Nomos Ludwig Timeless Edition Review

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I’ll admit that I never paid much attention to the Nomos Ludwig. It’s always been there—in fact, it was one of their first models—but it just never caught my eye. Nomos is a brand I associate with Bauhaus sensibilities and a flair for contemporary design, unique color combinations, and a playfulness that is lacking from most other brands entirely. The Ludwig, with its Roman numerals and railroad index, is austere and, dare I say, classical. Now, having spent some time with one, I can say that it’s those very elements mixed with Nomos’ practiced use of restraint that make it so refreshing and successful.

With that said, it’s worth noting that the Ludwig featured in this hands-on is not the normal version of the model. It’s a boutique edition limited to 40 units and based on the 38 model, produced in collaboration with Timeless Luxury of Texas. The distinction here is a unique dial coloration that is exclusive to this version with a glossy, lacquer white surface and saturated blue indexes. Otherwise, the remaining details are identical to the hand-wound Ludwig 38.

When looking at the Ludwig in top-down photos on the Internet, you might (as I did) think it shares a case design with the Tangente range, which has a cylindrical mid-case with straight, kinked lugs. After all, from above all you can see are the thin bezel and long, even-width straight lugs. Much to my surprise and delight, the case is actually totally different in person and actually exclusive to the Ludwig range. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Tangente case as it has that classic early-20th century Bauhaus design, but on the Ludwig I was concerned it would be too serious and harsh, building off of the severity of the Roman numerals. In actuality, the Ludwig case is more similar to that of the Orion than the Tangente, or rather it’s a hybrid of the two, combining the soft, rounded-out shape of the Orion with the straight, but not kinked lugs of the Tangente.

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$2460

Nomos Ludwig Timeless Edition Review

Case
Stainless Steel
Movement
Alpha
Dial
White Lacquer
Lume
NA
Lens
Sapphire
Strap
Shell Cordovan
Water Resistance
3 ATM
Dimensions
37.5 x 47.6mm
Thickness
7.35mm
Lug Width
19mm
Crown
Push-pull
Warranty
Yes
Price
$2460

Measuring 37.5 x 47.6 x 7.35mm, it’s a pleasantly small, thin watch, as you’d expect from Nomos. The round shape makes it wear even thinner than its dimensions suggest. Like most of Nomos’ watches, the Ludwig is fully polished. As much as I’d like to see more daring finishing from the brand, the Ludwig makes sense as a polished watch.

Flipping the watch over, you’ll find a pleasant view of the Alpha movement, one of Nomos’ in-house, Glashütte-made calibers. Essentially their most basic caliber, it’s manually wound, features 17-jewels, a 42-hr power reserve, hacking seconds, and a frequency of 21,600 bph. It’s a very attractive movement, boasting a 3/4 plate with Côtes de Genève, perlage under the balance, sunbursting on the ratchet and crown wheels, and blued screws throughout. A nice addition to the Alpha movement in this edition is the “Swing System,” which is their fully German-made escapement.

With a case this simple the emphasis is really put on the dial, which works out well for our watch here. As I wrote above, in this iteration the dial surface has been rendered in high-gloss, lacquer white. This gives it an enamel quality that suits the more formal aesthetic of the Ludwig. As with other Timeless edition watches, what we have here is blue introduced into the dial where it hadn’t previously been. All of the type and indexes are printed in a gorgeous medium-blue that, at least in oil painting terminology, would be close to a cerulean blue. When combined with the white lacquer dial, the result is reminiscent of Dutch Delft blue ceramics. Whether this was intentional or just a charming side effect is unclear, but I love the connection.

As for the indexes themselves, you’ll find an hour index of Roman numerals alternating with lines, all printed in the same thin weight. This too echoes the Tangente design, mixing classical elements with a more modern feel. Surrounding this hours is then a railroad index with heavier lines at intervals of five. This element definitely has a more classical feel, pulling the overall aesthetic more in that direction.

At six is a sub-seconds dial with small lines at intervals of five, getting heavier at the quarter minute. The sparse elements here prevent the sub-dial from drawing too much attention. A nice consequence of the lacquer effect is that the internal edge of the sub-dial has been rounded out, giving it a clean slope that picks up highlights as the watch shifts in the light. As is the case with the Tangente, Orion, and many other Nomos models, the Ludwig features simple stick hands rendered in heat-treated blue steel for the hour, minute and sub-seconds.

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On the wrist, the Ludwig wears very well. The 38 Nomos’ (which are actually 37.5mm in width) hit a sweet spot for daily wear. They are nimble and comfortable, but generally all-dial, giving them a nice amount of presence on the wrist.

The Ludwig is an interesting watch in terms of style. It’s definitely more formal—in a sort of a fussy Breguet way—than most of Nomos’ other watches are, but it’s still pleasantly wearable with casual attire. The Timeless version in particular is successful in this regard as the blue print is far softer and friendlier than black would be, matching it better with day-to-day attire while still working very well with business and formal wear.

The Ludwig Timeless Edition comes mounted on a 19mm black shell cordovan strap. There are two types of shell cordovan straps from Nomos, and this one is the  more complex, ornate version. It has rolled edges, a rounded tip and Nomos’  cool combination buckle/keeper. It’s a gorgeous strap that suits the Ludwig well. That said, I would also like to see a dark, espresso brown cordovan on this watch as that might highlight the blue even more.

Timeless also included one of Nomos’ two-piece nylon straps in dark gray for me to try out, which was surprising. Not a watch I’d think to put on a sportier strap, let alone something as casual as nylon, but it worked very well. The texture played down the formal elements of the watch and taking even more of the severity out of the dial. This would be a great way to wear the Ludwig with a t-shirt and shorts in the summer.

To wrap up, I’ve been won over by the Ludwig. It’s a bit of a sleeper in Nomos’ collection, but no less enjoyable than its more popular brethren. It also does give someone looking for something slightly more classical—but not too classical—a nice option. The Ludwig Timeless Edition is in a league of its own with its deft Delft dial, which takes the Ludwig into cooler, more casual terrain.

The Ludwig Timeless Edition costs $2,460, which is a bit more than the normal Ludwig 38 with a sapphire case back would cost, but considering it’s a unique edition of 40 units it’s worth the extra money.


To reserve a Ludwig Timeless LE, head to Timelessluxwatches.com.

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Zach is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Worn & Wound. Before diving headfirst into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
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