10 for 10 Ep.1: The first episode of a new series by WatchGecko. Let's explore the NOMOS Club Date...
Welcome to the first episode of our new series, 10 for 10. This is a series from WatchGecko that sets out to inform you the reader, of 10 watches branching over 10 different categories. Combined, each watch offers an extremely versatile, enjoyable and rounded collection. Some watches may be more expensive, some may be extremely affordable but together they will all come in less than £10,000.
Stay tuned to the blog for regular new episodes as well as our YouTube channel for extended looks at each watch featured. Ready? Let’s kick things off…
Something essential to start with...
To start with, our first category is something which every collection needs. People add watches to their collection for many different reasons however we believe everyone needs an everyday watch.
Something that is reliable and has a 'pick up and go' feel.
So, the first thing we should really define is what makes an everyday watch? For me, it's a timepiece which can be worn in a range of situations associated with a ‘normal’ everyday situation. Whether it be putting on your suit for a day at the office, getting down to the gym for a lunchtime session of fitness or relaxing with family and friends after work, the everyday watch needs to be able to handle it all without looking out of place or feeling uncomfortable.
With this in mind, in steps the NOMOS Glashütte Club Date 731.
The 731 is a member of the Club Date line up for NOMOS. Its aim is to offer consumers a modern, simple, highly legible design making us almost reconsider our pre-conceptions of how a sporty timepiece should look. This robust piece seems to have all the traits to easily handle any everyday situation it faces, naturally making it the ideal pick for this category. I think its time to put the NOMOS to the test...
The watch features a galvanized white silver-plated dial complimented with deep black lacquered style hands, really assisting the overall legibility of the watch. Combine this with the red inlay on those long hands, use of red on the minutes track and you're left with a simple, yet certainly unique design.
The name of the game with NOMOS and naturally the Club Date is robust, sporty legibility. The uncluttered design makes this watch perfect for quick glances to the wrist to see what the time is. It's fair to say this won't be the last time we talk about the watches legibility.
The case on the 731 is fully polished stainless steel and features a slightly domed sapphire crystal. When we say slightly we really mean it. This benefits the watches desire to be thin almost twofold when compared to other crystal options out there. For strap changing fans, the watch comes in 20mm at the lugs making it ideal for a range of replacement watch straps.
The watch is water resistant to 10 atm (100m) meaning any of those day to day tasks the watch will be able to take in its stride with ease. The strap that comes with the 731 in the Club Date range is a pristine brown/reddish brown shell cordovan strap. Apart from being incredibly high quality, it works perfectly with the 731 picking up on the use of red on the dial effortlessly. More on straps later...
This version of the Club Date comes with a date window at the 6 o'clock position and a subdial sitting just above keeping track of the seconds. Many watches have a date at 6, however, they will be limited by how far down on the dial the date can sit because of the movement. This can result in watches with date windows almost floating in the region of 6 o'clock. For NOMOS? Not an issue, date changes happen right at the bottom of the dial.
The movement powering the Club Date is the... well actually this deserves its own section as this is where the Club Date really comes into its own.
Seriously impressive watchmaking
Powering the 731 is the DUW 4101 movement. This is a manually wound movement, from NOMOS producing up to 42 hours of power reserve. This is ideal for everyday wear.
The benefit of being manual wind is all it’ll need is a little wind every now and then to keep it topped up (If you’ve ever owned a manual wind watch, you’ll know how enjoyable this is). The movement feels rock solid, reliable and incredibly smooth.
I love the addition of a manual wind movement as to me this is something synonymous with NOMOS. The epitome of simple design all powered by an incredibly reliable movement. NOMOS started their production purely focusing on manual wind movements for the first 15 or so years of its life.
Ever since 2005, not only did they decide to offer automatic mechanical movements, but also have them all purely in-house. Just 10 years later in 2010, NOMOS had introduced their tenth in-house calibre DUW 3001.
Now, elephant in the room time. DUW may not mean anything to you yet, but let me explain...
NOMOS had a desire to become purely independent, and as close as they were, in 2007 they weren’t quite there. The missing link was their escapements. Watch aficionados will already understand without an escapement, well you don’t have a working watch.
Two years after this milestone in the companies history, NOMOS focused on upgrading its calibre range with said swing system and to roll it out to all models. Calibres that receive this upgrade then are officially honoured with DUW at the beginning of the movement reference DUW standing as a final touch to crown the movement as truly in-house. (DUW stands for 'Deutsche Uhrenwerke' meaning German clockworks in English).
Not bad for a company nearly 30 years old, right?
How does the 731 wear on the wrist?
All of this impressive watchmaking is available in a watch that's 38.5mm wide and with a height of just 8.4mm. These perfect dimensions result in a watch which is vastly impressive on the wrist. Many watches when strapped to the wrist almost feel like they’re not there after some time.
This ideology has never been truer than with the NOMOS 731. The 8.4mm thickness leaves you pondering "how did they even manage to make a mechanical watch this thin and this price point?!"
If you have a wrist size 7 inches or more, don't be put off by the 38.5mm case size. You will find that the 731 wears well on the wrist, not giving off the illusion of being too small. This is helped massively by those slightly longer lugs, highly polished case and the somewhat optical illusion silver dials tend to have making watches have more presence on the wrist.
As we know, Bauhaus design and minimalist style are extremely popular, the timeless DNA behind it means they will always be stylish. However, NOMOS take this a step further with the addition of the Club Date. The dial harnesses an almost California dial layout with each indices in a dark grey, a great choice as it is always extremely visible and sometimes even looking black in certain light.
Legibility (see, we just can't avoid it when talking about this watch) is something clearly NOMOS go for, and wearing the piece in a range of different situations, lighting and environments this concept is only re-iterated.
