If you ask the average person to name some high-quality watch brands, you’ll probably hear the usuals: Rolex, Omega, Breitling. However, ask a watch nerd, and you might hear “NOMOS“, a name that’s being thrown around a lot more often lately, and deservedly so. NOMOS has come a hell of a long way from its humble beginnings in the wake of German reunification. Rarely straying far from the rules of Bauhaus design, this year NOMOS released another killer reference: the Metro Datum Gangreserve.
While it can certainly still be classified as Bauhaus, the Metro’s dial is quite different from their tried and true Tangente. The hour markers were made even smaller and more minimalistic, but the splashes of color on the power reserve indicator and the small seconds hand add a certain boldness not normally associated with the brand. The overall appearance catches the eye, but remains reserved. Of course, the conservative case size, typical of the Glashütte watchmaker, plays a large part in that impression: here, NOMOS has chosen a 37-millimeter diameter and a precise 7.65-millimeter thickness — classic sizing, ready for any situation short of diving or spelunking.
Of course, looks are only half the battle, and here, Metro is packing something special inside: the Deutsch Uhrenwerk (DUW) line. Those familiar with NOMOS’ movements will know that earlier calibers were named with Greek letters. Their recent upswing in additional in-house production is signified by the Deutsch Uhrenwerke (DUW) line, which dispenses with the Greek. The Metro is powered by the DUW 4401, which is the first to feature their in-house Swing System escapement. Aside from the Swing System, it’s essentially the same movement as the Delta caliber; but that escapement is the work of roughly €12 million (nearly $15 million) of investment over nearly a decade. If you’ve purchased a NOMOS in the last couple of years, there’s a good chance your watch has these escapement parts inside. What’s more: they managed to break their dependence on Nivarox hairsprings by striking a deal with another maker. This might not sound like much, but Nivarox is a Swatch Group company. Nearly 90 percent of the watch industry relies on Swatch hairsprings. With the Swatch Group looking to cut off supplies to outside companies, an agreement like this will pay off in a major way in the long run. What NOMOS has achieved is rare for any watchmaker, and even more so for one of their size.
NOMOS did well to announce their Swing System escapement with a new line of watches with the Metro. It marked a major milestone for the small German brand while showing the watch world they had more up their sleeves besides the many Tangente-based designs it had become accustomed to. Expect to see references with similar styling but different complications in the near future. For now, we get to enjoy the Metro Datum Gangreserve as a celebration of NOMOS’ quest for watchmaking independence.
Movement: hand-winding NOMOS DUW 4401
Power Reserve: approx. 42 hours
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date; power reserve
Case: stainless steel
Water Resistance: 3 ATM (30 meters)
Strap/Bracelet: Shell Cordovan strap with pin buckle