NOMOS Glashütte

Nomos Glashütte is a premium German mechanical watch brand founded by Roland Schwertner in 1990.

There are approximately a dozen watch manufactories in the world, three of which are in Germany and all of these are in Glashütte. One of them, the smallest, is NOMOS Glashütte.

Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, much of the GDR’s industry was dismantled, including the East German state owned watch making factory, GUB, situated in Glashütte. The town had a proud watch making tradition that existed long before the wall was erected. But back in the late 1980s all the industrial facilities were antiquated, most of the specialists were gone and almost all of the watches produced in the GDR had quartz calibres. Gray houses, streets that weren’t fit to drive on and depressed people. Hardly a house had an inside toilet and in winter a thick cloud of smelly brown coal dust hung over the town. In 1990 Glashütte looked like most places in what was still East Germany.

Roland Schwertner

Roland Schwertner, a MBA from Dusseldorf, dared to make a new start of things – even before Germany’s reunification – with a name that had already existed once, nearly 80 years before: NOMOS Glashütte. In his dilapidated three-room apartment, Schwertner – together with three employees – started creating a watch workshop factory. Subsidies only became available in the 1990s; initially it was friends who lent the small firm money.

It took a while, though, until things started to look up. Water, sewage and gas pipes were laid in the town; new streets were built. Buildings and facilities were renovated and restored like mad and the town’s watch making companies were able to deliver their first models. But not with their own, real Glashütter movements as they do today: back then NOMOS made do with calibres bought in Switzerland that were then finished and refined in Glashütte.

NOMOS’s Headquarters

Today, in NOMOS’s headquarters – Glashütter’s renovated old train station – lots of new art hangs on the walls and about 70 people make watches that are sold all over the world. And in 2005 Tangente, Orion, Tetra and Ludwig – the firm’s already well established design classics – got a new sibling: NOMOS’s first automatic watch, the Tangomat. Ever since manually wound calibres were produced by NOMOS Glashütte and ever since the first automatic movement was constructed here in its entirety, NOMOS has been a manufactory and is one of the aforementioned dozen in the world.

Glashütte  has long been up to West German standards and its watch industry, which, back in GDR times, preached to be so without practicing, is now up to „world standards.” NOMOS Glashütte, the only one of the town’s three manufactories that is still independent, has grown up. In addition to all the affordable manual and automatic watches for which NOMOS is renowned, the company has also long since produced its own chronometers and tourbillons, right here, in Glashütte.

Today, the watchmaking company belongs to five partners—with four of them working there. NOMOS Glashütte is therefore independent and not part of any conglomerate. NOMOS Glashütte currently has a staff of 250 employees. The great majority of them, around 220, work in Glashütte—including the company’s own department for research and development. This department is responsible not only for the development of calibers but also for their extreme production depth. Furthermore, it can take credit for several patents.

Over 30 employees work for the subsidiaries NOMOS Glashuette USA in New York and the in-house creative agency Berlinerblau in Berlin, which is responsible for branding, designing watches, and everything else that goes with it.

Time Line

  • 10 January 1990: Roland Schwertner establishes NOMOS Glashütte.
  • 1992: NOMOS has three employees; production begins in private dwellings. The company produces four models: Tangente, Orion, Ludwig and Tetra.
  • 1997: The firm expands to a workforce of 14 and moves into its own facilities in Altenberger Straße.
  • 1997: With the construction of a second stop for the existing movement – a refined ETA caliber – NOMOS’s takes its first step towards becoming a manufactory.
  • 2000: Uwe Ahrendt becomes the company’s second manager.
  • 2000: NOMOS grows and now has 31 employees. The chronometry becomes NOMOS’s second location in Glashütte.
  • 2001: NOMOS presents the first date mechanism. It is patented.
  • 2003: NOMOS presents the first power reserve mechanism. This is also awarded a patent.
  • 2004: The town‘s former train station is chosen as the company’s new headquarters. NOMOS buys and substantially renovates it.
  • 2004: The special edition model, Super30, is a hit: it sells out within a few months.
  • 2005: With the construction of its own first automatic calibre (Tangomat), NOMOS becomes a manufactory.
  • 2006: The first chronometer watches, which NOMOS developed for Wempe’s chronometer facility, are presented.
  • 2007: NOMOS introduces a new watch model – the Club.
  • 2008: NOMOS introduces a new, second automatic watch; the Club is now available in four different models: Club, Club Date, Club Automatic, Club Automatic Date.

Manufacture Movements
NOMOS Glashütte is the watchmaking company that makes everything in-house. All ten calibers are proprietary and produced on-site in Glashütte. This is exceptional in the watchmaking industry. Thus, NOMOS Glashütte can ascertain the quality of its calibers. NOMOS Glashütte crafts its own timepieces without external know-how and with a proprietary escapement, the NOMOS swing system. This makes the company technologically independent. Only a few producers in the whole world are at all capable of independently producing this vital component of a mechanical watch movement.

A true innovation in the market is the new and extremely thin automatic caliber DUW 3001. This movement ticks in the neomatik series—and sets a new standard in watchmaking. Automatic movements by other producers are considerably larger, less precise, or markedly more expensive. This is due to the fact that they cannot be produced in series. With DUW 3001, NOMOS Glashütte can grow further: In the future, automatic timepieces will make up the larger part of the production.

