It might be a tiny town in Saxony, but many wonderful things happen in Glashütte. Just months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Roland Schwertner founded the brand Nomos and set up its workshops in Glashütte alongside some of the most revered German brands. With its trendy Berlinerblau design studio based in Berlin, Nomos has translated German watchmaking traditions into a more contemporary, minimalist, immediately recognisable language. The latest model is a refreshed version of the Ludwig neomatik 41 date with a surprising twist. Although date windows are the source of much debate in the watchmaking community, the Ludwig underscores its classical temperament by displaying the date with Roman numerals.
Scholars pursuing a degree in Classics are well-versed in Latin and ancient Greek. If the Ludwig collection – a line-up of slim models distinguished by elegant Roman numerals and serene, minimalist dials – could speak a foreign language, it would undoubtedly be Latin. Sober, elegant and refined, the Ludwig is a case study in restraint, the quintessence of a classic dress watch.
The latest Ludwig Neomatik 41 rings in the New Year with a new way of displaying the date. Unlike the former Ludwig model with a date window occupying the position of the 4 o’clock index, this version has relocated the date window to the more classical 3 o’clock position and substituted the Arabic numerals for Roman ones.
I’m not sure if Roman numerals have been used in date windows in the past, but it is pretty unusual. However, if you think about it, it makes perfect sense, and the folk at Berlinerblau have come across an original yet formidably logical solution.
The Nomos Ludwig neomatik 41 date comes in a simple, round, polished 40.5mm stainless steel case with a slim height of 7.7mm and long, straight lugs (51mm lug-to-lug) that slope downwards. Fitted with a large crown engraved with Nomos, the practically non-existent bezel allows the dial plenty of breathing space.
As everybody knows, making something simple is usually very hard. The balance and proportion of the elements on the dial belie the expert hand of Berlinerblau’s design team. The black Roman numerals might be classical, but their thin elongated lines reflect a more contemporary design language. The Roman numerals are accompanied by a black minutes track with 5-minute intervals represented by Arabic numerals and a slightly recessed snailed small seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock, also with Arabic numerals. Slender tempered blue hands indicate the time functions, and the typography of the inscriptions is another distinctive Nomos touch along with design details, like ‘neomatik’ picked out with golden, slightly raised letters.
Occupying the classic position at 3 o’clock on the dial, the large date aperture reveals black Roman numerals that are surprisingly easy to read. Looking closely, you can see that the window is not a perfect rectangle and has a slightly rounder border on the left side. Given the large diameter of the watch, the fact that the date window is not floating somewhere in the middle region of the dial but positioned at the edge of the dial is not just attractive but speaks about the movement powering the Ludwig neomatik date.
Powering the Nomos Ludwig neomatik 41 date is the Nomos in-house DUW 6101 calibre with a patented and integrated date mechanism placed around the movement on the perimeter. In turn, this solution means that the date is positioned on the edge of the dial, a rarity in timepieces over 40mm. Fitted with a heart-shaped programme disc that allows the pawl to advance the date window on every fourth revolution, the 35.2mm movement retains a skinny height of 3.6mm. Incorporating user-friendliness, the date can be set in both directions with a few turns of the crown. The precision of the neomatik date movement is enhanced by incorporating the proprietary escapement with a tempered blue balance spring known as the Nomos Swing System. Finishings that honour the Glashütte watchmaking tradition include the three-quarter plate with Glashütte ribbing (also used on the openworked rotor) along with the tempered blue screws and Nomos perlage on the mainplate. The power reserve is 42 hours.
Availability & Price
The Nomos Ludwig neomatik 41 date comes with a black Horween genuine shell cordovan leather strap with a winged stainless steel clasp. This thick, smooth, robust and high-quality leather is made by the American company Horween and is taken from the hindquarters of a horse. The watch retails for EUR 3,140 and can be ordered directly on the brand’s website, nomos-glashuette-com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.