NOMOS Glashütte Ahoi For DWB — 52Mondayz, Week #20-2020 Several concepts come of age in one balanced model by Rob Nudds May 11, 2020 MIN READNOMOS Glashütte Ahoi For DWB — 52Mondayz, Week #20-2020
Full disclosure right off the bat: I worked for NOMOS Glashütte for three years in International Sales. You might think, therefore, I am unfairly biased. And maybe I am towards models like the Zürich Weltzeit or Orion, but not to all. If there is one family that never got my love, it was the Ahoi range. But thanks to a timely collaboration with Doctors Without Borders, the tide of opinion might finally be turning in favor of NOMOS Glashütte’s most rugged timepiece.
It always struck me as odd that, as a man whose watch collection is replete with dive and tool watches, the Ahoi never resonated with me. Then again, although NOMOS likes to market this handsome ticker as a go anywhere, do anything bad boy, it is really just as much a refined and debonair goody-two-shoes as the rest of the catalog.
And there’s nothing wrong with that at all. All my favorite brands do one thing and one thing well. When it comes to stylish, intellectually designed, endlessly wearable timepieces, NOMOS Glashütte ranks right near the top of my list.
A little history
So before I “dive” into why this iteration of the Ahoi is the best yet (in my opinion), let’s remind us of how we got here. Firstly, this model is the latest addition to the Doctors Without Borders collaboration collection. The DWB (or MSF in French and AOG in Deutsch) series watches are always limited and have, in the past, centered on the Tangente and Tetra families. The vast majority of releases came out under the Tangente line, and each one was limited and (in most cases) restricted to certain territories (identified by the dial printing being in an area-appropriate dialect). This one has German dial printing and is available worldwide.
This time around we have the Ahoi model making its debut in this limited collection that is periodically rolled out to raise money for the essential, life-saving services provided by DWB. There are two versions available, one in the “classic” Ahoi diameter of 40mm, and the other in the “neoclassic” diameter of 36mm. The former features the traditional DUW 5101 automatic date movement, while the smaller one — the one I chose to borrow — makes use of the DUW 3001 neomatik caliber.
The neomatik caliber hit the market in 2015 and was a revelation for the brand. It was a culmination of years of research. At 3.1mm thick/thin it gave NOMOS Glashütte a new base caliber around which the future direction of the brand could be planned. Throughout my career with NOMOS, I never shut up about the merits of this little mechanism and how it was worth every euro cent spent on its development. And trust me, a lot of euro cents were spent on the DUW 3001.
A new era
As such, the price of the first models fitted with the neomatik caliber were higher than many established NOMOS fans were used to. Occasionally, thanks to the way customers equate size to value, it created confusion by these new, smaller watches being priced the same or lower than bigger (also automatic) models from the brand.
As with any new venture, it took time to be understood. Nowadays, the perception of NOMOS seems to have shifted, or at least started to move towards that of an internationally recognized and respected manufacture, rather than a talented and faithful designer of nice-looking watches.
The first time the Ahoi appeared in the neomatik line-up (back in the seemingly distant days of 2017 as part of the Aqua collection) it failed to attract widespread acclaim. Attention, thanks to the incredibly bright Siren Red and Siren Blue models, yes, but acclaim was slow to arrive.
The Ahoi 36 neomatik Atlantic, with its stormy blue dial and fluorescent orange dial detailing, was a stunner.
That was a real shame because, within that release, there was one real gem. Perhaps the most attractive watch I’d seen come out of the brand since the Zürich Weltzeit. The Ahoi 36 neomatik Atlantic, with its stormy blue dial and fluorescent orange dial detailing, was a stunner. I would have bought it myself but for one problem: It wore too small. This frustrated me as the bigger Ahoi always wore too big.
However, now the Ahoi 36 neomatik DWB is strapped to my wrist I finally realize where I got it wrong. It wasn’t the diameter that caused it to look so small on my wrist; it was the color.
My favorite combination
The crisp, silver-plated dial of this Ahoi is nothing new. There was a white dial released in 2017 along with the Sirens and the Atlantic. Except the rest of the dial printing washed it out. It was all orange and royal blue. Unfortunately, as attractive as it was, it was an intensely feminine look I couldn’t pull off.
It finally suits me.
Here, however, we have something entirely different. The red 12 that is used by all DWB models is awesome, to begin with. Beyond that, the sharp black printing, the typical Ahoi typeface (which I prefer to the Tangente’s), and the bonus of luminous hands and markers (a rarity on NOMOS models) give this watch a much more significant presence on the wrist and — joy of joys — I love it. It finally suits me. In fact, when it comes to Tangente/Tangente Sport/Ahoi DNA (which is all closely linked) this is, without a doubt, my favorite combination so far.
NOMOS Glashütte finally released a bracelet. For years it was top of retailers’ and consumers’ wishlists. And the way the brand went about it surprised me. The construction is interesting. The links slot together like three-dimensional jigsaw pieces. On the backside, they are held in place by two teensy-weensy screws.
Now, as a watchmaker, you might imagine these screws pose no problems for me. Unfortunately, during this Covid-19 situation, that is not the case. Foolishly, I left my entire toolkit in another country that I currently cannot access. All I have left with me in Germany are a couple of strap change tools…
…compelling me to add another to the stable would take a serious success on NOMOS Glashütte’s part.
Fortunately, I was able to dig out an old 18mm NOMOS Glashütte Shell Cordovan strap (XS) . I popped this onto the new Ahoi to get a realistic idea of the wearing experience. It was at this point I realized how much I liked the watch, and how I could genuinely see myself adding it to my collection one day. Bear in mind, that is a collection that already contains four NOMOS watches (and would contain five in a heartbeat if my long lost Weltzeit ever turns up in one piece). And so compelling me to add another to the stable would take a serious success on NOMOS Glashütte’s part.
Who knows? perhaps that success is strapped to my wrist as I type. Let’s see how the rest of the week goes first. But at €3,440 I am sorely tempted. If this model looks too small for you, have a look at the larger version with the added bonus of a date display at 6 o’clock. That one comes in at €3,780. That’s a small premium for the extra complication. I like them both visually, but my heart’s with the small one! To learn more about the Ahoi, and NOMOS Glashütte visit the official site here. To read about Doctors Without Borders check out the official page here.
Brand Nomos ModelAhoiReference560.S1DialGalvanized, white silver-platedCase Material316L Stainless steel, polished, screw-down crownCase Dimensions36.3mm diameter excluding crown, 9.6mm thickCrystalSapphire crystalCase BackSapphire display backMovementDUW 3001Water Resistance200 metersStrapNOMOS Glashütte braceletPrice€3,440 Watch of the Week
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About the author
Rob’s first exposure to the watch industry was a part-time retail role for the Signet Group at the age of 17. An obsession with watches soon developed. Following an ill-advised BSc in Archaeological Science, he applied for sponsorship to undertake… read more
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