Since the release of its first collection in 1992, Nomos has never ceased to please with its minimalist designs, nice movements (specifically since it moved to in-house in 2005) and a particular flair for fun and lightness. Fresh, young, very German and at the same time thinking outside the box, the brand has recently made a move towards sportier, bolder designs, moving away from its traditional Bauhaus codes. We’ve seen this with the Club or Ahoi collections, particularly the 42mm Club Sport neomatik date, standing out with its 300m water-resistance, striking dial and steel bracelet. But, in my books, it was (way) too large. Problem solved with the new Nomos Club Sport neomatik 37. And now that it has made it to my wrist, I’m wondering if this could be a perfect Explorer alternative.
Looking at this new Club Sport 37mm, another watch immediately came to mind: the classic Rolex Explorer 36mm, one of my all-time favourites. Putting the vintage models aside (mostly the reference 1016), the Explorer is a compact, robust, good-at-everything watch with enough resistance for a trip underground or an expedition to our planet’s summits. It has solid water-resistance, an ultra-focused, ultra-legible dial and a reliable automatic movement to indicate only the time and the time. The best representation of this concept for me is reference 14270. And the best is that it’s also a surprisingly elegant watch. It’s actually so good that the Crown brought the idea back to the market in 2021 with the downsized Explorer reference 124270.
There are a few issues, however, starting with the price. A new Explorer costs almost EUR 7,000 and a decent youngtimer about the same amount. Second, the availability. There is no point even starting to debate this: you won’t be able to find a new one at your local retailer. So it means you’ll need to add a bit more to the table to feed the greedy grey market (which we don’t encourage). Thankfully, alternatives exist. The first that comes to mind is the new Tudor Ranger. Good quality, good price, good movement, but a bit dull and a bit too large if you ask me. And there are many more from brands like Nivada, Seiko or Longines (to name a few).
The most recent Explorer-like model comes from Nomos; clearly not the first brand I would have listed in a guide to the existing alternatives. But becoming a close relative to this new Club Sport neomatik 37 for a few days changed my perception quite drastically. But first, let’s break down the specs and facts.
The new Club Sport neomatik 37 is the smaller brother to the Club Sport neomatik date 42. This watch is the brand’s sportiest model to date, with its large case, overall robustness, and almost dive watch capacities. Except that it isn’t strictly speaking a watch for diving since there is no rotating bezel. But with 300m water-resistance, it can certainly handle some underwater pressure. It’s a versatile model that can be worn during weekends and at the office, too, as long as you can live with its large case (42mm) and even larger lug-to-lug measurement (52.3mm) – which is why it has never been a watch for me and my small 16.5cm wrist.
A couple of weeks ago, Nomos produced a smaller edition of this model, with only minimal adjustments to the overall sportiness. First and foremost, the case of this new no-date Club Sport neomatik is much more compact, at 37mm in diameter and a height of only 8.4mm. And when you consider the 200m water-resistance of this watch, its lean 8.4mm height should send a message to other brands and their 14mm-thick dive watches. The other important evolution concerns the lug-to-lug dimension, which is now 47.5mm. Right, it’s still quite long considering the diameter, but at least it’s now perfectly wearable for most men and women too – and it also means that those put off by a small watch shouldn’t be. It’s compact but not small.
The whole watch is very much in line with what you expect from an Explorer-like model: sleek case, double-gasket push-in crown with a red-coloured tube that’s only visible when the crown is out (a reminder that you have to push it back in), sapphire crystal on the front with an efficient anti-reflective coating and two options for the caseback. The watch can be ordered with a screwed sapphire caseback or a screwed solid steel option – the latter saving you EUR 300, but personally, I would choose the view on the nice neomatik movement. Polished surfaces are found all around, and the whole watch feels classic, nicely proportioned, comfortable and ready for any possible environment you can imagine, except the most demanding ones.
Complementing the case is a 3-link steel 18mm bracelet, closed by a folding clasp and fitted with quick-release spring bars for an easy swap. While the overall quality of the bracelet is very good (maybe not Rolex level, but still appreciable), some choices are more questionable. Why, really, why is the clasp polished? Scratch-magnet alert! The same goes for the polished mid-links, but that’s less of an issue. As an alternative, you’ll be able to choose the watch with a textile strap closed by a pin buckle, which will save you another EUR 180. But my advice would be to go for the steel bracelet and add a couple of NATO or Perlon straps next to it.
The dial of this new Nomos Club Sport neomatik 37 is available in two flavours: Polar Blue and Petrol Green. No mistake with the blue, but the green is undoubtedly the most attractive of the two. It’s a nice, cold green colour that feels different from the dozens of other green watches currently on the market. It is discreet enough, with just the right dose of originality. The rest of the dial is simple and legible. A no-date model (contrary to the 42mm version), it features large hour markers and bold hands to provide contrast night and day.
The succession of batons and numerals for the hours is interesting, and the same goes for the position of the numerals, which are basically the opposite of most watches. The brand told us that the markers are slightly recessed into the dial so they can hold even more luminous material… Now, one could always question the presence of a small seconds counter on such a watch, but then again, it adds to the originality.
Under the hood of the 37mm Nomos Club Sport is the now well-established neomatik movement or calibre DUW 3001, a thin and elegant engine that has proven its capacities. Produced in-house, it features the brand’s Swing system (proprietary escapement), runs at a 3Hz frequency and stores up to 42h of energy when fully wound. The decoration, typical of the Saxon region, features thin ribbings, a ¾ plate, blued screws and golden accents.
Price-wise, the Nomos Club Sport neomatik 37photographed here (green dial, sapphire back, steel bracelet) retails for EUR 2,780. But you can get one for EUR 2,300 if you skip the sapphire caseback and the steel bracelet. In any case, it’s a fair and accessible price, considering the content you receive. The watches are now available from the brand’s website and retailers as part of the permanent collection.
But most importantly, except for a few griefs (the polished clasp mostly), this new Club Sport neomatik 37 is packed with arguments and can play in the competitive field of Explorer alternatives. What it brings to the table, in addition to its excellent price/content ratio and overall quality, is a nice dose of coolness and fun and a thin case height that makes it a joy to wear, week and weekend alike. Take note watch brands: it is possible to make a solid sports watch with 200m water-resistance and a case height of less than 9mm.
For more details, please visit nomos-glashuette.com.