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Life in the fast lane: The Nomos Autobahn

June 23, 2020

Heritage and tradition are words that feel sacred in watchmaking, weather you are a journalist, a collector or a watchmaker, these 2 words aren't questioned very often, I believe this is why is so hard for any watch brand to really stand out, this kind of approach can help the industry to stay true to its core values but also hurt them when it comes to think outside of the box. As a watch enthusiast I love traditional watchmaking weather is Swiss heritage, German precision or Japanese reliability, they will make me happy as I will be in my comfort zone but, it also means that as soon as I see something new and fresh I go head over heals for it.

Any dial with a different layout, a different case or a new technique feels more exciting than any new limited edition with a new dial color. Here is where Nomos Glashutte shines, founded in 1990 the company is the largest manufacturer of mechanical time pieces in Germany, this is quite an achievement as 30 years in the world of watchmaking a company would still be considered to be in is infant years, lets remember that companies like Vacheron Constantin have almost 250 years of existence. The rise of Nomos has been quite fast but by no means this affects their quality or brand equity, the company has managed to create iconic pieces focusing on the design based on a finish that even Phillipe Dufour praises.

One of these iconic designs is the Nomos Autobahn, I believe is only natural progression before a chronograph comes to the lineup  but in the meantime speed has been reflected in this unique piece which has one of the most beautiful dials I've seen in the industry, lets begin.

 

The specifications:

The galvanized white silver dial is a master piece, it has so many details like a curved dial which extends until the edge of the case and a domed sapphire crystal covering the beautiful lume stripes markers, all of this inside a 41mm polished stainless steel case making this watch stand out like a Macbook pro in a room full of boring Lenovo's PCs.

The watch of course has the company's flag ship movement which is the in house automatic calibre DUW 6101, we all know the wonders of this movement like the Nomos swing system and  its  only 3.6mm of height giving the Autobhan an elegant 10.5mm profile. The movement is finished to perfection and just like every Nomos it includes features like blued temperate screws, 'Perlage' decoration and bidirectional date correction, all mounted in a traditional German three quarter plate visible trough a sapphire case back.

 

On the wrist:

The Autobahn is a wonder to wear, I cannot remember the last time I looked at the watch just to see the time, I keep staring at this beautiful canvas just to admire the use of colors and beautiful aesthetics. The watch is very light and comfortable, the 41mm feels just like a 41mm watch, those curves at the edge of the dial really stand out with bezel this thin. I cannot imagine the process of designing this watch, obviously the face of the piece is inspired by motor racing but it looks faster than any chronograph layout I have encountered. That minute hand combined with the lume stripes in the top part of the dial make the whole watch look like a speedometer from those times when drag races cars and leather jackets were the norm, if you have one of them you must be having a gas.

 

Conclusions:

It must be really hard for Nomos to release a new watch, they have a huge amount of enthusiast and design gurus who are just waiting for this Glasshutte based company to come out with the next big thing.

I can definitely imagine the team asking themselves the odd question when designing the piece: ''is this watch Nomos worthy?'' the Autobahn definitely is, it  has Nomos language and feels so organically placed in the line up, it is hard to believe that the Autobahn has been part of the family for around 3 years already. Wearing this watch is like going to a Drive-in cinema to watch Netflix, it has that nostalgia of a vintage object but at the same time feels 2020. 

Is not up to me to tell you how amazing this watch is, I believe that all the details speak as clear as possible, if you look at the current Swiss approach to watchmaking you will find that there is nothing like this at the moment,  there is no surprise why many watch enthusiast are looking German and Japanese offerings,  they are becoming more appealing as they don’t try to focus on the luxury aspect as much but rather the quality and passion of their watches.

 

More information at www.nomos-glashuette.com

 

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