Preamble: No need for me to give you a short history lesson on Nomos, as our dear Gabriel already took care of that a few months ago here: Discovering the Nomos Glashutte. It’s an entertaining article that will meet your expectations, no doubt about it.
Those of you who have been around for awhile know just how much we appreciate this beautiful manufacture.
Why? Quite simply because Nomos has developed the ideal mix of pure German design (Bauhaus School of Design) and real watchmaking savoir-faire of an incredible region, thanks to its history, its location and the 3 manufactures which it is composed of: A. Lange & Sohne, Glashutte Original and… Nomos.
Nomos has a strong and unique visual identity, their creations are recognizable straight away and are usually highly appreciated. Especially by me.
More specifically though, my heart has long been won over by a particular model. It’s a model which inscribes itself within the purest tradition of Bauhaus design: the Nomos Metro Datum Gangreserve.
I craftily avoided the “History of Nomos” duty, however I believe a quick recap on Bauhaus design is necessary before I introduce you to the -ephemeral- friend on my wrist. But believe me, it’ll be worth it and you’ll be able to grasp the essence of this watch, of which I’m already deploring its return to Germany…
The Bauhaus School of Design, or the creation of *applied* fine arts
“Bauhaus”: For a novice of design, that word sounds a bit grave or cold. Behind it though is a true artistic revolution, the precursor to 20th century design and architecture as we know it. Famous artists such as Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee were both professors of the Bauhaus School of Design.
Indeed, Bauhaus (literally translated as “the house of construction”), truly was a school. Created in Weimar in 1919 by Walter Gropius, a 36-year-old architect, the big idea of Bauhaus was no longer making the distinction between fine arts (art for the sake of art) and applied art (artistic objects)
Now back to my dearly beloved, the passion of my life, my muse…
Nomos Metro Datum Gangreserve
At first glance, the Metro globally resembles the Tangente Datum Gangreserve: a pretty, round case under 38mm, thin watch hands, a date window and a small second hand at 6 o’clock. An overall refined design, conforming to the traditional Nomos universe.
However, my new wrist companion is much better off than her colleague. By beautifully conforming to all the Bauhaus codes, she dons a much stronger identity that never gets old. Purity, minimalism and German precision sprinkled with little touches of meaningful color. Perfection.
Question of the day:
How can this beauty be so discreet, yet possess so much character?
A very 50s dial
Colored with ultimate precision, this watch dial moves me. The balance between design and legibility is perfect. The use of a cinnabar red for the second hand and the power reserve permits an instantaneous legibility, clear and precise. The pastel green, used for the principal hour markers and the power reserve window, give this Nomos a clear fifties style. In other words: the peak of the Bauhaus period which I so dearly love. This definitely isn’t mainstream.
Excellent legibility: The minute markers are distinguished by little black dots, with numerical indicators every 5 minutes, underlined and reinforced by more black and pastel green dots marking the hours. It’s an exemplary punctuation which, besides its daily utility, largely adds to the 50s charm of the dial.
The two watch hands – both having a certain style that I’m unfamiliar with – fit perfectly into the environment of dial. Their atypical form and finesse allow for perfect legibility. Well done.
A useful and playful power reserve
Let us talk now about one of the best highlights of this watch: its power reserve. Besides its obvious function, it is also ends up being the stylistical strong point of the Metro.
Main function? Yes, the Nomos Metro is a manual-winding watch. And as I often say: what’s the point of incorporating such an indication on an automatic watch? Isn’t it frustrating to see the power reserve gauge pretty much always inert?
A manual caliber and a 42-hour power reserve, I’m overjoyed: the gauge finally lives. She turns, as the hours go by, from white to cinnabar red, encapsulated within its pastel green window. A true painter’s palette, so much so that we almost never want rewind the caliber all the way, in order to never mask the different colors which it is made up of. Beautiful, n’est-ce pas?
A mannequin-sized case
The Metro is spoiled with a pretty little case -polished steel- which breaks away somewhat from other Nomos iterations. It’s made up of two parts, while most of the other models are made up of three. As such, the case also participates in the minimalism of the timepiece as a whole.
With a 7.63mm thickness and a 37mm diameter, the use of thread-style handles is well played and once again adds to the global purity of the Metro. Delicate, beautiful, we like it a lot.
Despite its average size, the bezel-less construction offers a very large watch face opening which, closed off with a slightly convex piece of glass, emphasizes the time markings depending on the inclination of the wrist. Far from being random, this was very well played.
“Tattooed and grooved :
Easily handled despite her small size…”
The crown. Oh yes, that crown. Comfortably handled -despite its small size- thanks to ingenious grooves which make manipulating it very simple. I finally understood that when the girl that made that joke mentions ‘tattoed’, that she was most likely talking about the engraved logo of the manufacture. I will not disclose the identity of said girl. She’ll know who she is.
A beautifully manufactured caliber
Since the Nomos Metro is defined by a subtle esthetic rupture from its colleagues, it’s only fitting that it should contain a movement worthy of its name. It is thus equipped with a DUW 4401 house movement, containing the house-made exhaust system: the Swing System. The bridges for their part are decorated, but with sobriety. As you learned above, it’s a manual-winding caliber with a 42 hour power reserve.
We also noted the presence of a crystal sapphire caseback much smaller than the total diameter of the case. Indeed, it’s only 23.3mm. We can conclude from this that the position of the second hand isn’t necessarily voluntary but actually imposed as a result of the small size of the movement.
A Cordovan watch band
The watch band? Black leather, or more precisely, a ‘genuine shell cordovan’, extracted from the subcutaneous layer of a horse’s hindquarters… To be completely honest, I’m not exactly loving this band.
Rhabilleurs Final Thoughts
You already know what I think. But what about the other? Well, surprisingly, it’s all-or-nothing. The middle-aged Omega Speedmaster guy will be left indifferent or utterly disdainful, while for the young architect from Lyon it will be love at first sight… In my case, I’m neither middle-aged nor an architect.
To conclude, I wanted to share some music with you. A song which does a good job of characterizing this timepiece that I hope I’ll be able treat myself to one day :
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