If you haven’t heard of Nomos before, it’s time for you to get on board. This time-tested company is based in Glashütte, one of the crucibles of German watchmaking. What makes this company noteworthy is their production of in-house movements at affordable price points. Where many of the more reasonably-priced watchmakers out there produce their own cases and dials and then incorporate a third-party movement, Nomos manages to produce all the components, including the movement, and offer the finished product at a competitive price.
So if you consider yourself a purist and like your watch to come from a company that does it all, from the case to the dial to the movement, take a look at the Nomos Club Automat Datum.
The Club Automat Datum has a bipartite stainless steel case. “Bipartite” simply means “made of two parts.” Whereas most watch cases consist of a bezel, case body, and caseback, the Datum simply has a caseback (piece one) and combination bezel/case body (piece two).
The lack of seam between the side of the case and the bezel produces a sleek, smooth profile, interrupted only by the small, ridged crown on the right side. This crown does nothing more than adjust the time—this watch is for telling time and nothing else.
The case is 41.5 mm in diameter and 9.78 mm thick, so it’s by no means a big, chunky watch. If you have a smaller wrist, this may actually be a good fit for you.
The caseback is screwed-in sapphire crystal, so it resists scratching while offering a complete view of the internal movement. Along the stainless steel edge of the caseback is etched a whale, apparently emphasizing the watch’s water resistance of 20 ATM or about 200 meters. Despite its unassuming looks and modest profile, this is a durable case: Nomos claims is can withstand “almost anything.”
Dial: Elegant & Minimalist
The watch face simply exudes calm. It’s off-white (almost cream), silver-plated, and conspicuously unadorned. The applied, charcoal-colored hour markers are a mix of Arabic numerals and stick indices. It seems as though Nomos didn’t want to crowd their minimalist dial with too many numerals, but the design choice comes off a bit oddly at first glance. After all, the first stick index looks like a number one, and with that in mind it looks as though every other hour marker is a number one.
This initial impression was quickly dismissed after wearing the watch for only a couple hours, as it became quite apparent how simple, and how much of a joy it is to tell the time on this clean elegant dial.
The outermost chapter ring has black hash marks for tracking minutes. Every fifth minute is marked by bright orange numerals. At the six o’ clock position you’ll find a narrow date window in a crisp, legible font.
The Club Automat Datum is a two-hand model—sort of. The minute and hour hands are long, pencil-shaped, and rhodium-plated for a more resplendent appearance. They’re inlaid with SuperLuminova for a brilliant green luminescence. The hour markers are likewise lumed, so telling the time even in the pitch dark shouldn’t be a problem.
Although there is no second hand rotating along with the minute and hour hands, there is an unobtrusive subdial for tracking seconds. The tiny hand on this dial is bright orange, matching the minute markers along the chapter ring.
The polished, tapered lugs are 20 mm apart, and their added length lends this modestly-sized watch a little more substance and wrist presence. The stock strap is a blue-black textile, a type of nylon weave, and it closes with an ordinary winged clasp. Overall, the strap is plain and utilitarian, but it’s a perfect complement to an otherwise staid and subtle watch.
For this review I swapped the blue strap for a sand coloured NATO. It fit my wrist better, and in my opinion made the face pop a little more in a casual way.
As we mentioned, Nomos proudly manufactures their own movements, and in a way, the movement is the apex of watchmaking artistry. Perhaps that’s why Nomos opted for the sapphire crystal caseback—they want you to be able to admire the craftsmanship of the movement.
This watch is powered by the DUW 5101 caliber, an automatic movement that requires very little motion to run, and to keep running with dependable accuracy. With 26 jewels, this seems to be an upgrade from Nomos’s Caliber Alpha, which featured fewer jewels and fewer vibrations per hour. No word on the power reserve, but it’s a safe bet to say it’s around 41-43 hours. The DUW 5101 is 31 mm across and 4.3 mm high.
Nomos set themselves apart from the crowd by manufacturing their movements in-house and offering a finished product a surprisingly affordable price. The Club Automat Datum is visually simplistic, and that’s what ultimately makes it so elegant. The DUW 5101 movement ensures accurate timekeeping, and the watch face and lumed components produce excellent visibility and legibility in all lighting conditions. If you’re a watch purist looking for a timepiece manufactured and assembled by one company only, this offering from Nomos should definitely be on your radar.
To have a look at the entire Nomos range check out their official website here.