It was pure coincidence that as I was going through security at Newark International Airport earlier this week, I received an email from my contact at Nomos introducing a new anniversary collection of Tangente models celebrating 100 years of Bauhaus design.
What made it such perfect happenstance was my destination that day: Glashütte by way of Berlin to visit the brand manufactory for the first time. It was just luck that the brand chose this week to introduce the new collection, allowing me to become the first journalist to view and photograph the Tangente “A Century of Bauhaus” models in person.
First, a word on Bauhaus. The Bauhaus design school was a physical art school located in Germany. The term — which translates roughly to “School of Building” — is highly influential not only in modern and contemporary art, but also in product design, typography, and architecture. In fact, even if you aren’t familiar with the term, there’s a good chance you’ll recognise some of its most famous students such as Mies van der Rohe, Wasilly Kandinsky, and Marcel Breuer, plus a number of other impactful designers, architects, and artists.
Although the school’s doors were shuttered in 1933 due to the encroaching threat of the Nazi regime, it has been highly regarded since it opened a century ago. After the school’s closure, its teachers and students scattered throughout the world spreading the new design ideology — which was identified through a reductionist approach and the use of geometric lines.
Of all the watch brands that identify themselves as design friendly, Nomos is the marque that has made Bauhaus a key part of its history, with every single model produced identifiable with the immaculate spacing, symmetrical outlines, and the highly recognisable silhouette synonymous with Bauhaus. In other words, the reason you’re able to identify a Nomos immediately is thanks to its close link to Bauhaus design.
In honour of the school’s upcoming centennial, Nomos is introducing nine new watches in three different colours and three different sizes that all utilise the brand’s traditional Tangente structure. The Tangente is a Nomos icon; it was the first watch released by the brand in 1992 and is still its best-selling line, making it the ideal line to base the anniversary collection around.
What you’ll immediately notice here is a new off-white dial colour that Nomos is calling “sketch paper” that is inspired by the artist Paul Klee’s sketches. On the outside of the dial is a minute track in the primary colours blue, yellow, or red. Other details of the watch’s look are classic Tangente: Arabic numerals at the even digits are segmented by skinny black lines and hands and there’s a running small seconds at 6 o’clock.
Inside the polished stainless steel watch is the Nomos Alpha Caliber which was the brand’s first in-house produced, manual-winding movement introduced back in 2005. Anybody that has previously owned a Nomos timepiece can verify that it’s both robust and reliable with a 43-hour power reserve and traditional German detailing such as the Glashütte ribbing and sunburst polish on the ratchet and crown wheel. Each of the watches comes on a Horween Genuine Shell Cordovan Black leather strap and features a closed caseback with a special engraving commemorating the Bauhaus centenary, as well its limited edition numbering: Tangente Sondermodell – ein Jahrhundert Bauhaus, 1/100. Nomos says that the decision to utilise a closed caseback was in order to keep with the minimalist tradition of Bauhaus design.
The three sizes the watch comes in — 32.8 mm, 35 mm, and 37.5 mm, to be exact — offer a wide variety of fits that can effectively complement both male and female wrists. Personally, I’d go with the blue-accented model in 35 mm as it fits larger on the wrist than you’d expect while simultaneously being the thinnest model of the three (6.2 mm compared to 6.4 mm for the smaller model and 6.6 mm for the larger) but you can’t really go wrong with any of three iterations. Each color and size is limited to 100 total pieces (900 total) and features very attractive pricing that Nomos describes as a “100th-anniversary discount.” The 33-mm watch is priced at $1,660; the 35 mm at $1,800; and the 38 mm at $1,930.
In short, the Nomos Tangente “A Century of Bauhaus” limited edition is a very effective tribute to an essential part of the Nomos DNA and is a fantastic way of getting a part of Bauhaus history on your wrist.