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hands-on: the NOMOS Zurich Weltzeit 805

Over the past couple of weeks I got to wear the Zürich Weltzeit 805, the most complicated NOMOS’ to date. How was it? Well, it was pretty awesome…

Basics

The NOMOS Zürich, either with or without date, was introduced in 2009. The Weltzeit was added to the collection two years later. It is the most complicated NOMOS to date, though it does not feature a Weltzeit (Worldtime) indication as suggested by its name; rather it allows two time zones to be shown simultaneously. First is your home time, which is indicated on a 24-hour disc at 3:00. Then there’s the time of the timezone in which you’re currently residing, which is indicated through the main hands in combination with the 24-city disc. Traveling to another time zone? A push of the button at 2:00 will have both the city disc and the hour hand jumping forward in 1-hour increments. This is all courtesy of an in-house, self-winding movement that started its life as caliber Xi, and became DUW 5201 with the addition of NOMOS proprietary ‘Swing System’ escapement around 2014.

The case of the Zürich Weltzeit measures just a tad under 40mm and consists of no less than ten parts – excluding the six screws that hold the see-through case back. It’s rated water resistant up to 30 meters and takes 20mm straps.

On the Wrist

Back when the Zürich was introduced NOMOS called it its first luxury watch. While they might be overstating things just a little bit, the Zürich does feel more deluxe than most of its siblings. It’s still 100% NOMOS, but it’s different – as if the brand managed to shed some of those Deutsche Werkbund ethics in favor of a slightly more Swiss approach. This shows first and foremost in the case, which is more elaborate than those of other models. As touched upon in the above it consists of no less than ten separate parts – easily double that of your average NOMOS. Four of these are the lugs, which are all separate parts, attached to the case through screws from the inside. Viewed from the side they feature an ever-so subtle inward curve, and they’re raised as to create a slot in which the bezel rests – pictured below on Zurich Date model.

The dial is another work of art. It consists of four distinct parts over three levels, adding a lot of visual depth and interested. Viewed from a slight angle it’s almost like a cityscape of a futuristic urban hub  – which is very apt considering the traveling nature this watch. The frosty silvered finish is broken by the crisp black print, subtle dashes of blue and red on the hours, and the concentric circles of the small seconds scale. Center stage is reserved for the local time, which is indicated through a set of faceted hands of the perfect length.

On my wrist, the Zürich wears well. It’s larger than my Club in diameter, but lug-to-lug the difference is almost negligible. It furthermore looks good on a host of straps. Aside from the standard issue Shell Cordovan I tried it on a faux alligator strap and a rubber strap. The latter should’t work on a reasonably chic & dressy watch like this, but (to me) even this looked good. The clean & simple design of many NOMOS’ seems to work with just about anything and the Zürich is no exception. It’s save to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent with it, especially since it’s so different from my simple Club.

A review of the Zurich Weltzeit is could never be complete without describing the utter joy of pressing the 2:00 button. The push action is perfect; requiring just the right amount of force. It results in a very reassuring clicking sound and the jump of the hour hand and city disc. It’s simply addictive, though I suppose one shouldn’t go about pressing it constantly throughout the day.

Final Words

The Zürich distinctively NOMOS, yet at the same time it’s different enough to convince even the most Swiss-centric among collectors. It’s not as clean & minimalist as others in the collection, yet it is easily recognizable as a NOMOS. It has a beautiful case in a sensible size. The dial offers a lot of information but never feels overly cluttered. The movement is in-house and fitted with a great and handy complication. And it’s priced per NOMOS standards: very competitively.