Introducing the Nomos Glashütte Orion Neomatik 175 Years
Three years ago, the sleepy Saxon town of Glashütte celebrated the 175th anniversary of it becoming the de facto capital of German Watchmaking. Three years later, Nomos Glashütte continues the celebration by welcoming three new Orion neomatik models to the party.
1845. It’s a date of extreme significance to anyone plying their trade in the German watchmaking industry. After years of petitioning the Saxon government for a generous loan that would enable him to breathe new life into the flagging industry of Glashütte, Ferdinand Adolph Lange’s long-held wish was granted.
It was his dream to revitalize a community with the gift of watchmaking. For centuries, Glashütte and the surrounding Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains) had been famed for rich silver deposits, bringing not only great wealth to the area but also a host of associated artisanal abilities. As a renowned center of fine handwork, Lange, who served his apprenticeship in Dresden at the knee of master watchmaker Johann Christian Friedrich Gutkaes, believed the people of Glashütte would be able to pick up the necessary manual skills to make the sleepy Saxon settlement a force to rival those of the English and Swiss at the time. He found a town in need of a new direction, and, 178 years later, that direction has never been clearer.
Perhaps it is no wonder, then, that Nomos Glashütte continues to celebrate the milestone reached in 2020. After all, this is a story much bigger than a single date; this is a story in which Nomos Glashütte has played a starring role for the past 33 years; this is a story that deserves to be told over and over and over again because it really is that good.
The history of Glashütte and its watchmaking companies is anything but simple, but it is endlessly compelling. From the seismic impact of the industry’s genesis to the assimilation of all its companies under one umbrella (the G.U.B) during the GDR years to the rebirth of independence following the fall of the Berlin Wall, this tiny town has seen more than its fair share of history. These three new Nomos watches, in 36, 39 (actually 38.5mm), and 41 (actually 40.5mm) stainless steel cases aim to honor that.
Each model is powered by one of Nomos Glashütte’s in-house neomatik calibers. The neomatik series debuted in 2015 with the release of the 3.2mm thick DUW 3001 movement, which was conceived as a foundational caliber, upon which the brand’s future would be built. Three years later, the first complication followed.
In 2018, we saw the debut of the DUW 6101, a larger mechanism that retained the 3Hz (21,600vph) operating frequency and the 42-hour power reserve of its forerunner but added a “peripheral” date function to the mix. Simply, the architecture of the date indication is built around the old 3001, which means the date window can (as you will see from the 41mm model here) sit right on the edge of the dial and be as big as possible to improve legibility.
The headline-grabbing design decision, however, is surely the use of silver-plated dials in these three watches. This metallic white plating may not be as warm as the regular egg-shell shade of dial which we’re used to seeing from Nomos, but it is certainly an eye-catching aesthetic. Pleasingly, the date wheel background on the largest model has been appropriately color coded to match, rather than sticking out like a sore thumb as so many date windows do. The most interesting thing about these three novelties, however, must be the seconds sub-dial. Eagle-eyed Nomos lovers will have noticed immediately: unlike normal Nomos sub-dials, these are not recessed.
While that almost sounds like “anti-news”, the effect is, firstly, very obvious and, secondly, an intentional call-back to dial styles of old. The subtle dome of the dial gives this Nomos an incredibly classic feel, dating it more around the ‘50s or the ‘60s, many decades before the brand existed.
Is there such a thing as too many Nomos Glashütte Orion pieces? While the Tangente is often regarded as the brand’s flagship model, it is the Orion that, in my opinion, really expresses what the brand is all about. Yes, the Tangente is a Bauhaus icon, with its angular case and iconic typeface calling back to models made by other brands in Glashütte around the turn of the 20th century, but the Orion is artful, graceful, and far more elegant than its celebrated, if not quite so adored brother.
Since 1992 — the year Nomos released its first watches — we’ve not known a single day without the Nomos Glashütte Orion. Along with the Tangente, the Ludwig, and the Tetra, it has been an ever-present model. It is as much a part of the brand as the brand’s Germanity, and these three novelties continue its story. They bring a fusion of the old (domed dials) and the new (neomatik calibers) together seamlessly. My personal favorite is the 36mm, as I believe the smaller diameters benefit from the most natural placement of the sub-seconds, but the larger 40.5mm model is also quite charming thanks to the DUW 6101 movement and that beautiful, oversized date. However, be warned: even small Nomos Glashütte watches wear like dinner plates, so unless your wrist is at least 17.5/18cm thick, be wary of plumping for the biggest of this desirable bunch.
NOMOS Glashütte Orion Neomatik — 175 Years Watchmaking Glashütte
Referrence: 395.S1 (36mm), 345.S1 (39mm), and 365.S1 (41mm)
Movement: DUW 3001 Automatic
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds — (the largest model also has a date)
Case: 36mm x 8.5mm x 45mm, 38.5mm x 8.7mm x 47.5m, 40.5mm x 9.4mm x 50.5mm. All are made from stainless steel and water resistant to 50m
Dial: Silver-plated with blued hands and raised indices in gold
Strap: Black Shell Cordovan Leather
Price: USD 3,580 (36mm), USD 3,920 (39mm), and USD 4,200 (41mm)
Availability: Limited edition of 175 pieces of each reference
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|Movement||Self-winding caliber A-500; 60 hours power reserve|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph and date|
|Case||42.5mm; titanium; water resistant to 30m|
|Dial||Salmon (6N gold plated) with gené or frosted area; Super-LumiNova filled Arabic numerals|
|Strap||Ballistic gray rubber; titanium folding clasp|