You are currently viewing The Features Q&A: An Interview with Uwe Ahrendt from Nomos | Features

The Features Q&A: An Interview with Uwe Ahrendt from Nomos | Features

Since February 2022, “made in Glashütte” is a legally protected designation of origin that gives a considerably improved framework and is subsequently a more practical safety for watches from the “cradle of German watchmaking.”

Options met with Uwe Ahrendt, managing director and normal accomplice of the award-winning German watchmaker Nomos Glashütte, to debate the importance of this milestone for the watchmaking city in Saxony, the most recent developments at Nomos and what watch collectors can sit up for in 2022.

“Good design doesn’t need to exhibit.”

Uwe Ahrendt, Managing Director and Common Accomplice of Nomos Glashütte

With the protected designation of origin, are you able to inform us in a single sentence what the primary profit is for the customer?With this strictly protected designation of origin that we now have for industrial items right here, the shopper now has the assure that if it says “Glashütte” on it, there’s Glashütte in it, with all of the particular qualities related to this place – the standards have gotten even stronger, and the penalties for counterfeiters are actually immense.

And what does it imply for the manufacturing location Glashütte total?
Recognition for what the individuals right here have been doing for 175 years, a lift in status. Safety of investments and, above all, safeguarding the artwork of watchmaking in Glashütte, securing jobs right here for tomorrow and past.

Because you have been born in Glashütte. What was your first “actual” watch?
Not a Glashütte watch. It was an IWC Ingenieur. I purchased it in 1992 after I was simply that: an engineer at IWC in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

What made you select this profession path?
After the autumn of the Berlin Wall, issues didn’t simply begin up once more on the push of a button in Glashütte, that took time. What would occur right here, how large and profitable the watch business would turn out to be right here once more, wasn’t actually predicted at first of the 90s both. Good watches primarily meant Swiss-made for me again then. I wished to be taught there, achieve expertise. I used to be 23 on the time.

You additionally occur to be the Vice-Mayor of Glashütte. Isn’t operating a watch firm already fairly difficult?
For one factor, Nomos Glashütte and all watches profit from Glashütte: from the attract of the city, from its wealthy historical past, from the standard craftsmanship that’s been cultivated right here for generations. It’s our want to offer the place one thing again. Secondly, fairly virtually, I’m not alone. There are three of us on the administration board, and we now have 200 staff. Nomos is a well-oiled machine.

What may the Swiss be taught from the Germans?
The Swiss construct great watches! No, I don’t need to give them any recommendation; my Swiss counterparts don’t want it. Previously, the Swiss used to ship their kids to the Glashütte watchmaking college, and vice versa, we additionally discovered rather a lot from the Swiss. Many Swiss watchmakers have their specialties, and Glashütte has additionally developed specialties of its very personal.

What are the primary variations?
Whereas “Swiss made” stands for a complete spectrum of various worth courses and classes, from reasonably priced to high-end, the a lot smaller Glashütte historically stands for watches of the best high quality. And there’s yet another small however important distinction: Switzerland is, after all, a high-wage nation. We will merely manufacture extra affordably in Glashütte in Germany. I can fairly confidently declare that the price-performance ratio that Nomos provides merely can’t be present in Switzerland. It doesn’t exist.

What’s the hottest mannequin within the vary?
Tangente, for greater than 30 years now. It’s our bestseller.

Do you will have a favourite Nomos mannequin?
At the moment, our new Tangente neomatik platinum grey. Very elegant, a bit extra masculine, hefty. We’ve coated the dial with a platinum metallic, with the small “neomatik” lettering in gold. This stands for “new computerized” and it distinguishes all our slim, extremely environment friendly computerized watches. The motion and this new watch are an actual pleasure for me.

In 1990, Nomos began with three individuals understanding of a rented flat within the city, how giant is the corporate right this moment?We’ve virtually 200 staff at three places in Glashütte, and several other extra in Berlin, New York, Como, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Because of this, we manufacture extra watches with the “Glashütte” designation of origin than anybody else.

How is Nomos coping with the present provide chain challenges and enhance in demand?
We make nearly every thing ourselves. However, after all, even when only a seconds hand is lacking, the watch isn’t full. And, resulting from Corona, like many firms around the globe, we had manufacturing constraints in Glashütte and couldn’t construct fairly as a lot as normal. The truth that so many individuals, on the identical time, are actually desirous to put money into beneficial items that final is one thing we’re clearly sensing. Due to that, we presently have longer ready occasions for almost all of our fashions.

Nomos’ design studio, Berlinerblau, is positioned in Berlin, round 100 miles away from Glashütte. Does the studio additionally work for different manufacturers?
No. Berlinerblau is a subsidiary, basically a division of Nomos Glashütte in Berlin. The workplace in Berlin works just for us.

