Is my Scandinavian soul on its way from Switzerland to Germany? Have I bought a one-way ticket on the direct line from Geneva to Glashütte? Well, the ticket has been purchased and I’m standing on the station, a bit nervous, glad and with a tingling feeling in my body. Am I in love? I can’t describe the exact feeling, but something is going on…
For me, Swiss has always been the thing to look for when choosing watches. With no real facts or concrete reasons I have assumed that watches engraved with “Made in Germany” has been the quiet cousin that hasn’t made it into the spotlight. It’s time for my lesser enlightened mind to make a stand.
NOMOS Metro date power reserve. What makes this 37mm, splash proof, manual winding such an impressive and important watch? What has the Glashütte youngster done to make this watch an ahoi to the rest of the business?
Being a brand that has gone with strict Bauhaus lines since the start in 1990, NOMOS has turned left, or right, and created a modern, urban and playful watch with old-school features. Don’t be fooled by this little fellow, because behind the manual winding and the old-fashioned way to set the date, this watch has something special up it’s sleeve.
The Metro date power reserve is to me the watch that can pinpoint who “modern” NOMOS is and what we are to expect from them in the future. How do you set the design for a watch that might is one of the most important watches in the catalogue? NOMOS is one of few that I think has the ability know what’s going to end up as a success, before they even have a drawing on the table. Together with Mark Braun, the Berlin-based industrial designer, NOMOS has gone their own way, as usual, and added some millimetres, removed some micrometres, splashed some hints of mint and a touch of red, creating a watch that will become a future collector’s item. Not because it’s a limited edition, but because it’s a masterpiece, both by the looks and the technical feature(s).
The case is kept as clean as possible. Along with the colors and tones, the polished surfaces, a small crown and wired lugs bring quite an urban feel to the watch. I was to write that this is an all-round timepiece, which would be completely wrong. This watch has not got a magnificent water resistance, has no hefty shock absorber or lume. What this watch has is identity. While watches from other brands of significance are worn by a wide range of people, I could probably tell which music, the political direction, the profession and the standpoint when it comes to animal rights of the owner of a Metro date power reserve. I don’t want to step on any toes, but if you choose to buy this watch, you are definitely secure when it comes to what you want and what interests you in watches. You don’t just pick up this watch to show the world you have the ability to buy a watch that cost a bit more than the average guy, or girl, can afford. You buy this watch because you know. You know that NOMOS knows…
Usually, NOMOS would go for the traditional setup with numeral hour markings, but this has been replaced by dots. The numbers have been moved to the outer rim of the dial, telling every five minutes from 05 to 60. The dial is silver-plated, the hour and minute hands are black, while the small seconds hand is bright red. Red is also to be found in the power reserve indicator window, along with the delicious mint-colored layer. To complete a balance, the dots at three, six and twelve are a bit bigger and minty. The guilloche small seconds dial is very refined and is an exquisite contrast to the smooth surface of the rest of the dial. These gentle colors and carefully placed, asymmetrical details prove that the design-department at NOMOS knows their trade. They know how to add simplicity and aren’t afraid of not being able to hide behind vast amounts of details to impress.
The main attraction of this watch is surprisingly not the delightful design. Inside the polished case you will find the in-house movement DUW 4401, a 32,1mm x 2,8mm, manual winding movement housing 23 jewels and a power reserve that keeps it ticking for 42 hours. Going further into the DUW 4401, the NOMOS swing system appears, and this is where things start to get really interesting. Escapements are the heart and soul of all mechanical watches and only a handful knows how to make these extremely delicate parts. Since the quartz-crisis the skilled watchmakers, equipment and formulas has vanished or been locked in vaults. Being on a mission to become truly independent, NOMOS has taken things a bit further than any of its competitors. A collaboration with the Technical University of Dresden has resulted in an in-house escapement, ready to be produced in series. Being a 28-year old watch company and achieve this is truly remarkable. As CEO Uwe Ahrendt describes it: “Managing to do this feels a little like landing on the moon”.
Since this Metro is the first watch from NOMOS to be powered by the NOMOS swing system, it is an important timepiece, even if its your cup of tea or not.
Is the Metro date power reserve flawless? Of course not. The main issue I have with it is the domed sapphire in the front. From some angles it casts shadows onto the dial, giving it a kind of faded appearance. The size, the manual winding and being a NOMOS of an elegant, yet quirky design, I know this watch don’t hit the masses like other popular brands or models. Even if I want their watches to conquer all corners of the world, I’m glad they’re in the early part of that journey. NOMOS’ solid foundations, independence and most important their belief in, and urge to stick to their own plans and dreams, makes them a brand that is, and will be, known, not remembered, for their credibility and pure love for their watches.
So, to sum this up I have to go into a visual mode, again. A couple of years ago, my better half and I went on a road trip to Berlin. A beautiful vacation in a beautiful city. But the most brilliant part was the trip back home. We headed onto the grey and endless Autobahn, filled with endless grey cars rushing forward. A monotone conveyor belt that only offers the pleasure of going fast and sometime getting a glimpse of an exotic car passing by. After half an hour we decided that our trip had to end in something else than this. We left the Autobahn and drove off on a small country road, not knowing where it would lead us. Fields of poppies, horses, birds, a small ferry that took us over a narrow river, an old man that sold cherries from his own garden, a hotel by the water, sunset, wine and complete calm. Whenever we talk about this holiday, the choice of leaving the Autobahn and go our own way is the thing we remember the most. Where is NOMOS and the Metro in all this? For me, NOMOS is that man sitting in his garden, proudly offering sweet, homegrown cherries from the garden he has looked after for a long time. The Metro is not the biggest, but still one of the juiciest and sweetest cherries in the box.