NOMOS Glashutte Tangente 41 Update
The NOMOS Glashutte Tangente 41 Update features an unusual and stylish means of depicting the date. Equipped with the in-house caliber DUW 6101, the German watch company has, once again, delivered technical propriety and impressive value for money. Indeed, this has recently led to NOMOS Glashütte winning an award at the prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG).
Today, I purchase music via iTunes, however, in the past I would frequent a record shop in order to procure the latest sounds. My local record shops would stock the popular tunes of the time but they seldom offered anything unusual.
Occasionally, I would venture to Manchester and visit a record shop par excellence. It too sold the latest hits, but it also offered more, much more. I would thumb through the records by my favourite artists as well as some avant-garde offerings. However, the most interesting area of the store was the ‘World Music’ section. It was here that I would discover artists from Africa, South America and unfamiliar places far from home. These musicians created sounds unlike anything I had heard on the radio. The musical phrasing, the emotion and the guttural sounds were outside of my frame of reference.
Familiarity with western sounds, with time, makes them appear normal. Often it is when we hear something outside of the accepted norm, something different, that we pause and reflect.
When it comes to watches, we have grown accustomed to seeing coaxially mounted hour and minute hands and indices gracing the periphery of a dial. Likewise, date displays invariably feature one or two discs to proclaim the date via an aperture. Alternatively, some watches employ a ‘pointer-date’ indication with a lone hand circumscribing a circular display marked with 31 values. Both of the aforementioned date displays have become the ‘norm’ in the world of horology.
The dial of the NOMOS Glashutte Tangente 41 Update sets aside convention by featuring 31 rectangular apertures. Beneath these apertures is a disc marked with a slither of red which appears as two red rectangles, straddling a date value on the dial surface above. The NOMOS Glashutte Tangente 41 Update is endowed with a date display unlike any other I can think of. Similar to world music, the means of conveying the date on this watch is different, making the wearer pause and reflect.
NOMOS Glashütte has always had a talent for making highly legible dials and the NOMOS Glashutte Tangente 41 Update proves no exception. The lithe hour and minute hands point to the indices with laser-like precision, courtesy of their neat, pointed tips. The black hands step forward from the white dial epidermis owing to the notable contrast they confer.
NOMOS Glashutte Tangente 41 Update dial *
The German watch company is known for using styling elements sparingly. This judicious restraint has always delivered a pure aesthetic, free of the superfluous. On the NOMOS Glashutte Tangente 41 Update, Arabic numerals are used to indicate even-numbered hours. The chosen stylised font brims with modernity and, I suspect, is unique to the German brand. The odd-numbered hours are proclaimed with slender batons, while the minuterie employs black strokes to successfully delineate each minute.
A small seconds display is positioned above 6 o’clock. Marked with 5-second integers, it is generously proportioned and sits slightly lower than the main dial.
Framing the canvas of this artistic dial is the aforementioned date display. While the German brand has offered Tangente models for some time, the new NOMOS Glashutte Tangente 41 Update delivers a new means of displaying the prevailing date. The existing models continue to proffer eye-appeal, however, the reason for this new model coming into the world is that it showcases the benefits of the new Caliber DUW 6101. This latest in-house movement features an innovative circular date indication which resides at the extreme edge of the calibre, allowing the brand to present the date in a highly legible form.
As stated earlier, two dashes of red straddle the prevailing date shown on the main dial surface. The indication is intuitive to use while proving especially attractive and is another example of Nomos’s ‘form follows function’ design philosophy.
If NOMOS Glashütte was a person, it would be softly-spoken, intelligent, observant but slightly retiring. The brand is not brash or loud, it is too measured for such vulgar behaviour. Therefore, it is surprising that the NOMOS Glashutte Tangente 41 Update is presented in a ubiquitously polished case. Gleaming surfaces abound. However, rest assured, the resultant mien is tasteful, coalescing successfully with the dial.
Measuring 40.5mm in diameter, the NOMOS Glashutte Tangente 41 Update does not overwhelm the wrist. While the watch would not be termed ‘ultra-thin’, its case height of 7.9mm is certainly modest, allowing this slender watch to limbo beneath a sartorial shirt cuff.
The lugs are angular and svelte, granting the timepiece a notable neatness. Every aspect of this watch is seemly.
