It’s funny how I wrote about this watch this past summer, putting it on my list of favorite worldtimers based on knowledge of its movement, pictures and a single video clip. I thought it was obviously that good, the perfect travel companion and business tool for anyone working with global teams. Having spent time hands-on with this German worldtimer, though, I’m going to change my tune: this belongs in any collection that appreciates good design and Glashutte craftsmanship whether or not its owner steps foot out of his home town.
This particular watch achieves perfection in a few ways. First, its size. NOMOS generally keeps the sizing of its cases in check but ensures they’re compatible with contemporary preferences. With its long, angular lugs and thin bezel the Zurich’s 40mm case wears perfectly, perhaps even appearing 1-2mm larger than its specs. Second is its finishing. The Weltzeit boasts a mirror-polished multi-part case with 30m water resistance and a see-through case back. Just under 11mm thick, it fits gracefully underneath any shirt cuff.
NOMOS reimagined the world-timer with an in-house caliber (Caliber Xi) that’s both utilitarian and fun. The “Heimat,” or home time, is always displayed at the 3 o’clock 24-hour wheel while the local time is displayed using the hour hand and the cities ring around the dial. Your local city is always displayed at the 12 o’clock position. First, you set your home time and then you press the 2 o’clock pusher which advances the cities ring and the hour hand jumps into position representing the hour for that city.
With the Zurich Weltzeit, NOMOS has managed to make a typically busy worldtimer look like any other three handed wristwatch. Reading the home time is easy, but it fades away when you need to focus on the local time told by the rhodium-plated hands that, at the right angles, can appear black against the off-white dial. A small seconds dial further kills the clutter and should earn this watch much respect for its legibility. Many, many simpler watches just don’t tell time this cleanly.
As simple and easy as NOMOS makes it look, there’s still some complexity to the dial design. Viewing the dial at extreme angles reveals the stunning layering and texture applied to the dial. Elegant and clean but miles from boring, it’s a watch that embodies good design and you’ll constantly find opportunities to steal glances at it while it’s on the wrist.
The Zurich Weltzeit rides on a black shell cordovan leather strap with a signed pin buckle and retails for $6,100 USD. NOMOS watches, including this worldtimer, are sold at specific brick and mortar retailers (like Wempe) throughout the United States as well as online via WatchBuys and NOMOS’s online shop.