NOMOS Swing System installed.  All of them are produced in-house. Additionally, NOMOS holds various patents for both design and technical features. The engineering excellence and precision is an intrinsic part of the company’s raison d’être – you are genuinely not going to find these watch parts anywhere else.

In the world of NOMOS Glashütte, William Morris’ famous sentiment, that the items we own need to be both beautiful and functional, rings true.

They are catering for affluent consumers in young to middle age, who want to buy something exceptional, once and use it all the time. They want the luxury items they purchase to work with their lives – modern lifestyles that require flexibility without compromising on standards, be that design or manufacture.

NOMOS Glashütte watches come into their own in this space with their latest series, The Ahoi Atlantic models. With three designs in the series, offering slightly different looks and functions, they are watches designed for, ahem, every hour of the day. They will take you from family, to work, to play to leisure – perfect in the board room, cocktail bar, at the gym, or even, as the name suggests, in the water. The company describe this watch as both ‘sport’ and ‘classic’, or you could say, a watch for ‘life.’

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The new collection features three models: The Ahoi Atlantic, with an automatic winding mechanism and impact resistant crown guard; The Ahoi Date Atlantic, with an additional date function; and The Ahoi Neomatik, housed in a slightly smaller and slimmer case which features the neomatik caliber DUW 3001, which is only 3.2mm in height.

They are all water resistant up to 200 meters and feature special ‘superluminova’ coated hour markers that glow underwater and in the dark. For the watch nerds out there, The Ahoi Atlantic has the  patented NOMOS caliber DUW 500, The Ahoi Date Atlantic DUW 5101 movement with date function and the Ahoi Neomatic comes with the DUW 3001. In order to be slimmer, works with a different inhouse automatic technology.

The latter model is more suited to those, who like me, prefer a watch that sits flatter to the skin. As the range is meant to be unisex, it is refreshing to see this aspect manifested in the design and tailored in a less gender specific way. The dial has the brand’s very cool Bauhaus feel and the watch series comes with a textile strap – a specially woven and completely unique fabric – for NOMOS alone.

When I came across The Ahoi , I immediately thought, “I want to be the kind of person that would wear this watch.” Slick, impressive, understated, modernist, this person is well off but not ostentatious. They are sexy because they are quietly confident in their choices and style. They are living their best life and they don’t need to shout about it.

12 NOMOS Glashuette 557 Ahoi Atlantic

For quality like this, one would expect an extortionate price point, but NOMOS watches range from 1,000 to 4,000 euros and the company has a history of charitable activity. Sublime readers may also recall that NOMOS created a bespoke design model for Doctors without Borders, that has, to date, raised 1 million euros.

It’s heartening to see a company still heavily embedded and dedicated to the same Werkbund principles that were started in 1907, where engineering precision, style and beauty are combined so seamlessly. NOMOS Glashutte display the kind of mind-blowing attention to detail that one might expect from the Germans and perhaps even for them it’s more than expected!


About the Author

Sushma SagarSushma Sagar is a writer specialising in lifestyle, culture, and wellness. Her first book, Find Your Flow, was published in December 2020 by Penguin Ebury. She also is a master healer and founder of The Calmery, an energy medicine clinic in London’s Harley Street. She is passionate about food, the arts, spirituality, and living mindfully. sushmasagar.com @syshma