My friend JeroenSV is a watch collector and motorcar fanatic. Besides his day job as a mechanical engineer, you may often find him behind the lens of a camera. His favourite subjects? Rather unsurprisingly it’s cars and watches. You may find his work over at WatchWorks Haarlem, where he’s the sole photographer, and at Van Santen & Vink, a company he founded together with childhood friend Dimer van Santen. I’m a fan!
A few weeks back I took a little detour on my way to work to drop off a couple of watches for Jeroen to mess around with. Today I am proud to share the result. Enjoy – and make sure to give Jeroen a follow via @JeroenSV!
My fellow Dutchman Djaccomo81 is a longtime watch collector, motorcycle enthousiast – and aspiring photographer of cityscapes, watches, and more. A few weeks back I dropped off two watches from the Ace x NOMOS Amsterdam series, and today I am proud to share the result in the gallery below. Enjoy!
Introducing the NOMOS Zürich Weltzeit Amsterdam – a limited edition of 25 pieces created for Ace Jewelers of Amsterdam.
Friends – I am super excited to finally introduce you to the latest limited edition of Ace Jewelers: the Zürich Weltzeit Amsterdam! You may know that Minimatikal is part of Ace Jewelers. It’s like our little online NOMOS boutique. Or flagship store. Anyway, as such I’ve been closely involved with this project. It’s the third limited edition we’ve done with NOMOS and the second in the ‘Amsterdam’ sub-series.
This time we went with the Zürich Weltzeit as a base model. It’s NOMOS most complicated watch and one that I’ve written about on this blog once or twice. In its standard configuration the Weltzeit exists in either silver or blue. Other variations have been made, like the porcelain-like white of Topper Jewelers and the rose-colored ‘Red Dot’ of The Hour Glass. Never has the Zürich Weltzeit been done in black though. And that’s exactly what we’ve done!
The black dial is unique already, but we’ve added a few other subtle touches that truly make this an ‘Amsterdam’ edition. GMT+1 is now Amsterdam rather than Berlin – in bright red too – and the little home icon normally found at 3:00 is replaced by the flag of Amsterdam. Finally, the crown is engraved with the three Amsterdam crosses (like on our Club Campus Amsterdam) while the case back is engraved with ZÜRICH LIMITED EDITION AMSTERDAM FOR ACE JEWELERS X/25. Yes, 25 pieces only!
NOMOS refers to the travel-savvy version of the Zürich as weltzeit, or world time in English. It is however often said that the Zürich Weltzeit is not a true world timer. Is this true, and does it matter?
What is a world timer?
The undisputed king of world time watches is Patek Philippe. The Genevan masters have been doing them since the mid 1930’s, using a mechanism invented by Louis Cottier that has been continuously refined since. In the 2016 press release of the ref. 5230, they describe the function as follows:
They show all 24 world time zones at a glance. The local time is most prominently displayed for the time zone whose assigned city name is just above the small red arrow at 12 o’clock – in the classic manner with the hour and minute hands. In the other 23 zones, the times are directly readable on the 24-hour ring that rotates counterclockwise within the city disk. The minutes indicated by the minute hand are the same for all time zones.
When traveling into a different time zone, the pusher in the case at 10 o’clock is pressed as often as needed to align the respective city name with the red arrow at 12 o’clock. Each time the pusher is pressed, the hour hand will advance by one hour while the city disk and the 24-hour ring will move by one increment in the counterclockwise direction.
The key takeaway is that time is read in multiple, clearly labeled time zones simultaneously. I don’t think that there are any hard and fast rules regarding how many, but preferably 24 or more – there are some 38 in use today. With Patek it is the 24-hour ring that rotates, while with others (such as the Tissot below) it is the city disc that does.
Is the Zurich Weltzeit a world timer?
So, the Zürich Weltzeit… This watch was introduced back in 2011. Still today it is one of NOMOS’ most eleborate watches, both in terms of movement as well as case construction. As far as stainless steel NOMOS watches go, it is top of the line. But is it a world timer? It has Weltzeit in its name, so the answer must be pretty straight forward right? Eh, no.
While the Zürich Weltzeit is one of my favorite watches, it is not a world time watch in the strict sense of the word. The city disc is there to indicate which time is shown by the central hour and minute hands. The 24-hour disc at 3:00 shows home time, as indicated by the 🏠. The button at 2:00 let’s you select a different city; when pressing it the disc will jump to the next city, and the hands will show the time accordingly. In the mean time the 3:00 disc will remain stationary, displaying the time back home. Jumping between the 24 different cities is a breeze, and the oft-flawed legibility of traditional watches with world time functions is 100% on point. As per the best NOMOS tradition!
In ‘weltweit’ we keep track of interesting NOMOS articles posted around the web.
September 13th the Arab Watch Club unveiled their special edition NOMOS Zürich Weltzeit on ArabWatchGuide.com.
I contacted my dear friend Yousef from Mansour Jewelers in Dubai and explained my idea to him: ” Youssef, I have a crazy idea and I want you to make it happen for us” – ” I want to redesign the Nomos Zurich watch in a mint green dial color that pops and is very noticeable to the wearer with a cities disk customized for each of the collectors hometown cities”. His first answer was ” Not sure this will fly with Nomos, but let me try to push for it and get back to you”