Team MINIMATIKAL traveled to Glashuette to tour the NOMOS watchmaking facilities. We were so excited to arrive, we had our Glashuette Lonely Planet books in hand and cameras ready to show you all of Glashuette’s most famous monuments.
Glashuette dates back to 1445, where it was first mentioned in an undisclosed document. It is a small town in Saxony with a population of around 7,000 people. Glashuette is home to the birthplace of German watchmaking. The coat of arms features watchmaking tools [Dale: no Jenna, they’re not watchmaking tools, if your watchmaker uses these please RUN!] as well as a sun and Roman numeral hour markers from a watch dial.
Next stop was the local flower shop Blumen Rosenkranz. This cute little shop had an assortment of Spring flowers outside and that mistletoe cactus in the window was calling my name from up the hill by the NOMOS chronometrie building. Plants + NOMOS = Happy Jenna
Without another human in sight, we made it to the fire station. There’s something about a big red door that makes for a fantastic landmark. The rooster weather vane highlights the wind direction while adorning the peak of the firestation. Luckily, there was not a single siren to be heard the entire day.
One cannot go to Glashuette and not visit Der Backer Lehmann. This bakery has been in business on the Hauptstrasse since 1895. This multi-generation family business has gone through multiple renovations and a recent redesign in 1984 but their ethos has remained the same since 1895- bake delicious sour dough bread at their humble bakery in the Glashuette city center.
A visit to this quaint watch making village would not be complete without strolling past Uhren-Schmuck. This jewelry and watch company has been headquartered in Glashuette since 1997.
The St. Wolfgang church in downtown Glashuette.
We eventually came across the famous Glashuette kebab shop, Side, where one can enjoy a döner kebab, a slice of pizza, noodles or even a beer. We thought we would save ourselves for Glashuettes hottest bar, only to later find out it had been closed down before Christmas.
In a beautiful square, there was the German Watch Museum Glashuette. In the basement of the museum there is a watchmaking school; the top two floors are the museum. In the permanent collection there are masterpieces like the Precision pendulum clock from Strasser & Rhode (1875) or the Astronomic clock by Hermann Goertz (1925).
Across the square from the museum is the NOMOS flagship boutique, where they had the discontinued Club Dunkel in stock, as well as NOMOS rings that one can coordinate with their Tetra. The NOMOS boutique is located up the street from the former train station, now the NOMOS Glashuette HQ.
At BaselWorld 2018 NOMOS launched a new movement: caliber DUW6101. It boasts an array of clever solutions to age old problems, and we felt it deserved a thorough explanation that goes beyond a few bylines in an article on the watches that are powered by it. Luckily Rob Nudds, our representative at NOMOS, happens to be both a gifted watchmaker as well as a talented writer. Below is his take on this exceptional movement.
The NOMOS DUW6101 is a revolution for the independent German watchmaker. Based on the principles of the slim-line DUW3001 released in 2015, the new movement features a quick-change date complication with a unique safety mechanism designed to protect the movement from damage.
Normally, it is not advisable to change the date of a quick-change calibre when the hands are positioned between 10pm and 2am. There is a little variation in these parameters from movement to movement, but the principle remains the same – during this ‘danger zone’ the date change wheel is in contact with the date wheel teeth, ready to flick the date over to the next day when the hands hit 12 o’clock. Attempting to change the date while these components are engaged can strip the teeth from the date wheel, resulting in a necessary service.
As a small, owner-operated company, NOMOS Glashütte was keen to develop a mechanism to prevent this – another example of their endeavour to improve the quality and durability of their output across the range. Resilient mechanisms make sense for the brand, their dedicated retailer network, and the end-consumer: A safe and secure mechanism results in less after sales concerns, more time for the retailers to focus on selling, and greater peace of mind for the customer. To this end, NOMOS spent four years developing this new function. The final product is a perfect of example of the NOMOS philosophy: To find a simple solution to a complex problem, and to focus on its execution rather than embellishment, through excellent design and top-quality manufacturing.
Instead of the traditional set-up, the DUW6101 uses completely new components. A double-level wheel, mounted with a specially formed date-change hammer and cam is responsible for moving the date from one day to the next during normal operation. On the other side of the movement another double-level wheel engages with the date wheel teeth when the watch is in date set mode. This wheel features a five-fingered star wheel on top to move the date wheel quickly, and a lower level wheel that engages with the setting mechanism itself. The tension between these two levels is crucial. Together, they act as a ‘slipping clutch’ when the hammer is resting on the date wheel teeth between 11pm and 1pm. During this period you cannot set the date, but you cannot damage the movement by attempting to do so.
So how does this actually work? When using the quick-change function at this time, the five-fingered star wheel will engage with the teeth of the date wheel in an attempt to move it along. The date change hammer prevents this from happening because it is also engaged with the teeth of the date wheel on the other side of the movement. Rather than allowing the pressure between these components to build, the lower level wheel beneath the star wheel is able to turn independently, allowing the force generated by rotating the crown to escape the mechanism. This is achieved by striking a perfect balance: The finely calibrated tension between the star wheel and the lower level wheel protects these components from coming under too much stress and disintergrating.
