If you’ve spent any time looking through the NOMOS catalogue for a sporty option, you’ve probably come across the Club line. The Club is NOMOS’ distinctive and incredibly adaptable sports watch, first presented in 2007. The Club has gone through various versions in terms of size, movement, and colours in its brief lifetime (not to mention the myriad limited editions). NOMOS has a total of 18 Club models in its current inventory, ranging from the 36mm Club ref 701 to the 42mm Club Sport Neomatik. Although all NOMOS models include an in-house movement, you can choose between the handwinding Alpha calibre and the automatic Neomatik movement. Oh, and it doesn’t matter if there’s a date or not. The multiplicity of alternatives, predictably, leads in a price range of $1500 to $4060. Yes, there are enough varieties to make your head spin, but happily, choosing a NOMOS isn’t difficult.
I had the opportunity to spend some time with the NOMOS Ahoi Neomatik 561 earlier this year – a 36mm automatic sports watch that I’ll admit to being a little smitten with right now (it may find its way under the Christmas tree this year). That review gave me my first opportunity to wear a NOMOS watch for a prolonged period of time, and I’ve been itching to try out another. Though I’m fortunate to receive watches for review on a regular basis, the ones I’m drawn to for my own collection are adaptable pieces that I can wear practically everywhere. A dark dial Club certainly matches those criteria, but picking which Club to study proved to be the difficult part. Due to my overabundance of options, I decided on a few criteria to reduce the field down: black dial, moderate size (I have a 6.75” wrist, so the Club Neomatik Sport is a bit big for me), and automatic movement. That left the Club Neomatik Atlantik (ref 741) and the Club Campus Neomatik 39 Midnight Blue as the only options (ref 767). End Of Advertising Message (Advertising Message) (Advertising Message) (Advert
I still couldn’t make up my mind, but NOMOS was kind enough to send me both watches for review. In the end, I’m sure there are a lot of folks out there that are in the same boat when it comes to the Club line. Though the two watches I’m examining have a lot in common on the surface – dark blue dials, similar layouts, and the same movement – it’s the small variances that give each watch its distinct personality and, ultimately, a very distinct wearing experience. This isn’t a shootout or a “who’s the greatest” piece; rather, it’s a side-by-side comparison that shows both the similarities and contrasts between these two watches in the hopes of assisting someone else who is unsure about which one to buy.
If you’re unfamiliar with the brand, NOMOS watches are proudly created in Glashütte, Germany, a modest but thriving watchmaking hub that has evolved into the Saxon heartland of German horology. NOMOS watches, which have been around since 1992, offer a distinct, youthful design language that is both basic and whimsical. Despite being influenced by Bauhaus, NOMOS’ Berlin-based design team has reworked the design language in a unique way that easily identifies the brand’s watches. These watches are not cheap, but I believe they provide excellent value for what you get: a distinct design language, exquisite in-house movements, and a timepiece made almost exclusively in Glashütte. If it isn’t obvious, I am a huge fan of the brand.
My eye is pulled to the dial of most watches, but the flowing, sculptural beauty of the Club’s casing seems to grab my attention more than most watches. The stainless-steel case of the Club is distinguished by a broad, rounded bezel and, most notably, the signature long, curving lugs (48.5mm lug-to-lug on the Club Neomatik 37mm case and 49.5mm lug-to-lug on the Club Campus Neomatik 39’s 39.5mm case). The curving case is a nice contrast to the more angular and austere forms of models like the Tangente and Ahoi, and it softens the overall look of the watch when combined with the high polish finish. The watch’s gentle lines immediately encourage you to put it on and promise a comfortable wearing experience, which they fortunately deliver. Message in Advertising Message At The End Of Advertising
The two-piece case design, in which the bezel and midcase are formed from a single piece of steel, may not be visible in images but is very appealing in person. The lack of a transition between the bezel and the case emphasises the case’s and lugs’ gentle, flowing contours. The crown is modestly size, but easy to grip and adjust. The crown is not screwed down, but the watch is still water resistant to 100 metres.
