The Nomos Tangomat GMT
In the German watchmaking Mecca of Glashütte, working away alongside illustrious neighbours A. Lange & Söhne and Glashütte Original, are the watchmakers of Nomos; in my opinion, the manufacturers of some of the most understated, almost non-descript watches around.
Yet take a closer look at the collections here and, if you're familiar with the German expression "bauhaus", then pretty soon you might come to realise that these watches are manufactured in the true spirit of bauhaus - an architectural term first coined in around 1919 by German architect and designer Walter Gropius and which can be used to describe a piece of art, sculpture, architecture or design to which the values of Form and Function can be applied. Nothing garish, over the top, cluttered or flashy in any way. Bauhaus then celebrates the pure and simple functionality of both the product and the qualities of the materials used therein.
Which brings us back round to the subject of the new pieces from Nomos. For Nomos have, in a very un-Teutonic fashion, produced their new Tangomat GMT model in a choice of four layouts. Not that the unobservant eye would notice a lot of difference - but it's there alright! The model names are the real giveaway! For among the watches available are the Tangomat GMT 6, GMT 9 , GMT 12 and the Tangomat GMT +/-. There - I thought that would clear things up.
No??? Still wondering whether it is myself or Nomos who have lost control of their faculties? Well, I think that they have done something really quite cool, and also in keeping with their design ethos. Because on the GMT 6, you will find the principal city of the selected second time zone denoted in the window at the 6 o'clock position with the time back home displayed in a seperate "heimat" (or homeland) window at the 3 on a 24-hour disc. On the GMT 9, the city is displayed - guess where - in a 9 o'clock aperture!
The Nomos Tangomat GMT models are driven by the in-house 'xi' automatic movement, and all feature signature Nomos traits - clean, uncluttered lines, minimalist styling and the shell cardovan strap, which is ubiquitous across the entire Nomos collection.
Nomos have released the Tangomat GMT in limited numbers of only 150 pieces in total, with the intention of having their customers 'test drive' the watches over a three month timeframe, reporting back in person to the manufacture in Glashütte after the test period with their appraisal of the watch they have been wearing during that time, so that Nomos can evaluate the results and decide on a definitive Tangomat GMT model.
In order to bag yourself a test piece however, you will need to visit your Nomos stockist - with your wallet and credit card - you didn't really think that any maker of quality watches would let you walk out the door wearing one of their c.€2000 timepieces for gratis, did you? Well, there's a twist there too - for theoretically that's exactly what you could do!
At the end of the three month test period, Nomos will either issue you with a full manufacturer's warranty to cover your prototype, as you will doubtless want to take it back home again with you, or, if you only went along for the ride and are content to return your possibly unique watch, then they will provide you with a full refund of the original purchase price! That's not a bad offer - although you'd be mad to return it!
Up until recently, Nomos watches have been tricky to find outside it's home country, with it's site having been available in Deutsche only, but it's good to see that they are rolling out their watches to a wider audience and casting their line into a much bigger pond.
At the top of this feature I described the Nomos watch as 'understated' and 'almost non-descript', but this is not a slight on the brand or the watches, for this is (in my opinion) bauhaus in the flesh - and for that read über-cool. These watches are completely manufactured in-house in Glashütte after all, doubtless with a spill-over of the skills locally available in evidence.
I think that Nomos will continue to grow in their own way to become yet another iconic German marque hailing from the town of Glashütte and with this novel test experiment, have demonstrated a real connection with their customers in allowing them to provide an input in the whole design process - well, to an extent anyway!