The Top Five NOMOS Tangente 38 Date “Super 31” Colour Rush Models Celebrating 175 Years of Watchmaking in Glashütte
 

The Top Five NOMOS Tangente 38 Date “Super 31” Colour Rush Models Celebrating 175 Years of Watchmaking in Glashütte

5 min read
Rob Nudds

Brands

NOMOS

Categories

Watch Buying Guide

Rob Nudds

Brands

NOMOS

Categories

Watch Buying Guide

When NOMOS Glashütte announced its new range of 31 Tangente 38 Date models in a rush of incredible colours, die-hard fans of the brand rejoiced. For those that remember the pre-in-house era of NOMOS, back when it was regarded as one of the finest watch designers-if-not-quite-makers, this is a real treat. While for many of us, it probably feels like yesterday, the NOMOS Super 30 series to which this release can be seen as a stunning second act was actually twenty years ago, debuting on September 15th 2004. 

If you’ve not heard of the Super 30 series, don’t worry. Not only was it twenty human years ago, it was effectively several lifetimes ago for both the brand and the industry en masse. So much has changed since it’s forgivable to assume this special edition run was nothing but a fever dream. But it wasn’t. It was real. And even though it took two decades for everyone’s favourite Saxon watch brand to give the concept a second run, it has — unequivocally in my opinion — been worth the wait. 

NOMOS Tangente 31 New ColoursNOMOS Tangente 31 New Colours - Credit NOMOS

The Super 30 was a range of 30 NOMOS Glashütte Tangente 35 mm watches in bright (often totally wild) colourways. Each piece was limited to 100 pieces and priced at the frankly unbelievable price of €590 as opposed to the going rate for a Tangente at that time, which was €690. Specially selected retailers were given the option of buying one full set (which, as you can imagine, was an offer few refused), meaning NOMOS was able to effectively “pre-sell” its own stock, enabling the lower price.

Brands like to talk about quick sell-outs, but when retailers are involved, it’s never entirely clear whether a brand having “sold out” of a model means that 100% of pieces are already in the hands of customers, or whether 100% of pieces have been “sold in” to the brand’s network. In this case, however, watches hit customers’ wrists at lightning speed. Thus, for the past 20 years, anyone who wanted one of these beloved classics was forced to trawl the secondary market in search of pieces that became rarer than hen’s teeth.*

Now, however, we have a chance (however limited) of owning one (or more) of the second go-around. This time, the 38 mm date version of the Tangente has been chosen as the star of the show. It now boasts an in-house movement and a much higher price, but still comes in €175 below the expected retail of a core Tangente 38 Date, as a nod to the ongoing celebrations surrounding 2020’s 175th anniversary of watchmaking in Glashütte.

Accordingly, each piece is limited to 175 pieces and retails for €1,925. There are 31 colours to choose from, and the below five are my personal favourites (but please let us know which ones caught your eye in the comments below). 

5. Rambazamba 

NOMOS Tangente 38 Date RambazambaNOMOS Tangente 38 Date Rambazamba - Credit NOMOS

 
Regular price
£68.00
Regular price
Sale price
£68.00
1973 British Military Watch Strap: 328 MARINE - Tactical - Red
Regular price
£48.00
Regular price
Sale price
£48.00
Radstock Vintage Genuine Leather Watch Strap - Bright Red
New
Regular price
£48.00
Regular price
Sale price
£48.00
WatchGecko Vintage Tropical Style FKM Rubber Watch Strap - Red
Quick Release

It’s very red and very cool. As with all models in this collection, the Rambazamba measures 37.5 mm across, and 6.8 mm thick, with a lug-to-lug of 47.7 mm, and a lug width of 19 mm. It comes on NOMOS Glashütte’s extremely comfortable dark grey fabric strap with an ardillon buckle that also acts as the fixed retainer loop, meaning there is just one floating fabric retainer to deal with. Like most of the watches on this list, it goes with everything and nothing, which makes it a perfect statement piece (which isn’t exactly what the brand is known for, which is exactly what makes it so exciting).

