April 3, 2019
by Bilal Khan
I finally feel seen by Nomos. And by that I mean that for someone with a 7.5-inch wrist and a taste that skews on the sportier side, the new Nomos Club Sport Neomatik is the first piece from the brand I’ve worn that is neither too small nor too dressy. Some notably vocal people have had difficulty accepting the brand’s decision to offer two models in 42mm but I’m finally feeling like Nomos is competing for my business by sizing up and simultaneously introducing its first bracelet, which is impeccably done. Most importantly, the design DNA is kept in tact.
It’s a move that Nomos must be confident in, since this is the first time the brand is testing the waters of the insanely competitive landscape of sports watches priced between $4,000-$5,000. In my estimation, time in the metal and on the wrist with this watch and the pricier Tangente Sport has me seeing Nomos in a new light. Namely, as a brand I could see myself owning, rather than an abstract watchmaker for people with wrists smaller than mine.
There’s a misconception out there that Nomos is promoting the Club Sport Neomatik as a dive watch, but they never actually say this, so I’m not sure where that idea came from. They do call this a sports watch, which the new steel bracelet and 1,000 feet of water resistance justify. While the case size of 42mm is the largest Nomos has ever made, they’ve shortened the long lugs on the Club here, so it wears less dressy, and is on the smaller end of its measurements.
Nomos clearly has the intention for the Club Sport to be an everyday wear, given the “sport” designation and 1,000 feet of water resistance that’s clearly stated on the dial. (I refuse to pontificate on the meaning behind the use of feet over meters.) It’s an interesting gambit to provide the very German, very minimalist ethos of Nomos but in a package that’s just a little more, well, American.
Measuring 42mm-wide and 10.2mm-thick, the Club Sport does get the benefit of a relatively slim case, even if the width is on the higher side for the brand. The steel case has an exhibition caseback and a domed sapphire crystal that, thankfully, has double-sided anti-reflective coating on the dial. This goes a long way with legibility, as do the white hour and minute hands, which contrast with the black dial. The hand and hour markers are liberally coated in lume (it was difficult to get a photo of this in the Baselworld environment), which glowed as I moved my wrist under the desk I was sitting at.
What Nomos does really well is the date window. They keep the date disc background in black and digits in white in order to match the rest of the dial. They also don’t try to hide the date window, as it’s noticeably larger than you’re used to seeing on a majority of watches.
Beneath the seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock is the gold text that simply reads “1000ft” which really says all it needs to about that. It’s a simple, classic Nomos dial that looks at home in a 42mm case, just as it would a smaller one.
Much of the discussion about these new Nomos sports watches is going to revolve around the new bracelet that’s debuted on this line. Nomos had previously used a bracelet on the entry-level Club Campus model, though the two are quite different. The new bracelet has larger links that make for a distinctly more masculine look and feel. I think Nomos opts to call all its watches unisex, but you can immediately tell this new watch and bracelet was designed for a buyer who is shopping around for what would, colloquially, be placed in the “men’s watch” category.
The links that make the bracelet are still narrow when you look at other brands, but the uniform shape and 20mm width come together in a final product that colors well within the lines of the Nomos design language, while drawing in people like myself. The horizontally brushed 145-piece bracelet is screwed together by hand and has an easy-to-use and solid-feeling deployant clasp. Personally, bracelets that have close-together links make me a little anxious at first, since arm-hair pulling has been an issue, but I really didn’t experience any problems with comfort or ease of wear in the 20 minutes or so I wore the piece. Oh, and I also like the pinholes you can see on the inner-side, as they add a great industrial look.
I did hear some talk, though not a lot, of hope for an integrated lug with this bracelet. I can’t say how happy I am that Nomos didn’t do this. It would make the audience so niche and bracketed, as well as the fact that I’d be a hard “pass” on it personally. As it is now, the Club Sport Neomatik shows that you can appreciate Bauhaus-style and Nomos design without coming off like a dilettante.
Finally, because Nomos is all about the details, the strap has an easy-release system for when you’d like to resize the bracelet or change out the strap.
Inside both the Club and Tangente Sport watches is the in-house automatic DUW 6101 movement. Considering the water resistance here, the case thickness of 10.2mm is really made possible by how slim this movement is at 3.6mm thick. The movement operates at 21,600 vph and has a 42-hour power reserve. Functionally, the forward and backward quick-date mechanism is a very welcome asset here.
The three crown positions allow for manual wind on the first pull, quick-date set on the second, and setting time on the third. In a very Nomos touch (and one I completely forgot to photograph …Basel-brain, sorry), part of the tube of the crown is done in red. This way, if the crown isn’t sufficiently screwed down, you’ve got warning. It’s a thoughtful touch.
The Nomos Club Sport Neomatik is the right direction for the brand, as it stays true to why people have been so drawn to them, while expanding their appeal. On a 7.5-inch wrist, both this watch and the Tangente Sport hit the sweet spot. But what about price? Just a hair over the $4,000 mark, we are looking at territory a notch above the usual competitors. For instance, pieces like the new Breitling Superocean Automatic 42 ($3,950), Grand Seiko SBGR255 ($4,100), and IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII ($4,150) are not really direct competition when it comes to design and style, but they do mark that same general price territory where buyers begin to browse brands at that level.
I say this as a testament to Nomos because I doubt they’d price this watch at $4,060 USD if they weren’t confident that someone seeking a versatile everyday watch that stands out from the pack, while carrying design-enthusiast cred, would be a convert when trying it on. I know I was. You can learn more over at nomos-glashuette.com