Your Next Watch: This classic NOMOS model continues to evolve with a new more subtle option.
Welcome back to Your Next Watch, an ongoing series that looks at the watches you’re considering buying and breaks them down based on real hands-on experience.
Today we’re looking at a watch that really does epitomise NOMOS and everything they stand for, from their strength in design to their quality and attention to detail. Rolex has the Submariner, Audemars Piguet has the Royal Oak, Omega has the Speedmaster and NOMOS has the Tangente. Remember the Tangente Sport 580 we looked at last year? Well strip back a few of the tool watch features and you’re left with a stunning elegant modern looking watch.
The NOMOS Tangente 167 - What it doesAlthough the Tangente has been on the scene since 1993 in some form, the model we have with us is actually still in its infancy being only a few months old. Introduced in the early 90s, the Tangente was one of the first models the brand released. It of course, became a success and was revered as a hit. Most Tangente models you'll see will be sporting a clean white dial with heat blued hands.
However, in 27 years the Tangente has been subject to limited editions, special versions and fresh tweaks to the design. These special editions include but are not exclusive to:
- The NOMOS Glashütte Tangente Neomatik Red Dot Editions
- The NOMOS Glashütte Tangente A Century of Bauhaus
- The NOMOS Glashütte Tangente HODINKEE Limited Edition
- The NOMOS Glashütte Tangente Doctors Without Borders
- The NOMOS Glashütte x The Hour Glass
Which brings us to December 2019 and the 167. On the surface, this release is just a blue version of the ever-popular Tangente. However, there is more than meets the eye. This Tangente represents something we do not often see in a non-limited edition release from a brand that favours tweaking rather than overhauling models.
The 167 comes in at 37.5mm wide, with a lug to lug measurement of 47.5mm and a thickness a hair under 7mm (yes, just seven!). Those elegant stats translate incredibly to the wrist. The 37.5mm NOMOS case used is comfortable and fits unnoticeably into your life. NOMOS is known for creating watches with long lugs however the Tangente is different, taking this one step further. Watches like the Ludwig, Orion and Club are models with angular lug design, but the Tangente opts for two angles with an emphasis on hugging the wrists more. These angles and design features are mirrored on the underside as well so whether it actually hugs your wrist or not, it gives the illusion it does. A smart move from NOMOS and something which no doubt assists the 167’s versatile.
Probably the most noticeable ‘non-nomos’ feature of the watch is the dial colour.
You probably know NOMOS as the ‘silver dial Bauhaus brand’, however, the new 167 prefers a midnight blue shade. Complimenting the deep blue dial are silver-coloured printed numerals and rhodium-plated hands. The overall look of this combination is incredibly clean and cohesive. Protecting the dial is a flat sapphire crystal and the display case back gets the same sapphire treatment.
Through that display case back, we get a great look at the Alpha manual wind movement which as you’d expect from NOMOS has beautiful architecture, finished to a superior level considering the price of the watch (£1,840).
Unfortunately, we cannot speak for the performance of the watch as the model we have with us today is actually a press photography sample. However there is a reason this movement is called Alpha as it was the very first creation the brand was able to put its name to, so we have no doubts the movement performs as well as it looks.
Hands-on with the NOMOS Tangente
As always when spending time with NOMOS, I thoroughly enjoyed wearing the Tangente 167. In an industry that feels dominated by steel sports watches at the moment you can’t help but admire the Tangente. This is a model that offers great value and importance to the brand as well as Germany watchmaking as an entity. It only helps the watch that it happens to possess a unique personality as well. For a simple watch, the Tangente really doesn’t take itself too seriously. This is where the 167 really starts to forge its own path in the line-up. For such an iconic model, the use of a midnight blue dial colour alters our perception of NOMOS adding a more subtle flair. The 167 opts for making itself quietly heard, much like the other midnight blue dials for other models NOMOS has introduced over the years.
When we think versatile, we normally think silver, white and black. However, the 167 challenges this with a deep blue. And it makes sense, the use of navy in everyday outfits is very hard to argue with. It’s a superb option if you’re looking for something a little more unique and considered.
