Monday, May 20, 2013

Wrapping Up - 15 Days with the NOMOS Glashütte Tangente

So 15 days have come and gone and it is time to sum up the Tangente.

And this has been an intriguing time for me as the Tangente came straight on the heels of 8 straight days of "watch overload".  Watches with tourbillons, minute repeaters... where even a grand complication came to be run of the mill - it was a true shift in gears to review this little gem from NOMOS.

As I once wrote for the DOXA catalog:  Bigger is Better - not always!

In a world gone somewhat crazy with the drive enlarge, NOMOS has held the line and stuck by the original layout of the Tangente.
Courtesy of NOMOS Glashütte
The case is 35 mm in diameter.  It is a three-part (tripartite) stainless steel construction, with what appears to be a somewhat over-sized crown.  In fact, the crown is really just right.  It is refreshing to see a hand-winding watch with a crown that is actually sufficiently large for the daily task of winding up the movement.

And back to matters of size, the Tangente is in fact "a bit bigger than it looks".   I can hear your reactions now - "What the ____ does that mean?"  Simple, because of the design of the case, 35 mm actually seems a bit bigger than you might expect.  A very large, legible face is made to seem even bigger thanks to the somewhat minimalist bezel.  This is one of my favorite aspects of this watch.  It is not trying to be something that it is not.  It is not a diver, a chronograph, a "military" hunk of steel.  No, this is a watch case of a size and detail much as it was back before we all lost our minds and started over-compensating.

The flat sapphire crystal fits flush into the case and the flat bezel lends to the sense of size and depth.  The display back also sports a sapphire crystal allowing you to see the movement.  The lugs are perhaps (to my mind at least) one of the best design elements.  They project straight out and down.
So although the lines of the case and lugs are straight, the design allows for a much more comfortable fit of the watch to the wrist.

In terms of movement - today's NOMOS Tangente collection is powered by manufactured movements. And to some extent, reviewing this particular NOMOS was a bit like "Bringing it all back home".
Courtesy of NOMOS Glashütte
Under the hood is the α (Alpha). This is fitting for me as it is essentially the starting point for NOMOS becoming a true manufacturer. Hand winding with hours, minutes and small seconds. It is perfection in its simplicity.  Here are the specifics from NOMOS -


Movement: α (Alpha)—NOMOS caliber with manual winding
Diameter: 10 ½ lines (23.3 mm)
Movement height: 2.6 mm
Power reserve: ca. 43 hours

Characteristics: Decentralized seconds, stop-seconds mechanism, Glashütte three-quarter plate, 17 ruby bearings, Glashütte stopwork, Incabloc shock protection, balance spring from Nivarox 1A, adjusted in six positions, tempered blue screws, rhodium-plated movement surfaces with Glashütte ribbing and NOMOS perlage, ratchet and crown wheel with Glashütte sunburst.

The timekeeping has been quite good.  The greatest deviation I experienced was one day of + 7 seconds.  

The finish work is clean, and not overtly embellished.  The sapphire display back is the perfect vista to view the movement's heart beating.

NOMOS uses Horween Shell Cordovan for their straps.  This is the perfect choice.  Nothing exotic, but nothing too pedestrian either.   I cannot imagine a NOMOS watch with crocodile or alligator - it would really be a sin against the design gods. 

All topped off with a very basic folding buckle.

To sum things up, this is a watch that in many ways over-delivers on a fairly simple promise -
A classic, yet still contemporary watch that is truly manufactured by a REAL WATCH COMPANY. 

These past two weeks have been a very strong reminder to me about why I really love watches.  With all of the hype and noise in the industry, it is nice to have a truly honest watch.

1 comment:

  1. Is it truly an inhouse movement though? I mean it has Seitz (ETA) bearings, Nivarox 1(ETA) hairsprings, Nivarox NO(ETA) mainsprings, Incabloc(ETA) shock absorbers, Etachron (ETA) coarse regulators and trivoris fine regulators. I know the fourth wheel and a number of other gears and lubricants are outsourced as well. So what is truly manufactured in house? Probably just the 3/4 plate and a couple of gears, since it shares the most importants parts with mass produced ETA movements...