NOMOS Glashutte Tangente 41 Update caseback *
A pane of sapphire crystal graces the rear of the case, allowing the wearer to view the in-house movement.
NOMOS Glashütte is a Manufacture. For many years, it has impressed the world’s watch press with its incredible watchmaking prowess. The brand has made several in-house calibres and, in 2014, developed its own ‘swing system’. This latter term refers to the escapement which includes the balance spring, balance wheel, pallet lever and escape wheel. Inn contrast, many companies procure complete escapements (or at least some of the constituent parts) from third parties.
Caliber DUW 6101 *
In common with its sibling, the highly-regarded neomatik caliber DUW 3001, the caliber DUW 6101 features a slender torso, measuring a mere 3.6mm in height. As previously mentioned, this movement is equipped with an unusual date display disc. The date disc is pushed to the very outside of the movement (dial side), providing the brand with incredible freedom to optimise the location and style of the date display.
For example, this movement is employed on the Autobahn neomatik 41 date sports gray, the Ludwig neomatik 41 date and this model, the NOMOS Glashutte Tangente 41 Update. Each model has its own identity and displays the date in a different way. The architecture of the movement facilitates this approach.
Autobahn neomatik 41 date sports gray *
Ludwig neomatik 41 date *
Orion neomatik 41 date olive gold *
When adjusting the date, there is no danger of harming the movement by turning the crown in the wrong direction. The date display is endowed with a ‘bidirectional quick correction feature’. The movement also features a stop-seconds mechanism, allowing the wearer to synchronise the watch with a reference clock.
A key strength of NOMOS Glashütte is its ability to deliver excellent value for money. The NOMOS Glashutte Tangente 41 Update proves no exception. Its recommended retail price of £3200 (RRP as at 27.12.2018) is very competitive, especially considering the impressive specification of the watch and the palpable, omnipresent quality.
Typical of watches from Glashütte, the caliber DUW 6101 is equipped with a three-quarter plate and embellished with Glashütte ribbing. The oscillating weight shares this adornment, is openworked and features gold-plated embossing. Thermally blued screws affix the three-quarter plate and the balance bridge to the mainplate.
Two screws hold the balance bridge in position, providing greater stability than a simple cock. The balance features an unusual tempered blue balance spring and perlage is visible on the mainplate. While this timepiece is modestly priced, it does not eschew quality finishing.
Since its foundation in 1990, NOMOS Glashütte has always been synonymous with highly legible dials. Each dial detail is the result of much consideration with no indications appearing squashed. Style is omnipresent. The NOMOS Glashutte Tangente 41 Update also employs this approach, thereby upholding the brand’s enviable reputation.
The architecture of the caliber DUW 6101 has provided the brand with the capacity to design different models, each with its own character and each with its own means of displaying the date. The repeated use of one movement for several models provides NOMOS Glashütte with useful economies of scale. It is this smart approach to manufacturing that helps the German brand deliver impressive value for money.
Another reason for the brand’s capacity to deliver keen pricing relates to the high quotient of components made in-house. While many brands have chosen to purchase components from third parties, NOMOS Glashütte has embraced independence, investing in the development of its own ‘Swing System’, providing the company with a useful degree of independence.
There are a myriad of qualities which distinguish the NOMOS Glashutte Tangente 41 Update as special. Indeed, I am not alone in holding this view. In November 2018, the watch won an award at the esteemed Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG). The jury stated, ‘the Bauhaus watch is equipped with a handcrafted movement of a value far surpassing its price’.
However, in my opinion, it is the novel date display which differentiates this watch from many of its contemporaries. NOMOS Glashütte invites us to look at the date differently, from outside our usual frame of reference and, in so doing, discovering a refreshing, thought-provoking example of watchmaking craft. Sometimes, we have to look beyond our own shores to discover creativity and talent.
Images indicated with an asterisk (*) are copyright: NOMOS Glashütte
- Model: NOMOS Glashutte Tangente 41 Update
- Reference: 180
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 40.5mm; height 7.9mm; sapphire crystal to front and caseback; water resistant to 5 ATM (50 metres)
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date.
- Movement: Caliber DUW 6101; self-winding movement; 27 jewels; power reserve up to 42 hours
- Strap: Black Horween Genuine Shell Cordovan strap paired with steel pin buckle
- Price: £3200 (RRP as at 27.12.2018)