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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Nomos Tangente Topper 75th LE vs Montblanc Heritage Chronometrie Ultra Slim

Montblanc recently released a new line up of watches that got a lot of appreciation and one watch in particular truly stole the show. the Heritage Ultra slim. But then, over the last few years, Nomos has been doing slim manual wind watches and garnered quite a following as well.

How do their watches compare.

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One of the really interesting things about these watches is that both of them are heavily inspired. The Tangente as mentioned by another forum member recently, is a direct descendent of a vintage Lange, right from case design, lugs and the dial. The Montblanc looks very inspired by the JLC Master Ultra thin with some elements of the Master Control.

This is not a bad thing, design wise, both watches are really stand out stellar designs. They seem to have a "signature look" and have been thought out really well.

Case Design

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Nomos goes with a flat cylindrical approach to the case and a perfectly round, no protrusions/curves sort of design. Its clean and purposeful and truly minimal.

Even though both watches are quite slim, the Nomos looks a bit chunky next to the MB, I've almost never seen that happen until now. Its especially accentuated by the overall flat/cylindrical case design.

One thing that bothers me and many others with Nomos Tangente is the lug design and execution. They are long, thin and taper down and have sharp edges instead of rounded out. From a design stand point, it does make a statement, but I'm not crazy about them, I feel they can be just a little shorter and could use slightly better finishing on the edges.

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Montblanc has truly hit it out the park with the case design. This may well be the nicest case out there for 2k. The case is gently curved with comfortable edges, the lugs are shaped beautifully with a small bevel on the side to add some personality and again curves with a soft to touch finish.

The bezel is not over powering yet gives a bit more personality to the watch. There is an overall sense of purpose to the case design and its VERY JLC IMO and thats really quite something at this price point. It looks and feels like a sibling to the MUT and MC.

Strap

Montblanc went with one of the their own straps made with fine gator and a regular buckle. It feels really special and tailor made for the watch with the right thickness and texture. Interestingly it is quite matte in person and not the deep black that is often shown in the pictures.

Nomos OTOH has the now infamous Shell cordovan strap. They work with the overall aesthetic of the watch but the only issue I have with it is that it picks up marks and scuffs very easily and typically ends up looking better in the pictures than it really does. But its cheap to replace compared to the Gator and you can change the look with many options.

MB told me they don't have any alternative straps for the Heritage yet but they could make me a brown gator strap upon request. Something I am seriously considering.

Crown

Nomos has a fairly basic crown with Nomos printed on it, but the grip is good and the winding action is one of the easiest out there. The action is good, confident yet light and easy to use, its done just right.

Montblanc has a nicer looking crown with their logo on it, but the winding action is awkwardly tight for a manual wind watch. I am not sure why they didn't adjust it to be lighter.

Dial

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The Topper LE Tangente takes the Tangente which is already a solid watch and changes up a few things that truly make it an all-rounder and a LOT more appealing, atleast to me.

The dial is a lovely lacquer style pure white dial. This along with the blued hands just work so well, its hard to look at this in day or night and not go "WOW that is beautiful", I have had so many folks complement the dial and its a great example of ideas coming together to create something special.

The markers and logo seem to have a certain thickness in the application that pops and the lume tips and dots just make it overall more functional and unique. Yes maybe Lange gets the credit for the original layout, but Nomos has taken it and run with it in the right direction.

Nomos doesnt seem to use AR coated crystals though and it reflects quite a bit of light. The white dial makes it incredibly legible, but you will catch light quite a bit with this one.

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The Montblanc dial is pure class in making something traditional look modern. It takes a certain restraint and balance to pull off something that is dressy yet casual enough to wear otherwise. The markers and arabics are applied and are cut very well and show depth and clean lines. The addition of Arabics on the 12,3,6,9 make the dial slightly casual and hence eases up on the dressy aspect. There is a certain precision to them that upon close inspection is quite impressive IMO.

The hands are a good choice and at first I wondered why did they cut the minute hand a tad short and not long enough to reach the minute marker ring, but the way it is designed, it almost touches the 5 minute markers that are slightly longer and this seem like a good design choice, preventing the overall balance from going off. The sunray silver is a solid pick and while it does not have the POP of the Nomos white dial, my guess is its quite similar to the standard Nomos dial in tonality.

Montblanc uses an AR coated flat sapphire and it does a solid job of providing clear crisp legibility.

Movement

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Looking at the movements side by side, they are essentially the same, but Nomos has evolved it quite a bit. The Nomos movements now are far apart from the base Peseux 7001's and with the custom 3/4th, hacking, finishing, blued screws, and the new swing system, they have really made it their own and it is a stellar example of how to take something fairly basic, make it yourself and make it better!

Montblanc uses a fairly basic version instead but I am not sure if they are making it themselves, or having it made by someone else since the finish does seem a little different from other 7001's I've seen and the small second complication has been taken out. The winding action on just about all the other 7001's I've handled have been lighter as well, so it makes me wonder who makes this movement. The stripes are deeper and more defined here, but no blued screws, no additional finishing. That said, it looks decent.

Other aspects

Two other things Montblanc has going for them are the 500 hour test they have now added to the Heritage line (similar to JLC's 1000 hour control test) which checks winding, power reserve, time keeping, WR, and a few other aspects for a total of 500 hours and issue a hand signed certificate with the specific serial number and the autograph of the person who ran the tests. This is kinda cool and really gives you an assurance that the watch has truly gone through proper checks by an actual person.

