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editorial: a whirlwind trip to Berlinerblau with MINIMATIKAL! DAY 1

Over the last two days, we were privileged to live and breathe all things NOMOS. Our visit to the Berlinerblau design offices in Berlin, and a grand tour of the NOMOS watch making facilities in Glashuette is a trip for the books.

 

 

Our first steps on the streets of Berlin were along the Bundesstrasse. We headed to the Brandenburg Gate to take in a deep breath of Berlin culture straight away. It was truly amazing to be able to appreciate NOMOS watches in their birthplace of design, the city center of Berlin. While all watches are produced in Glashuette, the design team is based in this city. Berlinerblau was formally a design agency that NOMOS worked with on the design of their watches, but they have acquired the studio and they now do all of the design in-house.

 

 

Berlinerblau is located in the Kreuzberg neighborhood in Berlin. An up and coming area in Berlin with graffiti clad, ornate, warehouse-like buildings. The neighborhood is full of galleries and nightlife, students, artists, creatives and hippies. Berlinerblau is located on the Landwehr Canal. You enter the offices through a courtyard and go up a few flights of stairs. The office has high ceilings and huge windows flooding the space with light. The quirky furnishings are quintessential NOMOS.

 

 

Thomas Hohne is one of the head designers at NOMOS Berlinerblau, and was the mastermind behind the beloved Ahoi. We were able to meet with him in a cool meeting room with big windows, looking out over the courtyard with pastel colored building across the way. The space was stimulating and well, very NOMOS. Naturally, Thomas was wearing the Ahoi in 40mm. He explained to us that he thought at first the size was slightly too big for his slender wrists. It took a little getting use to but after a while, he actually preferred the larger Ahoi to the 36mm option in the end. Even for Thomas, it can take some time to decide what size works best for your wrist.

When NOMOS decided to re-introduce a more ‘sporty’ watch into the collection after the discontinuation of the Tangente Sport, they needed a design that would fit in with the four core collections- the Tangente, Tetra, Ludwig and Orion. The Ahoi is not a dive watch; rather the purpose of the watch is to have a model that can withstand water and water sports, yet also be worn to the office with a suit. There is no rotating bezel, yet the crown protector and screw in crown give it both a rugged appeal and ensure that water stays out of the case for a 200 meter water resistance. Since 2016, the latter is highlighted by a little whale named Herbert engraved on the case back.

 

 

It was clear during the meeting that the watches NOMOS was most excited about were those in the new ‘At Work’ series. The walls were adorned with lifestyle photos of the watches being worn at work, as well as inspiration behind the Silvercut dials and accents. The design team wanted to produce more masculine watches, as the champagne series ended up having a more feminine feel. They showed us a millimeter gauge, an exacto blade, and watch making screw drivers. These are tools that one uses when they’re at work, and they set the mood for this new series. The 39mm size of this collection was really to appeal to career oriented [wo]men, who want to wear a bigger watch. The inspiration of the lines on the dial came from early German racing cars, which featured unpainted aluminum body parts to save weight – though that could be just a myth. NOMOS decided to make the lines of the dial horizontal rather than vertical, to simulate the the speed of those Silberpfeil cars.

 

 

The red accents on the At Work series were inspired by brake lights, as well as power lights on vintage aluminum radios. The red seconds hands on the At Work series are a darker red than the regular ‘NOMOS red’ the designers tend to use. Notably, the Tangente and Tetra are the only two Silvercut models that feature blued steel hands. These two models are staying true to the original Tangente and Tetra. There is always some how a mix of old and new to blend the new pieces into the collection. The seconds subdials feature a slightly more subdued circular pattern in the middle. The softer texture gives the Silvercut models almost a starburst effect, like that of the volume knobs on the vintage aluminum radios.

 

 

A highlight of the visit to Berlinerblau, was discovering a drawer filled with prototypes of dials. We felt like kids in a candy store. They had produced dials in almost every color imaginable; a purple dial with rose gold markers. Probably the most eye catching, were the prototypes for the Lux in black with white horizontal and vertical stripes.

 

 

There were even pink and baby blue Gingham printed dials. Among all these prototypes we discovered quite a few that eventually made it into production as limited edition pieces, like the now very sough-after Toki of 2005 with its red subdial and Japanese hour markers and the Little Red Dot Weltzeit models made for Singapore. Of course the limited edition Orion ‘100 Years De Stijl’ was displayed loud and proud, which really made us feel part of the NOMOS family.

 

 

Once our tour of Berlinerblau concluded, we jumped on the Autobahn and headed to Dresden. The capital of the Eastern German state of Saxony, Dresden is a historic city with classical and ornate architecture. We were immediately impressed by the stunning classical architecture in Dresden. Walking across the bridge going over the Elbe river, we had a spectacular view of the Dresden skyline. Click here for DAY 2- the Glashuette chapter.

