Welcome to Part 2 of our coverage of Watches & Wonders 2021! If you haven’t read Part 1, you can do so here, but feel free to read them out of order. Today we’ll be mainly focusing on Nomos and Vacheron Constantin, both of which had fairly extensive releases compared to most of the other brands we carry.
We’ll start with Nomos, another of my absolute favorite brands (just behind Grand Seiko and Zenith, if I had to commit to it). Nomos had a fairly wild (by their standards, anyway) release this year with some really, really brightly colored watches, but let’s first take a look at these two new Update models, a Metro and a Tangente.
Nomos’ Update models are part of a cross-section of Nomos’ overall portfolio that denote the use of their next-gen DUW 6101 ultra-thin automatic movement with a very advanced date complication. First we’ll look at this new Metro, one of Nomos’ most popular designs, now with a slick date complication.
If Nomos’ 2021 releases had a theme, it’d be neon orange. Here the orange is used as a tasteful accent, showing the date contained by the orange disk underneath.
Otherwise, the Metro remains very similar to non-date versions of the watch, which is probably a good thing given that it’s widely recognized as an excellent design. It’s quite large at 41mm, so this will be suitable for those with larger wrists (keeping in mind that Nomoses generally wear large, so err on the side of caution when choosing one), but it remains very thin at just 9.1mm.
The new Metro Update (reference 1165) is $4,660, making it one of the more expensive models that Nomos offers, but the Metro is also one of the most popular and desirable models, so I think it’ll still do quite well.
The other new Update comes from the Tangente, and it’s quite a bit more wild, at least where accents are concerned.
Nomos’ theme for 2021 might be neon orange, but the Tangente neomatik 41 Update breaks rank and uses really, really neon green instead. If Nomos’ photos are anything to go by, it’s pretty provocative. At least you’ll have no trouble finding the date at a glance.
The Tangente Neomatik 41 Update also features a lovely dark blue dial, which Nomos calls Midnight Blue, against which that neon green pops. I have to admit though, this particular green is really intense in a way that I (perhaps oddly) don’t find the orange accents to be on the new Metro. I’m sure it’ll find an adoring audience, but for me, I’d get the Metro between these two. On the plus side, it’s substantially more affordable at $4,100.
What got much more attention from Nomos were the new Clubs, particularly the orange ones. But just look at them, how could they not take all of the attention from Nomos’ launch. Again, it hints that Nomos has basically either intentionally departed from the unofficial green-dial theme of W&W 2021, or they didn’t get the memo because they are all-in on orange. Even the comparatively subdued “Absolute Gray” Clubs have orange seconds hands.
These new Clubs come in two versions each (two Future Orange models and two Absolute Grays) divided mainly by size, but particularly with the gray watches, there are some important design differences too. The Future Orange Club Campus we’re looking at here is a the 38 model, which is priced at $1,650.
And here’s the 38mm version of the Absolute Gray, also the same price. Note how minimal (although nonetheless bright) the orange accents are on the 38 version of this watch.
Now we can compare that to the smaller 36mm size but with a far bolder dial, thanks to expanded orange accents, so if you wanted a more colorful version of the Absolute Gray, this model, which is slightly more affordable ($1,500 on strap), should do the trick.
The Future Orange version is basically identical to its larger equivalent, however; the most obvious difference (aside from the size) is the grey strap. It appears that Nomos intends not only to deviate from the standard wisdom, either of the perennial blue dial or the emergent green dial, but also to carry the torch of the California dial. They’ve really doubled down on this formerly esoteric design, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they added more California dials to other collections down the road.
Vacheron Constantin had one of the biggest releases of Watches and Wonders and seems to have decided to really focus on Overseas, the 1921, and blue dials generally. Where Nomos seemed to intentionally separate itself from the pack by relying on bright orange color schemes, Vacheron has been quite a bit more conservative, heavily emphasizing either blue dials or silver/platinum dials. It’s a rare day in which Nomos can be said to be the wilder, more adventurous design in any brand comparison, but that’s where we find ourselves.
A gorgeous watch to begin with is this Traditionnelle Split-Seconds Chronograph Ultra-Thin Collection Excellence Platine. Annoyingly long name aside, the Platine models are just beautiful, particularly with the blued hands of its exotic chronograph complication. I absolutely adore the subtly textured (via sandblasting) dials they use on the Platine models. Naturally, it’s made of platinum, and its 42.5mm case is impressively thin, given the complications anyway, at 10.72mm. It features the rare split-seconds chronograph complication, which, to simplify, is used for timing two events that start at the same time but don’t end at the same time (imagine two runners that start together but cross the finish line separately). It can be a bit hard to explain in words, but in person it makes perfect sense.
This year Vacheron’s extraordinarily popular Overseas collection gets a new 42.5mm pink gold tourbillon model, complete with the beloved blue dial. Who doesn’t love a good tourbillon, especially when it comes with the brand’s signature Maltese Cross inside it. Among well-heeled fans of Vacheron Constantin, I suspect that this may be one of the favorites from Watches and Wonders.
Check out this wild new Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton, a list of very impressive words that kind of tell you everything you need to know about the 41.5mm watch. Vacheron has some of the absolute best movement finishing in the world, so their skeletonized watches are almost invariably stunning. Naturally, this one’s only available in white gold.
That said, as impressive as the skeleton is, I prefer this relatively old-fashioned version of the watch, which, aside from the addition of a dial, is nearly identical. That means, of course, that it’s also in white gold, but more importantly that it has the same amazing perpetual calendar movement. Despite the enormous complexity involved, each version of the watch is astonishingly just 8.1mm thick, which would be impressive even for an ordinary three-hander automatic.
Moving now to my personal favorite of Vacheron’s new releases, the American 1921s, or more specifically, this Collection Excellence Platine model. I can’t seem to escape these sandblasted platinum dials this year, but why would I want to. Naturally, this $51,000 boutique-exclusive also has a matching 40mm platinum case. I particularly love these applied numerals, made, apparently, from white gold. I just think it’s absolutely stunning and one of the best-looking watches released this year in general, but then I’d expect nothing less from the watch on its 100th birthday.
Outside of the limited edition Platine model we’ve got a new 40mm version in white gold. Numerous differences can be found aside from the case material, however. The finishing of the hands is very different, for one thing, particularly in the absence of the blued hand on the seconds subdial, and the applied numerals are now instead written directly onto the dial. While the dial itself is less metallic, it still does appear to have a pleasantly “rough” texture to it that gives the watch a matte appearance. It will undoubtedly be one of the most popular new watches this year, and the price is quite a bit more accessible (all things being relative, of course) than the platinum version at $36,800.
There’s also a new American 1921 in a smaller 36.5mm white gold case, which, aside from the size change, is virtually indistinguishable from its 40mm counterpart. The only really important aesthetic difference is that it comes with this lovely burgundy strap, but it’s also even more affordable than the 40mm white gold version at $30,400.
And thus ends our brief overview of the latest Watches and Wonders releases from Nomos and Vacheron Constantin. My favorite release from Nomos this year has to be the Metro Update, and from Vacheron, really either of the 40mm 1921s would be very, very welcome on my wrist. If you liked any of the ones you saw here, consider pre-ordering it by clicking our Watches & Wonders pre-orders link here (but please note that Vacherons aren’t available for online pre-order at this moment; please call us at 1-800-889-2192 if you’d like to reserve one).