Hands-On: Nomos Club Campus in Pink and Purple
What does it mean for a watch to be 'fun'?
It almost feels cliche to be writing about another watch with a bright, colorful dial in 2022. But the truth is that Nomos beat a lot of its peers to this trend. It’s been slowly adding colorful dial options to its lineup of minimalist watches over the last few years, long before a certain brand that rhymes with Nolex made the practice feel mainstream.
But this year’s introduction of a blue-purple and pink dial to its “entry-level” (a phrase I despise) Club Campus might be the Glashutte brand’s best effort yet.
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First, a quick introduction to the Nomos Club Campus. It’s Nomos’ watch that’s designed to be more youthful and playful than its other long-standing Bauhaus-inspired watches. It’s got a California dial (a mixture of Arabic and Roman numerals), orange dial accents, and a healthy application of lume. Throw in 100m of water resistance and Nomos’ manual-wind Alpha movement, and it’s a watch that’s designed to be worn every single day. Much of Nomos’ advertising for the Club Campus pitches it as a graduation gift — it’ll even throw in a free caseback engraving if you buy direct from Nomos online — and it’s a pitch that just makes sense.
Full disclosure: The Nomos Club Campus (with standard silver dial) was my first real “luxury” watch purchase. I bought it around the time I graduated law school. In other words, the Nomos pitch worked. I loved the German brand’s grounding in minimalist, Bauhaus design principles — form over function and all that — but the Club Campus was a bit more fun. The Club Campus is still the watch I most often recommend to people looking for their first “nice” watch, since it can be had for about $1,000 (pre-owned; $1,500 MSRP).
Since introducing the Club Campus, Nomos has brought a number of colorful dials to the line: bright orange, yellow, green, and so on. In 2020, Nomos collaborated with Cool Hunting for a limited edition run of colorful dials, donating a protion of proceeds to The Trevor Project. Color isn’t a passing fad for Nomos.
But this year’s release of the Club Campus in blue-purple and deep pink might be my favorite yet. Offered in 36mm and 38mm, I got hands-on with the smaller version of both.
Club Campus: Blue-Purple
Let’s start with the Club Campus blue-purple. The new dark purple dial color sticks closer to the wear-it-everyday ethos that I love about the Club Campus. Sure, it’s purple, but it’s not a terribly bright or bold hue choice. Nomos calls it blue-purple for a reason: The dial has deep undertones of blue, and in certain lights even feels more blue than purple.
If the deep pink makes an outfit (we’ll get there in a moment), the blue-purple goes with any 'fit. It doesn’t distract too much from whatever else you’ve got going on, you rakish gent, you.
I mentioned that the Club Campus is my go-to rec for people looking for one nice watch; going forward, I think recommending the Club Campus with the blue-purple dial might be my default tip. During my time with the blue-purple, I wore it to the office, biking, going out on the weekend, and it never felt out of place. It’s a clean, well-designed watch that doesn’t draw too much attention, but it does attract the right kind of attention.
While some of Nomos’ traditional options skew a bit dressier, the Club Campus is more casual, and with a colorful dial, more fun. With so much seriously bad sh*t going on in the world, I need that from a watch.
Club Campus: Deep Pink
Too often, “fun” in watches is used to mean “this brand added a colorful dial to their watches, isn’t that fun?” In reality, I’m not sure how a watch can be fun — it’s got more to do with how the watch makes you feel, or what you do with it.
This might sound corny, but I swear to you it’s true: On my last day with the deep pink Nomos Club Campus, I wore it to the office. It was a sunny day, and my office overlooks the Chicago River that cuts through the middle of downtown Chicago. I looked out my window and thought to myself, “self, I bet this pink dial looks so much better in the sunlight than this nasty fluorescently lit office.”
So I dashed off to the elevator, descending into the sunshine to snap some photos of the deep pink in natural light.
I ended up spending an hour or so strolling down the Chicago Riverwalk; sure, I snapped some photos, but I mostly just wandered around, enjoying the nice day and glancing at the Deep Pink dial every few minutes. Fun!
Join the Club
The Club Campus is chic, but not pretentious. It’s fun, but not kitschy. It’s minimal, but not boring. To me, Nomos’ calling card has always been its ability to balance so many things so seamlessly. Perhaps most importantly, it’s a brand that’s respected by horophiles, without getting weighed down by the heft of history.
It’s as simple as this: If you’re looking for one watch to wear everyday, the Blue-Purple is your watch. Not just when picking between these two watches, but perhaps when compared to any watch around $1,000 — it’s hard to find a watch that offers more. Distinct design language, water resistance, a mostly in-house caliber, and a vibe that works anywhere.
The Deep Pink is a good second or third watch (or four, or fifth…). Even if you’re Machine Gun Kelly, you’re probably not going to want to wear a bright pink watch every single day. And that’s fine. The Nomos Club Campus will be there when you want it. But you’ll probably also want a Seiko (or something like a Nomos Tangente if we’re staying brand-loyal) in the rota as a more subdued option. And that’s fine.
Club Campus Specs
Case: Stainless steel (closed screw-in caseback)
Water resistance: 100m
Diameter: 36mm and 38mm (47.5mm and 48.9mm lug-to-lug); 18mm and 20mm lug width
Movement: Manual Nomos Alpha, 43-hour power reserve
Lume: Blue SuperLuminova
Crystal: Domed sapphire
Price: MSRP $1,500 (36mm); $1,650 (38mm)
References: Ref. 711 (36mm Deep Pink); ref. 713 (36mm Blue-Purple; ref. 728 (38mm Deep Pink); ref. 730 (38mm Blue-Purple)
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