Why I Bought It: Nomos Glashütte Minimatik
by Martin Green
As a watch journalist, I see a lot of watches every year. Some quickly vanish in the sea of abundance, while others, for different reasons, stick with you. Some because their beauty is so abundant that their images have burned into your retina, others because they represent a leap ahead for a brand, or sometimes even the whole industry.
This latter category of watches is the rarest – or has become the rarest for me. When I put these watches on my wrist, it seems like they have always belonged there. I have learned that experiences like this are hard, if at all, to predict: there isn’t a set brand or even type of watch with which this happens.
The price point of these watches can also vary quite dramatically in both good and bad ways. With a more affordable watch, it means that you can actually obtain it and be happy about it, but it also happens with watches that are so out of one’s price range that the donation of vital organs is needed to fund such a purchase.
A few years ago, I encountered a watch that ended up haunting my subconscious.
It was Baselworld 2015, and Nomos had launched its new automatic movement, Caliber DUW 3001, encased in two completely new designs named Minimatik and Neomatik.
I still vividly remember admiring the Minimatik in the comfort of the Nomos booth. Other watches were presented to me during my appointment, but I kept going back for the Minimatik.
Then Baselworld did what it does best: the meeting was over, dozens of others were still on the schedule, and I had to rush off through the vast halls to make it reasonably on time to the next appointment.
But a seed was planted.
Nomos Glashütte: perfection in dimensions
The main reason that the Nomos Minimatik is my watch is that its dimensions are perfect. I am not talking here only about its diameter, but the height as well. With only a few exceptions, I prefer my watches to be modest in size.
The Minimatik is certainly modest: at a diameter of 35.5 mm it is small for a modern-day men’s watch. Alongside making great movements, Nomos is one of the absolute masters of watch design because it knows how to give a watch presence and character with just a few details, ensuring it can still be considered a minimalist creation.
This also goes for the Minimatik: a thin bezel of just the right thickness combined with a polished flange that tapers down to the dial visually adds about 1.5 mm and allows this watch to wear as if it were 38 mm.
And the clever design doesn’t stop there. The lug width is 17 mm – not the most common size, but spot on for the Minimatik as 18 mm would have been too broad, compromising the delicate proportions of the design, while 16 mm would counteract what the bezel and flange have accomplished: that this watch actually wears larger than it is.
Nomos Glashütte Caliber DUW 3001: thin is in
Caliber DUW 3001 is the second automatic movement that Nomos developed and, in my opinion, a real gem in the world of watchmaking. It takes the character of a traditional German watch movement and translates it into a modern-day creation.
Its finishing is subtle and functional with blued screws and Glashütte ribbing. At a height of 3.2 mm, the movement is (ultra-)thin, yet at the same time thick enough to be robust.
The full bridge over the balance wheel also further confirms what you already know: this movement is made for everyday use, for people who enjoy a great and exclusive movement but don’t necessarily want to be extra careful when wearing it.
This is also a hidden quality of the Minimatik and its movement: it is comforting. Its technology and design are superb, but don’t overpower; they just fit in.
Wearing the Minimatik, you further fall in love with it. Thanks to its modest size and height, it sits very well on the wrist.
The Shell Cordovan strap is a bit stiff at first, but after a few days its shape is set and the wearing comfort is further increased. A beautiful detail is also the buckle, which is not a standard shape but rather a design that perfectly complements the Minimatik.
Talking about shapes: the case is a subtle three-piece design, and from the side you see that the lugs are higher than the rest of the case with the bezel recessed in. That is one of those details that elevate the Minimatik, making it even more exceptional.
Another thing that I appreciate about the Minimatik is that it lacks what I like to call “graffiti”: on some watches, the manufacturer feels the need to put too much writing on the case back.
I never really liked this because it always looks so busy and takes away from the movement itself if the watch features a see-through case back as this Nomos does.
The brand has also kept this very simple: the only text on the case back is “Minimatik” and the serial number.
Even the movement itself does not have that much text. The oscillating weight identifies the movement as one from Nomos, and the three-quarter plate professes the caliber number and the number of ruby bearing jewels. Nice, clean, what more do you need?
Minimatik: enough color to dress a clown
The dial is another part of the Minimatik that made me fall in love with it. You don’t notice it at first, but it is full of color.
The most eye-catching color is on the hands, which are a Bordeaux red, while the hour markers and Arabic numerals are grey. The minute dot markers are actually blue, and the five-minute marks look like small gold-colored domes.
Under magnification, you actually see that they are slightly recessed and brass colored, the material from which the dial is made.
Then there is that small dot at 6 o’clock in fluorescent orange, ensuring that the Minimatik has enough different colors to dress up a clown. Yet the watch is far from clownish. All combined, it just works to provide character, but in an unexpectedly restrained way.
Perhaps that is also what I admire the most about the Minimatik: it is a watch that is very understated and, therefore, a pure personal pleasure. A rarity in today’s world where the instant gratification of instantly recognizable status symbols seems to be the new normal.
For more information, please visit www.nomos-glashuette.com/en/minimatik.
Quick Facts Nomos Glashütte Minimatik
Case: 35.5 x 8.86 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber DUW 3001, 28.8 x 3.2 mm, 43-hour power reserve, Nomos Swing System with blued balance spring, 3 Hz/21,600 vph
Functions: hours, minutes, hacking seconds
Strap: hand-stitched black Horween Shell Cordovan
* This article was first published on November 2, 2019 at Why I Bought It: Nomos Glashütte Minimatik.