NOMOS Glashütte seems to enjoy reinventing their own wheel. It’s exciting to see a company release new designs that appear to come out from left of field. Although they haven’t exactly approached the design of the Autobahn with a clean slate, they’ve made some quite drastic design decisions all the while injecting the watch with a very NOMOS aesthetic. It’s interesting because it was unexpected. Who would have thought NOMOS would make a car-inspired watch.
A Brand New Chassis
Their latest collaboration, the Autobahn collection, was created in collaboration with Werner Aisslinger and Tina Bunyaprasit of Studio Aisslinger over the past four years. A fair departure from their usual offerings, the Autobahn is inspired by vintage analog dash instruments. For those who are not car-fanatics however, the nod to the automotive world seems somewhat subtle, meaning you don’t need to be a car lover to get the most out of these pieces. This is NOMOS at it’s finest. There’s a fluidity involved in their designs. It is what you want it to be.
Germany’s Autobahn has no speed limit, an idea that has been incorporated into the curvature of every element of this watch. The designers wanted speed to be the lifeblood of this watch, a small racetrack on your wrist with the stylish design of a vintage car. The result is possibly the most unique design to come from NOMOS to date.
Sit Back and Relax
Measuring in at 41 mm in diameter and 10.55 mm in height, the Autobahn is a large (for NOMOS). It is thin though and exceptionally comfortable to wear for two main reasons. First, the slim design allows for close proximity to the wrist, so despite the fact that this watch is on the larger side, it doesn’t feel like it. Then we have the strap, which takes advantage of the textile strap trend which seems to be playing out across the industry. With a stainless steel pin buckle, the blue-black material is simplistic, comfortable and stylish, keeping all attention on the design of the dial. It is comfortable nevertheless and rugged enough to handle all sorts of day-to-day activities.
The standout of the design would have to be the lume that runs from eight o’clock to four o’clock which pulls heavy influence from old speedometers. Available in three different colours (silver-plated, midnight blue, or sports grey), the lume is the most subtle on the silver-plated face (that is until the lights go off and the lume kicks in). If you really want to drive (pun intended) home the impact of this design, however, the midnight blue model is worth having a closer look at. During a late night drive, the lume lights up the dark dial like that of a vintage dashboard.
The date window mimics an odometer by displaying three days at a time and is well placed at the six o’clock position just below the seconds sub-dial. Everything is curved and precise despite the somewhat busy layout. The use of depth is nothing short of genius and rivals the lume as the standout design element of the watch.
Under the Hood
The Autobahn features the all-new in-house built calibre DUW6101. Featuring a quick and easy date change mechanism and NOMOS’ in-house escapement, the ‘Swing System’. The NOMOS swing system, in particular, ensures the high precision of the movement. This proprietary escapement, denoted by its tempered blue balance spring, is accompanied by several watchmaking characteristics typical for Glashütte timepieces—such as the three-quarter plate, ribbing polish, tempered screws. All of which highlights engineering and watchmaking of the highest standard.
Water resistant up to 100 meters and with a forty-two-hour power reserve, the Autobahn isn’t breaking down, leaving you stranded on the side of the road anytime soon.
The NOMOS Autobahn
While it is one of the more expensive pieces from NOMOS, The Autobahn is a unique, perfectly designed watch that will suit all occasions. It’s actually exciting to see this brand head down a more sporty path and suggests that we may be able to expect more surprises in the future. The bold curves give a sense of elegance against the playful design of the face which demands a double-take thanks to its excellent use of depth.
As always, the material strap toggles the line between casual and formal but fits the overall idea of this watch perfectly. The colour options are substantially different to one another depending on your intent for this watch, the silver-plated option is undoubtedly the more formal, but the idea influences behind the design are more evident with on the midnight blue and sports grey versions. Whether you are a car lover or not, the Autobahn is an exquisite piece of design that proves, with a little collaborative assistance, NOMOS can master any theme it decides to incorporate into its consistently stunning catalogue.
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