NOMOS Glashütte Lambda 175 Years Watchmaking Glashütte
A few years ago, I came across the following advertisement on the Internet: "This man is crazy; he's winding his watch by hand." That ad campaign wasn't exclusively promoting a brand, but a way of enjoying mechanical watchmaking, and a hand-wound timepiece over its self-winding counterpart. It encouraged people to strengthen their relationship with their everyday watch instead of quickly wrapping it around their wrist and rushing into the upcoming business meeting each day. I'm not disregarding the self-winding watch, and I'm not a vintage guy by any means, but I recognize a vintage watch has an advantage over most modern siblings: it is hand-wound.
Comparing a classic hand-wound watch to its self-winding sibling is like placing a BMW M2 CS alongside a BMW M3's latest iteration. They both represent the pinnacle of technical refinement, share many technical specifications, are top-performing machines in their respective classes, but are geared towards pretty different drivers' communities and offer a slightly different ownership experience too. The former is an analog, driver-focused, and man-and-machine closely connected sports car; the latter is an easier-to-use, tech-savvy take on the now-discontinued old formula, and a family sports car after all.
After introducing the 175-years-of-watchmaking commemorative Ludwig range of products, NOMOS Glashütte keeps celebrating such a remarkable milestone by revealing another trilogy, whose layout best represents what Saxon watchmaking is all about. The Lambda collection is a close call to the most demanding watch connoisseur, and it's hitting the headlines as never has done before, so far. Interestingly enough, commemorative collections are usually a chance to reveal new mechanical complications or introduce never-seen-before options, and so is with these three new Lambda models. Please welcome the NOMOS Glashütte Lambda in steel, now with a black, blue, or white enameled dial, for the very first time.
Is the Saxon brand privileging its more classic offering so far? I guess it is; I believe exquisite timepieces like the Lambda got forgotten somewhere else for quite a long time. However, bear in mind that you need to get your hands on one of these latest iterations of a Lambda, to fully appreciate the craftsmanship that went into each of these limited edition pieces. Unlike most Swiss or Japanese counterparts, you would most probably benchmark these new products against, the enameling process end-result is far more discreet and not as glossy, something which is hard to get from afar, and without any proper lighting set-up.
Regarding the Lambda watch collection, I have a soft spot for its uncluttered style since I first visited the brand's manufacture. It's my favorite NOMOS watch by any means, although I think the brand didn't exploit its full potential when it comes to pairing materials and color palettes. The NOMOS Glashütte Lambda 175 Years Watchmaking Glashütte broadens the audience by pairing steel options with a vintage-inspired silhouette, and the addition of decorations to make the recipe more compelling than ever before. Among its distinctive traits is the oversized dial (almost as large as the 40,5 mil case, across) with the superimposed broad power reserve gauge placed on top of everything else. It is no breaking news so far since these features are common to a Lambda watch's DNA.
The slim hour, minutes, seconds, and power reserve hands enhance visual purity; I wouldn't be surprised to discover they're the thinnest in the industry. The black dial option, which is the only one I got my hands on during our photo-shooting, is an intense experience and the commemorative Lambda to go if you're looking for a gala evening wristwatch, despite placing the blue NOMOS Lambda on top of my wish list. My only concern regards the Horween-supplied Cordovan leather strap. Thumbs up when it comes to build quality and leather selection, but it somehow looks like a replacement strap applied to Bauhaus-inspired design—a German no-frills style paired to a country-looking strap from the premium American tanner. I would have gone for a smaller, more German-feeling stitching on there, instead. It is something I experienced already when spending some quality time with the Ludwig.
A significant power reserve deserves an outsized power reserve indicator, and so does a NOMOS Glashütte Lambda. This piece of information, which is negligible on most self-winding timepieces, is a not-to-be-missed option on any hand-wound watch. The in-house made DUW 1001 caliber is a thing of beauty since it combines top-notch performance, exquisite decorations and a slim profile to attract the most grueling watch aficionado. It offers chronometric rating precision and comes standard with a respectable 3,5 days of power reserve when fully wound, an outstanding achievement for a mechanical movement this thick (3,6mm overall). Aesthetically, it is a feast for the eyes: the finely decorated signature three-quarter plate, the hand-engraved balance cock along with the swan-neck regulation system are the Saxon watchmaking's hallmarks. Each variant of the NOMOS Glashütte Lambda 175 Years Watchmaking Glashütte comes in a one-shot run of 175 pieces, and I believe they will sell out quickly, given the rather attractive 5,800 Euros sticker price.
(Photo credit: Marco Antinori for Horbiter®)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®