3 New Timepieces From Germany To Smooth The Transition From Colorful Fall To Gray Winter
Most people like fall for the breathtaking beauty of nature’s color on display before the monochrome tones of winter arrive.
But not every autumn day is full of intense Indian summer hues. Gray, windy, unpleasant weather provides the perfect occasion to go on a horological trip . . . to Germany
Here are three timepieces of German provenance to help stave off any autumn anxiety.
Wempe Chronometerwerke Automatic: maritime-inspired beauty inside and out
Thirteen years ago Wempe Jewelers acquired Glashütte’s old observatory, the town’s landmark, and rebuilt it into a state-of-the-art watch manufactory. Since then, the history-charged premises has also been home to Germany’s only chronometer institution where Wempe’s two branded collections – the high-end models fittingly christened Chronometerwerke and the more moderately priced Zeitmeister line – and a select number of German watch brands are tested to DIN chronometer standard 8319.
Wempe has partnered with the two local offices of weights and measures from Thuringia and Saxony to maintain this official institute.
Beginning in 2006, Wempe established a new tradition building on the noble art of Glashütte watchmaking. In particular the Chronometerwerke range – which translates to “chronometer factory” and refers to Wempe’s historical production of marine chronometers and nautical timekeeping systems, which began in the early 1900s in Hamburg. This collection exemplifies understated, marine-inspired timepieces born of Glashütte’s horological traditions.
One of these is the Chronometerwerke Power Reserve featuring a power reserve indication at 12 o’clock in Glashütte style called the “Auf und Ab” (“up and down”). This watch is Saxon through and through, powered by a hand-wound movement with three-quarter plate and a refined swan-neck fine adjustment for precision tuning.
On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the newborn brand in 2016, Wempe introduced its first manufacture automatic caliber, CW4, which premiered in a classic three-handed timepiece with date indication and a silver dial housed in yellow gold and stainless steel.
Now a third variant arrives, housed in stainless steel and outfitted with a black dial that likewise exudes elegant understatement with its railroad-track minutes and elongated lance-shaped hands.
Its powerhouse movement remains the same: CW4, developed in collaboration with Swiss specialist Soprod, offers a power reserve of 92 hours thanks to two spring barrels. In order to put as much of the beautifully decorated movement as possible on display, the 41 mm case boasts an extra-large sapphire crystal
Connoisseurs of Glashütte watchmaking will spot a three-quarter plate finished with Glashütte ribbing, a hand-engraved balance cock, six gold chatons, and blued screws. Its micro rotor, crafted from solid tungsten in order to provide sufficient momentum, has been downsized and decentralized.
Caliber CW4’s variable-inertia balance oscillates at a modern frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz). The fine adjustment is executed so precisely that the watch earns the aforementioned German chronometer certificate (DIN 8319) for accuracy, a fact that is proudly displayed on the dial.
For more information, please visit www.wempe.com/en/watches/brands/wempe-glashuette-i-sa/wempe-chronometerwerke/chronometerwerke-automatik.
Quick Facts Wempe Chronometerwerke Automatic
Case: 41 x 11.7 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic manufacture Caliber CW4 with 90-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency, official chronometer certificate
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Price: starting from $8,030
Nomos Glashütte Bauhaus Tangente: advanced classic design
Glashütte is always worth a trip for watch enthusiasts, so let’s stay a little longer and stop in at the former train station. Transformed into a state-of-the-art production site, this location has served as Nomos Glashütte’s headquarters for many years now.
Although only a quarter of a century old, Nomos is today the largest manufacturer of mechanical watches in Germany and enjoys an excellent reputation around the world. A full-blown manufacture since 2005, the owner-operated brand offers 12 model families with almost 100 references and is one of the most sought-after names in affordable luxury right now.
