NOMOS Glashütte, the German watch brand known for their accessibly priced in-house caliber equipped timepieces — has seriously upped their watchmaking prowess with the introduction of an all new movement featuring their own regulating system. The Metro, which launched in Baselworld last month, is the first timepiece with the new system.
To develop their own escapement, NOMOS Glashütte spent $15 million. This strategic move now, could prove to be crucial to the company’s future success, especially considering the Swatch Group’s obligation to supply watch components to outside companies ends in 2016. The investment ensures NOMOS Glashütte’s complete control of the movement production going forward.
The main components of the regulator (assortment) are: the balance wheel, balance spring, escape wheel, and pallet lever. Everything, with the exception of the balance springs, is made in-house. Why can’t NOMOS manufacture it themselves? It is extremely difficult to manufacture balance springs in-house. And so, for the time being, NOMOS outsources spring production to a small German manufacturing company.
The movement is obviously an important part of a mechanical watch, but that should not overshadow the beautifully designed new Metro timepiece itself. Martin Braun, a Berlin-based designer created the unique look of this watch, which NOMOS calls “urban elegance.” The Metro is presented in a mirror-polished stainless steel case that measures 37 mm x 7.65 mm. The nicely shaped wire lugs, combined with the conservative case size, makes for a great look and fit on the wrist.
The steel bezel is thin and is fixed in place. The dial, which is protected by a slightly curved sapphire crystal, is galvanized in a white, silver-plated tone that works great with the mint green accents. The hours are marked by printed round black or mint green indexes. The hour and minute hands are black. A black printed outer chapter ring marks the minutes. At 6 o’clock is a date aperture that, is wider at the bottom and tapers off towards the top. Just above that is a subsidiary small seconds display with circular guilloche-work, and a red second hand. The crown is in stainless steel, and while it is a small and fairly flat, it has a textured surface to assist with setting the time and winding.
The caseback is steel with a small sapphire viewing window that allows a view of caliber DUW 4401, a manually wound movement with 23 jewels and a 42-hour maximum power reserve. It has a stop seconds mechanism, has been adjusted in six positions, and features Incabloc shock protection to ensure accurate timekeeping.
As is the case with all NOMOS Glashütte movements, the finishing is above average. The Metro’s 4401 caliber has a Glashütte three-quarter plate with rhodium-plated surfaces and Glashütte ribbing and NOMOS perlage, Glashütte stop work, tempered blue screws and a ratchet and crown wheel with Glashütte sunburst decoration.
The NOMOS Glashütte Metro comes with a Horween black leather strap with buckle. The strap can be removed without a tool, instead all you need to do is slide the small lever on the backside of of each end of the strap, and the strap comes right off. Water-resistant to 30 meters. Retail price is $3,780. (Ref. 1101)