‘Elegance comes from being as beautiful inside as outside’ – Nomos Glashütte Metro Neomatik and Minimatik Champagne Hands-on
Editor’s note: This review is part of our ‘W.R.A.T.H’ series, or ‘What’s Really Available Today Here’ watch photo reviews. It is a new series where we go hands-on with watches that can at least at the time of writing be bought! For our other reviews of the latest novelties, please head here. For our in-depth reviews, please head to our dedicated review section here. Today’s watches are again brought with the grateful assistance of The Hour Glass Sydney.
The Watches: The more I look into the brand, the more intrigued I get. The more time I spend with their watches, the more impressed I am. NOMOS doesn’t really categorise its watches for men or women, so it’s a bit hard to put them into traditional categories. Their watches are very minimalistic as we all know, and given their architecture works for both the sexes, this strategy by NOMOS seems to work in their favour. After all, why not have watches that both the sexes can equally enjoy?! I reckon NOMOS hits the sweet spot here.
That said, when we looked at some of their offerings last week at The Hour Glass boutique here in Sydney, two of their timepieces stood out that both Jacqui — the other half of WYGDAI team and I, Joseph — could wear. And also interchange. These also had the exact same movement throttling under the hood. But on the first instance, given the different sizing and colour feel, we could also look at them as distinctively for men and women.
So for men, we chose the Metro Neomatik 39 Silvercut ref. 1114 and for women, its relatively recently launched — at Baselworld 2015 — younger sibling, the Minimatik Champagne ref. 1204.
Both the Nomos Glashütte Metro Neomatik and Minimatik Champagne sit within their own extensive collections. The former has a total of 13 variations. The latter has a total of 3 variations including a rather nice midnight blue version, all in a 35.5mm diameter steel case.
The prices for the Minimatik models range from $5’330 to $5’480 AUD. The Metro collection comes in a variety of sizes (33mm, 35mm, 37mm, 38mm, 38.5mm) and case materials (steel and rose gold). Besides the ones we looked at, I am personally partial to the first Metro, the 37mm ref. 1101 model, with a manual movement and a somewhat different looking power-reserve indicator. The prices for the Metro collection range from $3’480 AUD to $13’400 AUD.
For pricing reference, the Nomos Glashütte Metro Neomatik we are looking at today retails for $5’950 AUD and the Minimatik Champagne for $5’480 AUD.
Available At: The Hour Glass Sydney
Suited For: After spending some time, albeit brief, we came to the conclusion that the charm lies in the simplicity and the duality these have to offer. That’s the beauty of these timepieces – they are a rare sight in horology where they are suited for both men and women.
Our In-person Impression: Both the Nomos Glashütte Metro Neomatik and Minimatik Champagne are a good blend of past with the present. There is a certain timeless charm about the champagne dialled Minimatik, that in my opinion is the perfect execution of a faux-inspired vintage patina dial, almost salmon but not quite, and still completely covered in modern tones.
And the brushed finish of the rhodium-plated dial of the Metro Neomatik is simply irresistible.
Another thing, the wire lugs on the Metro pay tribute to the origins of wristwatches from the turn of the 20th century when pocket watches were being converted for wrist wear, that at the same time manage to look very contemporary.
Because they use the same movement, calibre DUW 3001, I preferred the case-back of the Minimatik compared to the Metro. In fact, if there is one flaw I could find with these timepieces, is that the movement looks that it’s designed for smaller diameter watches — 35.5mm of Minimatik — and feels a bit forced on the larger ones (38.5mm of Metro).
And now that I am nitpicking, Minimatik’s water-resistance of 30m should be increased to at least 50m to match Metro’s given these timepieces can easily be a part of anyone’s daily rotation collection and 30m from a practicality point of view is not quite enough.
Also, the 17mm lug interhorn spacing on the Minimatik is a bit on the unconventional side, and for people like me who like to swap out straps very frequently, it could be a slight hassle. On the other hand, the Metro timepieces feature a quick-change spring bar system with a lug width of 19mm, and that’s very welcome.
Also, after looking at the Autobahn models, I do miss the use of lume on these, and the decision to have it absent baffles me as on one hand NOMOS is going for, and has masterfully achieved I believe, the ability to produce attractive and highly legible watches. And the absence of lume totally negates that.
But these are finer details that many watch enthusiasts may choose to overlook, including Jacqui who appreciated them for their simplicity and pristine execution. At the end of the day, the lower water-resistance or unusual lug spacing or the slight difference between the dimensions of the movement and the Metro case size are not deal-breakers and frankly not even a talking point owing to the aesthetic beauty of these timepieces.
As far as the watch collectors are concerned, including myself, we would also have to give credit to the brand on its 10th in-house movement that’s seen it come a long way in a short span of time from using outsourced Peseux 7001 movements in its earlier days.
And if I look this from the perspective of a watch reviewer, then I understand the use of the same movement across a variety of models and sizes, as this production of calibre DUW 3001 allows NOMOS to incorporate this on a lager scale without adding to the costs of the timepieces.
Will You Like It: I have said this before in our recent review of the Nomos Glashütte Autobahn neomatik 41 and I will say it again, when it comes to NOMOS timepieces, the designs can be quite polarising. Individually, I realise that the Minimatik champagne can be a bit plain but I definitely can’t see anyone disliking the brushed dial of the Metro Neomatik. Yet it takes all kinds to make this universe, so I am sure someone out there won’t like any.
