Some watches are so emblematic that they alone outline a model: the Omega Speedmaster, the AP Royal Oak, or the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. Once I take into consideration Nomos, my thoughts can’t skip it; it at all times returns to the Tangente. A traditional among the many classics, it was truly one in every of 4 watches launched on the time of the model’s inception. And whereas the opposite three are certainly having their very own fanbase, none can compete with the aura of the Tangente. I’ve simply seen and dealt with a dozen of various Tangente watches, however, for an inexplicable purpose, I by no means actually examined the true one, the unique; the 35mm hand-wound Nomos Tangente, generally known as reference 101 or 139 (the latter being proven right here).
Let’s return in time a bit… Exactly, in 1990. Or perhaps even a few months earlier than that. On 9 November 1989, one thing of immense significance occurred in Germany, the Fall of the Berlin Wall. For about 40 years, Germany was divided between Western Germany, influenced by Occidental international locations, and Japanese Germany, beneath the affect of the USSR. The state of affairs meant a real division in how societies advanced, with the East being administered and occupied by Soviet forces and never having the identical financial development because the West. As for the watchmaking business, most of it was (and nonetheless is) situated within the little city of Glashütte, subsequent to Dresden, in what had been Japanese territories. However then, in November 1989, issues modified… drastically. The Wall was no extra, Germany was reunited. And the watchmaking business didn’t have to attend lengthy to maneuver away from state-controlled to independence. And watchmaking got here again to its former glory.
Speaking about Nomos, it isn’t one of many previous names of Glashütte. It’s a younger(ish) model truly. Whereas the opposite two stars of the city, A. Lange & Söhne and Glashütte Authentic, had been constructed utilizing historic names and current services (GUB and Lange), Nomos was based in January 1990, simply two months after the autumn of the Berlin Wall. Proper in a time of renaissance for the watchmaking business in Glashütte. These had been actually tough instances, but in addition thrilling ones… One extremely essential truth about Nomos, it was based from scratch and remains to be unbiased in the present day.
In 1992, Nomos introduced its first assortment, solely two years after its inception. Comprising 4 watches, all had been variations round a single design, an an identical inspiration, with a distinct interpretation. Named Ludwig, Orion, Tetra and Tangente, they had been all smooth, minimalistic, and fell completely into what I wish to name “classics with a twist.” Dressy at first sight, simplistic however not easy, with a sure audacity within the particulars. All of the inaugural watches of Nomos, together with the Tangente (perhaps much more than the others), had been impressed by the previous, by one exact college of design; Bauhaus. Typical of the Nineteen Twenties and Thirties period, and largely seen in Germany, Bauhaus has been some of the influential currents in trendy design and structure. The model tends to function easy geometric shapes like rectangles and spheres, with out elaborate decorations. And certainly, it feels when Nomos watches.
The origins of the Tangente watch
The primary version of the Tangente was designed utilizing current components of the previous. Remodelled, tailored to trendy tastes, however however typical of the Bauhaus period and from watches made within the Thirties. A compact and smooth watch, with a 35mm diameter, a small seconds and a hand-wound motion, it’s, undoubtedly, a contemporary model of watches made in Germany beneath the Bauhaus period. archives from the Glashütte area, you’ll find an identical case designs at Lange (not ALS but) and Stowa, in addition to dials that really feel acquainted too – produced again then by a dial maker named Weber & Baral, in Pforzheim.
The inaugural Nomos Tangente was a marvellous watch. A real essay of design, with a formidable simplicity that solely Bauhaus may have created. Minimalistic, architectural, designed with a lot steadiness… What’s much more astonishing is that in additional than 30 years of existence, the traditional Tangente, the 35mm hand-wound mannequin, has barely modified. Evaluating the watch obtainable in the present day and the mannequin that got here out in 1992, there may be one essential distinction, nevertheless. The motion. Till 2005, Nomos was utilizing outsourced actions, particularly the Peseux 7001 from ETA. After this date, the model moved to inner manufacturing, with its personal motion manufacture – in Glashütte, in fact – with the introduction of the Calibre Alpha. Not solely a improvement from scratch, however extra on that later.
this watch introduced in 1992, I see the important Nomos. Essentially the most emblematic, essentially the most recognisable, the watch that defines the model. And one of the best is that it’s nonetheless obtainable, as I write this text, from the model, in an unaltered model.
The Traditional Nomos Tangente 35mm
For those who search the net for photographs of “classic” examples of the Nomos Tangente and evaluate them to the watch that we’ve right here, which is the watch you’ll be able to order now, you’ll hardly discover a distinction. Perhaps, simply perhaps, the font and the finesse of the printing have modified barely. The Glashütte brand isn’t accompanied by the SA point out anymore. Perhaps, the color and texture of the dial have advanced. However, with out considering the motion, that is about all of the variations I can spot.
And that is what stroke me most once I truly had this watch in my hand. I by no means actually considered it earlier than, however this traditional Nomos Tangente is among the uncommon examples of a watch that hasn’t modified in so a few years. And this solely accentuates the general emblematic standing of this watch.