 

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Interview Felix Scholz

A coffee and small (watch)talk with Felix Scholz

Felix Scholz interview Nomos Minimatikal

Despite of his German sounding name and good level in French, Felix Scholz was born and raised in Australia. The Australian watchfreak has been writing about watches for over nine years, having written for Hodinkee and Revolution before becoming the editor of Time+Tide, a watch media group in Australia.

I met Felix for the first time in Geneva during the SIHH two years ago and worked with him as an intern at Time+Tide’s headquarters, in the most liveable city, Melbourne.
Felix is mostly interested in what draws people to watches, and how people express their style through their wrists. It was also easy to notice that Felix has a great interest in Nomos and we were very curious about his personal opinion on the German brand. So now, let’s talk about watches!

How did you get to know about Nomos?

I guess I’ve been paying attention to Nomos since about 2006, 2007? I found out about them quite early on in my own ‘watch journey’. When I started paying attention to watches I was really into a lot of smaller, more affordable German brands. To my mind these makers offered something a bit different to the Swiss, and were quite good value. Flieger-style watches were quite popular then, so first seeing the clear, clean lines of Nomos really made an impression. The more I learned, the more impressed I was!

Nomos in 3 words?

There’s two words I’m going to avoid — the ‘m’ word and the ‘b’ word. Minimal and Bauhaus. Just because they’re over-used and Nomos isn’t *really* Bauhaus. So. Three words. Clean, self-assured and playful.

What is your favorite Nomos watch and why?

Ah, it’s like picking your favourite movie or book — impossible! Having said that, I have a soft spot for the classic Clubs (see below). I really like the boldness of the Lux, the classicism of the Orion (doesn’t work on my wrist though, sadly), and the Ahoi — such an original take on a sports/dive watch.

Are you owning a Nomos watch? If so, which one(s) and what do you like about it/them?

I do own a Nomos! Only one, a Club Automat. I’m fond of this watch for a few reasons — but mostly because it arrived in the post the day before my son was born. For that reason it’s one of the few that I would never sell. Sentimental reasons aside, I like this version because I find the auto a bit more practical than a manual wind, and the larger size works well for me too. Design-wise it’s clean and dressy, but not overly formal.. I like the 100m of water resistance, oh and the bright orange highlights. I guess I like everything about it really.

Nomos Club watch Felix Scholz Minimatikal

Which Nomos watch would you like to acquire in the future and why?

Another tricky question! I go through phases, but the one I settle on the most is the Ahoi. It suits my lifestyle, and I like the new fabric straps. And while there’s a few options I think I’d go for thew new neomatik — that movement is such an impressive achievement. Perhaps the Atlantik dial, to provide contrast to the Club.

What do you expect from Nomos at Baselworld this year and what are you hoping for?

Well, I did not see the Club re-vamp coming last year — that was a real surprise for me, as was the super bold use of colour. they haven’t done too much with their core, collection recently, so maybe some new dials and movement upgrades there? I would like to see a new small complication? A new, simpler dual time would be super cool.

May all your wishes come true! The countdown until Baselworld 2018 has just started and everyone is impatient and excited to see what Nomos will unveil this year.
Minimatikal will be on the alert, stay tuned..! 

Felix Scholz Nomos Club Minimatikal
Felix’s Club Automat
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NOMOS accepted into the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie!

CONGRATS!

Good news for Nomos Glashütte this month:  have been accepted into the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) – and the timepieces of the German brand are now also available in Switzerland through prestigious retailer Bucherer.

What is the FHH?

The FHH was created in 2005 and founded by three partners: the Richemont Group, Audemars Piguet and Girard Perregaux. They decided to create a foundation to promote the values of Fine Watchmaking worldwide. There are now five permanent members, including a President, who set guidelines for the Cultural Council composed of 42 members working in different areas of expertise.

The FHH has four core missions:

  • Inform: Informing the public about fine watchmaking with exhibitions, publications, and on-line presence.
  • Train: Training watch professionals, not only the sales people, but also the artisans mastering the crafts that define Haute Horlogerie by delivering a full program of training, from beginner to expert level.
  • Recognize: Acting as a reference for the profession particularly with the help of the White Paper.
  • Organize: The FHH is the organizer of the renowned Salon de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), which takes place in Geneva every year, Waches & Wonders in Miami, Dubai Watch Week and more. All major events in the watchmaking industry.

Nomos just has been accepted into the Foundation de la Haute Horlogerie, joining the most prestigious names in watchmaking.

