Two weeks ago german watchmaker Nomos Glashütte introduced a limited edition of their famous Autobahn on the brands second Nomos Forum. The Nomos Forum is a new annual show held by the brand, where media and authorized dealers come together for two days to see the brand's latest creations as well as discuss what the future might bring. I had the opportunity to join the event and take a first look at the novelties. Furthermore, we also had the chance to speak with the designer Werner Aisslinger, who was very keen on sharing his views on design not only on watches but also on other everyday objects.
After the event it was clear for me that I wanted to get a closer look at the new Autobahn Director's Cut A3 limited edition to 175 pieces (for the celebration of 175 years of watchmaking in Glashütte). With its silvery white dial and bold orange accents, the A3 (other models are the A7 with blue and yellow dial and A9 with a black dial) immediately spoke to me, as orange is by far my favorite colour. Thanks to the wonderful people at Nomos, I was able to get the watch for a closer look for a few days and boy did I enjoy that. So let's dig right into it!
The A3, as all of the Autobahn models, is made of a completely polished 41 mm diameter stainless steel case with a subtle height of 10.5 mm and comes on a stainless steel 'driver' bracelet. With its two big holes on either side of the pre bent half of the bracelet, it allows for comfortable ventilation, as well as hugging the wrist perfectly. The other half of the bracelet is Nomos brushed sports steel bracelet, that has 4 mm long links and therefore allows for a genuinely perfect sizing to one's wrist. Furthermore, due to the small increments the underside of the bracelet also fits perfectly around the wrist. The folding clasp has a very satisfying closure and remains rather flat, so that it doesn't bother you during wear.
While the design of the bracelet is polarising, I personally really enjoy it as it fits perfectly into the theme of motorsport related watches, which the Autobahn truly is. Werner Aisslinger designed the bracelet from an inspiration of a vintage Breitling he owns, which features a similar bracelet style. Modern watches rarely feature such bracelets (Tissot and Breitling did ones a few years ago), so these have become a rare sight.
The case of the watch is water resistant to 100 m, making it a perfectly suitable everyday wear and sports watch that won't mind if you dip it in the water while swimming. By keeping the bezel extremely slim, the face of the watch looks very open and large which is further accentuated by the beautiful curvature of the dial, as well as the sub dial for the small seconds indicator. The non screw down crown has a conical shape to it, that adds that little extra design touch, while still being very grippy and easy to use. The date indicator is placed at six and shows three dates, so you always have to remember that the middle one is the current date, which I found to be no issue at all.
Furthermore, the dial sports eight circular blocks that span from eight o’clock to four o’clock and are another reminiscent design feature of dashboard clocks found in cars. While they don't fulfil any purpose (a genuine rarity for Nomos, which is a brand which has Bauhaus as their core ideal), they look extremely good and glow in the dark. To contrast the vibrant orange, Werner Aisslinger opted for a light blue colour for the hands, small seconds and hour hand are fully covered, while for the minute hand only the tip was coloured, which also glow in the dark for easy readability.
The movement (visible through the exhibition caseback) powering the watch is Nomos in-house designed and produced caliber 6101, which is a culmination of all of the brand’s watchmaking advances and is regulated to a Chronometer standard (not certified though). With a height of just 3.6 mm for this automatic winding movement with 42 h of power reserve, it allowed the curved dial enough space to realise Werner Aisslinger’s design idea while still maintaining a proper height of the overall watch.
So what do I conclude for my review of the Nomos Glashütte Autobahn Director's Cut Limited Edition A3? To me this watch is something unusual, the whole Autobahn collection is, especially when looking at the Bauhaus inspired design of the brand in the rest of their collection. Do I dislike it that they changed the design and went for something different? Hell no! I love it, as it shows the brands versatility and ability to implement other design ideas while maintaining their watchmaking core. To me the Autobahn collection as a whole is a refreshing addition to the brand's well perceived collection and shows how well the work with an external designer can be. Furthermore, extending as far and even making a completely different bracelet is what makes me love the Director's Cut even more and shows that we Germans are certainly able to have some fun - as long as it doesn’t get too much ;-). Overall I can certainly say that I would love to see the Autobahn Director's Cut A3 in my collection, although it was sold out immediately after its launch.