The German independent brand says now is the right time to enter the market.
For many Middle Eastern watch enthusiasts, NOMOS Glashütte’s recent arrival in the region was long overdue. The independent company, famed for its minimalist, in-house movement watches, has a firm footing in other global watch-buying destinations, including the USA, the UK and its home market Germany where it still does more than half its business. But until recently, it had no presence in the Middle East.
That is now changing. In quick succession, the company has added four points of sale in the UAE: two in Dubai and one in each of Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. It has also just opened a couple of doors in Bahrain.
Uwe Arendt, the company’s CEO is confident his watches will draw in Middle Eastern consumers. ‘The story behind NOMOS’s development and growth from the 1990s to today really appeals to customers from young economies,’ he says. ‘Watch buyers from the Middle East travel a great deal, so they’re familiar with contemporary design when it comes to fashion and furniture. This means that they also appreciate the refined aesthetics of NOMOS timepieces.’
That aesthetic is often attributed to Bauhaus, but that’s only part of the story. The company was born in the old East Germany after the collapse of the Soviet Union and specialises in functional, understated watch design, heavily influenced by the Bauhaus School. It runs a creative hub in trendy former East Berlin and operates production facilities in Germany’s traditional watchmaking centre Glashütte.
But it’s the principles of the Deutscher Werkbund, a precursor to Bauhaus, that are even more fundamental to the brand. The Werkbund is a collective founded in the early 20th century. Today, its members’ shared philosophy is to combine cutting-edge technology and industrial production methods with hand-craftsmanship. In practice, that should always mean consumers get a very high quality-to-value ratio. Certainly, that’s contributed to NOMOS’s rapid rise in popularity.
The pared-back NOMOS look first saw the light of day in the four models launched in 1992: the Tangente, the Orion, the Ludwig and the square-cased Tetra. Since then, the collection has grown with the addition of pieces such as the Zürich, Club, Metro and Ahoi collections. This year, NOMOS added the Autobahn, a larger, bolder piece designed in collaboration with German furniture designer Werner Aisslinger.
Behind every NOMOS watch is one of the company’s in-house mechanical calibres. NOMOS has designed and produced 13 different calibres to date. The first of seven ‘Neomatik’ automatic models was introduced in 2016, and the company also manufactures its own escapements, dubbed the Swing System. It claims 95 per cent of the value of a NOMOS movement is added in Glashütte, far exceeding the 60 per cent required before a movement can carry the small town’s name.
Despite huge investment in manufacturing and the sophistication of these calibres (they’re all beautifully finished with Glashütte stripes and sunburst decoration), NOMOS has kept costs and prices refreshingly accessible. The majority of the collection sits between 1,000 and 3,000 euros, with a few core collection pieces reaching 5,000 euros. Beyond that sit the more exclusive Lux and Lambda models, gold pieces produced in very low numbers, around 100 a year in total.
“The majority of the collection sits between 1,000 and 3,000 euros, with a few core collection pieces reaching 5,000 euros.”
Despite its confidence in the Middle East, the company has no plans for rapid expansion, in keeping with the model it’s adopted in other territories. ‘We’ve just entered the market in the Middle East and we’re in no rush to expand beyond our capacities,’ says Mr Arendt. ‘In the long term, we want to find the right partners to work with, continue to increase brand awareness, and communicate our brand values.’
Nomo Retailers in the Middle East
United Arab Emirates
Bahrain Jewellery Centre
Oded Kashi Elite Jewelry & Watches
Hey Iyar St 28
6299805 Tel Aviv