September 10, 2019
by Bilal Khan
A few months back, I wrote about the Nomos Club Sport Neomatik 42mm watch, and now I want to take a look at the Tangente Sport Neomatik, the other 42mm sport watch introduced by Nomos this year. The two big points of note with these new sport watches is that they are water resistant to 1,000 feet and feature the brand’s very comfortable and well-finished first steel bracelet. The Tangente Sport Neomatik arrives in two dial variants — a marine black dial and the model we gravitated toward, which is a white silver-plated dial with light blue hands.
This pair of releases has elicited some strong opinions about whether their relatively large size somehow makes them less “authentically Nomos” (my words summarizing these sentiments). I have a hard time wrapping my mind around how 42mm-sized additions to a collection that don’t change the existing smaller versions should bother anybody because said existing models are untouched. In other words, a Nomos Tangente reference 1901 in the 35mm-wide case that was produced before the introduction of this pair of 42mm watches, and one that was produced after, are exactly the same. The brand is simply expanding its audience, and as someone who has consistently appreciated the brand but found its offerings a bit too small, it’s a move I appreciate.
It’s not hard to see this Tangente Sport Neomatik as an upgraded (and larger) version of the Ahoi Atlantic Date. They both share the same distinctive crown guards and angular lugs but differ in case size (40mm wide vs 42mm), water resistance (200M vs 300M), movement (DUW 5101 vs. DUW 6101), and bracelet (fabric strap vs. steel bracelet). While preference over case width is subjective, the 10.9mm-thick Tangente Sport Neomatik is only slightly thicker than the 10.6mm-thick Ahoi Atlantic Date. In terms of price, the Tangente Sport Neomatik carries a moderate price premium of $320 over the Ahoi ($4,660).
The movement here is the in-house DUW 6101, which operates at 21,100 vph with a 42-hour power reserve. Of note here is the forward and backward quick-date mechanism.
The bracelet is the same as that on the Club Sport Neomatik and, rather than rewording my sentiments on it, here are my thoughts on the bracelet that I wrote quite soon after Baselworld when it was still fresh in my mind:
“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.”
The finishes on the case are really deliberate and well-done, and I find the lugs to be a standout aesthetic feature. Yes, Nomos is trying to attract a bigger American market here, but I can’t imagine anyone being more successful at pulling off a 42mm sport watch with this kind of water resistance while fully retaining a minimalist Bauhaus design sense. And by “minimalist” I don’t mean boring, as the Tangente Neomatik utilizes color, typography, and architectural casework.
As of one or two years ago, Nomos makes about 20,000 watches annually (though it could be slightly higher now, even a 25% increase would make their output 25,000 watches per year). These days, there is a strong desire from consumers for products that aren’t totally mass-produced. Nomos has positioned itself as a sort of “thinking man’s” watch brand that pretty much has the design-oriented, Bauhaus lane to itself in the $5,000-and-under bracket.
With a price just under $5,000, the Tangente Sport Neomatik is almost $1,000 more expensive than the Club Sport Neomatik and is positioned right alongside some very stiff competition. The Omega Seamaster 300M ($4,900 on strap, $5,200 on bracelet), Breitling Superocean Heritage ($4,985), and classic Tudor Black Bay ($3,725) are among the closest competitors you’ll find for the Tangente Sport Neomatik. If one’s argument is simply, “Why would you buy lesser-known X when you could buy more well-known Y?” or your hierarchal conceptions of brands have ossified to the point of total rigidity, then this is obviously not the watch for you.
However, I think the gambit Nomos is making with the two Sport Neomatik watches hinges on the likely accurate assumption that there are plenty of well-heeled buyers who prefer this design language over that of the traditional, bezel-heavy dive watches. That someone wants or needs serious water resistance without a design that screams, “I’m a dive watch!” isn’t a huge stretch. Again, the price of the Nomos Tangente Sport Neomatik is $4,980 and you can learn more at nomos-glashuette.com.