Who’s within the lead (when engaged on a brand new piece), the designer or the watchmaker?
In line with the rules of German Bauhaus, all of our disciplines work hand in hand, on an equal footing. However the go-ahead for a brand new mannequin comes from our product administration, which is affiliated with gross sales. After which it’s typically largely design engineers and designers who work in collaboration on a brand new watch.

What do you contemplate to be “nice design?”
Two issues specifically impress me. On the one hand, I believe it’s exceptional when design manages to be basic, whereas nonetheless making one thing look fashionable. In flip, that’s additionally sustainable, design can forestall issues from being tossed apart as a result of they maybe now not maintain our gaze.
Alternatively, for me the hallmark of fine design is that I don’t suppose an excessive amount of concerning the design – as a result of it isn’t obtrusive, doesn’t need to exhibit, and doesn’t need an excessive amount of. It helps the perform and can by no means overshadow the proprietor. In my expertise, that is the largest problem with regards to design. And now I’m speaking a bit concerning the Tangente once more (laughs).

Nomos has received properly over 160 awards for design and high quality. What different award would you need to win with Nomos?
Mechanical watches, like ours, made in-house in Glashütte, repairable and timeless in design, are sustainable by nature. Ours particularly. So, I’d be delighted to obtain the award for probably the most sustainable “gadget.”

What’s your favourite complication?
The up to date date mechanism in our new, slim computerized watches: Positioned across the dial, we now have created a really new date show. It offers me an outline of your entire month. And I additionally suppose it’s simply very stunning.

What’s the one factor individuals normally don’t find out about Nomos?
That we don’t simply construct one motion ourselves, however all eleven of them. 100% of the actions are constructed in-house at Nomos Glashütte. That’s extraordinarily uncommon, even on this planet of tremendous watches, and maybe that’s why nobody believes it at first. Hardly anybody is aware of, however everybody ought to! So, thanks for this pretty query.

Can luxurious and accessibility go collectively?
Certain. The query is how we outline luxurious. And luxurious has plenty of connotations. For some, luxurious means watches opulently set with stones, priced far past what the typical mortal can afford. For me, it means merchandise made for all times with love, endurance and expert craftsmanship. Issues which are more and more uncommon in our world, and that’s precisely what makes them so particular. In that respect, sure, our watches are luxurious. Nomos watches even have their worth, after all. However many individuals who get pleasure from stunning watches may afford a Nomos watch. Some sooner, others later, in spite of everything, they’re accessible to many. 

You produce about 95 p.c in-house, what are the 5 p.c?
We don’t make rubies ourselves, for instance. And in addition, the steadiness springs are made in line with our calculations on our behalf by a producer within the German Black Forest area.

Wanting again, would you will have finished something in a different way/what was your greatest studying?
What would I’ve finished in a different way? That’s not a simple one. Possibly we shouldn’t have had our flagship retailer in Zürich; the Swiss have some nice watches, so we have been a bit of overconfident there. However maybe we should always have ventured into different areas of internationalization sooner. The event of a mantel clock and a tourbillon a few years in the past have been additionally spirited concepts, however they weren’t vital for Nomos per se.  With hindsight, we should always have constructed extra watches. However aside from that? Errors are half for the course and, so long as they don’t price you your neck, you be taught from them.

What significance does the U.S. market have for Nomos?
After Germany, the U.S. is our greatest market. Individuals there tick like us Europeans in lots of respects, they usually love good watches from Glashütte. There’s lots of people there who know rather a lot about good watches. And there’s immense enthusiasm for our craftsmanship! Moreover that, certain, the U.S. is a large market.

Since 2012, Nomos has collaborated with Medical doctors With out Borders. What made you select this NGO?
It was form of the opposite approach round: The NGO selected Nomos. However, after all, we have been comfortable to oblige. Medical doctors With out Borders has been one of the vital essential initiatives in humanitarian support during the last 50 years. The group has received a Nobel Prize, it’s identified worldwide, enjoys a superb popularity and it’s extraordinarily choosy and demanding with regards to collaborations like ours. Other than that, making the world a tiny bit higher, serving to present higher occasions – we need to try this too, after all.

What can we sit up for in 2022?
I need to be assured that the world can be in a greater place once more in the midst of this 12 months. That the struggle in Ukraine ends, that coronavirus releases us from its grip. That’s on the bigger scale.
For our small watch manufactory, I’m wanting ahead to a complete flurry of recent fashions, together with a particular restricted version. As a result of that’s all the time one thing particular for me to at the present time: after we’ve completed a brand new watch and launch it in the marketplace. The preliminary reactions from retailers, the press, our prospects.