Sunday, June 2, 2013

Is it Local? Part Deux

So let's talk about "down-home".  I have come to realize that fewer and fewer things are actually made where we assume that they are.  More car companies than I care to mention trade on the idea of a GERMAN car that is perhaps about as German as I am.  Point of clarification - I am not German!

But let's talk about something that IS German, and in a wonderfully eccentrically German way -
NOMOS Glashutte!

In one of my recent posts - Artifice, I made mention of several brands that I thought were doing things right.  And a reader asked why NOMOS was not on that list.  Truth be told I think that NOMOS does quite a few things that separate it entirely into a category of its own.  Allow me to elaborate -

1.  NOMOS Galshutte is not trying to be everything to everybody.  They are making (with the exception of the Tetra) round watches with fairly basic designs and layouts.  Again, don't let the use of the word basic fool you.  Basic is not dumb, basic is elegant.  Basic while simple is not simplistic.

The Tangente is a perfect example of this aesthetic sensibility.  It is a design strongly influenced by the Bauhaus - but it is not wholly owned by that place and time.  The Tangente in many ways is the "poster child" for ALL of Glashutte - sorry Lange and GO, but if you had to pick ONE watch that summed up Glashutte in an image, it would be the Tangente.  So I think that this underscores the importance of consistency and sticking to a plan.  It would be easy to go all Coca-Cola and have 15 different versions.  Yes, there are some variations, but essentially you can tell that these siblings all came from the same parent:

To the original, the Tangente which is available with a solid back or a display back measuring 35 mm.
Courtesy of NOMOS Glasshouse
Although this was the patriarch, the resulting offspring never strayed far from the original DNA.  A 33 mm version available in white or "grau";  a power reserve -
Courtesy of NOMOS Glashutte
with a variation available with a date function as well, or perhaps just a date, but slightly bigger?
Courtesy of NOMOS Glashutte 
Not to mention the Sport and Automatic (Tangomat) versions.  None of these watches would ever wonder - "who is my Daddy?"

And I think that this underscores what is (at least to my way of thinking) one of the greatest strengths of NOMOS Glashutte.  It is constant.  It is not like some watch companies hell-bent on changing and re-designing everything every year out of some mad sense of change for change sake.  Evolution - not revolution!  One of the things that used to be comforting about Rolex was the reasonable certainty that while there would be some changes and adjustments, you could pretty well count on things to be within the parameters of the collections DNA.

2.  NOMOS Glashutte actually MAKES STUFF!  Doesn't every watch company?  Of course not.  The majority of watch companies are marketing concerns that very often don't even design their own watches, let along make them.  Not so with NOMOS Glashutte!  To have the name of Glashutte on a watch, 50 percent of the work on the movement must be performed in Glashutte, but in the case of the NOMOS calibers, in some instances it is up to 95% of the movement that is built by their watch makers

3.  They believe in an honest watch at an honest price - under $2,000 for a watch with an in-house movement?

4.  While they take the manufacture of watches seriously, they do not take themselves too seriously.  When you speak to someone from NOMOS HQ - it feels as if you are speaking with a human being, not some over-polished business school graduate!

Now, having never visited NOMOS HQ myself, I cannot give first-hand impressions.  But if it is anything like what I have experienced from thousands of miles away - I am plenty impressed!

1 comment:

  1. Seriously i have been drooling over Nomos for a while now. But they are out of financial reach for me right now, maybe next year, or maybe i ll get lucky and one will magicaly show up in my mailbox.... yeah i can keep dreaming :)