A Mike Stuffler Watch Review
Nomos Tangente „Kleinstkredit“ Wempe 100 Limited Edition No. 80/100
Stowa Antea Limited Edition No.017/500
After having written two reviews on (so called tool) watches – the Damasko DC 56 and the Stowa Seatime Watchbizz Limited Edition - I thought it would be nice to write another review on a more classic watch.
Finaly my vote went to two watches which are described as classic and/or dress watches:
Nomos Tangente „Kleinstkredit“ which is a Limited Edition of the Wempe100-Edition (for more information please see: www.wempe100.de ).
Stowa Antea Limited Edition,
bought in 2003 (Antea) and 2005 (Nomos).
I have to admit that everything was already said and written about the Nomos Tangente and the Stowa Antea – but not by me!
2. Some historical facts
The Stowa building at Engelsbrand
Jörg polishing a mesh bracelet
The history of Stowa is longer than the history of Nomos. Instead of telling you my own version of the Stowa history I´ll stick to what you can read on the Stowa homepage.
All started with Walter Storz when he founded his own company meanwhile his father continued to run his watch factory at Hornberg/Kinzigtal.
In 1935 Walter Storz moved to Pforzheim and there he set up his own business. In 1938 he established his own factory building.
End of WW II the building was completely destroyed and Walter Storz decided to move to Rheinfelden, close to the Swiss border, and there again he started up the Stowa watch production (1951).
At the same time the Pforzheim building was reconstructed and the production capacity of both factories expanded enormously. In the early 1960s Werner Storz, the son of Walter, joined the company and continued to manage STOWA´s business through 1996.
Before retiring Werner Storz looked out for a successor. He found one in Jörg Schauer from Engelsband, a small village close to Pforzheim, who continued the manufacturing of Stowa watches.
The best way to purchase a Stowa is to visit Stowa at Engelsbrand, the second possibility is to order online from the Stowa Shop. Current lines are: Antea, Exima, Flieger, Marine and Seatime.
The Nomos Building - Old Station of Glashütte
Since the fall of he Wall (Die “Mauer”) and the reunification of Germany the little sleepy town Glashütte in the Müglitz valley within the Saxony Region (close to Dresden) became known as the place of German watchmaking.
The watchmaking tradition of this region was reborn by the establishment of old and new brands such as Lange & Söhne, Glashütte Original, Union, Mühle and Nomos. Some other brands like Kronsegler and Bruno Söhnle tried to profit from beeing located at Glashütte, but they are far away from providing a „high end quality“.
In 1990 Roland Schwertner decided to move from the western part of Germany to - what we called – „the wild East“ („der wilde Osten“) and founded Nomos.
The word „Nomos“ was taken out of the Greek and stands for justice, law, order, regularity.
Nomos was and still is a privatly owned watch company at Glashütte.
The Tangente was the first model presented by Nomos shortly after getting settled at Glashütte.
The way Nomos had chosen for to enter the watch market was quite different to Glashütte Original and Lange & Söhne. Instead of competing with the German and Swiss „high-enders“ and their inhouse movements Nomos decided to start with a proven and reliable swiss ebauche known as Peseux 7001.
In very short time Nomos was able to launch an affordable and classic looking handwounded timepiece which very soon attracted the WIS all over the world.
The Tangente almost became a synonym for Nomos, Tangente was Nomos, Nomos was Tangente. Later the Orion, Ludwig, Tetra and Sport joined the family and basicly formed the worldwide success of Nomos watches.
Nomos always tried (and suceeded) to improve the Peseux 7001 by adding features like the ¾ plate, date indication, power reserve indication. In March 2005 Nomos presented the Tangomat with it´s first inhouse automatic movement. Nomos became an independent manufacturer.
3. The watches
3. 1 Some facts
3.1.1 Stowa Antea
Diameter: 39 mm
Height: 7,7 mm
Strap: 20 mm, black leather, with engraved buckle („Stowa“ + trade mark)
Movement: ETA 2660 hw
Price: 229 Euro
Date of purchase: November 2003
3.1.2 Nomos Tangente Kleinstkredit
Diameter: 35 mm
Height: 6 mm
Strap: 18 mm, dark brown Shell Cordovan, engraved buckle („Nomos“)
Movement: Peseux 7001 hw
Price: 590 Euro
Date of Purchase: February 2005
Both watches are representing the Bauhaus style which basicly dates from 1919 – 1933. „Form follows function“ was one of the most known guiding principles of the Bauhaus community.
The Bauhaus occupies a place of ist own in the history of the 20th century culture, architecture, design, art and new media. At a time when the industrial society was in the grip of a crisis the Bauhaus, first located at Weimar, lateron at Dessau. and its most outstanding architects and artists (like Gropius, Kandinsky, Klee, Schlemmer) stood almost alone in asking how the process of modernization could be mastered by means of design. Functionalism was seen as a method of „structuring the processes of life“ (Walter Gropius).
