The power of movement

Mechanical watches combine energy, design—and movement. Their most noticeable movement is, of course, by the hands. But compared to what is going on inside the watch, their smooth glide across the dial is virtually a moment of calm. A crystal back reveals the rapid pulse of the balance and, in the case of automatic calibers, the oscillation of the rotor. The deeper look inside the movement afforded by our camera shows further turning and rotations that would otherwise be imperceptible. Finally, the insights into the NOMOS facilities, into the production and decoration of our calibers, reveal that the gleam of the movement, the smoothness of the components, their dance-like interplay are also a result of the power of the movement that goes into them during the production process. Just as the mainspring stores the winding force and then releases it with measured precision, the mechanical watch as a whole retains the knowledge, skill, and dedication of those who make it—pure energy.

5.12. Winding and ticking

It is always a delight to watch a NOMOS movement start ticking. To set things in motion, it requires energy—from manual winding or a wrist movement. And at the end, it needs an escapement, such as the NOMOS swing system, held here in the DUW 3001 caliber by a balance bridge. In between, there are many components with a variety of tasks. First, the gears of the winding mechanism transfer the power to the mainspring, which then distributes it evenly to the gear train. Acceleration is required at this point. For every single revolution of the mainspring barrel, the escape wheel turns over 4,700 times. In this time, the NOMOS swing system has already completed over 71,000 oscillations, and the second hand has advanced more than 142,000 steps. But only in a circle. Its goal is 518,400 steps a day, then everything is perfect.

5.11. Renovating the seal

The back, the bezel, the crown, the glass... there are numerous places on the case of a watch that require a reliable seal. It’s not just about protecting it against water when you dive into a pool, swim in the sea at sunset, or get caught in a rain shower on your way home from work; the inner workings of a mechanical watch also need to be protected against high humidity. It is therefore worth testing a watch’s water resistance annually—even those that are expressly not suitable for swimming—to ensure the longevity of the watch.

5.10. Attaching the hands

What would all the cogs, springs, screws, and plates do without the hands that display the time at the end? And of course, the hands need all the other components, otherwise there would be nothing to display. What a harmonious interplay! To ensure that this harmony is also visually perfect, the hands must be positioned correctly: The minute hand must point to the twelve precisely when the hour hand has a full hour in its sights. For this, our watchmakers need a keen eye and a steady hand, as with almost every step. Patience, calm and concentration—then harmony is guaranteed.

5.9. Assembling the world time cover plate

The cover plate on the world time caliber covers almost all the parts required for the world time function. This includes the switching levers, which are operated via the case pushers, and the ratchet wheel, which works in tandem with the corrector star to advance the city disc and the hour hand synchronously. And that's not all: It also covers the hour star, which can be used to adjust the hour hand and thus set a home time on the watch; the hour change wheel, which drives the time disc and gives the watch a second time display; and the corrector wheel, which allows the hour hand to jump by 30°. Who is supposed to remember all this? Our NOMOS watchmakers. Good thing that they know what they're doing!

5.8. Attaching the minute tube

The minute tube holds the minute hand and simultaneously drives the hour wheel via a short changeover. This is where the amplitude, efficiency level, and oscillation frequency become real time. And this time must be adjustable. For this reason, the minute tube is not permanently attached to the gear train; it is mounted as a tube on a shaft. The tube and shaft can only be turned in relation to each other with a defined force—known as the minute friction. To ensure that this force always remains the same when adjusting the hands via the crown, just the right amount of the correct kind of grease is needed in the right place.

5.7. Watch winder

Whether automatic or hand-wound, every watch is tested on the watch winder. This simulates the wearing of the watch, which means that the position is constantly changing. In this way, the interaction of all parts is tested under close to real-life conditions. In the case of automatic watches, whether the watch winds quickly enough is also tested. The watch winder quickly shows if the watch is not yet running smoothly. NOMOS watches are not afraid of this test. With their precise work, our watchmakers ensure that every watch can enjoy a trip on the watch winder, like a ride on a Ferris wheel.

5.6. Mounting the crown wheel

The crown wheel, which sits enthroned on the three-quarter plate with its radiant Glashütte sunburst decoration, has the task of transmitting the winding force from the crown to the mainspring. The core on which it rests is held by just two tiny screws. This looks playful, and in DUW 6101, the crown wheel can actually mostly lean back and let the self-winding mechanism do the work. In the manual winding caliber, however, the crown wheel is under tension every day. The core has to withstand a lot, which is why the two small screws are tightened with a torque screwdriver. This ensures that they are neither too loose nor too tight—because as everyone knows: too tight means it will come off!

5.5. Pearling

Using a small grinding point, some surfaces of the work plate receive pearling: a small decoration with great effect. The pearling appears to move in different light conditions, which is very appealing to look at. Although it is only the watchmakers at our company and retailers who have the opportunity to enjoy the sight—but we make sure they have something beautiful to enjoy all the same.

5.4. Turning the accelerator wheel

Transverse and longitudinal turning, centering, drilling, chamfering, parting—and done. The washer? No, the turning blank of our accelerator wheel. With an accuracy of a few micrometers, there's more work involved here than you might suspect. In the next step, the accelerator wheel gets its teeth. After that, it becomes part of a component that ensures that the date is switched on time at midnight. The acceleration wheel is part of our patented date mechanism in the DUW 6101.

5.3. Center wheel pre-assembly

The center wheel is at the heart of our calibers. It transmits the power from the mainspring barrel to the connected movement, and at the same time it carries the minute hand—two very important tasks. As it is in direct contact with the mainspring barrel, it has to be able to withstand quite a lot. The riveting of the wheel and gear has a very high torque to accommodate a huge amount of force. To ensure it operates reliably for generations, designers and technologists work to achieve the perfect dimensions for the components and to find the best way to assemble them—quickly and consistently. Only proven assembly processes result in quality and thus in decades of enjoyment from our watches.

5.2. Shortening the metal strap

Getting the strap to the right length is not always easy! Leather and textile straps often come in a range of sizes, with lots of little holes for the perfect length. Metal straps also offer fine adjustment, but this is not always enough. Getting your watch to look its best on your wrist sometimes requires more complex measures. For bigger changes, individual links can be removed from the strap, which can be done quickly and safely with a small tool set. The position of the clasp on the arm can also be adjusted in this way. All this ensures the watch fits perfectly and looks its best. And that's what it deserves.

5.1. Final assembly of the mainspring barrel

In this penultimate step, the mainspring barrel becomes a closed affair. This way, the spring stays where it belongs and can do its work undisturbed. Without it, nothing works. Without energy, the watch cannot tell the time. However, in order for it to work at its full capacity, the spring core in the barrel must have an appropriate amount of play. It is essential that this be checked. If energy is lost here, then the balance oscillates sluggishly, the timekeeping accuracy suffers, and the watch can even stop ticking sooner than it should. It's a good thing that our employees have a keen eye here. They check and adjust the spring so that the energy can be used with full efficiency. To the delight of all concerned.