NOMOS Tangente Date 41

NOMOS Tangente Date 41 money shot

NOMOS’s Bauhaus is a very, very fine haus. The Glashütte-based watchmaker has the German minimalist thing down pat. OK, their Autobahn model looks busier than Bundesautobahn 565. But the rest of NOMOS’ lineup offers everything you want in a watch design – assuming you don’t want much of anything. Which is why only handful of their 211 watches offer a date complication. Now including the NOMOS Tangente Date 41 . . .

Date ring

The Neomatik’s “ring date” complication is such a simple solution to the aesthetic affront that is the rotating date window one wonders why no one thought of it before. “This is made possible by the precise in-house caliber DUW 6101 with automatic winding and a patented date mechanism of its own,” NOMOS avers. “Designed in collaboration with Mark Braun.”

That would be the same Mark Braun whose forefathers gave unto the world the Braun razor. A man who designs fondue pots, flatware and door handles for non-Braun brands. I’m thinking Herr Braun imagineered the NOMOS’ ring date; there’s nothing new about the Tangente’s dial design save its larger size (you need a big pie to serve up 31 slices) and the ring date.

Really close - NOMOS Tangente Date 41

NOMOS maintains “the new NOMOS date is not only easily legible . . . it is also up to three times larger than standard date windows.” I’m not sure how they’re came up with that number. Do they mean the size of each number or the date ring’s combined footprint? Either way, the date ring numbers are small in their overall context, making legibility something of an issue.

A traditional date window frames the number for easy location and identification. And there’s only one number at a time. Here we have 31 evenly spaced, free-floating numbers. The Tangente’s luminescent green horological highlighter (also available in red) bracket the current date. Observed close-up, it’s nothing short of genius.

NOMOS Tangente Date 41 normal distance

But unless you’re Natty Bumppo (a.k.a., Hawkeye), looking at the NOMOS Tangente Date 41 from normal wrist-glance distance (image above) doesn’t immediately reveal the date. All but the keenest-eyed owner will have to zoom in (i.e. bring to watch to their face) to ascertain their monthly progress. As the date ring is pretty much evenly divided around the dial, you can Meistersinger it and guess where you are in the month.

I wrote that legibility is “something of an issue” because a) the date ring is too cool to school and b) it’s not like you need to remind yourself of the date every time you look at your watch. I reckon peering at your watch when you’re filling out your COVID-19 vaccination form is socially acceptable. And if it isn’t, well, you’re masked.

NOMOS Tangente Date 41 movement detail

The NOMOS Tangente Date 41 in-house movement allows for both forwards and backwards date setting. And quite the movement it is too. We’re talking . . .

NOMOS swing system, tempered blue balance spring, NOMOS balance bridge fixed by screws on both sides, stop-seconds mechanism, bidirectional winding rotor with gold-plated embossing, Glashütte three-quarter plate, DUW regulation system adjusted in six positions. 

NOMOS caseback in the wild

Seen through the transparent caseback, the Tangente’s slender engine (3.6mm) is a bit of a babe; the Geneva stripes glint beautifully in the sun. The smooth steel case is attached to a patent shoe leather-style (Horween Genuine Shell Cordovan) band that adds to the dress watch vibe.

Slender NOMOS

My only quibble: the midnight blue dial is more midnight than blue, especially for a brand that’s found considerable success with bright colors, in a world where the new Rolex OP41 got a technicolor dream coat.

The NOMOS Tangente Date 41 is a breakthrough design for a company known for its extremely conservative designs. I don’t think rival watch brands will offer to pay NOMOS for their patented ring date design, or that NOMOS would make a deal if they did. So if you want one of the most uncomplicated date complications from one of the most German or German of watchmakers, the Tangente Neomatik Date 41 is your horological huckleberry.

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