In-house Movements

  • α (Alpha): Manually wound movement
  • ε (Epsilon): Automatic movement
  • ζ (Zeta): Automatic movement
  • DUW 4101: Manually wound movement
  • DUW 4301: Manually wound movement
  • DUW 4401: Manually wound movement
  • DUW 2002: Manually wound movement
  • DUW 1001: Manually wound movement
  • DUW 5201: Automatic movement
  • DUW 3001: Automatic movement
  • DUW 6101: Automatic movement

Watch Collections

  • Tangente:  This prize winning classic has been a continuous bestseller for over 25 years. With its now-famous typography, the timeless model is available in various sizes, manual or self-winding, with a date display or power reserve indicator.
  • Metro: This youthful and cosmopolitan watch was designed by the industry-acclaimed Mark Braun. With its clear minute markers, fine hands, and curved sapphire crystal glass, this watch is not just a favorite of international design prize juries. It’s also a sensation on the inside: The NOMOS swing system, the watchmaking company’s proprietary escapement, ticked for the first time from within this watch. Metro is available in manual or automatic versions.
  • Ludwig:  This watch translates classicism into today, and has done so for over 25 years. Subtle and yet instantly recognizable: roman numerals, fine indexes, a particularly slender bezel and lugs—this model demonstrates what is so hard to find these days: poise. Available in both small and large, its inner values are impossible to ignore—whether with manual or automatic winding, with or without a date.
  • Tetra:  Watch hands move in a circle, and yet this watch is square: This shape simply looks better on some wrists. Tetra is a fine Glashütte timepiece; straightforward, clear, and perhaps rather independent-minded. This watch comes in various sizes, as an automatic or hand-wound; including the white-silver-plated model, and those with more vibrantly colored dials, like the Petit Four series.
  • Orion: This watch is more refined, restrained, and elegant than the timepieces that have gone before. Whether all in white or blushing in light rose: Orion appeals with its undeniable elegance—and even with an automatic caliber, this watch remains as slender as the classic manual model. It is available with or without a date.
  • Minimatik: This is an archetypal and very elegant timepiece. Minimatik is the model with which NOMOS Glashütte introduced the neomatik caliber DUW 3001. It features a great deal of handcraft from Glashütte, a little high-tech— and outstanding product design, ‘made in Germany’. To date, there are three versions of this award-winning automatic watch.
  • Club: It is one of the most robust, youthful, and sporty NOMOS models. The case made of stainless steel and sapphire crystal glass takes knocks small and large in its stride. And its inner values add up too: with the handcrafted, high-end in-house built calibers from Glashütte, sometimes manual, sometimes automatic. Club is available with or without a date.
  • Ahoi: So robust and beautiful at the same time—that’s a rarity in the world of fine mechanical wristwatches. The back, held firm by six screws, the screw-down crown, and crown guard all ensure that everything stays water-resistant to 20 atm. The blue-black textile strap is water-resistant too; luminous indexes and hands tell the time, even in the depths of the ocean. This automatic watch is available in large and small sizes, with or without a date.
  • Tangomat : For those who can’t get enough of the NOMOS bestseller Tangente: Here’s its big brother with a somewhat thicker case, larger diameter, and an automatic caliber. Straightforward, clean design, with or without a date—this multiple-prizewinning timepiece quickly established itself as a classic. Tangomat GMT has the time for globetrotters and those with wanderlust: Airport codes denote 24 time zones around the world.
  • Zürich:  This award-winning automatic timepiece was created by the Swiss designer Hannes Wettstein with a slender bezel, striking lugs, and refined angles. In Zürich world time, NOMOS Glashütte combines 24 watches in one: It knows the local time almost everywhere, and tells the time there at the click of a button.
  • Lux: Exceptionally fine, outstandingly beautiful, in 18 kt rose or white gold: Lux is possibly the boldest, perhaps even the most imposing watch of all the timepieces to come from NOMOS Glashütte—and ticking proof of what the watchmaking tradition in Glashütte has to offer. Within the five versions of this model ticks hand-wound caliber DUW 2002, majestic down to the finest detail: like the hand-polished and beveled edges, fine sunbeam polishing, and screwed gold chatons.
  • Lambda: Representing the art of watchmaking at its most sophisticated level, this gold watch is now considered one of the best to ever come from Glashütte. A glimpse through the sapphire crystal glass back reveals its innermost beauty: manual-winding caliber DUW 1001 with hand-polished ratchet parts, the three-quarter plate with exclusive sunbeam polishing, and screwed gold chatons. The hand-engraved balance cock reads “Mit Liebe in Glashütte gefertigt” (lovingly produced in Glashütte).
  • AUTOBAHN: Werner Aisslinger has collaborated with NOMOS Glashütte to design a new watch for the new neomatik date caliber. Decisively clear forms and bold, yet perfect surfaces are characteristic of this sporty timepiece.
Prizes and Awards

NOMOS Glashütte is a member of the Deutscher Werkbund, the precursor to both Bauhaus and the Ulm School. Straightforward German product design with a dash of Berlin: Renowned designers such as Werner Aisslinger, Mark Braun, and Axel Kufus work alongside young creatives on the best timepieces. Their work has been recognized with over 130 international prizes and awards—including the iF Product Design Award, Red Dot, and the Good Design Award, each multiple times.

Official website: http://www.nomos-glashuette.com

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