Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Watch Review: Nomos Glashutte Tangente Gangreserve

In writing last month's Kent Wang Bauhaus v3 watch review, I realized that I never reviewed one of the most paradigmatic Bauhaus-influenced designs out there - and one of the only ones I'm aware of that is available with an in-house movement.  I'm speaking generally of Nomos Glashutte's entire Tangente line, but this review will draw on my experience of the Gangreserve (Power Reserve) model that I acquired several years ago.

In addition to offering one of the best value propositions out there as far as true manufactures go, Nomos Glashutte also represents a bastion of sensibly sized watches for those with diminutive wrists and/or old-fashioned sensibilities.  At 35mm in diameter, the Tangente is the ideal size for a dress watch, and its 18mm lug width means that there are plenty of after-market options beyond the admittedly excellent shell cordovan strap that it comes with.  Its austere indices and numbering are, in my opinion, a quintessential expression of the Bauhaus aesthetic, and its blued hands - true blued hands, achieved through chemical processes that occur during heat treatment - match that aesthetic perfectly.

In retrospect, the power reserve indicator that I specifically purchased the Gangreserve for may actually be the weakest link in that particular Tangente's chain.  While useful in keeping the watch wound, it does break up the otherwise seamlessly sleek aesthetic that the basic Tangente model achieves so effortlessly.  In addition, it increases the cost of servicing substantially over the basic Alpha movement.  If I were to redo my purchase, I would likely go with the basic Tangente model - albeit with the same exhibition case back that I enjoyed in the Gangreserve version.

Whether or not the Tangente is for you likely falls to how you answer the following three questions:

First, are you OK with - or perhaps even prefer - a manual wind movement?  There can a certain pleasure associated with the daily ritual of winding a watch by hand, and if that tableau appeals to you, then the Tangente may be right up your alley.

(And if not, the new Tangente Automatik with the automatic  DUW 3001 movement may be the perfect alternative.  Just look at how the DUW 3001 fills up the 35mm case back!)

Second, do you like the way that dress or vintage sized watches look on your wrist?  Nomos's Tangente intentionally bucks the modern trend toward bigger and more substantial wristwatches, which can either be a welcome respite or an unwanted anachronism, depending on what range of watch sizes you find look best on your wrist.

Finally, perhaps the most important question is this: how much does the Bauhaus aesthetic appeal to you?  Is it attractive enough for you to see yourself wearing a watch in that style as your daily wearer, or in lieu of more traditional dress watch styles?  If you're a Bauhaus aficionado, then a Nomos Tangente may very well be your ideal watch.  If you'd prefer more classic, modern, or outlandish designs, then the Tangente probably won't be a viable option as a daily wearer or dress watch stand-in; whether it should still have a place in your watch box depends on the size of your collection and the financial resources you're willing to devote to it.  For me, while I'm a fan of the aesthetic, I'm more partial to more classic designs, such as the Patek Philippe Calatrava for dress watches, or the Rolex Oyster Perpetual when it comes to all-rounder watches that straddle the sporty/dress continuum.

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