When most people think of fine watches, they think Rolex and Switzerland. Which makes sense, as Rolex has been making supremely high quality watches forever and most high end watches come from Switzerland, like Rolex and Patek Philippe and Jaeger LeCoultre. But most people don’t necessarily think of Germany when buying a high end watch. When thinking about the most luxurious or highest performing cars, people think Germany, but not necessarily watches. Which is a shame, because some absolutely tremendous watches come from Deutschland. And there’s a particularly small German watch company that I’m quite fond of and who makes some of the nicest watches to pair with a BMW: NOMOS.
NOMOS Glashutte is a fairly young watch company, founded in 1990, based in, you guessed it, Glashutte. The thing I like most about NOMOS is its penchant for simplicity. So many Swiss watches these days, as beautiful as they may be, are more about flair and dramatics than about fine watchmaking. NOMOS on the other hand is all about German quality paired with simple yet elegant designs. All of the movements used in its watches are also designed in-house, so they aren’t just borrowed ETA movements thrown into a pretty case, like many independent watches so often tend to be.
But there’s a particular NOMOS that seems to be perfectly suited to classic BMWs, by way of design, the Minimatik. For 2015, NOMOS is making a Minimatik self-winding watch that is 36 mm in diameter. That’s tiny by modern day standards. Most watches today tend to be around 40-45 mm, with anything under 40 mm being of a bygone era. So it’s refreshing to see such a small watch again. For the Minimatik, NOMOS has also created an ultra-thin automatic movement, called the DUW 3001, which measures just 3.2 mm tall. The movement has rhodium plated surfaces, a bi-directional rotor and can beat at 21,600 A/h for up to 42 hours. It also has a feature to lock the rotor, so as to not over wind the mainspring.
The case is a fairly simple 36 mm stainless steel case with narrow scalloped lugs and a simple, yet elegant, crown at 3 o’ clock. The face is plain white with a Bauhaus design with numbers printed in blue and minute markers in beige. There is a subdial for the seconds and all of the hands are painted red. The face isn’t particularly glamorous but that’s the point. It’s supposed to be simple and minimalistic, hence the name. It’s such a German design and one that fits perfectly with the elegant simplicity that was the design of classic BMWs, like an E24 6 Series.
The fit and finish on NOMOS watches is about as fine as it gets, with excellent attention to detail and superb build quality. It costs around $4,000, which is a bit expensive for such a small and simple watch, but when you see and hold a NOMOS first hand, you’ll understand why. Plus it’s still cheaper than most of its Swiss competition. The NOMOS Minimatik is such an honest watch, no sizzle but a damn good steak. If you have a classic Bimmer, pair it with this watch, a good pair of driving gloves, some Ray Ban Wayfarers and go for a long drive.