Yes, German quality is a cliché, but there is indeed something about the superior standards Germans have for everything they engineer. Affordable, unique and high quality – this is what you get with watches from Nomos, Sinn or Junghans.
German timepieces are famous in the watch community, beyond the two high-end watchmakers A. Lange & Söhne and Glashütte Original. In fact, Germany can also produce affordable timepieces and three easily come to mind: the newcomer Nomos, the long established Junghans and the tool watchmaker Sinn. These three uhrenfabrik each play on different fields, but still share something in common, a certain German appeal.
A common factor amongst these three marques is simplicity of the design, a minimalist approach where form follows function. While in Switzerland watchmaking brands tend to lean towards elegance and luxurious appeal, Germany’s watchmakers rely on the dictum less is more. This is especially true for two of the brands: Nomos and Junghans, especially with the Max Bill collection.
Junghans Max Bill
Both rely on the precepts of Bauhaus art movement that’s greatly inspired by modernism. Key principles include basic shapes and colours, eliminating the unnecessary, elements that stem from function.
Watches by Nomos and Junghans are pure and clean but at the same time well proportioned and easy to use. But purity of design doesn’t mean emptiness tough and watches from Junghans can include complex displays, but with a great sense of proportions.
Nomos on the other hand adds an interesting palette of colours, which puts its watch in a more modern and less conservative universe. But then again, proportions and shapes are mastered. Nomos even adds the beauty of the mechanics by manufacturing its own movements in-house, boasting serious horological content for a reasonable price.
Nomos Tangente 38
With Sinn, the story is a bit different, but the overarching concept of the function guiding the design is still present. Sinn has a strong focus on tool watches, mostly pilot’s or dive watches. Sinn watches are not designed to be elegant or luxurious, but are made to be instruments that are tough, rugged, practical and functional. Consequently every single element of the watch must have a function and aid the wearer in his task.
Sinn 104 St Sa
And ironically, these purpose-built watches gain beauty because of that no-nonsense approach, demonstrating that a well-conceived object without unnecessary embellishments can create something pleasant to the eyes.
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