4. Lakritze

NOMOS Tangente 38 Date LakritzeNOMOS Tangente 38 Date Lakritze - Credit NOMOS

If I saw any similar list that had the Lakritze at the top of the tree, I wouldn’t argue. This might be the most ambitious of the designs, pairing a murky green and blue palette with a popping red date wheel. Lakritze means liquorice in German, which is apt: this is a watch you’re likely to love or hate, which makes it a strong contender to become the most sought-after piece in years to come. 

3. Tiefseegrau 

NOMOS Tangente 38 Date TiefseegrauNOMOS Tangente 38 Date Tiefseegrau - Credit NOMOS

Initially, this was my favourite. It is extremely subtle and mature. The slimmer minute track, highlighted in baby pink, complements the warm grey of the dial and the off-white markers perfectly. The way it meets the date window without disrupting the design is exquisite, and all models that follow this layout (which is not all 31) have a similar harmony. For me, though, this colourway is the best of those examples.

2. PopOrange

NOMOS Tangente 38 Date PopOrangeNOMOS Tangente 38 Date PopOrange - Credit NOMOS

 
Regular price
£48.00
Regular price
Sale price
£48.00
WatchGecko Vintage Tropical Style FKM Rubber Watch Strap - Orange
Quick Release
Regular price
£48.00
Regular price
Sale price
£48.00
Radstock Vintage Genuine Leather Watch Strap - Light Brown
Regular price
£68.00
Regular price
Sale price
£68.00
1973 British Military Watch Strap: 328 MARINE - Tactical - Orange

Tiefseegrau (Deep Sea Grey) was my favourite until I realised that the point of this collection is to embrace anything but subtlety. PopOrange employs a rarely seen colour in watchmaking (burnt orange is hardly de rigeur) but comes alive because of the vivid orange sub-seconds register. It’s proof of what can be done with a single colour gradient if you embrace it for all its worth. This one is extremely wearable with blues, blacks, browns, and creams and thus will likely be a popular choice among men who wear suits regularly as it provides a finishing touch to an otherwise conservative outfit.

1. Chilli

NOMOS Tangente 38 Date ChilliNOMOS Tangente 38 Date Chilli - Credit NOMOS

If you don’t like pink, look away now. This is not only my favourite watch on the list, but the one for which I registered my interest with my local retailer. Given NOMOS is delivering these watches in batches of six to its retailer network, I’ll have to wait and see if I get the call, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed you see it pop up on my Instagram in the coming months. 

The Chilli was a model that captured the imagination of journalists and the public alike who visited NOMOS Glashütte’s first showing at Watches and Wonders in Geneva this April just gone. It is a celebration of colour and the model that, for me, best benefitted from the designers’ no-holds-barred approach to this project. Is it the most ambitious, interesting, or challenging of colourways present? No, it isn’t. But is it the one that fully expresses the joy that went into making and will go into wearing any of the watches from this collection? I think so.

* For all of you treasure hunters out there, the original NOMOS Super 30 line actually had 31 models. A seldom-seen reference known as “Sonnengrau” was built for the employees of NOMOS at that time. While that sounds uncommonly generous, back then, when the company was much smaller, it was customary for workers to receive a special watch made especially for them every Christmas. In 2004, NOMOS employed around 40 people, but there is no definite record of how many Sonnengrau pieces were made. Keep your eyes peeled for one of these pieces if they ever pop up on the pre-loved marketplace. You would be buying a very special piece of the brand’s history indeed if you were able to snare one.

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Rob Nudds

About the Author: Rob Nudds

Rob started working in the watch industry for the Signet Group, aged 17. Following university, he undertook the WOSTEP course at the British School of Watchmaking, developing a keen interest in watchmaking theory. After graduating, he worked primarily for Omega and Bremont before leaving the bench in 2015 to become Head of Sales for NOMOS Glashütte in the UK. After three years of managing an international retail network that grew to encompass 17 countries, he began writing full-time.

Since then, he has written for aBlogtoWatch, Fratello, Time & Tide, Grail Watch, SJX, Get Bezel, Borro Blog, Jomashop, Bob's Watches, Skolorr, Oracle Time, and Revolution USA.

He currently co-hosts The Real Time Show Podcast (www.therealtime.show) with his friend and long-time collaborator, Alon Ben Joseph of Ace Jewelers, Amsterdam, as well as working with several brands as a consultant in the fields of brand building, product development, global retail strategy, and communications. Follow him on Instagram @robnudds.

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