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Hands-On: Nomos Tangente Sport Neomatik 42mm Watch With 1,000ft Water Resistance

Hands-On: Nomos Tangente Sport Neomatik 42mm Watch With 1,000ft Water Resistance Hands-On

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.

Hands-On: Nomos Tangente Sport Neomatik 42mm Watch With 1,000ft Water Resistance Hands-On

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.

Hands-On: Nomos Tangente Sport Neomatik 42mm Watch With 1,000ft Water Resistance Hands-On

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).

Hands-On: Nomos Tangente Sport Neomatik 42mm Watch With 1,000ft Water Resistance Hands-On

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.

Hands-On: Nomos Tangente Sport Neomatik 42mm Watch With 1,000ft Water Resistance Hands-On Hands-On: Nomos Tangente Sport Neomatik 42mm Watch With 1,000ft Water Resistance Hands-On

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:

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“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.”

Hands-On: Nomos Tangente Sport Neomatik 42mm Watch With 1,000ft Water Resistance Hands-On

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.

Hands-On: Nomos Tangente Sport Neomatik 42mm Watch With 1,000ft Water Resistance Hands-On

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.

Hands-On: Nomos Tangente Sport Neomatik 42mm Watch With 1,000ft Water Resistance Hands-On

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.

Hands-On: Nomos Tangente Sport Neomatik 42mm Watch With 1,000ft Water Resistance Hands-On

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.

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  • Rob Crenshaw

    “that pretty much has the design-oriented, Bauhaus lane to itself…”

    The Junghans Max Bill watches are just as, if not more, Bauhaus than the Nomos, and I find them much more elegant. They are also considerably less expensive than Nomos. For $5K you can buy 3-5 Max Bills.

    • Stuart Russell

      That’s very true but aren’t all Nomos watches powered by completely in-house movements? A selling point that only appeals to the enthusiast market, admittedly, but a distinctive position nonetheless.

      • Independent_George

        Plus Junghans uses acrylic crystals and off-the-shelf movements. Compare Nomos to Junghans side by side, and Junghans watches simply are not as refined as Nomos, from the case to the strap.

    • Eye Heart Sushi

      Was thinking the same. It’s not so much what can I get for $5K but how do I get that style on a decent timepiece for less. Junghans takes care of that.

  • SuperStrapper

    Well, if Nomos is the “thinking man’s” watch then colour me moron. I even understand and appreciate “Bauhaus” (I don’t prefer using the term considering how bastardized it’s become in horology) but nomos’ take is an almost insulting approach to it, as every watch is essentially the same. Like what they’re really trying to say is that this design language is shallow and uninspiring. The most subtle changes to case shapes or dial markings constitute entire new product lines, it all just seems like some stuffy joke. A buttoned-down version of the Simpsons episode where Homer visits the Duff brewery and no one seems to notice that Duff, Duff Dry, Lady Duff, and a few other varieties all come from the same tube that just branches off. There are just far to few degrees of seperation between nomos watches. The added water resistance might be ‘sportier’ but are we sure this is a sport watch?
    Bugatti can put knobby tyres and a 4×4 sicker on the side of a car and say they’ve developed a pickup truck, but that didn’t want mean you can take it to Home Depot and put a pile of lumber in it.

  • IanE

    My goodness, Nomos are getting pricey – I just don’t see any value here.

  • Swiss_Cheese

    It may just be my filthy monitor but there appears to be moisture spot underneath the date window…

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e135a939c151c5dcc51366893475103f019ff94c53cd9cf3985b348dda19446c.png

    • yyOhMy

      What I can’t stop looking at now is the white space in all of the hour decorations. Each one of them appears to have 1 or more corners not completely filled. It’s super picky and not sure you could see it in person easily, but can’t not see it now.

  • Mikita

    The proportions are gone. They made it bigger and now the lugs protrude above the wrist and the watch looks silly. For $5k it also doesn’t seem like a nice value proposition. If go minimalist, I’d prefer Grand Seiko.

    • Independent_George

      I agree your proportions comment. The “trick” with many Nomos designs is to minimize the bezel surface and to “push” information as far away from the center of the dial as possible, allowing the empty space in the center of the dial to kind of expand and give the illusion of a greater wrist presence, all while using smaller case dimensions . . .

      Well, that wasn’t so articulate, so I’ll restate it. Nomos watches wear great at 35 to 38mm. It allows smaller wristed folks to wear a watch with a bolder visual presence while larger wristed men don’t feel like they are wearing women’s watches. It might be why Raymond liked Nomos so much, even though he often wrote he has large wrists and most watches under 40-42mm look tiny on him.

      I tried this watch on and it didn’t look right on my 180mm wrist. And even though it’s only 42mm, it looks huge to me on Bilal’s 7.5 inch wrist. It looks like he’s wearing a small dinner plate. And while I appreciate what they are trying to do with the bracelet, and I’m not feeling it.

      I disagree with about GS and Nomos because I find them to be very different watches with very different approaches. I don’t even think that their customers even overlap that much.

      • Mikita

        Regarding visually expanding the dial on classy sized Nomos – exactly, this had always been one of their killer features, partly dictating their success. It worked wonderfully even for smaller wrists making the watch have tasteful “presence”. And now I’m just starting to feel that Nomos appear in some kind of bordeline crysis between obusing old successful approach for too long and now being too rushing with immature design choices.

