NOMOS: A date re-imagined
Posted on April 16 2018
BASELWORLD 2018: Update
Big news from NOMOS at this year's BaselWorld is their clear direction to re-imagine the date. With the introduction of the NOMOS DUW6001 Neomatik in-house movement, this is a historic moment in NOMOS's history, with the development of a "quick change" date complication. For those of you that know don't know NOMOS all that well, you might be surprised to hear that the date functions on their movements have until now been very "retro" in their user experience. A little bit of date history: Prior to the 1950's there were very few watches with date functions. ROLEX was the first company to produce a watch that had an automatic date change where, at midnight, the current calendar day would change without any user intervention. Prior to that, small pushers on the case were used to advance the date, day or month indicators. Even with Rolex's invention, if you let your watch stop for a few days, the wearer would have to either turn the hands through 24 hours, or at best, cycle between about 8 PM and 1AM to make an advance. "Quick-sets" started to appear in the early 50's but were generally fairly slow on the uptake as the mechanisms were fairly unforgiving to the user. The reason for this is that If the user tried to correct the date using the quick set mechanism around the time when the date was changing (midnight), the mechanism could potentially be damaged. As time went on, mechanisms were improved and quick set became the norm.
Back to NOMOS...
Prior to BaselWorld 2018, NOMOS had only produced the "retro" style of date advance, where the wearer would have to cycle between 8PM and around 1AM to correct the date. This in itself was one of the charms of their watches. It was almost as if NOMOS was taking the wearer through an experiential history tour with manual date correction and even manual winding. After all, NOMOS has been for many, a first mechanical watch experience. Therefore they (perhaps unwittingly) provided an introduction to the mechanical world (from a fast paced digital/ quartz one or even one without a wrist watch) that was slow & methodical and so very caring. It's interesting to note that the first 15 years of NOMOS's existence was dedicated to manual wind references, until their first automatic in 2005.
So now it seems that the natural progression of the no date DUW3001 (Neomatik automatic winding caliber), is to take the wearer into a new landscape with the "quick-set" of the DUW6001.
The winding/setting crown now has three positions.
1. fully pressed in for winding
2. one click out for bi directional rapid date set
3. fully out for time setting.
As you'll see from the image above there is a star wheel that advances the calendar when it's needed to correct the date in order to compensate for month that's shorter than 31 days. However the real beauty is found with the mechanism that automatically changes the date at midnight. NOMOS has adeptly applied current naming terminology by calling this wheel the "NOMOS Program Disk". This wheel is smaller than most traditional "calendar wheels" found in other manufactures, featuring most notably a cam like rounded sided triangle seen in the centre of the image here. The reduced size offers an advantage of having a shorter date change time frame when it comes to the date changing at midnight.