Balancing minimalism with functionality is no easy task in watch design. It’s a simple enough process to develop a restrained timepiece (although making an attractive one is a deceptively nuanced process), but adding capability without detracting from that simple cleanliness is a balancing act that few watches manage. Few brands in the modern era are as dedicated to the Bauhaus-esque minimalist aesthetic as NOMOS, but just because the brand remains within its signature technical style that doesn’t mean it’s not capable of variety. With that in mind, then, what does it look like when NOMOS designs a full-blown sports watch? Strictly speaking, the Ahoi collection is not a new addition to the NOMOS lineup, but the new-for-2023 midsize Ahoi Neomatik Date notably reshapes what a NOMOS sports watch can be. The new NOMOS Ahoi Neomatik Date combines the most recognizable aspects of the brand’s design language with true dive-ready durability for an offbeat, intriguingly minimal alternative to traditional sports watches.

Although it may measure in at 38.5mm-wide on paper, in practice the NOMOS Ahoi Neomatik Date’s stainless steel case offers a dramatically different wearing experience than a comparably sized traditional sports watch. Those familiar with the brand’s lineup might see more than a passing resemblance to the long-running Tangente series in this case design, albeit with a small concession to durability. The bent straight lugs, the all-dial stance, and the simple, fully polished cylindrical case body all speak to more of a classic dress watch than anything equipped for undersea work, but that’s where the genius of this case’s construction comes in. Other than a set of low, wedge-shaped crown guards, there’s no outward indication that this is anything but another dress design, but thanks to tight tolerances and a screw-down crown, this minimal case offers a hefty 200 meters of water resistance. While its lack of a dive bezel may limit its real-world usefulness underwater, the Ahoi Neomatik Date is still dedicated to the idea of functionality. To this end, the crown tube has an anodized red ring to help prevent accidental immersion when the crown is unscrewed. Around back, the Ahoi Neomatik Date is available with either a solid caseback or a large sapphire display window. Thankfully, our review sample came in with the layer, affording a generous view of the impeccably finished in-house movement.

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Available in either pale blue Sky or champagne gold Sand hues, the NOMOS Ahoi Neomatik Date’s dial continues the trend of maintaining the brand’s design language with only subtle concessions to sporting use. The lumed stick handset and the diminutive rectangular lume plots outside the printed hour markers are the only visual shift from the brand’s dressier offerings, which leaves the rest of the dial layout free to engage in NOMOS’ unique brand of colorful German minimalism. Both dial options accent their summery, muted colors with a subtle matte surface, giving these models tastefully restrained light play without fully committing to a more vibrant finish. This allows the orange hand of the small seconds subdial to become the natural visual centerpiece, highlighting this vital information and adding a sense of fun to the proceedings here. The mix of slender Arabic numerals and printed batons at the hours is a classic NOMOS touch, as is the use of perfectly color-matched date wheels for the 3 o’clock date displays.

NOMOS powers the Ahoi Neomatik Date with its in-house DUW 6101 automatic movement. Finished in a mix of classically German and more modern styles, this handsomely appointed movement features a striped three-quarter plate, blued screws, perlage across the mainplate, and an ornately engraved skeleton rotor featuring raised gold lettering and additional striping. Performance-wise, the DUW 6101 is more of a mixed bag. It offers an average 42-hour power reserve at a 21,600 bph beat rate but averaged out to an impressive +4 seconds per day over our testing period. Both color variants of the NOMOS Ahoi Neomatik Date are fitted with two-piece nylon straps – blue Sky models receive a midnight blue strap, while tan Sand models are paired with medium gray. Soft, comfortable, and light, these straps fit the sporting side of the Ahoi Neomatik Date’s character well, but the way they undercut the dressier elements of the design may prove divisive among enthusiasts.

Engineering a watch that looks classically dressy, but performs like a diver is no easy achievement, but the new NOMOS Ahoi Neomatik Date accomplishes this goal with refined, unorthodox charm. It may not replace a dedicated sporting timepiece in most collections, but the watch’s blend of austere Bauhaus aesthetics and capable performance make a powerful case for this being an ideal travel companion, handling elegant dinners and ocean excursions with equal aplomb. The NOMOS Ahoi Neomatik Date is available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for the watch stands at $4,320 USD for steel-backed variants and $4,660 USD for sapphire-backed models as of press time. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.

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Necessary Data
>Brand: NOMOS
>Model: Ahoi Neomatik Date
>Price$4,660 USD
>Size: 38.5mm wide, 9.9mm thick
>When reviewer would personally wear it: As a one-watch vacation solution, or when matching a minimalist outfit.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Bauhaus or minimalist fanatics in need of something a bit more rugged.
>Best characteristic of watch: Impressive capability in such a sleek and formal package; beautiful movement finishing; intriguing use of color.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Love-it-or-hate-it design concept; ambitious pricing.

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