        Regarding Grand Seiko – yes, I do agree those are completely different aesthetics, but I disagree on completely different auditorium.

  • I’ve always liked Nomos, and most of their watches work, because they (used to) offer a value proposition beyond just good looks.

    When the value proposition isn’t there, you pay more attention to the alternatives — of which there are many in this price range. Yes, the alternatives are not Bauhaus, but they are damn good designs in their own right.

    You can have your pick of the litter in the normal Grand Seiko line…
    You can get a Steel Zenith Ultra Thin for 1000 less than this Nomos…
    You can get a GOLD Zenith Ultra Thin for 1000 more than this Nomos…

    Let these facts sink in.

    • Independent_George

      I don’t have a problem with $5K for a Nomos. I wouldn’t buy this specific Nomos at any price, value or not, because I don’t feel it, but, in general, a Nomos at $5K that offers a very well-made, attractive and design-forward watch with an in-house movement is a value proposition to me.

      • I don’t have a problem with a 5K Nomos per se. The problem is that their expensive models (like the Lamda) are more “experimental” and not as balanced design-wise.

        When we get to the AHOI lines and higher, they veer off into more polarizing designs — those who love the designs will pay the extra premium — those who don’t will look elsewhere.

        Their best models IMO are in the 2-3K range (Orion is my favourite) and no bigger than 38mm. In that price segment they offer a refreshing alternative to the classic “sporty/dress” watch, and with great value to boot.

        Their expensive watches just feel like a different spin-off brand.

        If they offered a “better” version of their Orion at 5K I’d have no problem as I like their base design. As it stands none of their 4K+ models speak to me.

    • ray h.

      Thank you for point out actual alternatives, at least as you see them.

  • Jared

    Honestly I don’t think this watch even qualifies as a bauhaus watch. The dial is super busy and the blue hands are way in your face.

    “In your face” is like the opposite of what Bauhaus is meant to be.

  • Leonarr

    I see no point in having 1000 ft WR on a watch that isn’t a diver style one. It’s kinda like having a tachymeter scale on a watch that isn’t a chronograph (well, not as dumb but still).

    • AlbieC

      Agree! If you’re just trying to make a credibly durable “sport” style watch, 100-150M seems like the sweet spot to me (Like a Rolex Datejust or an Omega Aqua Terra). I don’t get “sport” watches, like the Royal Oak, that have WR less than 50M.

  • Jon Heinz

    Gonna start checking out this brand; I knew *about* Nomos for quite some time but never really checked ’em out. Here’s one that in no way looks like you’d even go in the pool for a length of time with it, yet here it is. That’s pretty darn cool. I’m not even complaining about the faux patina lume; it actually doesn’t look bad with the light blue. Now to get used to the thin, angular lugs…

  • Dufresne

    Love it. Just. Too. Big.

  • PR

    Nomos has lost the market but moving up and not having a killer new design in years. They are a solid slot under 3k. Now a lot of their line up is well above that and touching 5k which is just not a place to compete in unless you have something incredible going on.

    Problem is the base design has gotten a bit tired and playing with colors and sizing has made it awkward and the thin long lugs with flat bracelet and a huge gap was a look we left behind a couple decades ago.

    I find some new folks still intrigued and interested in the base club and tangente models but the up swing after that makes almost everyone I’ve spoken to scoff

    • Jared

      I think thats the case with a lot of watch companies

      they get one good design, then they milk it for all its worth

      When Nomos originally came out in 1990 they had a fresh new look. But its been 30 years of Tangente, which has gotten pretty stale at this point.

  • johnwithanh

    It looks good on its own, but for me an all brushed bracelet on an all polished watch looks like an idiosyncratic aftermarket purchase rather than a fully realized design idea. There’s nothing linking the two pieces together.

    • SuperStrapper

      Bauhaus meets eclectic. Get with it, man. *Snaps fingers*

  • DanW94

    This brand never really grabbed my attention. Their design aesthetic doesn’t do it for me. It has a “this is my first real mechanical watch”
    feel to it, which is perfectly fine. The problem is the price doesn’t have a “this is my first mechanical watch” feel to it.

  • FS1900

    I’ve been “hating on” Nomos for a long while, I’m glad some of y’all have finally caught up. It’s a brand for wanna-be-architects.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    The main problem is the huge lug to lug distance, that makes it look stupid on a wrist and it wears probably much biger than it is.

  • ray h.

    Are you…….Are you .. sponge Bob ?

  • PowNation

    A “metro” dive watch that really isn’t a dive watch. Metro dive is an oxymoron in itself and so goes for this watch. Lost purpose, lost opportunity to do something more inspiring. Too bad Nomos has lost its design aspirations.

  • David

    I’ve never understood all the love for Nomos, they don’t do anything for me.

  • yyOhMy

    I got really interested in nomos for the original metro with power reserve. The quirky off-centered turquoise power gauge, thin, and simple design. It still appeals to me a lot. I’ve lost the love for most of the rest of their collections though. Maybe still like the world time – need to try in person.

  • James Brickwood

    Yeah, I’m just paranoid about the salt. Although freshwater wouldn’t be great either.

    I personally prefer screw down crowns.

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