For the purpose and style of the watch, the dimensions of the 167 are simply fantastic. When we talked about the NOMOS 731 Club Date last year, the thickness was incredibly impressive at 8.4mm. However, the Tangente is just 7mm thick. That’s thinner than your iPhone. In fact, the watch is so thin it actually results in the strap looking too thick for the watch. As always NOMOS stand head and shoulders above the competition with their straps. It’s common knowledge by now that the standard strap your watch comes on is normally sub-par. Not with NOMOS. Out of the recent watches we’ve spent some time, NOMOS sit in line with Zenith and Tudor when referring to their strap quality. Don’t worry though, we still have some strap suggestions for you...
Watch straps for the NOMOS TangenteNOMOS never disappoint with their watch straps. Out of the three watches we’ve reviewed (a beautiful shell cordovan, a brand new metal bracelet and now this velour leather) all straps the watches have been fitted on as standard have all have stood head and shoulders above the rest of the competition at this price point. The 167 is 19mm wide at the lugs which can be a pain, however, our odd size range here at WatchGecko continues to expand. There are plenty of options for watches with odd lug widths, let’s take a look at a few for this NOMOS...
The Classic Mesh in Polished
If you’re a regular reader of our NOMOS reviews, you’ll know how great mesh straps look on the Bauhaus aesthetic. Here the Classic Mesh in polished really picks up on the polished hands that love to play with the light on the 167. If you want to dress up a NOMOS, or any clean time-only watch, you’ll want to add a mesh to your collection.
The Besford Leather in Burnt Orange
The NOMOS Tangente 167 in blue makes it perfect for a bit of contrast, and what better colour to go for than orange. The NOMOS 167 is clearly a modern watch, so although softer brown leather straps work with the watch, it’s these brighter, more bold options that really make the watch pop. I also love the white stitching. When the light is on the polished surfaces of the watch the stitching really makes senses and comes into its own. Turn this subtle piece into a show stopper with the Besford.
The Painswick Leather in Distressed Brown
And finally, we have a distressed brown Painswick. Remember when we just mentioned about soft brown leather straps? Yes, this is the one. Now although the watch is clearly suited to polished, perfect like straps, the touch of distressing this version of the Painswick offers adds a different dynamic and ‘feel’ to the watch. Finding straps that are suitable thicknesses for the 167 can be tricky, however with the Painswick’s slender mold gets the watch thickness + strap thickness ratio just right.
Things we would change on the NOMOS Tangente 167
As always, there are a few things on the 167 that are worth knowing about as they might not hit the mark for you...
Legibility - Although the hands on the 167 are fully polished, when paired with a dark midnight blue dial they do spend a lot of the time dark if the light is even slightly low. This is only enhanced even more when you start comparing this to a classic white dial Tangente. These tend to have heat blued hands, so even if they’re not glowing blue in the light, they will be darker in colour which contrasts with the white background of the watch.
The strap choice - Now don’t get me wrong, the strap on this NOMOS is amazing. It’s comfortable, stylish, the perfect colour with a quality that rivals 90% of standard watch straps. But it’s just too thick. The strap is around 3.3mm which is close to half the thickness of a watch itself. This becomes really noticeable when you look around the lugs from an angle.
Final thoughtsYou might be left thinking who this Tangente is for. If you’re a NOMOS collector and converted fan, then the more classic, textbook NOMOS’ with their silver dials and blued hands might be more your cup of tea (or German beer). For me, I think the 167 is ideal for those who are looking to dip their toe into the wonderful world of NOMOS in a way that doesn’t throw them in the deep end right away. NOMOS has mastered the art of subtly with this one, honouring a very important watch to the brand in a super stylish and sleek way. As always is the case with NOMOS the quality of watch per pound ratio is phenomenal. And if you want to save a few pennies as well you can sweeten the deal by going for the solid case back reference (166 comes in at £1,620 vs £1,840 for the 167). It seems we’re saying this a lot with NOMOS but once again, Gut Gemacht NOMOS!
The NOMOS Tangente 167 is currently available on the NOMOS website for £1,840. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank NOMOS for sending this watch out to us for review, if you're interested in learning more about the Tangente or any other strong offering from NOMOS, click here.
Still looking to read more? Check out our other coverage of NOMOS here:
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