Nomos’s recipe for success is not only based on the extreme manufacturing depth of its movements – depending on the caliber Nomos reaches an impressive 95 percent – but also on the focus of harmonious design that is rooted in the Deutscher Werkbund (“German Association of Craftsmen”) movement. Founded in Munich in 1907 at a time when mass production was just kicking off and Germany was attempting to compete with the more advanced United Kingdom and United States, the association’s goal was the harmonious combination of industry and craftsmanship through carefully designed products.
The movement, re-established in 1949 after it had been closed by the Nazi regime in 1938, is considered an important trailblazer for the better known Bauhaus School of Design (“Staatliches Bauhaus”) that was founded in 1919 by architect Walter Gropius and included many famous artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to name just a few.
This revolutionary new approach to design, the arts, architecture, and the avant-garde was crucial in giving birth to the modern age of these fields.
The basic philosophy of simple and functional design established by these groups can still be seen today in many products such as the iPhone.
In the world of watches, the Tangente, one of the first four timepieces emerging from Nomos Glashütte, is generally associated with Bauhaus. Since Nomos’ founding, the Tangente has been an integral part of the collection, becoming a real modern classic.
Over the course of the years, this time-only watch has displayed its creative potential in countless variations and special editions, however it has always stayed true to its roots, maintaining its very simple yet sophisticated design with five numerals, baton markers, slender hands, and subsidiary seconds.
It sounds very basic, and, yes, it is basic, but when you hold the manually wound watch in your hands you notice that every millimeter of it is perfectly balanced.
On the occasion of the centennial anniversary of the design school next year, Nomos Glashütte, which sometimes launches successful marketing strategies ahead of time, introduces a special edition with nine variants in three sizes – 32.8, 35, and 38 millimeters – each limited to 100 pieces.
Each of the models features a “paper-white” dial, black numerals and hands, and a minute chapter in one of the typical Bauhaus colors red, yellow, or blue. Manufacture Caliber Alpha powers these versions underneath a stainless steel case back with a special engraving.
Tangente enthusiasts and watch lovers with a soft spot for clean design at its best will definitely get their money’s worth.
For more information, please visit www.nomos-glashuette.com/en/a-century-of-bauhaus.
Quick Facts Nomos Glashütte Bauhaus Tangente
Case: 32.8 x 6.2 mm, 35 x 6.2 mm, 38 x 6.6, stainless steel
Movement: manually wound manufacture Caliber Alpha with 38-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Limitation: 9 x 100 pieces
Price: $1,660 (33 mm), $1,800 (35 mm), $1,930 (38 mm)
Erwin Sattler Tide Commander: departing for new shores
From Glashütte to Munich is roughly a four-hour drive. But when you see the wristwatch we are talking about here you’ll find that it is well worth the trip.
Erwin Sattler, a small clock manufacture based near the Bavarian capital, enjoys an unparalleled reputation when it comes to sophisticated precision pendulum clocks with exquisite details that are for the most part produced manually.
In addition, the company is also a staple in the fields of watch winders and nautical instruments. It also offers a very small but nevertheless refined collection of wrist- and pocket watches that are distinguished by regulator-style dials drawing inspiration from their much bigger siblings.
Erwin Sattler’s latest wristwatch is drawn to nautical adventures with a tide indication on its rotating bezel, a very rare function that only a handful of brands offer today. The indication works in all coastal regions that have two high and two low tides daily. The bezel can also be used for countdowns up to 60 minutes.
The solid silver dial with Roman numerals and blued hands is very much Erwin Sattler in style.
The Tide Commander boasts a rather prominent stainless steel case with sapphire crystal case back, and it is water resistant to 100 meters.
The nautical charm of this timepiece is topped off by a robust nytech strap comprising water-resistant leather and synthetic materials.
For more information, please go to www.shop.erwinsattler.com/shop-2/tide-commander-armbanduhr.
Quick Facts Erwin Sattler Commander Tide
Case: 44 x 11.3, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber ETA 2824-2, 38-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; tide indication (also usable as countdown)