I can see the lady from FedEx parking her car and I know I have under two minutes before she knocks on my door.
My monocle, turtle neck and corduroy pants are on. I welcome her by nodding intellectually, before I sign the pad and take the package inside. A nice bottle of burgundy is soon to be tempered and ready to join me in the unboxing of this German travel-companion. Maybe the monocle-part is a bit exaggerated, but at the same time a little kick in the leg to those who see NOMOS as a brand just for intellectuals and academics. Even if the design doesn’t scream “HERE I AM!” or the watches shine like a million diamonds in a strobe light, I will tell you why you should keep your eyes open to this brilliant brand, that lies across the road from the bistro in central Glashütte. But first, the unboxing…
Expectations and first impressions don’t always add up. I know what to expect from NOMOS, but I’m always nervous when receiving watches I fancy a lot. The disappointment can be monumental.
First to go, gently, is the NOMOS gift paper that is wrapped around the outer box. A textile-covered, rectangular, grey cardboard box with “NOMOS Glashütte” stamped with silver letters. Inside the box I find a black leather wallet, embossed with the same text, keeping it simple, elegant and clean.
This is where things are getting hot. I pull the zipper and the wallet opens. I can smell the handmade Shell Cordovan leather strap. I know that under the black microfiber cloth I will find the watch, but it has to wait. I need to check the accessories first. Even this is kept simple. A small envelope with a NOMOS-stamp and a text saying “your watch”, both in English and German, contains a user manual and the warranty card. The last accessory in the leather wallet is a small leather pouch, containing a tool that is needed when setting the time. Again, “NOMOS Glashütte” is embossed, but also “StellStift / Adjusting pin”. Is the Adjusting Pin itself marked? Of course, nothing is left to chance.
It’s time to take a look at the watch, the NOMOS Glashütte Zurich Worldtimer. Santiago, Moscow, Sydney, Alaska, Azores and 19 other places, from different time zones, welcomes you as the main attraction of this timepiece. Being a NOMOS, this stands a bit out from the other models. In the general world of watches, this would be described as elegant, calm, subtle and innovative. It definitely is, but in NOMOS terms, this is a watch that breaks with the traditional Bauhaus simplicity seen in most of their other designs.
A bit of well-placed asymmetry, a lowered city-dial and a button at 10 o’clock are the first things that meets the eye.
The galvanized and white silver-plated dial is completely circular, divided into an inner and outer section by the lowered part showing the cities that indicates the 24 time zones. At the inner part of the dial is where the asymmetrical features are found. The small-seconds at six o’clock and the “home-time” indicator at 3 o’clock breaks the circular lines, in a balanced and charmingly odd way. The minute-hand stretches over the city-dial and pinpoints the minutes, while the hour-hand keeps its faceted body inside the inner dial.
The 39,9mm wide, polished case is quite large compared to some of the other NOMOS models. With its thin, fixed bezel, the watch feels larger than its actual size. The height is 10,8mm, lug width is 20mm and length of the case measures approximately 49,3mm. These numbers often result in a magnificent watch-to-wrist ratio and comfort, but as the chickenwrist I am, the delicious Shell Cordovan did not have enough holes... How to solve this issue and be able to wear the watch? A champagne nato strap of course. Ooh…What a combo that is!
The stainless-steel case and buckle is completely polished, no brushed parts. I often find polished watches a bit tacky, but the Zürich Worldtimer doesn’t fall into that category. It’s a nice balance between the shiny details, the subtle design and the warmth from the silver-plated dial. It is fascinating how a dial can both look a bit matt and sparkle at the same time. On top, there is a domed sapphire crystal with AR-coating on the inside.
At the heart of the Zürich Worldtimer, the DUW 5201 keeps things alive at a frequency of 21600 bph. Tempered, blue screws, red jewels, skeletonized rotor, surfaces decorated with Glashütte ribbing, golden gears and inscriptions makes this in-house movement a stunning view through the exhibition case back.
The movement is adjusted in six positions, contains 26 jewels and has a power reserve up to 42 hours.
Even if the worldtimer-function is very easy to use, you have to do a small effort to get it right.
1. Push the button at two o’clock to find your time zone on the city-dial. The time zone shall align with the arrow at twelve o’clock.
2. Use the Adjusting Pin to push the corrector-button at eight o’clock, until the hands show the same time as on the wheel at three o’clock, between the house and the red arrow.
3. Adjust the time by turning the crown.
Now, the watch will show the local time, wherever you will be in the world. If you travel from Berlin to New York, just push the button at two o’clock until New York appears on the city-dial and the watch will synchronize automatically. Your home-time will always be found at three o’clock, on the small disc that makes the design so lovely and asymmetric. The Zürich Worldtimer is a stunning watch. The looks, the functions and the completeness, from the wrapping to the NOMOS Swing System.
Copyright: NOMOS Glashütte
Since this is the first review I do of a NOMOS, I have to go a bit deeper into the brand, why I love it and why you should keep an eye on this German prodigy. Glashütte is a small town south of Dresden, with just under 7000 inhabitants. There is a bistro, a library, a stadium, a pharmacy and a church. The reason why I list this as I do is not because I want to make the city of Glashütte look dull, but the contrasts will appear much brighter.
Copyright: NOMOS Glashütte
Glashütte Original (1845-), A. Lange & Söhne (1845-), Mühle Glashütte (1869-), Wempe (1878-), Tutima (1927-) and NOMOS Glashütte (1990-). 1990… NOMOS Glashütte is 28 years old and has had their own, in-house movement for almost 14 years. In 2014, the NOMOS Swing System was presented. Their own, in-house design and production of an escapement. It’s not for everyone to be able to make this part of a movement, so this achievement is of grand proportions. If you combine all that happens inside NOMOS’ four walls, the fact that their designs has been awarded with dozens of prices the last years and that this probably is just the start of a new wave from the Glashütte-youngster, you might get a little taste of my fascination for this brand.
To sum up this Zürich Worldtimer review, that has turned into a semi NOMOS-presentation, please think of what this brand has achieved, both technically and with their design, in such a short lifespan. So, if you are going from Berlin to New York, you will travel in style with this delicious watch. Don’t be surprised if you get an intellectual nod from a fellow enthusiast, wearing his turtle neck and corduroys. And maybe you will end up discussing whether this is a Worldtimer “light” or a very sophisticated GMT?