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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

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

Watch Collections

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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