Despite having similar casings and a diameter of only 2mm, the wearing experiences of both watches are vastly different. Both are slim (9.3mm on the Club Neomatik and 8.4mm on the Club Campus Neomatik 39), but the lug width – 18mm on the Club Neomatik and 20mm on the Club Campus Neomatik 39 – is the key difference. Despite the fact that they both have a blue-black nylon strap (which is incredibly comfortable), the Club Campus Neomatik 39 has a 20mm lug width, which makes it feel much more solid and gives it more wrist presence. Both watches are comfortable to wear all day and have no difficulties. The slightly broader dial, along with the long lugs and wider band, makes the Club Campus Neomatik 39 wear like a significantly larger watch than the Club Neomatik in terms of comfort. As a result, the Club Neomatik is better suited to smaller wrists or as a unisex option — it fits my wife’s delicate wrists just as well as it does mine. She hasn’t been able to steal it because the medium strap only fits my wrist.
Both watches have dark blue dials, but the hues are quite different – the Atlanik dial on the Club Neomatik is a deep slate with only a touch of blue, whilst the Atlanik dial on the Atlanik is a deep slate with only a touch of blue (though set against the white numerals, the blue shines through more so than on the same Atlantik dial of the Ahoi). The Club Campus Neomatik 39’s Midnight Blue, on the other hand, is a deep navy that looks like a blue dial watch even at a glance. Despite the fact that both watches have blue dials and use the same bauplan, the variances in colour and numerals give them completely different personalities.
The Club Neomatik, in my opinion, is the more younger and laid-back of the two watches. NOMOS’ mastery of colour is exemplified by the white hands and numerals/markers, mint green Arabic numerals marking each five-minute interval, and vivid orange seconds hand in subdial. These colourful accents are entertaining and enjoyable without being garish or overwhelming. They simply collaborate.
The Club Campus Neomatik 39, on the other hand, features a more restrained and mature colour palette, with rose gold hands, five-minute numerals, and accents set against the dial’s blue and white numerals. It’s a more refined colour scheme that reminds me of a traditional navy jacket with gold buttons. To avoid veering too far into the realm of refinement, NOMOS reintroduces the funk with a reverse California dial found throughout the Club Campus collection. It’s a nice contrast to the more formal colouring, and it makes for a funky combo – which appears to be NOMOS’s style. Given the adaptability of this colorway and the allure of the rose gold accents, I’m sure there are a lot of followers of the brand who want for a full Arabic numeral dial (not me, though).
The hands and indices of both the Club Neomatik and the Club Campus Neomatik 39 are Super-LumiNova, which glows a gentle blue. Unfortunately, NOMOS isn’t known for its luminosity. When the lights go out, the hands, and to a lesser extent the numerals and hour markers, can be seen… but not very clearly. While it isn’t a deal-breaker, I do wish NOMOS would improve the lume section and deliver brighter, longer-lasting lume.
As the names suggest, both the Club Neomatik and Club Campus Neomatik 39 are driven by NOMOS’ Neomatik movement – specifically calibre DUW 3001. This is a 27-jewel automated movement with a 43-hour power reserve and the NOMOS swing system escapement. It’s a fantastically little movement (just 3.2mm high and 28.8mm in diameter), and NOMOS goes to great lengths to embellish it with thermally blued screws, rhodium plating, Glashütte ribbing, and NOMOS perlage. It’s also regulated in six places, implying that it’ll be fairly precise right out of the box. You’ll want to view the movement via a sapphire caseback. Only the Club Neomatik comes with a sapphire caseback as standard. The Club Campus Neomatik 39, on the other hand, has a solid stainless steel caseback with plenty of room for engraving if you so want. If you choose the Club Campus Neomatik 39, my advise is to spend a few hundred dollars more and buy the sapphire caseback.
The NOMOS Club Neomatik and the Club Campus Neomatik 39 are both excellent timepieces in their respective categories. Despite the fact that the Neomatik movement raises the price significantly above the hand-wound variants, I believe NOMOS is still providing outstanding value since you’re getting a watch built nearly entirely in Glashütte with a great in-house movement that’s certainly a sight to behold. More importantly, the Club models (as well as practically all NOMOS watches) have a distinct style and personality that you won’t find anywhere else.
I suppose the question now is which watch would I buy if I had to spend my hard-earned money? Between these two options, I think I’d choose with the 37mm Club Neomatik. This is primarily due to my preference for the 18mm strap on this watch and the 37mm version’s under-the-radar wrist presence. Another plus is the display back. But, if I’m being completely honest, I’d dip a little further in the piggy bank.