NOMOS Glashütte Tangente Midnight Blue
Long live hand-wound timepieces and the Alpha mechanical movement too.
A few days ago, while winding the NOMOS Glashütte Tangente Midnight Blue, an ironic and romantic old-school ad came to my mind; that ad states as follows: "This man is dangerous. He winds his watch by hand". Back in the days, I reckon that ad was (and still is) pure genius, and celebrated an action that is so rare today since automatic timepieces have flooded the market. Our pace of life is so frenetic, these days, that winding a watch is often regarded as a waste of time.
If you scroll through the list of products introduced over the past two years or so, you'll find out that hand-wound wristwatches are on the cutting edge once again. That ad is not old-fashioned; it is in line with the current market and industry trends. NOMOS Glashütte is firmly associated with its in-house automatic movement, known as neomatik, whose prowess is second to none: the brand invested millions Euro to guarantee their independence from ETA; yet, another mechanical caliber laid the foundations of the NOMOS story, and that caliber is the hand-wound signature Alpha movement.
I recognize a NOMOS Glashütte Tangente Midnight Blue is quintessentially a Tangente since it features squared lugs and a no-frills dial, but I believe the brand's designers and Product Marketing gurus teamed up to better enhance the hand-wound timepiece's foothold. They decided to open the case-back and let potential buyers enjoy the view on both the NOMOS Glashütte Tangente Midnight Blue (35mm wide) and the NOMOS Glashütte Tangente 38 Midnight Blue's display back. By doing so, a hand-wound and an automatic Tangente look comparable. The Alpha is a tiny movement: it is small, measuring ten and a half lines, and 23,3mm in height. It equips a case that, in its smallest sized variation, measures 35mm across. Also, it is pleasing and exquisitely finished: the signature three-quarter plate, which features Glashütte ribbing, is paired with contrasting blued screws and ruby bearings.
It is from my standpoint the best exemplification of the brand's Bauhaus-inspired vision: the dial is flat, with no date, showcasing a slightly recessed small seconds register placed at six. The 35mm size is too small for my wrist, and the head-to-head photo picturing one model alongside the other proves how different they are in size and feel.
The Tangente 38 Midnight Blue remains thin in its larger size as well, at 6,2mm across. It is thinner than any other automatic timepiece I'm used to, in the benchmark. The 37,5mm version is close to perfection when wrapped around a 20cm wrist like mine, the only letdown being the size of the crown: winding the watch was pleasing, yet not the most effortless operation to perform.
If I had to choose my NOMOS Glashütte Tangente 38 Midnight Blue, I would love to ideally combine the small-sized version's color palette to a 37,5 large case: once associated to gold hands and cream-colored Arabic numerals, that blue dial is just stunning, the brown suede leather strap being the cherry on the cake. Vintage cream luminous numerals make the Tangente look cooler, yet typically NOMOS. I believe NOMOS Glashütte should keep daring as they're doing by introducing such color combinations on most of its classic models, like they did when the NOMOS Glashütte Orion neomatik 41 olive-gold date display came out, for example.
Last but not least, an even larger version could easily enlarge the current product offering, and the customers' portfolio too. The NOMOS Glashütte Tangente Midnight Blue is a smart and stylish way to access the world of NOMOS Glashütte, at a fair price: € 1,420 and € 1,620 are acceptable retail prices considering you can get your hands-on a hand-wound, in-house produced and conceived three-hand watch. From Glashütte.
(Photo credit: Marco Antinori for Horbiter®)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®