For those wanting to get to know more please feel free to visit: www.bauhaus-dessau.de !
So nobody will be amazed that both, the Antea and the Nomos Tangente are looking very similar to a classic A. Lange & Söhne watch from the early 1930ties.
The Antea itself has an inhouse predecessor of the 40ties which can be seen on the Stowa museum site.
3.3 Case, crown, crystal
The Antea case ist made out of 316 L stainless steel and consists of three parts: the upper bezel, mid case including lugs and a not screwd in case back. The diameter is about 38mm.
The lugs are coming straight out of the mid case and are curved downwards which is a benefit to the watch looking light and slim. That´s why the case will even fit smaller wrists.
On the case back there is a lot to be read:
Made in Germany
ETA 2660 mechanic
The unsigned crown is easy to operate on daily wear and in the right proportion.
The watch is furnished with a flat sapphire crystal which isn´t usual in this price league.
The case is water resistant to 3 ATM but never tested by me.
The NOMOS case is made out of 316L stainless steel and is made out of three parts too (upper, mid - and case back). Diameter is 35mm.
The mid part including the lugs was made out of one single piece of steel which makes the case durable.
The case back is engraved on its edge: „100 Jahre Chronometerwerke Limitierte Auflage“ as well as the number of the limited edition „Tangente 080/100 Kleinstkredit“ (FYI: WUS-member Andrzej is glad to own No. 81/100).
The crown of the Tangente Kleinstkredit is big enough for setting which is important because you have to wind up the Tangente daily. No trademark engraved on the crown.
The Tangente is also fitted with a flat sapphire crystal (fits the price range).
Excursus: Wempe 100
The Tangente Kleinstkredit is part of the Wempe 100 Edition. „Wempe 100“ refers to the anniversary of the WEMPE Chronometerwerke which were founded in 1905.
Until 1905 repairs and maintenance for chronometers on German vessels had been carried out in England. In 1905 German shipping firms founded the Chronometerwerke at Hamburg.
In 1938 Gerhard D. Wempe became owner of the Chronometerwerke. In the time to follow many German and foreign merchant vessels had been equipped with Wempe timekeeping systems. After WW II the Chronometerwerke were re-established in 1950 at the „Reeperbahn“ district at Hamburg, also known as the red-light-district of Hamburg. By 1955 Wempe Chronometerwerke maanged to produce 240 ship chronometers a year. The production of clocks and additional insruments expanded significantly. 22 employees had been hired at that time.
Nowadays Wempe Chronometerwerke is known as a producer and worldwide exporter of a wide selection of nautical instruments.
Wempe products are to be found on the MS Europa, MS Europa II, MS Norway, MS Deutschland and research vessels like Gauss, Meteor to mention only two of them.
The Stowa Antea Museum Edition is outfitted with a vintage handwinding movement from ETA – the ETA 2660. This movement is a very small one and originally designed for ladies watches.
The movement beats at 28.800 b/h.
The ETA 2660 is only 17,2 mm in diameter (the case diameter is 39mm !) which explains that there is no display back.
Movement from both sides
To adjust the movement Jörg Schauer used a metal spacer instead of a plastic one which underlines the quality standards of Stowa watches in general.
I would rate winding the movement as smooth.
The Kleinstkredit is powered by an inhouse modified and refined Peseux 7001.
It is equipped with a Nomos own mainspring, Nivarox 1A balance spring, Triovis fine adjustment which is a quality standard of all NOMOS movements.
Winding the movement isn´t that smooth as winding the Antea. The click you here and feel when turning the crown convinces you the movement being solid as a rock.
The movement beats at 21.600 b/h which is different to the Antea.
The movement diameter is about 23 mm (which is 10.5 lines) and 2,5 mm in height.
3.5 Dial and hands
I orderd my Stowa with a black dial knowing that the more classic looking Stowa is the one with silver dial.
The design of the dial is a tribute to the Bauhaus style, the numerals of both, my Stowa and my Nomos, are almost identical (have a close look at the 12, 4, 10 and you´ll understand).
The large dial and the small bezel makes the watch looking larger than other 39/40 mm watches. The dial is clear and legible. You can tell the exact minute in the nick of time.
The Antea is a three hand watch, all hands come out of the center.
The hands are painted in white, but not coated or filled with luminous compound.
„Made in Germany“ is printed on the dial´s bottom at the 6 o´clock position.
The NOMOS „Kleinstkredit“ dial is the same dial of the serial Tangente watches but the little red „%“-mark under 6 o´clock indicates that this watch is out of a limited edition. The „%“-mark does not disturb at all.
