Hands-On: Comparing The New 39mm And Original 42mm Lambda Watches From NOMOS Glashütte
So when NOMOS put out a twenty thousand dollar gold watch with a lovely extravagant schmancy development in it (a hand engraved equilibrium cockerel, forsooth!) it occasioned a specific measure of soul-searching and even hand-wringing. Was NOMOS going upscale? Had they deserted their standards? Had the company bounced some up to this point unsuspected shark? What, in a word, was going on here (the delightfulness of the watch aside)?
Two years on and the answer is by all accounts that NOMOS figured it is ideal to make a pleasant watch – all in all, the same old thing. To my brain the Lux and Lambda watches have always appeared to be a fairly intriguing actual sign of that most characteristically German mental marvel, the Gedankenversuch (Gedankenexperiment) or psychological study, which term was authored by Hans Christian Ørsted back in the mid 19th century as a way of testing speculations previously, in a manner of speaking, taking them out and about. The psychological test here is self-evident: What would the outcome be, in the event that you took the fundamental idea of an extremely very good quality extravagance watch, and ran it through the NOMOS plan reasonableness, without compromise?
The answer, for reasons unknown, is that it looks a lot of like a NOMOS watch, yet with everything dialed up, and the aftereffect of pushing all the essential qualities that make NOMOS what it is much further, is that you get something with generally similar characteristics, however a recognizably unique character.
If you take a gander at the dial of a Lambda, for example, you see something resistant finely done. NOMOS is renowned, and as it should be, for its inadequacy of plan and willingness to accept negative space, yet that plan theory in the vast majority of its models additionally goes alongside a plain utilitarianism: scantiness isn’t an end in itself, yet the aftereffect of the disposal of unnecessary items sought after to its inescapable decision. (What’s more, in the world of extravagance watchmaking, where having one detail an excessive number of in a watch configuration is the standard instead of the special case, that is done a great deal to make NOMOS the achievement it is today). In any case, the Lambda is more than that. Scantiness here is pushed as far as possible; the dial textual styles and the hands, just as the markers, are flimsy to the point that they go from being smoothly utilitarian to being very nearly a quiet comment on the idea of time – as though welcoming us to consider exactly how finely time itself can be divided.
The development is the equivalent – indeed, we have here an exemplary Glashütte three-quarter plate, however the spiral sunray finish, hand inclining (not that there are that numerous edges to slope on a full plate development, yet that is beside the point) screwed in chatons, and engraved equilibrium chicken all plan to extend a demeanor of purposeful fineness, though an extremely aristocrat one – the controlled elegance of a Doric capital instead of the baroque sumptuousness of much conventional Glashütte fine watchmaking. The ratchet wheel with its engraved encompass, and equilibrium are about a similar size, and the sunray brushing causes them to seem like intentionally adapted renditions of the Sun and Earth – the one giving energy to the next. The overall feel of the Lambda watch is in reality more archaic than some other NOMOS watch; it seems like something that could without much of a stretch have been made by some original Bauhaus fashioner – however with a portion of the backward-looking wistfulness of the Art Deco also (and Art Deco’s unashamed utilization of extravagant materials.)
And that, since we are here to talk 39 mm versus 42 mm, is why it is so fascinating to compare the two. My first response when I caught wind of the size of the Lambda, in 2013, was to wonder if NOMOS hadn’t committed an error. Particularly given the gracile extents of for all intents and purposes all other watchs in their assortments, the size combined with the launch cost of the Lambda appeared to loan itself excessively much to being deciphered as a sort of showiness outsider to the company’s center plan vision.
As it ends up however, having gotten an opportunity to wear one for certain days, choosing between the 39mm and 42mm renditions isn’t so straightforward. The sweeping dial and by and large components of the 42 mm Lambda are really a major (no joke proposed) part of the allure, and really work very well as a natural piece of the plan. The sheer territory of the watch – the negative space utilized – combined with the fineness of the dial furniture and hands gives the 42mm Lambda especially a pocket watch feel, and is a major piece of what drives the plan personality into the inconspicuously yet certainly nostalgic space it possesses. The whole thing has a wonderfully ethereal, practically melancholy, quality as a result.
On the other hand, there’s little uncertainty that the 39 mm has generally a similar charm and feeling of clear plan way of life as the first; it just expresses that character and tasks that charm at a somewhat lower volume (in the event that you can even utilize a word like “volume” with regards to NOMOS’ plans). The development is by and large the equivalent – NOMOS hand-wound type DUW 1001 – and it is quite difficult to distinguish the two watches one next to the other. Maybe this practically dimensionless quality is essential for the fascination. The lone truly recognizable distinction is that there is marginally less gold around the development on the 39 mm version.
And yet, they actually intrigue me as discernibly various watches. The 39 mm has an extra lucidity and moderate immaculateness that have made NOMOS the achievement that it will be; it is a watch, as a matter of first importance, with a close to pitch-ideal union of dynamic plan and utilitarian virtue. Yet, the bigger form because of the openness of its composition becomes something different – a sort of spooky reflection on schedule and distance. That may sound dismal, yet as the man-made reasoning stone worker in William Gibson’s scifi novel Count Zero says, “My melodies are of time and distance. The pity is in you.”
All photographs by Will Holloway for HODINKEE
Shown in the article, the Lambda Roségold USD 18,500 and Lambda 39 Roségold USD 17,000. Both the Lambda 39 mm and 42 mm watches are powered by the in-house type DUW 1001, a 14¼ ligne (32 mm) hand wound, 3.6 mm thick chronometer grade development. Changed in six situations, with swan’s neck fine controller and equilibrium cockerel engraved “affectionately delivered in Glashütte.” See all the models and full specs here.