German watches

Nomos Glashutte: Confession of A Watch Polisher

Nomos Glashutte have sent us some info on polishing watches. Yes, we know it’s a bit geeky, but watchmaking is all about the details. If you love the technology, knock yourselves out;

The surfaces should be as smooth as glass—and creating this perfect finish for the hand-wound caliber DUW 1001 can take the expert watchmakers at NOMOS Glashütte hours. They work with high concentration, since a single speck of dust could leave behind a scratch. Smooth surfaces are more resistant to oxidation. In the past, this was essential—but now it’s simply beautiful.

During bevelling, as one of these polishing techniques is known, an angle of exactly 45 degrees is cut by hand between the surface and side of one of the movement parts, before being smoothed out with a tool crafted from hardened steel and polished to perfection with wood. This process is known as burnishing.

In order to polish the six tiny gold chatons in the movement, they are carefully pressed into soft elder pith. This holds them in place without exerting too much pressure. Then they are polished with very fine sanding paper—with a grain of one to five thousandth of a millimeter. Individual components—such as the regulator, click, ratchet spring, and swan neck spring—are smoothed out with a tin polish, also known as black polishing in the watchmaking world. The component is worked on a tin plate with a grinding paste, which is gradually ground down. The goal is to bring the surface to a high-gloss shine that reflects light completely. That is what makes the surface appear deep black to the eye.

The writing on the balance cock is not polished, but instead engraved by hand: It reads “Mit Liebe in Glashütte gefertigt” (lovingly produced in Glashütte). This beautiful component can be seen through the sapphire crystal glass back. But there are many details that remain hidden where only a watchmaker can see.

These are what make the DUW 1001 caliber and the NOMOS model Lambda it powers truly special. Lambda – 175 Years Watchmaking Glashütte is the first version of this model in stainless steel. Until now, it has only been available in gold. The watch is regulated according to chronometer standards and comes in enamel white, blue, and black—limited to just 175 pieces each. This limited edition is with select retailers now.

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