Nomos Tangente Topper 75th LE vs Montblanc Heritage Chronometrie Ultra Slim
Montblanc recently released a new line up of watches that got a lot of appreciation and one watch in particular truly stole the show. the Heritage Ultra slim. But then, over the last few years, Nomos has been doing slim manual wind watches and garnered quite a following as well.
How do their watches compare.
One of the really interesting things about these watches is that both of them are heavily inspired. The Tangente as mentioned by another forum member recently, is a direct descendent of a vintage Lange, right from case design, lugs and the dial. The Montblanc looks very inspired by the JLC Master Ultra thin with some elements of the Master Control.
This is not a bad thing, design wise, both watches are really stand out stellar designs. They seem to have a "signature look" and have been thought out really well.
Nomos goes with a flat cylindrical approach to the case and a perfectly round, no protrusions/curves sort of design. Its clean and purposeful and truly minimal.
Even though both watches are quite slim, the Nomos looks a bit chunky next to the MB, I've almost never seen that happen until now. Its especially accentuated by the overall flat/cylindrical case design.
One thing that bothers me and many others with Nomos Tangente is the lug design and execution. They are long, thin and taper down and have sharp edges instead of rounded out. From a design stand point, it does make a statement, but I'm not crazy about them, I feel they can be just a little shorter and could use slightly better finishing on the edges.
Montblanc has truly hit it out the park with the case design. This may well be the nicest case out there for 2k. The case is gently curved with comfortable edges, the lugs are shaped beautifully with a small bevel on the side to add some personality and again curves with a soft to touch finish.
The bezel is not over powering yet gives a bit more personality to the watch. There is an overall sense of purpose to the case design and its VERY JLC IMO and thats really quite something at this price point. It looks and feels like a sibling to the MUT and MC.
Montblanc went with one of the their own straps made with fine gator and a regular buckle. It feels really special and tailor made for the watch with the right thickness and texture. Interestingly it is quite matte in person and not the deep black that is often shown in the pictures.
Nomos OTOH has the now infamous Shell cordovan strap. They work with the overall aesthetic of the watch but the only issue I have with it is that it picks up marks and scuffs very easily and typically ends up looking better in the pictures than it really does. But its cheap to replace compared to the Gator and you can change the look with many options.
MB told me they don't have any alternative straps for the Heritage yet but they could make me a brown gator strap upon request. Something I am seriously considering.
Nomos has a fairly basic crown with Nomos printed on it, but the grip is good and the winding action is one of the easiest out there. The action is good, confident yet light and easy to use, its done just right.
Montblanc has a nicer looking crown with their logo on it, but the winding action is awkwardly tight for a manual wind watch. I am not sure why they didn't adjust it to be lighter.
The Topper LE Tangente takes the Tangente which is already a solid watch and changes up a few things that truly make it an all-rounder and a LOT more appealing, atleast to me.
The dial is a lovely lacquer style pure white dial. This along with the blued hands just work so well, its hard to look at this in day or night and not go "WOW that is beautiful", I have had so many folks complement the dial and its a great example of ideas coming together to create something special.
The markers and logo seem to have a certain thickness in the application that pops and the lume tips and dots just make it overall more functional and unique. Yes maybe Lange gets the credit for the original layout, but Nomos has taken it and run with it in the right direction.
Nomos doesnt seem to use AR coated crystals though and it reflects quite a bit of light. The white dial makes it incredibly legible, but you will catch light quite a bit with this one.
The Montblanc dial is pure class in making something traditional look modern. It takes a certain restraint and balance to pull off something that is dressy yet casual enough to wear otherwise. The markers and arabics are applied and are cut very well and show depth and clean lines. The addition of Arabics on the 12,3,6,9 make the dial slightly casual and hence eases up on the dressy aspect. There is a certain precision to them that upon close inspection is quite impressive IMO.
The hands are a good choice and at first I wondered why did they cut the minute hand a tad short and not long enough to reach the minute marker ring, but the way it is designed, it almost touches the 5 minute markers that are slightly longer and this seem like a good design choice, preventing the overall balance from going off. The sunray silver is a solid pick and while it does not have the POP of the Nomos white dial, my guess is its quite similar to the standard Nomos dial in tonality.
Montblanc uses an AR coated flat sapphire and it does a solid job of providing clear crisp legibility.
Looking at the movements side by side, they are essentially the same, but Nomos has evolved it quite a bit. The Nomos movements now are far apart from the base Peseux 7001's and with the custom 3/4th, hacking, finishing, blued screws, and the new swing system, they have really made it their own and it is a stellar example of how to take something fairly basic, make it yourself and make it better!
Montblanc uses a fairly basic version instead but I am not sure if they are making it themselves, or having it made by someone else since the finish does seem a little different from other 7001's I've seen and the small second complication has been taken out. The winding action on just about all the other 7001's I've handled have been lighter as well, so it makes me wonder who makes this movement. The stripes are deeper and more defined here, but no blued screws, no additional finishing. That said, it looks decent.
Two other things Montblanc has going for them are the 500 hour test they have now added to the Heritage line (similar to JLC's 1000 hour control test) which checks winding, power reserve, time keeping, WR, and a few other aspects for a total of 500 hours and issue a hand signed certificate with the specific serial number and the autograph of the person who ran the tests. This is kinda cool and really gives you an assurance that the watch has truly gone through proper checks by an actual person.
Montblanc also has universally more recognition than Nomos which is a plus or minus depending on your personal preferences.
On the wrist, both watches are just as easy to wear and there is nothing really to compare there. They are slim, light, legible and never get in the way.
In the end, these are both popular watches for a reason, they have carved a niche, and executed on a design and vision really well. I would highly recommend you add these to any collection.