After a considerable amount of on wrist time with the Club Date, one out of many things that jumped out to me is that silver dial. In certain angles, it almost has a warm yellow tone. This is very familiar to German silver which is a white alloy of nickel, zinc and copper. Commonly used in jewellery and ornate high-end detailed pieces of art, it is well known to give off a more unique tone that just pure silver.
And it's not just the silver dial that looks incredible when the light hits it. When you catch the light just right on those deep black finished hands, the craftsmanship and German precision is paramount.
The way NOMOS have positioned the date window at 6 o'clock means it doesn't break the symmetry of the watch at all and stays very much on brand. However, they've also managed to keep their watches on trend and popular as it seems the market favours watches with dates.
NOMOS is clearly a company who understand who their customer and target market is, something which is commonly overlooked.
NOMOS found that many of their watches were being sold on both of these platforms at a rate of around 1,000 units a year, and most importantly, at a reduced price. Rather than ignoring this or fighting against it, NOMOS actually acted positively and decided to come to an agreement where Chronext and Chrono24 would become official retailers of their watches. Their decision to take this new approach public rather than keeping it private frustrated their loyal partnership with Wempe jewellers which resulted in Wempe actually pulling NOMOS out of their stores.
This received some potentially 'bad' press with the likes of Jean Claude Biver saying he felt this was a relationship that should have been respected more. From our point of view, as a website who has built a brand online and always lived here, we see this as a sensible decision from NOMOS. Not only that but also it's a refreshing move / step for the watch industry. Whether you're bringing a product, piece of content or service to market I believe it's important to bring that to the consumer in the best way which suits them. A lot of the signs are pointing towards that direction being online and with NOMOS embracing this and investing in their working relationships with key online figures, we feel this was a smart move.
I think this topic could benefit from its own full article in the future...
Time for some fun with some replacement watch straps.
As you know by now, changing out the strap on a watch can really give a watch a completely different look. And as expected, deciding on a few different strap options for the Club Date 731 was a pleasure. Before we start, It's worth mentioning how good the standard NOMOS strap is. The stitching perfectly matches the red accents on the dial looking right at home. With this in mind, I think we can really build on this thought process with our suggestions, let's begin...
Painswick QR by Geckota - Distressed Grey
First up is something that I believe could have equally been a standard strap with the 731 based purely on how well it works. This brand new Painswick Leather strap added to our Geckota range is a stunning, thin dress watch strap. It harnesses a lovely distressed effect on the leather, matching the style of the 731 extremely well. In terms of which colour, all of them in the range work, however, I think the Grey option is the strongest.
It really compliments the silver dial and picks up on those grey printing NOMOS went for on the numbers on the dial. The strap has the added bonus of quick release spring bars as well, much easier for quick strap changes.
Contoured Italian Leather Strap - Reddish Brown
Next, up for this strap suggestion, I've followed the same principle as NOMOS did with the Shell Cordovan strap. This is our Contoured Italian Leather in a reddish brown. It's a similar size and tapers down to the Painswick strap previously mentioned, but because it's a reddish brown pull up leather it not only matches the red additions on the dial but also will age and develop as you wear it.
A slight amount of padding also runs through the strap really assisting the everyday wearability on the 731.
Oblique Mesh by Geckota
For this suggestion, I thought I'd change it up a little bit. This is our Oblique Mesh strap once again from the Geckota range. Metal straps are very desirable on watches, however, a mesh strap specifically further plays on the watches youthful and clean aesthetic.
This strap comes in around 2.75mm thick, so perfect for the 8.4mm Club Date case. Most importantly, the Oblique Mesh strap is supremely comfortable. A great way of making an already unique watch even more so.
Iridescent - Grey
Finally, along the same lines as the Mesh, we have our Iridescent military style strap . Once again grey is the colour to go for here respecting those indices and putting emphasis on the use of colour on the dial.
Experience the watch for yourself!
Explore the NOMOS Club Date 731 in more detail with our video coverage of the watch on our channel:
Thing we would change.
A perfect anything is very rare to find and this is certainly true with watches. By default, the 731 does all the things mentioned previously very well (hence the coverage) however there are a couple of things which I would change if possible. First up is the spacing from the case to the strap. This is a shared trait with both NOMOS and the Tudor Black Bay, but when fitted to a strap with straight ends there is a noticeable gap where from where the strap sits and the bottom curve of the case begins.
This is easily avoided if you were to strap a one-piece military style strap to the 731 as then the gap disappears. I do believe this feature on the NOMOS is down to personal preference. It may not suit the way I collect watches but that is the beauty of this passion.
One other feature of the 731, specifically the movement is the date. The watch doesn't have a quick set date function which, although not essential, it has become somewhat standard on many new watches. As this watch falls under the category of every day, in theory, and day to day wear this shouldn't be an issue, however, in a rotating collection you may find it a little time consuming to keep setting the date manually each time.
Conclusion - Why we think this is a great everyday watch
So why is this the everyday watch choice to go for? Well to start with the watches versatile shines through. The watch received wrist time in a range of day to day situations and environments and took them all in its stride.
The 731 is the pinnacle of simplicity and clarity, throw in the added bonus of its extremely unique design and you really can't go wrong.
At a glance in a range of environments, you need to be able to tell the time quickly and go on with your day. The silver dial means the watch doesn't have to worry about reflections or fingerprints so the watch will always look its best.
If you're in the market for a present-day sporty piece which is both practical, stylish and has a genuinely unique design, at this price point, the Club Date is an un-questionably rock solid option.
The Club Date is currently available on the NOMOS website for £1,620. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank NOMOS for sending this watch out to us for review and to be featured in this new series, if you're interested in learning more about the Club Date or any other strong offering from NOMOS, click here.