We now look to Glashütte as the bedrock of the modern German watch industry, though many collectors and enthusiasts alike have a tendency of taking the region’s rich history for granted. However, history and pedigree are what helps separate a great brand from a truly iconic one, and in recognition of this, NOMOS Glashütte is celebrating its hometown’s proud watchmaking legacy for 2020.

This year marks the 175th anniversary of watchmaking arriving in the region, and though NOMOS itself has (obviously) not been in business for nearly that long, without the rich history that surrounds Glashütte as we know it, contemporary brands like NOMOS simply wouldn’t exist. In celebration of this momentous occasion, we’ve partnered with NOMOS for a look back at the region’s rich past, and how it’s reflected in the brand’s offerings today.

From 1845 to 2020
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The region now known as Glashütte got its start thanks to the discovery of silver, but it wasn’t until the mid-1800s that things were calm enough for a man named Ferdinand Adolph Lange to give birth to the region’s watchmaking industry. An industrious pocket watch manufacturer, Lange looked to create a thriving trade marked by precision and excellence, helping develop area laborers into skilled craftsmen and artisans. It’s this tradition of artisan craftsmanship that led to the town becoming known as the birthplace of modern German watchmaking, a tradition that can be seen reflected in contemporary brands like NOMOS some 175 years later.

In the latter half of the 19th century, additional investment spurred the creation of other Glashütte watchmaking startups, all bound to the collectively agreed-upon codes and standards of craftsmanship first set out by Lange. At the same time, supplier industries began popping up to support the town’s watchmakers and keep economies of scale local. This development allowed in-house manufacturing to flourish, and to this day, Glashütte-based companies like NOMOS take pride in this centralization of resources, and accompanying “Made in Germany” label.
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Founded in 1990 by Roland Schwertner, directly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, NOMOS Glashütte captured the flag as the town’s first watch brand post-reunification. While the company has enjoyed steady growth and expanding international demand over the ensuing three decades, NOMOS’ regional roots remain strong. Today, the company maintains a staff of around 300 employees, the vast majority of whom continue to work in Glashütte, carrying on the town tradition.

Made in Germany, Made in Glashütte
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The NOMOS lineup consists of 11 model families – from the minimalist Tangente to the bold Autobahn – and in keeping with tradition, every one of the company’s watches, both manual and automatic, are powered by in-house calibers, all of which are produced directly in Glashütte itself.

The “Glashütte” designation of origin may only be used when at least 50 percent of a caliber’s value is generated in town, but at NOMOS Glashütte, that figure is up to 95 percent—allowing the company to ensure that its calibers are held to the highest standards of quality.

This is because, at Baselworld in 2014, NOMOS first unveiled something that had not been seen in Glashütte since the early days of Lange: an in-house escapement, known as the NOMOS swing system. This tiny component is the heart that makes it possible for a mechanical watch to tick, but it has been largely the domain of Swiss producers in modern times, since constructing one is a highly-specialized art—an art that became lost by German watchmakers during the quartz revolution of the ‘70s and ‘80s.
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The development of the NOMOS swing system brought this long-lost tradition back to Glashütte in recent years, allowing the brand to become truly independent – and you can see the system at work today in NOMOS’ slender yet highly precise neomatik calibers, the DUW 3001 and DUW 6101.

A Legacy Worth Celebrating
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The current NOMOS lineup follows many of the same principles first set out by Lange 175 years ago, merging modern innovation with traditional techniques. But for 2020, NOMOS took this approach one step further by releasing special 175th anniversary editions of the Ludwig and Lambda. Each available in three 175-piece variations, these watches combine the latest NOMOS innovations with traditional Glashütte techniques.

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Take, for example, the Lambda—175 Years Watchmaking Glashütte, with its gold chatons and “Lovingly produced in Glashütte” hand engraved on the balance cock of the in-house DUW 1001. Or the limited-edition Ludwig, with its polished, enamel-white dial and slender case, reminiscent of Lange’s early pocket watches, and rounded hands in classic leaf form—tempered blue, according to Glashütte tradition.
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Both watches are a fitting way for NOMOS to honor the town’s past, while giving enthusiasts reason to be excited for its bright future. In 2020, just as in 1845, brands such as NOMOS carry on Glashütte’s proud, centuries’ old tradition of artisan craftsmanship and in-house manufacture—a feat that deserves to be celebrated accordingly.

Visit NOMOS Glashütte for more