What’s a Tangente 101 or 139 (the distinction between these two references being the presence or not of sapphire caseback)? As defined, it’s a trendy evocation of the Bauhaus period, of the watches that had been designed within the Thirties in response to Bauhaus ideas. Graphic, geometric, and minimalistic, it’s a design that’s virtually freed from all adornments. There’s nothing superfluous, ornamental or pointless right here. Every half is there for a purpose, and regardless of an outline that might really feel chilly and utilitarian, there’s something extremely advanced about this watch – 100 years after its golden age, Bauhaus continues to amaze me with its modernity and its timelessness.
All of it begins with the case, which is nothing greater than a flattened cylinder. The center case is as spherical because it may very well be and has flat sides, and not using a single curvature. And this angularity of the edges is actually engaging, or not less than totally different from the group. The lugs are following the identical ideas, with the Bauhaus idea of blending strains and curves. Sharp, angular and angled, the lugs are easy straight metal bands, hooked up on to the case with out even contemplating “merging” the components or imagining to create a clean transition. And to high all of it, the Tangente depends on a flat sapphire crystal and a crown that couldn’t be easier. If you wish to discuss overly-designed watches, this isn’t the correct place…
The great thing about the traditional Nomos Tangente additionally comes from its outdated, barely old-school proportions. 35mm… It’s compact, particularly when mixed with a profile that’s solely 6.6mm. However 30 years in the past, it was nonetheless completely acceptable for a person to put on a 35-36mm watch. And it ought to be in the present day too. That is helped by the presence of somewhat lengthy lugs, making the watch barely bigger on the wrist – 45mm lug-to-lug (Nomos watches are at all times lengthy, nevertheless it doesn’t actually matter on this small watch). Mild, clean, and worn on a supple strap, the 35mm Tangente wears like a allure. There’s a sure magnificence to this watch, the magnificence that you just affiliate with an architect or an artist. A mixture between classism and originality, leading to an object that isn’t that straightforward in any case.
The dial follows the identical ideas because the case, and has remained virtually the identical after 30 years. To begin with, there’s this mixture of markers and numerals, positioned radially (although tilted within the backside half), with a font that’s as graphic as you’d think about from one thing named Bauhaus. Skinny, black, straight and minimalistic once more, these are mixed with fingers which might be… skinny and easy too. Seeing these ultra-thin needles operating across the dial, with their thermally blued color, is once more bringing an surprising complexity. The dial, which is galvanized and silver-plated, performs with the sunshine in a very good-looking method. It could change from metallic blue to champagne, relying on the ambient mild.
I’m perhaps repeating myself, however the Tangente may really feel easy at first sight, however there’s far more to it while you take the time to watch the small print. The steadiness of the dial, the graphics of the numerals, the individuality of the fonts, the thinness and but presence of all components… This watch isn’t easy. It’s minimalistic and voluntarily smooth. However you’ll be able to really feel the inventive aspect of the graphics.
For as soon as, I additionally wish to speak in regards to the strap. 18mm in width, black with black stitching, closed by a pin buckle. Proper… Nothing authentic right here. True, however then once more, there’s an entire coherence between the case and dial, and the flat, monochromatic strap. Moreover, we have to speak in regards to the materials, because it’s not traditional leather-based, however Horween Real Shell Cordovan. Tanned in Chicago, this leather-based comes from a small space on a horse’s again… And it is among the smoothest, most nice leather-based straps I’ve skilled. And this leather-based can also be identified for its solidity and its capability to age and achieve patina. If it was me, I’d in all probability swap the strap to a extra vibrant one… Top-of-the-line issues in regards to the Tangente is its versatility.
Now, it’s time to discuss the one aspect of the Nomos Tangente that has actually modified through the years, and that’s the motion. Whereas the unique fashions had been powered by the ETA Peseux 7001, Nomos modified for the Calibre Alpha in 2005. Basically, it’s an improve of the Peseux structure, which is now produced in-house. The scale are an identical, the jewel depend is identical, the frequency and the ability reserve too (3Hz, 43h energy reserve).
What adjustments between the 7001 and the Nomos Alpha is the design of the plates (with a traditional 3/4 plate), the ornament (with stripes, perlage, blued screws, machine-made bevels, Glashütte sunburst on the ratchet and crown wheel), and the presence of a stop-seconds mechanism. And naturally, the truth that most components are finished by Nomos, within the Glashütte-based manufacture. It’s additionally adjusted in 6 positions. It’s a fairly little motion that matches the general traditional look of the watch.
To me, if there was just one Nomos to maintain, this could be it. Placing apart design and style issues, there’s nothing I’d change about this watch. It’s simply good the way in which it’s. Sorry, I don’t have extra to say. I like this look ahead to every little thing it represents. It’s an excellent little watch that has a lot historical past and consistency. And, a message to Nomos; by no means change it, please! Don’t you dare do what too many manufacturers did prior to now.
The Nomos Tangente 35mm Hand-Wound reference 101 (closed again) retails for EUR 1,660 and the reference 139 (open again) retails for EUR 1,860. For extra particulars, please go to nomos-glashuette.com.
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