NOMOS Glashütte was founded in 1990 by Roland Schwertner, who is still one of the owners together with four other partners. It is exceptional amongst independent watch brands in that it makes everything in-house, above all its movements. At present there are ten calibres. It also makes its own proprietary escapement, named NOMOS Swing System. The only part of this that is not made in-house is the balance spring, which is manufactured exclusively for NOMOS Glashütte by an external supplier.
The company has used exclusively in-house movements since 2005. Before that, it used movements by ETA.
In a way, it is probably the most surprising watch brand in the world. Surprising, because you can purchase a NOMOS Glashütte watch with an in-house hand-wound mechanical movement for just over €1,000. As an entry-level watch, there is nothing else that equals its quality/price ratio. How do they do it? A combination of factors. Wages are lower in Germany than in Switzerland. Marketing and design is in-house. A lot of its sales are on-line, particularly important in the U.S.A. Its manufacturing processes are extensively automated. And its profit margins are lower than most other brands.
NOMOS Glashütte has a powerful philosophy behind it, based on the work of the 1912 Deutscher Werkbund, which pioneered bringing industrial processes and traditional handcrafting together to create affordable, beautiful products. Today the company has 12 watch families, with about 80 different designs, most of which are in steel with prices between €1,000 and €4,000. Two models are made in rose or white gold, Lambda and Lux, of which three per week are made, at prices from €12,800 to €15,800.
The company currently has a staff of 260, 220 in Glashütte, and 40 between Berlin (location of Berlinerblau, the company’s own creative agency that designs watches and all the other elements of the brand’s visual identity) and New York. Its major markets comprise Germany, other central European countries, and the U.S.A. and the U.K. In comparison with most other watch companies, Asia is proportionally less important. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the company has not been affected by the current crisis. From 2011 to 2014, production doubled; just in 2015, turnover increased by 30%. Today, NOMOS Glashütte is the largest watch manufacturer in Germany, in terms of number of pieces manufactured.
Uwe Ahrendt, CEO
Judith Borowski, head of design and branding
Roland Schwertner KG
01768 Glashütte, Germany
Tel. +49 35053 4040