And if all this technology gets you so excited to skip past the intended date while using the quick-change function, don’t worry! The new NOMOS Glashütte DUW 6101 can be set forwards and backwards – a feature rarely seen in the world of watchmaking, and at this price point something very special indeed.
Caution: if you are hungry don’t read this article.
For Baselworld 2018, Nomos just unveiled their new delicacies: The Petit Four series. The Nomos classic Tetra in 4 new colors: Tetra Pearl, Tetra Azure, Tetra Matcha and Tetra Grenadine.
The Tetra Pearl features golden hands, the finishing touch to its powdery pink dial. They are accompanied by indexes in violet; “if this Tetra were placed in the window of a Parisian pâtisserie, it would be long gone” – according to Nomos. The slender case is featured with a velour leather strap.
The blue “azure” color of the dial is supposed to remind you of a clear summer sky. An ode to the beautiful days that should come soon in Europe. A very contemporary and poetic model that features green hands and grey indexes.
Tetra Matcha is undoubtedly eye-catching. The light green dial adds a fresh touch to the watch. The watch features silver hands and deep blue indexes.
Tetra Grenadine is inspired by pomegranates. The fruity bold red color of the dial makes it a noticeable watch. The watch is dressed with dark red indexes and golden hands.
Within the four new versions of the NOMOS classic Tetra: the NOMOS hand-wound caliber Alpha. The Alpha caliber is NOMOS Glashütte’s highly acclaimed classic. It was their first movement and the one that ticks inside Tangente, Ludwig, Tetra, Orion, Club and all the watches in their 33 series.
Without falling in the trap of cliché, the Petit Four series seem to target a female audience, even if their style is versatile. We have to admit that we found these watches very sweet. The colors are quite entertaining and, of course, it looks delicious. Maybe we would have appreciated a smaller size than the classic 29.5mm square Tetra that would better fit the name and the atmosphere of the collection. In the end, Nomos proved once again their limitless creativity with these fresh new limited editions.
Stay tuned for other Baselworld novelties and bon appétit!
More details (Tetra Pearl)
stainless steel, bipartite
sapphire crystal glass back
sapphire crystal glass
size 29.5 mm x 29.5 mm
height 6.5 mm
weight 36 g
3 atm (splash-proof)
gold-plated, seconds hand dark red
Velour leather gray
lug width 18mm
Day two- we headed to Glashuette. We drove through rolling hills from Dresden to Glashuette. There were colorful buildings dotted along the way. Upon arrival in Glashuette, my initial reaction was how cute and quaint the village is. It is quiet yet very charming with pastel colored buildings.
We pulled into the main building from NOMOS, which was formally the Glashuette train station. The building was a mix of old and new, with a big glass box on the end which they use as their meeting room. The concept behind the glass cube is that they wanted it to be transparent, exactly like their watchmaking. The train station use to house the machinery for the base plates of their movements, until they relocated into an upgraded production facility down the road.
In August of 2017, they moved into their new facility. The unobtrusive building is beautifully designed and self sufficient. We were able to see the CNC machines at work drilling holes for where the watch making parts will be placed into. The energy produced from the machines is used to also heat the facility for the majority of the year. In 2015, NOMOS was awarded the Green Product Award for the Metro.
After our tour of the first production facility, we headed up to the NOMOS’ chronometrie building, where they start to assemble the parts once the base plates and findings are ready. We met with the head movement designer, Theodor Prenzel. He developed the DUW3001 movement for over 1.5 million minutes, and presented the beautiful, thin movement in detailed explanation to us. The joy of this movement is NOMOS’ own swing system, which is the heartbeat of the watch. NOMOS producing their own swing system, broke them away from the rest of the watchmaking industry, making them completely independent. This was quite a feat. NOMOS strives to do everything in house; there are big companies that can produce the escapement for mechanical timepieces, but NOMOS prides themselves in being able to produce their own. NOMOS watches are accessible, bringing them back to the ethos of the Deutsche werkbund- giving quality products to the public at an affordable price. The goal is to eventually have all NOMOS movements fitted with their own in-house swing system.
The DUW3001 measures in at only 3.2mm, while NOMOS’ first in-house self-winding movement Epsilon is 0.9mm thicker. Prenzel explained they worked to achieve a thinner, completely in-house automatic movement by rethinking the architecture of a movement, which is traditionally built-up in a stacked construction with relatively few parts per layer. With the DUW3001 nearly all parts are inserted between the base and the three-quarter plate, in a reduced number of layers. Though self-winding movements that are slimmer exist, none are produced on the scale of the DUW3001, and even fewer are as accurate, efficient and robust. All movements from NOMOS, including the Alpha and Epsilon, go through a number of testing periods in six positions with three to five resting days in between to let the watch run, before it is approved and assembled in a case. A more detailed article on the in’s and outs of the DUW3001 is coming soon.
The visit to NOMOS was a confirmation of all the reasons why we loved the brand in the first place. The design offices were humble yet cool, the watchmaking facilities were clean, transparent with a pop of color which screamed NOMOS, and the people were nice, honest and proud of the work they do to make the watches beautiful, timeless and high quality. Thank you, NOMOS Glashuette, for having us!