The Nomos aesthetic is often described as being Bauhaus, and while that may be the most straightforward way of describing the look and feel of their watches, the aesthetic is only one factor in their holistic approach to design, manufacturing and technology. Nomos is an operating example of the Deutscher Werkbund ideology, which predates the Bauhaus movement and informs not only design, but also strives to keep quality goods affordable by improving the efficiency of production and the longevity of the final product. So yes, the clean lines, sparse dials and general lack of ornamentation in Nomos’ watches can be described as Bauhaus, but the Deutscher Werkbund ethos runs much deeper and effects all levels of their business.


The Orion, like many of Nomos’ watches, features their Alpha hand-wound movement. Based on the design of the Peseux 7001, the Alpha is, aside from a couple of springs, made entirely in-house and features a Glashutte three-quarter plate design, hacking functionality, and a power reserve of 43 hours. The Peseux 7001 dates back to 1971 and has been used by many brands, including Nomos and Blancpain. In April of 2005, Nomos moved to exclusively using their own movements, including the Alpha and eventually the date-equipped Beta and more.

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Nomos’ movements feature Triovis fine adjustment systems, hacking seconds and are manufactured, assembled and finished in Germany. Their watches, which can be partly characterized by their spartan use of dial text, proudly show “Made in Germany” below the six o’clock marker. Adjusted in six positions, the Alpha movement is decorated with tempered blued screws, Glashutte ribbing and Nomos pearlage – all of which can be enjoyed via the sapphire display case back.


On wrist, the Orion 38 is light, bright and rather refreshing when seen popping out from under your shirt cuff, especially if you’re used to wearing sportier watches. Light has a massive effect on the dial design, the only constant being the contrast provided by the blued steel hands which flash blue in bright light but often appear to be almost black. The dial is warm in warmer light and almost white in cooler environments, all of which simply serves to accent the beautifully subtle stamped gold indexes.

The markers flash their true color in direct light but often take on a more subtle appearance. I generally don’t care for gold, but this minimal use is distinctive, effective and rather fitting for a dressy piece like the Orion. I found the Orion to be supremely comfortable thanks to its low profile, relatively light weight, and long curved lugs.

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Tried as I did, on a rather casual brown suede strap, the Orion 38 has a distinctly dressy or perhaps surprisingly fancy wrist presence. In the brief amount of time it was in my care, I found myself dressing up to match the tone set by the Orion. Yes, it works nicely with jeans and a t-shirt, but only in the same way that we might see Don Draper raking leaves in the yard on the weekend (in the days preceding his divorce from Betty). Like Don, the Orion seems more at home when dressed up a bit.

As the design is simple, effective and detailed, I found the Orion to be fairly versatile and it always seemed to add a touch of class to my wrist game. As with any Nomos design, you’re either going to like it or find it far too simple, too small or even bland (all of which are fair opinions, I suppose). I find the Orion to be effortlessly charming, the kind of watch that is beautiful, unassuming and constantly putting a smile on my face.


Charm aside, Nomos offers the Orion 38 seen here for just $2380 USD. While far from department store pricing, that is a serious value proposition that makes the Orion, and indeed many of Nomos’ watches, quite accessible. Assuming you’re on board with the styling, the Orion is very nicely made, eminently wearable and boasts an excellent movement that Nomos manufactures on site and has modified considerably for their specific requirements. The Orion feels timeless and the 38mm sizing is just right, offering a bit more wrist presence without spoiling the successful design of the original. With or without the date, I don’t think you can go wrong and if the Orion’s not right on your wrist, check out the Ludwig or Tangente, as they too have received a bump up to 38mm.

Necessary Data

>Brand: Nomos Glashutte
>Model: Orion 38 Ref 384
>Price: $2,380.00 USD
>Size: 38 x 8.8 x 48 mm
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes. Definitely.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Anyone who prefers simplicity over flash and needs a daily dress watch with a distinctive style. Also, any Saab driver.
>Best characteristic of watch: Signature Nomos design with distinctive dial details.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Long lug design may not suit a smaller wrist.

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