The watch industry is full of fun, exciting and successful partnerships. Not only between watchmakers, or craftsmen and -women creating unique elements in a watch, but also between artists, retailers and other like-minded people. One such example is the collaboration between NOMOS Glashütte and the Amsterdam retailer Ace Jewelers. Already in its fifth year, this joint venture results in special Limited Editions every year, the latest being this Ace x NOMOS Club 36 Blue Limited Edition, and we’ve gotten our hands on it for a while.
ACE JEWELERS & NOMOS
Ace Jewelers is a leading omnichannel retailer based in Amsterdam but operating on a global scale. They were the first to embrace eCommerce and obtain authorization from Swiss brands to sell watches online. This adventure started back in 2000 but took until 2007 to materialize, mostly due to the reluctance of Swiss brands. The first manufacturer to step up was IWC, and many followed since. Today, eCommerce is a key marketing strategy for many brands, either through partnered retailers such as ACE Jewelers or on stand-alone platforms.
ACE Jewelers is a family-run business with multiple shops and platforms dedicated to the fine art of watchmaking, headed by Alon Ben Joseph. By now ACE Jewelers do not only sell watches but create engaging content through multiple channels as well. A perfect example is the series of live-streamed interviews with people from the industry, called The Ace List Live (now on to its second season, see here). This was created by Alon Ben Joseph during the pandemic and has been quite a success. Outside of ACE Jewelers, Alon has also set up the Red Bar Amsterdam chapter, fueled by his passion for all things related to watches.
The combination of NOMOS and external partners is not new, but the one with Ace Jewelers is one of the more longstanding one’s. First starting in 2016, we’ve seen very interesting special editions come to fruition from this combined effort. Take a look at the NOMOS Orion “De Stijl” Limited Edition for Ace Jewelers for instance, dedicated to the Dutch artistic movement known as De Stijl, or The Style. The iconic contemporary art movement reduced art down to the essentials, often using black, white and primary colours only. This artistic expression closely ties in with the Bauhaus inspired style of most NOMOS watches, and the result was a subtle yet charming edition of the NOMOS Orion. Other examples of the collaboration are the NOMOS Zürich Weltzeit Amsterdam Edition, and the affectionately named NOMOS Club Campus 38 #NomiesForLife.
THE ACE X NOMOS CLUB 36 LIMITED EDITION
As its name suggests, the newest Limited Edition to stem from the partnership between NOMOS and ACE Jewelers uses the Club 36 as a base. The 36 refers to the diameter of the fully polished steel case. Coming in at 36mm across, and a mere 8.2mm in height, the Club 36 is a small watch by today’s standards. That doesn’t mean the watch looks out of place on a man’s wrist, it is just a matter of perspective. I for one have a wrist size of approximately 19cm and had to refocus my thoughts when wearing this as I am used to wearing larger pieces.
What helps the visual impact of the watch are the slightly elongated lugs. This enlarges the look and feel of the watch once on the wrist. The lugs also have a nice taper, and slight downward angle, resulting in this ACE x NOMOS Club 36 L.E. wearing very comfortable indeed. A simple yet effective pull-out crown is used to wind and set the watch.
Deep Blue and Orange
The main focus for ACE in this special watch has been the dial, as is mostly the case in their collaborations with the German brand. Done in a deep blue, it has been given subtle orange touches, corresponding to ACE’s Dutch heritage (and pride!). The combination of baton indices and hour numerals, executed in orange, gives the watch a modern and fresh face. On the outer perimeter, there’s a minute track in white with small double-digit numerals at every five-minute interval, again in orange.
Time is indicated by a pair of clean, polished sword-shaped hour and minute hands with a Super-LumiNova stripe down the centre. The slender hands set over the deep blue dial give it excellent legibility, further enhanced by their relative length. The minute hand for instance extends almost to the edge of the dial. The recessed subdial at 6 o’clock plays host to the small seconds indication, with a white scale and an orange hand.
Turning the watch over will reveal nothing, or everything at once, depending on what version of this Limited Edition you have at hand. You can either go for a closed caseback, or choose to be able to view the NOMOS Alpha calibre powering it through a sapphire caseback. Regardless of your choice, the caseback has been engraved with the “ACE Jewelers”, “Five years ACE x NOMOS” and the limitation of the piece (1 of 50 or 1 of 100).
The NOMOS Alpha calibre that ticks away in this watch is a hand-wound movement based on the architecture of the Peseux 7001. This was the first movement produced by NOMOS in-house and has been used in various collections. The slim dimensions of the movement allow for a small and slender case. It runs at a frequency of 21,600vph and uses 17 jewels. When fully wound through the crown, the barrel will provide 42 hours of running time. The Alpha calibre is nicely decorated with Glashütte ribbing, perlage, blued screws and a sunburst finishing on the ratchet and crown wheel.
The ACE x NOMOS Club 36 Limited Edition is worn on a Horween Sheel Cordovan leather strap in black. The watch is also supplied with two additional NATO straps, one in blue and one in orange to tie in with the colour scheme of the dial. It retails for EUR 1,080 with a close caseback, limited to 50 pieces, or EUR 1,340 with a see-through caseback, limited to 100 pieces.
While I really enjoyed wearing this watch for a while, it took some time to wrap my head around the small dimensions. Looking down at my generously sized wrist, I usually see watches with 41mm or over. This watch has forced me to reset my perspective a little and rather surprised me in the process.
I enjoyed it most on a NATO strap as it closes the gap between the case and strap attachment point in the lugs. On the leather strap, the gap is quite significant, to be honest. Regardless, the watch wears very well and is a perfect example of fun, honest watchmaking. So with that in mind, I say well done ACE Jewelers, and hopefully, we’ll see more of these collaborations in the future!
For more information and online orders, please visit Acejewelers.com.