Fabienne Lupo, Chairwomen of the FHH minimatikal White Paper Nomos
Fabienne Lupo, Chairwomen of the FHH – photo credit: lepoint.fr

The WHITE PAPER: What does fine watchmaking mean exactly?

At the creation of the FHH, a Manifesto was produced, detailing the principles of Fine Watchmaking. But it wasn’t as precise as it needed to be. In 2013, the FHH decided to neatly define Fine Watchmaking and give objective evaluation criteria for the brands. It took three years and the help of 46 international independent experts to finish this reference manual. To define the perimeter of Fine Watchmaking, the brands are selected according to 7 areas of expertise:

  • R&D, production and technical expertise
  • Style, design and artistic expertise
  • History and DNA
  • Distribution and after-sales service
  • Connoisseurs and collectors
  • Brand image and communication
  • Training

The brands are then classified into 4 fundamental Fine Watchmaking segments :

Historic Maisons: Watchmaking companies that perpetuate a tradition and a heritage.

Contemporary Brands: Brands which belong to the present day and are characteristic of modern times.

Luxury Brands: Multi-product luxury brands which invest in the art of technical and/or precious Fine Watchmaking with creativity, innovation and excellence.

Artisan-Creators: Independent watchmakers/creators who draw on specific expertise and who generally carry out the manufacturing, sale and after-sales service of their products.

For the first edition of the White Paper in 2016, 86 brands were evaluated and 64 entered the precious Perimeter of Fine Watchmaking. This evaluation will be repeated every 2 to 3 years to stay current with developments in the industry.

Regarding the evaluation method,: brands with a final score of above 6/10 are considered part of Fine Watchmaking (this practice lies on an objective evaluation per area of expertise, with a score from 1 to 10. In addition, an individual general appreciation with a subjective evaluation of the brand from 1 to 10). -> more info

In a nutshell, the White Paper aims to be a reference for the future and maintain the level of excellence in Fine Watchmaking by evaluating the coherence between what a brand says and what it does.

NOMOS AND THE FHH

Back in 2016, after the first publication of the White Paper, we were very surprised that Nomos wasn’t accepted in the perimeter of Fine Watchmaking. After a private talk with a permanent member of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, we found out that the brand had a great final score and was very close to be accepted. After a good talk about the evaluation method of the reference manual, the conversation had to start again one year later, when Nomos has finally been accepted into the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie as a perimeter brand (meaning not a sponsoring partner).

What caused this revaluation remains between NOMOS and the FHH;  the results are strictly confidential and not published or shared with third parties. We do however know that a delegation visited Glashütte in November of 2017 and was quite pleased with what they saw. “The spirit, the simplicity and the watches” convinced them all, and Nomos is now a well-deserved member of the perimeter of Haute Horlogerie under the category Contemporary Brands. Biggest congratulations from Team Minimatikal!

The launch in Switzerland with Bucherer

As good news never come alone, Nomos just revealed that their timepieces are now available with Bucherer Jewellers in Switzerland. Following Bucherer’s locations in Germany, Bucherer Switzerland is now launching the innovative brand in Jelmoli on Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse.

Uwe Ahrendt Nomos CEO minimatikal white paper

Uwe Ahrendt is delighted: “It is a real recognition of our brand, since Switzerland is considered to be watchmaking’s ‘large canton’.”

Bucherer is a renowned watch and jewellery store that was founded in 1888 by Carl-Friedrich Bucherer in Luzerne, Switzerland. 16 Bucherer stores are located across Switzerland. A great opportunity for the German brand that only had 6 official retailers in Switzerland before this announcement.

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editorial: NOMOS is not bauhaus, it’s deutscher werkbund

 

In 1907, the Deutscher Werkbund was founded in Germany. The movement came to try and give Germany a better position in the global market with the Arts and crafts movement flourishing in America and England. The founders of the Deutscher Werkbund, Hermann Muthesius and Henry van de Velde, were directly inspired by William Morris, the leader of the Arts and Crafts movement. The main difference between the Werkbund and the Arts and Crafts movement that was that the Deustche Werkbund was not against using machines to produce their products. The Arts and Crafts movement was about small, independent designers being able to produce and create products by hand. The Deutscher Werkbund was about promoting designers, and using technology as a tool to better create products that are beautiful and affordable. The union of the Deutscher Werkbund helped product design in Germany flourish at the time. Germans were not afraid to use machinery to create their products, yet also had only access to quality materials. Within only seven years, there were nearly 2,000 members of the Deutscher Werkbund. The Deutscher Werkbund survived two World Wars. While there were no real rules for the types of technology that can be used like in the Arts and Craft movement, the main rule was that the form must follow function, and all ornament must be eliminated.

Continue reading editorial: NOMOS is not bauhaus, it’s deutscher werkbund