Montblanc also has universally more recognition than Nomos which is a plus or minus depending on your personal preferences.

Summary

On the wrist, both watches are just as easy to wear and there is nothing really to compare there. They are slim, light, legible and never get in the way.
In the end, these are both popular watches for a reason, they have carved a niche, and executed on a design and vision really well. I would highly recommend you add these to any collection.
 

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Great review. I will re-read in tonight.
Usually I'd take Nomos, but that lugs... MB looks like a winner to me. I've been to MB store recently, but they got no Ultraslim in stock.
 

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Two winners here. The only negative for me about the Montblanc is the Lange-style hands: just don't like their angled bases. As for looks, the Nomos does it for me: love the simplicity of the dial, the fonts used, and the subdial. But I wouldn't throw either out of my watch case.
 

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nice write up.
My brain says the MB is more "wearable", my eyes say the Nomos looks better.

(We all know, the eyes win most of the time. )
Having seen both in person, I would argue the converse. The MontBlanc looks better and is more-wearable. The case on the Nomos is fine and the lugs have some flair; it's the only part of the Tangente that is interesting aesthetically. But the MontBlanc just stands out more.

Of course, it is all about preference. A buyer would do well with either.
 
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Montblanc guy came from JLC correct, so no surprise that he stole the design. Both are very clean looking.

I like the look of the more standard lugs of the Montblanc but the movement/back award goes to the Nomos.
 

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I absolutely love both designs. The Nomos does have a more contemporary / Bauhaus look to it. Whereas the MB looks like a modern classic. If I had to choose one, I would go for the Montblanc, purely on that clean and classic dial.
 

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My only concern with the Monblanc is how close it looks to the JLC. Does this then make it an expensive homage. How important of design originality when buying a watch.. will one regret getting this over waiting a little longer and purchasing a JLC?? I don't really have the answers but it is what bothers me a little about the Heritage Line . I don't have the same issues with the Nomos. I think there is certainly enough design originality with their watches.


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My only concern with the Monblanc is how close it looks to the JLC. Does this then make it an expensive homage. How important of design originality when buying a watch.. will one regret getting this over waiting a little longer and purchasing a JLC?? I don't really have the answers but it is what bothers me a little about the Heritage Line . I don't have the same issues with the Nomos. I think there is certainly enough design originality with their watches.


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I have a JLC and I am looking to add a second as my next piece and I absolutely love my Montblanc ultra slim. The design hits it out of the park and I think it looks far superior to watches it borrows from. It looks very modern and classic at the same time. I think it's quite safe unless JLC makes the exact same watch with better fit and finish. It doesn't look like they are doing anything except Reversos any time soon though so I think the design is safe.

As for the original question. Montblanc all the way. I am not a fan of that particular Nomos though, I think it looks too casual to directly compare with the Montblanc. The Nomos Orion is probably the better comparison though and I still would choose the Montblanc.
 

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That word "homage" does not belong here.
My only concern with the Monblanc is how close it looks to the JLC. Does this then make it an expensive homage. How important of design originality when buying a watch.. will one regret getting this over waiting a little longer and purchasing a JLC?? I don't really have the answers but it is what bothers me a little about the Heritage Line . I don't have the same issues with the Nomos. I think there is certainly enough design originality with their watches.


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Good write up and comparison. For a $2-3k dress watch, those are great options.
I lean toward the MontBlanc, although the lack of a running seconds might bother me.
The Nomos Orion would be a closer apple to the Mont Blanc:
orion_weiss_raum02.jpg
And you could put the Zenith Elite Ultra Thin in there, too (although it is automatic):
_0019_Heritage_Ultra_Thin_1.jpg
 

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I love the aesthetic of the Mont Blanc. The Nomos looks a tad clinical to me.

I'm also not a fan of sub seconds, and prefer the simpler aesthetic of the second-less look on the Mont Blanc. And then there are the lugs.

However, the movement looks slightly more attractive on the Nomos (could just be the photography or the blue screws, who knows).

Do you know how much each weighs? I have a feeling that the Mont Blanc is somewhat lighter than the Nomos, which would be another positive in my book.
 

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Wonderful writeup, thank you! I was not familiar with this option from Montblanc, and feel like whenever I see one of their pieces it's usually the Timewalker, which I have somewhat mixed feelings on.

In any case, I definitely think the Ultra Slim and the Tangente share some DNA, but the more casual font, stick hands, flat dial, and playful lugs all make the Tangente feel more contemporary. Not saying that makes it better or worse, its just a different style than the much more classic and JLC inspired Montblanc.

Personally, I really like Nomos and actually have three of their pieces (Tangente, Orion, Metro). Their aesthetic really just clicks, but I wouldn't fault anyone for preferring the MB, as it's a very attractive watch.

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Good write up and comparison. For a $2-3k dress watch, those are great options.
I lean toward the MontBlanc, although the lack of a running seconds might bother me.
The Nomos Orion would be a closer apple to the Mont Blanc:
And you could put the Zenith Elite Ultra Thin in there, too (although it is automatic):
I agree as a direct comparison the Orion is probably a closer match, but I can only compare what I have :)

IMO the Tangente has a unique personality, the Orion sort of lacks this a bit and is sort of...boring. Atleast IMO

That Zenith is quite nice though but retails for almost twice as much so it had better be good, sure it can be had for a similar price from the grey market but I think in this case that wouldn't be a valid comparison.
 
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