Among watchmakers, NOMOS Glaschütte is unique – it’s a relatively young watch company at around 20 years old, but it’s also one of the few in the world to earn the distinction of being a “manufactory,” which means it builds its own movements. That combination results in some watches that are exquisitely crafted, but also relatively affordable (in high-end watch terms, since it’s still nearly $5,000). The Tangomat GMT, a recent introduction and world timer that uses one of NOMOS’ most impressive movements, fits that description perfectly, and is easily one of the best watches I’ve ever had the pleasure of wearing.
The Tangomat GMT features the same clean lines and Bauhaus-inspired minimalism of NOMOS’ mechanical Tangente and other automatic Tangomat watches, with a self-winding NOMOS Glashütte Xi movement. The dial is a cream-coloured affair with slightly raised printed black characters, blued steel indicators and an inset small second subdial with a finely textured radial pattern.
Additional dial features on this watch that are missing on other Tangomat devices are the current city window, and the home time zone display. Both are features associated with the GMT world timer functions of the watch; the city window shows you what time zone the main dial is currently displaying, and the home time zone window on the right hand side of the watch displays the current time wherever you primarily rest your head.
The Tangomat GMT is one of two world timers made by NOMOS, with the other being the celebrated Zürich Weltzeit. Both watches share the same movement, which is capable of keeping time in 24 different time zones, but the Tangomat cleans things up with a city dial that’s mostly kept out of view, save for the display window. The Tangomat is more understated, with cleaner, more mathematical lines, while the Zürich Weltzeit is a bit flashier, and more modern in its angles.
To me, the balance of minimalism, function and a bold, clean face make the Tangomat GMT a nearly ideal watch for general use. It’s perfect for evening wear with the black Shell Cordovan leather band it ships with, but can also work in much more casual settings, and is made even more suitable for everyday use with a brown strap. And of course, thanks to the world timer function, it’s also perfect for travel.
As mentioned, the Tangomat GMT carries a house-made NOMOS Glaschütte Xi movement, which offers a world timer complication that allows shifting of time zones with a single press of a button on the case. This moves the time forward in one hour increments, and also changes the city displayed in the left-hand subdial. Cities are identified mostly by the first three letters in their name, and you can also set your home time zone using an inset button on the bottom left side of the case, for which NOMOS provides a custom tool (though you’d be okay with a ballpoint pen, should that ever get lost).
Setting the Tangomat GMT is easy enough if you follow the provided instructions, and then it’s remarkably easy to switch between time zones, though you’ll have to do two laps each time to get back to your home city (24 time zones are represented by 24 different cities on the subdial). It may technically take less time to reset your watch each time you land in a new destination, but it’s nowhere near as fun, or as technically impressive. And for a blogger like me, there’s a bonus: you can keep track of the time in a distant city where there might be news or an embargo coming up, while still watching the clock at home on the small subdial to the right.
The NOMOS movement is a technical marvel, but it’s also been finely detailed with an eye to aesthetics. It’s a 26 movement with tempered blue screws, rhodium plating, sunburst finish on exposed metal surfaces and black gold perlage detail. You’d be forgiven for wanting to do nothing but stare at this movement through the sapphire crystal caseback, as it looks amazing, and is again probably the primary selling point of this watch for true watch appreciators. It can store around 42 hours of power reserve from the bidirectional rotor, too, so it’s not just a pretty face.
NOMOS is a watch brand that seems to tend to attract young collectors looking for a manufactory movement with some fairly unique and modern styling, at a relatively affordable price. This Tangomat GMT, however, should appeal very broadly to collectors of all stripes, but especially to those who spend a lot of time in the air, and on foreign soil. Practically, it’s also handy for anyone who does business regularly with other time zones, but let’s be honest: you’re not thinking about buying a $4,570 watch because you’re a strictly practical person. The Tangomat GMT also promises a lot of delight to anyone who appreciates the engineering effort that went into designing and building its enthralling movement, and that’s the real reason to add this to your watch wish list.