As you may recall, we recently covered the launch of a trio of limited edition Nomos Club Automat watches, created to commemorate 175 years of watchmaking in Glashütte. Though the three references sold out rather quickly, Nomos sent along the Onyx reference—fitted with their unique Sport bracelet—for us to take a more thorough look. Interestingly enough a plain black reference of the Club doesn’t come up all that often, and as it stands, the only comparable reference on offer is the larger 42mm Club Sport Neomatik Date with 1,000 feet of water resistance. Being long familiar with the peculiar sizing of Nomos watches—mostly thanks to the brand’s signature long and flat lugs—I was curious to see how the 40mm case would wear in contrast to my usual 40mm selections.

What to say about a Nomos Club that hasn’t been said before, really? This is not a new design, a new dial layout, new hands, a new caliber (it runs the in-house DUW-5001), or even a new bracelet. What it is is a new reference that ticks a lot of boxes that previous Nomos Club references simply don’t tick. Take a moment to look through the current offerings in the model line. Notice anything? Those fond of quirky details and pops of color will be thrilled, but aside from this and the two other references that launched earlier this year, there’s no such thing as a “plain Jane” Club. There’s always a pop of color here, and a contrasting second hand there, or even a rose gold hand set to mix things up, whereas the Club Automat Onyx is refreshingly devoid of any of those calls for attention. The tiny arabic numerals (at 5-minute increments) are a subdued shade of beige, bordering on goldenrod, but otherwise it’s nothing but black and white to be found.

In a way the execution of this reference creates a paradox of sorts. Nomos watches are inherently precise in their attention to detail, with the intent of drawing the eye towards said detail. Without the use of any accents to draw the eye, the Club Automat Onyx (aside from its unique bracelet—more on that later) becomes a very under the radar watch. Its dial and hands are no less appealing or well executed than any of its siblings, but it will be far less likely to catch the attention of anyone in a room shy of a fellow watch enthusiast that can spot the Nomos case profile from a mile away. While some love the added contrast and color of other references, the looks of this reference earns extra points in my books. Between its design and its slender profile, it’s an easy watch to just throw on and forget it’s even on your wrist.

We can’t talk about fit and comfort without addressing this Nomos Sport bracelet. It comes with built-in quick-release pins, 3 micro-adjust points in the single folding clasp (also quick release pins on that end), and a brushed finish bar link design. The bracelet is well designed, and quite comfortable, though not without its flaws. Most notably, it’s the stark contrast between a fully polished case and a finely brushed bracelet that seems a bit disjointed. The clasp is polished to match the case. Between the quick release setup and the modest $300 difference between a bracelet model and one on a canvas strap, I’d still spend the extra money on the Onyx dial, as it proved to be very compatible with a wide range of strap options during my review period. As is often the case, canvas was an easy go-to. For reference for those wondering, I have a 6 ¾” wrist.

While the long lugs of the Nomos Club will always be a bone of contention for some, the 40mm was a reasonable fit on my relatively small wrist. It definitely covered the bulk of my wrist from top to bottom, but was not at a point of hanging off—which can’t be said for the larger 42mm Club reference. The 9.7mm case profile sits wafer-thin on the wrist, especially for a sub-$3k automatic watch. It’s not as thin as their manual winding 38mm references (8.5mm thick), but as you can see from the profile shots, this is by no means a pudgy watch.

Though sadly sold out, this Nomos Club Automat Onyx is yet another example of the brand’s wonderful design work. Nomos can do stealthy and understated, and they can do it well. Here’s hoping we see more designs in this vein as time goes on.

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