Most people associate NOMOS Glashütte with subdued minimalist designs that are crafted to standout with small details. At Baselworld 2018, their Autobahn series stood out the most, at least visually. Mad splashes of color, a 41mm case size (large for the brand) and a racing-inspired dial made the NOMOS Autobahn Neomatik 41 Date the most unlikely design departure for the company. Nomos lovers praise the simplicity, the in-house movements and value, so for the company to take such a risk in a new radical look was a big risk from a business perspective.
(Although perhaps watch obsessives live in a bubble. Rolex dealers aren’t shy to share how the new polarizing Air-King is actually a brisk seller).
Hodinkee panned the watch as much of the watch forum crowd. Our team still can’t get the Autobahn out of our heads. But we are also a company that wants you to put a bright orange rubber strap on your Sub, so our like of the Autobahn is in line with our tendency to fight positives in products that buck convention.
Car racing-inspired watch designs aren’t new, of course. As we debated the merits of the Autobahn series, it was pointed out that Autodromo has quite few nice-looking watches that evoke the speedometer. It’s Stradale model (pictured below) is one of favorite sub-$1,000 watches.
But those familiar with the attention-to-detail NOMOS injects into every one of their watches understands that certain feel. The Autobahn models we handled at Baselworld delivered that X-factor, especially with an in-house Neomatik date caliber, which can be seen through the clear sapphire caseback. This movement is particularly slender too at 3.6mm thick and the quick-set date function can be adjusted forwards and backwards. What?! That’s a nice feature.
Critics of the Autobahn point out that lack of lume on the hands in two variants makes it difficult to read at night. While pure functionality is certainly more relevant on your main watch, we can overlook this fault if the Autobahn served as a watch that served as a “fun” choice within a more sober collection.
At $4,800, the NOMOS Autobahn isn’t an easy choice considering how much competition there is in that price category. But for those who’ve wanted a bit more flair out of NOMOS’s designs and have a Porsche to match, the Autobahn is a perfect choice. It’s funky yet still adhere’s to NOMOS’ attention to typography and clean design.
Check it out at nomos-glashuette.com.