And that’s okay; NOMOS has their own design DNA that I reckon has in a short space of time managed to become iconic in its own right and that’s something that cannot be said for a lot of brands out there. The one place where NOMOS undoubtedly scores is in maintaining its distinctive brand identity, that in an ever-growing watch market is a rarity.
Coming back to the ‘will you like it’ part, if you look at both the Metro Neomatik and Minimatik Champagne as a unit, I can definitely argue that as a package they will be very hard even for the most cynical watch connoisseur to not admit that they are the perfect couples’ timepiece.
Elegant, dressy, timeless yet modern.
Do We Like It: In a nut-shell, yes, we do. Think about it for a sec; for the total retail cost of $11’430 AUD, you get two timepieces, both inter-changeable and stunning in their own rights. If this doesn’t help those guys who find it hard to convince their partners about buying new timepieces, I don’t know what will!
Where does it score: Its duality, minimalistic design, and timeless appeal. Both these pieces are elegance personified, but not in an elaborate and more high-end manner such as a Breguet timepiece but more like a no-nonsense, no-fuss, under-the-radar, value-for-money classic timepiece.
The Movement: Talking about elegance, a Coco Chanel quote springs to mind – “Elegance comes from being as beautiful inside as outside”. And talking about beautiful on the inside, both the Nomos Glashütte Metro Neomatik and Minimatik Champagne feature a decently decorated and mechanically impressive movement.
The heart used — DUW 3001 — is an in-house automatic movement that is used extensively across NOMOS’ timepieces.
The 12 ¾ ‴(or 28.8 mm) x 3.2mm — rather thin and impressive for a mass produced chronometer grade calibre — movement comprises of 27 jewels, beats at the frequency of 3Hz (21’600 vph) and offers an okay 43-hour power reserve. The movement is adjusted in six positions and features stop-seconds mechanism, tempered blue balance spring and screws, Glashütte three-quarter plate, rhodium-plated surfaces with Glashütte ribbing, and NOMOS perlage with golden engravings. And just like the Nomos Autobahn we reviewed recently, the movement also features one more technical advancement, the NOMOS swing system. It is an in-house built escapement that was first announced in 2014 and has since then allowed the brand to make its movements completely in-house.
As a matter of fact, if I am not wrong, any model from the brand that features the text ‘neomatik’ on the dial features this technology.
The calibre DUW 3001, is either cased inside a 38.58mm diameter and 8.3mm thick stainless steel case with a domed sapphire crystal glass — Metro — or a 35.5mm diameter and 8.8mm thick stainless steel case with bipartite domed sapphire crystal glass back and a domed sapphire crystal glass with anti-reflective coating on the front. It is this sizing disparity that I was talking about earlier that I see as a flaw. If you look at the case-backs, the 28.8mm diameter movement sits in nicely inside a 35.5mm case but feels out of proportion on the larger 38.5mm case. Also, given that the Minimatik also has less water-resistance, why it’s height is more than the larger version is a bit of a mystery to me.
Anything Else: Just like the Nomos Autobahn, both the Nomos Glashütte Metro Neomatik and Minimatik Champagne are embodiments of minimalistic elegance.
In terms of the case design, I like how the case makes use of a thin bezel and contoured lugs to draw the gaze towards the dial on the Minimatik models.
Even more so emphatic is the combination of yet again a thin bezel combined with wire lugs to really have the dial as the centre of attraction that’s present on the Metro version. In the latter, I also like how the syringe hands taper towards the end, further lending a more industrial, streamlined look to the dial.
It’s the subtle details at work here that really shine through – like the sunken azurage small seconds counter on both or the use of bright colours as indices.
Whether be it the rhodium-plated seconds hand that’s bright neon orange that sits in sync with the neon orange minute markers that together complement the galvanised champagne gold dial on the Minimatik or the bright red rhodium-plated seconds hand that works in harmony with the bright red indexes at 3, 9 and 12’o clock that together complement the silver rhodium-plated brushed dial, real beauty is in the details here.
The Verdict: These two NOMOS timepieces can be identified by a quote by Maurice Nathan Saatchi, a British-Iraqi businessman. On subtlety, it goes as follows: “Simplicity is the outcome of technical subtlety. It is the goal, not the starting point”.
In my understanding, these NOMOS watches make the use of a variety of subtle details that lead to the wonderfully distinctive result of simplistically marvellous timepieces.
Before we wrap up, just as a soft nudge, X’mas is coming soon. And the wedding season is always on, somewhere. When it comes to choosing unisex or couple’s watches as gifts, it doesn’t get better than this (especially at this price point). With the Nomos Glashütte Metro Neomatik and Minimatik Champagne, you get the best of both worlds.
To find out more about the Nomos Glashütte Metro Neomatik and Minimatik Champagne and other NOMOS timepieces, please head to their website here or visit their authorised retailer The Hour Glass at 142 King St, Sydney (02 9221 2288). All images unless otherwise stated are ©WatchYaGonnaDoAboutIt.
Please note that in the photos we took of the Metro version, the Horween Genuine Shell Cordovan leather strap had on one side changed colour from black to brown, owing to its extensive exposure to lighting.