Rado True Square & Nomos Glashütte Tetra: Collecting Discipline
Featuring two watches that has square faces and are essentially gender-neutral.
Given that I am managing four selections for this section, versus two from everyone else, I took the opportunity to consider different selection criteria. I also select watches for the broader audience of LUXUO, where design and status are important, and contribute to L’Officiel Singapore, which obviously has a totally different audience profile. The two watches I am going with here are therefore curated from these perspectives, being essentially gender-neutral but suited to smaller wrists. I myself have relatively slight wrists so both remain relevant to me, personally. Unlike the pieces in the introduction, and everyone’s else’s options in this section, I am also opting to feature alternatives within two collections, rather than just two specific watches.
First up is the Rado True Square, a collection that has much to recommend it, and has a new series that is extraordinarily diverse and design-forward. I remain torn between the True Square Tej Chauhan, Formafantasma and Over the Abyss; all three are part of Rado’s ongoing collaboration with acclaimed designers, none of whom are associated with watchmaking. While all three are visually exciting and quite different from each other, none are what the traditional watch enthusiast would expect. Of the three, the Tej Chauhan is the most watchlike and it is also the most affordable at S$2,710. This is simply because the band is actually leather, while the other two use ceramic bracelets. The leather strap and ceramic combination from Rado is almost too good to pass up, price-friendliness aside, and this version is quite popular, if the talk around town is to be believed.
- READ MORE: Square Roots
Also quite popular, if almost exclusively amongst watch writers, is the Formafantasma and this might be because we can automatically understand the connection with pocket watches. I would normally select this watch, just for this aspect, but Over the Abyss trumps it because you might like this watch even if you do not normally wear watches. It is also colourful, primarily in the more energetic shorter wavelength spectrum, and even resembles fireworks to some extent, which is useful in a list of festive watches. Credit where credit is due though, WOW Malaysia got the jump on me with this, but I would like to endorse this True Square model personally. It took me right to the deadline for this story to make this decision, and the price of S$4,050 for Over the Abyss did not help. Nevertheless, having seen and experienced this watch in reality (in the ceramic?) and compared it with the others, I am finally convinced.
To get it out of the way, if having the time clearly displayed on your wrist is essential to you, Over the Abyss will go over your head. It is entirely extraordinary with its display of local time arranged atop the 37 time zones of the world, for absolutely no functional reason. The write-ups on the watch in both WOW Malaysia and Men’s Folio Singapore both devote a fair amount of space to describing how the watch displays the hours and minutes. Perhaps the Tej Chauhan model will do the trick, if colourful practicality is what you look for in a fun timepiece. Happily, the dimensions of all three models are the same (38mm diameter and 9.7mm thickness) so the wearing experience is much the same — the Tej Chauhan is the only one with a leather strap, as mentioned, and that is the only practical difference.
Nomos Glashütte Tetra
Moving on, the second watch in this story is one that only recently advanced into my must-acquire shortlist, but it ticks several important boxes. It is the Nomos Glashütte Tetra 39, and if you are a regular reader you will immediately see the appeal for me. First of all, it is a German brand, and it matches my collecting preferences to a tee. It also happens to be a form watch, being a 33 x 33mm square watch, and this too lines up well with my aims for my collection. This collection was one of the first watches Ruckdee and I discussed in our Conversation series, and that inspired me to look once more at this slightly overlooked collection. When most people who know Nomos Glashütte think of their watches, it is likely the Tangente that comes to mind. Indeed, I almost considered one of the Tangente 38s, but the square model speaks better to my particular requirements.
The Tetra represents, in my specific case, a commitment to a specific aesthetic and hopefully demonstrates curating discipline. The aesthetic here is the aforementioned German one, and more particularly that of Glashütte. There are many more non-German brands than German ones in watchmaking, of course, and so there is much to tempt me (in my other section here, you will discover two such watches). This is why a degree of internal fortitude is required because, no matter your status, you cannot simply buy everything you want. If it does not fit within your collecting parameters you must forgo it.
- READ MORE: Watch Buying Guide: All About Dials
Having said that, there are quite a number of Tetra models — 21 to be exact — and another that suits my purposes for this article is the Tetra Ode to Joy. If you know anything at all about Nomos Glashütte, you will realise that this watch is indeed quite small — at 29.5 X 29.5mm it is indeed petite, and the lug width of 18mm should leave you in no doubt that it is most suited for women. While some think women must either want watches for men, jewellery watches, or fashion tickers, I think this is nonsense.
With the Tetra, you get a well-designed watch with many fun iterations that keeps time with an in-house movement — all at relatively comfortable price points. The entire range begins at S$2,200 and that is amongst the best from an independent brand. On that note, Nomos Glashütte is a watchmaker on the rise, even if it is not new. Biases aside, this brand will get a lot more attention than it is, even if it receives far more attention today than it did five years ago, and certainly more than when it was founded, in 1990.
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