CLUB 38 CAMPUS
German manufacture graduates with honours
“Creating a watch requires a great deal of time and patience,” says Judith Borowski, creative director and partner at German watch brand Nomos Glashütte. “There are many design elements that need to be just right. There has always been a lot of potential in Club — it is our ‘youthful’ model: robust, sporty, distinctive. With the new dial style we have given it a fresh, modern look: a younger appearance. The closer you look, the more you see. For example, the fine outline around the typography that gives the dial depth is a feature that is only noticeable at second glance.”
This year Nomos Glashütte launched a new collection aimed at consumers looking to gift a watch to mark an important occasion, a university graduation for example: the Club Campus. The collection consists of two 38.5mm models and one 36mm version. All three watches come in a robust stainless steel case with indestructible sapphire crystal glass and a solid screwed stainless steel back, powered by the in-house manufactured, manually wound Alpha movement. A small but quirky design feature is their “California dial”, a mix of Arabic numerals (in the top half of the dial) and Roman numerals (in the bottom half), a first for the brand. The numbers are coated with the powerfully phosphorescent pigment Super-LumiNova to be easily readable at night.
Part of the package is a case-back engraving of your choice, offered free, with turnaround time of a couple of weeks. Nomos is unashamedly trying to target first-time watch owners here, people receiving a watch for a significant event or anniversary. Part of the deal is that beautifully classic Nomos design at a more-than reasonable price. The brand has hinted the series is essentially being subsidised: this is a line targeting its potential future customer base.
The Club 38 Campus features a white silver-plated dial with blue rhodium-plated hour and minute hands with luminescent inlay, a neon-orange seconds hand and an anthracite velour leather strap. The Club 38 Campus Nacht features a ruthenium-plated dial with beige rhodium-plated hour and minute hands with luminescent inlay, a neon-orange second hand and an anthracite velour leather strap. The third in the series, the 36mm Club Campus, features a white silver-plated dial with grey rhodium-plated hour and minute hands with luminescent inlay, a neon-orange seconds hand and a grey velour leather strap.
Produced in Glashütte, a tiny town in the Free State of Saxony, the birthplace of the German watchmaking industry, Nomos Glashütte watches are distinctive: notably uncluttered and minimalist in design, with an emphasis on clean lines and subtle detailing. Still independently owned, it is the country’s largest mechanical watchmaker, having doubled its sales in recent years, at a time when many brands are tightening their belts, re-releasing “classic” models and downgrading to more accessible (ie, cheaper) materials to counter slowing sales in China. Its purist approach has not only single-handedly led to a revival of watchmaking in its hometown, it has offered a new aesthetic to the industry, every watch being a model of design restraint and unfussy modernity.
It may not completely surprise you that along with brands with a similarly reductive template (Uniform Wares, Junghans), its watches have proved particularly popular with graphic designers and the creative industries in general. As the fashion designer Jil Sander once argued, “I am convinced that there can be luxury in simplicity”. By making its movements as fine as possible, the watches of Nomos Glashütte become thinner and lighter on the wrist, and can also be assembled faster.
“We work according to the principle that form follows function, in the traditions of the Deutscher Werkbund and [the] Bauhaus movement,” Borowski says. “While a certain minimalist aesthetic does characterise our timepieces, our designers do not feel the need to limit themselves to a particular style when creating new models. Rather, they draw on cultural influences such as German product design, the British Arts and Crafts Movement, as well as Scandinavian minimalism.”
“It’s true that we are strengthening our position in the market and enjoying steady growth against the industry trend,” says company CEO Uwe Ahrendt. “The fact that things are going so well for us in times like these is something to celebrate. Nomos Glashütte is owner-managed and independent. We have a very high level of in-house production — all our calibres are designed and produced entirely in-house — and we offer particularly good value for money for a fine mechanical watch. Of course, we cannot predict the future. But we are aiming for the same brand recognition abroad that we enjoy in Germany. After all, our customers value what Nomos Glashütte stands for: high-tech production and traditional craftsmanship, combined with prize-winning design.”
38.5MM STAINLESS STEEL ON BLACK VELOUR-LEATHER STRAP, £1,100