A company that offers a wide variety of timepieces that cater to all tastes, Union Glashütte goes from bold to classic. Established initially as Uhrenfabrik Union in Glashütte in 1893 by Johannes Dürrstein, a prominent figure in the German watch industry, the brand swiftly rose to prominence in Glashütte watchmaking – until World War II and subsequent transformations took their toll. Following the end of the communist era and the reunification of Germany, Union Glashütte experienced a renaissance in 1996, this time as a subsidiary of Glashütte Original. In 2000, when Swatch Group acquired both brands, Union Glashütte gained the autonomy to operate independently. The brand has quietly and diligently crafted compelling timepieces in recent years, skillfully balancing design, quality, and price, making Union watches highly appealing.
One of their latest releases, the Noramis Chronograph Sport, is a series that stands out due to its skilful combination of vintage and modern elements, and its mix of functionalities. The defining feature of this series is the captivating dégradé dials, which are available in dark blue, anthracite, and turquoise hues. While the Noramis Chronograph Sport incorporates vintage-inspired details like the box crystal, it’s also firmly rooted in the contemporary, creating a captivating interplay between vintage-inspired charm and modern sophistication. During our recent trip to Glashütte, we enjoyed spending time with the Noramis Chronograph Sport series; here’s what we think.
The Noramis Chronograph Sport’s stainless steel case is substantial, measuring 43mm in diameter, 50.05mm lug-to-lug, and 15.82mm thick. Despite its size, the watch exudes a bit of a skin-diver aesthetic, even without the typical squared-off inner lugs; instead, the watch’s sloping lugs ensure a comfortable and secure fit on the wrist. The 21mm lug width may somewhat limit strap options for those inclined to make changes, but the included rubber and textile straps with tool-free quick-release spring bars complement the watches impeccably. The silvery-grey textile strap emerged as a personal favourite during our hands-on experience, a perfect match for the dark blue and turquoise dial options.
The case features a polished finish on the top and bottom, while the sides exhibit fine brushing and seamless transitions between surfaces. The unidirectional, 120-click diver’s bezel, enhanced with a black ceramic insert, adds to the overall sporty allure, and the action on the ribbed-edge bezel is solid and secure. The bezel font matches the numerals on the dial, a nice detail. The presence of a screwed crown (adorned with the U logo) and mushroom-style chronograph push buttons leaves no room for doubt about the multi-purpose, sporty design of the watch – water-resistance is rated at a solid 200m. The timepiece is topped with a domed sapphire crystal, a lovely, vintage touch. The distortion with the Noramis Chronograph Sport is minimal and only noticeable at some viewing angles.
The dial of this sporty chronograph by Union Glashütte is a testament to the brand’s attention to detail. The colours fade to black toward the dial’s perimeter, allowing the applied trapeze indices to shine bright when they catch the right light. The large, applied numerals at 12 and an outward-radiating minute track are a design cue across the range. The chronograph layout stays true to Noramis tradition and features contrasting white snailed sub-dials at 3 o’clock for the minutes and 9 o’clock for the running seconds, the latter with a date aperture incorporated so well that its presence is not immediately apparent. The date window is trapezoidal rather than rectangular, matching the shape of the hour indices, another excellent detail. The size of the UNION logo text at 12 o’clock isn’t subtle, yet it looks very appropriate, again playing to the bold, athletic nature of the timepiece. In the space above the 6 o’clock mark, the collection’s name and “chronograph” in capitals and the 200m water-resistance mention balance the prominent logo. Made in Germany, at the bottom of the dial, is easy to notice, too.
Behind a display caseback is the self-winding UNG-27.S2 movement, which provides a respectable power reserve of about 65 hours. Based on the Valjoux 7750, this movement with a cam-actuated chronograph mechanism operates at a 4Hz frequency and incorporates a silicon balance spring, a welcomed update. The movement, which is specific in its features to Union Glashütte, is nicely finished (note the rotor with the cut-out letters for the UNION, thick Glashütte stripes and blued screws), hand-assembled, and regulated by the watchmakers in Glashütte. The chronograph pushers react well to the action, and the mechanics will undoubtedly do a good job counting – if you ever need to test it.
The Union Glashütte Noramis Chronograph Sport is an excellent watch that combines modern and vintage cues, and whatever the colour, its sporty dial and beautiful finishes bring originality. Despite its rugged, multi-functional nature and relatively large size, it still maintains refinement and sophistication, making it versatile and appealing to many. Priced at EUR 3,600, it’s not a cheap watch, but the Glashütte origin promises a particular set of quality criteria, making it a compelling offer worth considering for those who appreciate quality and attention to detail in their timepieces.
For additional information, please visit union-glashuette.com.