Watch design is a little like writing. It looks easy enough, but just try doing it for a living. And, a little like writing, it’s not about how much you can ram in but how little you can use to make your point elegantly. So while other brands are slinging the bling at Baselworld (seriously, have you seen some of the stuff the haute horlogerie mob have been up to?), Nomos has quietly got on with doing its thing; designing watches that look stripped back and simple but make you smile every time you look at them.The new Tangente neomatik 41 Update makes you smile that little bit more broadly because it’s dumped the traditional date wheel in favor of running the date around the edge of the dial on a track next to the rehaut. Nothing new there; Oris are known for their Big Crown date pointers. Tissot had a pointer date back in the 1950s, as did Poljot along with many others.
But, typically, Nomos have decided to do it differently. In-house designer Michael Paul has made the date wheel to show two bars of red through tiny windows by each date number. The design “aha” moment only comes after a bit of thought though; there are two red markers, so which indicates the date? Then you realize the date is between the markers, essentially bracketed by them. Another smile.
Tech heads will be happy too. The new movement powering the Tangent is the neomatik date (DUW 6101), three years in the design and making. It’s a wide, thin movement at 35.2mm diameter but just 3.6mm deep. Unusually, you can set the date either way—forwards or back—without any damage to the movement.
As Theodor Prenzel, Nomos’ Head of construction, puts it rather more elegantly, “The new date mechanism allows you to travel half a month with only a few turns of the crown.”
But “thin” shouldn’t mean the new caliber can’t take a knock or two. The balance bridge is stably anchored at two points and everything is beautifully put together. The case is stainless steel with a sapphire glass display back and 20mm canted lugs.
Apparently the movement’s mechanics have been rationalized, too, with a new winding system and the double click gear, duplex wheel, and rotor intermediate wheel taking over the function of the stopwork. That’s how it’s managed to slim down to under 4mm—the height of just two nickels.
The longer, shaped lugs on Nomos watches often make them wear bigger than their size on paper suggests. The Tangente neomatik 41 Update certainly will; it’s a big old thing, despite the skinny width. The finished watch sneaks in at just under 41mm, so it’s not for the skinny-wristed. Designer Paul says, “This timepiece has a really nice size at 40.5 millimeters in diameter. I think the proportions are great—but sadly, they’re not for my slender wrist.”
The 6101 has found its way into two other models: the Orion neomatik 41 Update, and the Ludwig neomatik 41 Update. All three should be in dealers from mid-May.
The Tangente neomatik 41 Update is CHF 3,520. Nomos