Case size is crucial in watch design as it affects not only comfort, but also proportion and the everyday practicality of the piece. With that in mind, it is remarkable what a difference a few millimeters can make when up-sizing a smaller model to suit a larger wrist. With the new Series 38, Nomos Glashutte has breathed new life into their Orion, Tangente and Ludwig models, while also introducing a 38mm version of the Orion with a grey dial. While likely still considered small by many tastes, the Series 38 is an exciting update that I was eager to see in person as Nomos exhibits a style and design philosophy that has always spoken to my tastes and a slightly larger version of the lovely Orion is definitely worth a closer look.
The 38 Series is comprised of four new models, three of which are essentially up-sized versions of their 35mm older siblings. The totally new model is the Orion 38 Grau and it is a design that is instantly recognizable as a Nomos, but varied in its use of a nicely muted tonal dial. The medium grey dial exhibits the signature Orion attention to scale and proportion with long elegant hands and a matching silver-tone marker layout. As with all of the Series 38, the Orion 38 Grau is powered by Nomos’ in-house and hand wound Alpha movement, designed in a three quarter plate layout with a 43 hour power reserve, 17 jewels and a small seconds display. The Alpha can been seen via the display case back and is fully decorated with Nomos pearlage, blued screws, and a sunburst treatment for the ratchet and crown wheel.
In person, the Orion 38 Grau is quite intriguing. Yes, like the entire 38 Series, it may still be a little small for some tastes but it is exceedingly elegant and a treat to have on wrist. I found the 38mm instantly acceptable on my seven inch wrist, likely thanks to the thin bezel and elongated lug design used for the Orion 38 case. Fantastically lightweight, the Orion 38 (Grau or otherwise) will easily fit under a shirt cuff thanks to its 8.86mm thickness. I really like the Grau and I feel that the reserved appeal of the grey dial could make for an excellent daily wearer, regardless of your dress code.
Also updated to 38mm are both the Tangente and the Ludwig. The Tangente uses a dial design with Arabic numerals for the even numbers while the Ludwig opts for Roman numerals. Both look excellent and offer a larger wrist presence compared to the standard 35mm models. If you often find yourself in need of a date display, the Tangente, Ludwig and the white-dialed Orion can be had with a tastefully proportioned date display at six o’clock. The range presented by the Series 38 offers a practical and nicely-sized Nomos option for nearly any dial preference, whether it be the more casual Tangente, the classic Orion, or the more ornate Ludwig. These designs were already very successful as 35mm models, but the 38 Series offers a more masculine platform for the same Werkbund ethos.
Finally, we come to my favorite of the Series 38, the standard Orion. The Orion has always been a lovely watch but the previous 35mm case sizing excluded it from my wrist as it is just a bit too small for my liking. I had the opportunity to try the Orion 38 on-wrist and its charm is undeniable. The white dial, yellow gold markers and blued steel hands create visual interest and variety without affecting the functional and legible aspects of the dial design. For those looking for a dressier watch with an appeal that is effortlessly elegant, look closely at the new Orion 38.
The new Series 38 will be available by May of 2013 and the pricing is very reasonable; $2380 USD for the Orion 38, $2440 for the Orion 38 Grau, $2140 for the Tangente 38, and $2080 for the Ludwig. All versions come with either a black or brown Horween shell cordovan leather strap that exhibits a little shine and is soft and quite comfy to wear. The Nomos Series 38 is a sensible but reserved update to a great line of watches that exemplify the hallmarks of the Nomos style. The Series 38 will make for an excellent daily watch which is backed by a capable movement, all at a very accessible price. What do you think? Does three additional millimeters make a big enough difference for you? Let us know in the comments below.