Both, the Stowa and the Nomos dial, are very balanced, simple and understated and underline the Bauhaus theme „form follows function“ in an adequate way.
Besides the company name and the place the watch originated from nothing extra was printed on the dial which is another contribution to its very simple and distinguished look.
What makes the Tangente different from the Antea dial is the subsidary second dial (what we call „Kleine Sekunde“). It is as simple as the whole dial and fits perfectly.
The very small steel hands are blued (heated not painted !) so the watch is not made for night owls).
3.6 Strap and buckle
The Stowa Antea came with an unpadded black leather strap which is comfortable and durable. The inner side of the strap got a stamp „Stowa“.
After a couple of days I replaced the unsigned buckle by a Stowa-signed buckle which costs me an additional „fee“ of 6,50 Euro.
The Nomos Kleinstkredit came with a dark brown strap made of Shell Cordovan. A Shell Cordovan strap is one of the most comfortable watch straps I can imagine. It feels very soft but is strong enough for daily wear. After 5 month of wearing the watch (from time to time to be honest) there are no clear signs of wearing.
The buckle is signed with “NOMOS”.
Excursus: Shell Cordovan
Shell Cordovan is a leather with a character of its own.
Shell Cordovan leather is a horse hide, unlike most common leather products originating from cow hides. The Shell Cordovan leather is a very unique product. Shell Cordovan leather is tanned and finished by the old fashioned method of natural pure vergetable tanning, hand staining, hand glazing and finishing. According to „Horween Genuine Shell Cordovan“ this hand process takes approximately five month to be completed.
Shell Cordovan leather is known for its durability and comfort.
BTW: A „fairy tale“ says that the fine art of tanning was brought to New York´s leather district by German immigrants. „Cordovan“ is a corruption of „Cordoba“, a city in southern Spain, where the technique of tanning this leather originated.
I`d say that Nomos and Shell Cordovan is the right combination of two similar characters.
The Stowa Antea LE came in a nice small aluminium box, fitted with a black velvet and a black pillow. „Stowa“ and the Stowa trademark is printed on the inner box top.
The Nomos Wempe 100 LE „Kleinstkredit“ came with the well known standard black wooden box made out of popular wood with a push-in-button-lash.
The interior of the box is covered with black velvet. The watch is held by two small loops fixing the watch on the ends of the strap.
There is an additional blue paper wrap (sleeve) for the box, where “1905-2005 – 100 Jahre Wempe Chronometerwerke Hamburg” is added. Both the watch and the box are reflecting to the Bauhaus style: clean and simple.
4. Final comments / Conclusions / Recommendations
Both watches are dress watches in an inner sense of the term. Both are clean, simple, unpretentious, functional, clearly legible and distinctive.
Both watches are the materialization of „form follows function“. The combination of numerals, small hands, tiny bezels and cases make both a watch with an beautiful design – a modern and classic watch.
Both cases are very flat and that´s why they are comfortable to wear, I couldn´t recognize any differences in daily wear.
Undoubtable the Antea LE is the less expensive watch and therefore an interesting alternative to a Nomos watch. The Antea LE is the bigger watch which might be interesting for those who need a watch diameter of 38 – 40 mm.
The sapphire crystal seems rare to me for a classic dress watch within this price range (up to 300 Euro).
Jörg Schauer is known for providing an overall good quality, even in this price range.
So the Stowa Antea LE is a real bargain - much watch for little money.
The smaller Nomos nevertheless is a bargain too.
The Wempe 100 LE „Kleinstkredit“ is worth every cent Nomos/Wempe asks for. The modified Peseux 7001 for sure is the better movement and justifies the MSR.
The small limitation (100 pieces) was another reason for me to pull the trigger on that particular watch 100 Euro cheaper than a serial Nomos.
Frankly I have to add that the „Kleinstkredit“ does not come with the ¾ plate which is a typical feature of watches/movements made in Glashütte/Saxony but this did not made me restrain from purchasing this limited edition.
The movement is adjusted to 4 positions. The Antea movement isn´t.
I have a 20 mm wirst and both watches fit me comfortably. This – for sure – is caused by the (long) lugs and the way they are angled downwards. Both dials are easy to read but do not have any luminous compound.
Due to the fact that the Antea and the Nomos aren´t competing in the same price league it would be unfair to say that the Antea or the Nomos is the No.1-watch.
Both watches do provide an overall good quality so that I´d rate them both as a great bargain according to the money you want/have to invest.
The handwounded Antea Limited Edition is discontinued so if there is one offered on the second hand market go for it.
So my final remark would be: You will be happy with both watches. They are worth their money.
Thanks for viewing and every comment in advance.
Moderator German Watches Forum & Original Schauer Forum
All pics by courtesy of Stowa, Nomos or made Michael Stuffler