Nomos Glashütte is a German Manufacture that does not get much coverage compared to many other brands that one could argue are similar, but it is a brand with a lot of admirers amongst collectors and enthusiasts of both of the brand’s design and of the quality of its watches. One really interesting thing about them is that they don’t do different lines of watches for men and women, preferring the approach of having watches that are in a variety of sizes.
Unbeknownst to most, the entry point “calibre” from NOMOS is in fact not a timepiece, but a wearable sundial ring.
This gorgeous machined stainless steel ring can be worn as a pendant around your neck on the leather band on which it comes, or as a ring. The fact that it is able to be rotated makes it quite an addictive item to play with.
The outside diameter is 23 mm, inside diameter 19 mm, and leather band is 800 mm (around 30 inches).
It functions according to the principle of the so-called “farmers ring”. Farmers rings are a type of portable altitude sundial also called “ring sundials” or “simple ring dials”. The principle behind them are to suspend it in a vertical place such that the small aperture (the small hole that you can see in the photo) faces the Sun.
Firstly, you set the approximate date on the rotating ring.
With the sundial hanging on the leather band, you then turn it towards the sun so that the light falls directly onto the hole.
You move the hole to the current month on the outer scale of the ring and then let the sun shine though such that a small dot of light is projected onto the inside of the ring, where the time can be read.
The scale on the inside of the ring consists of vertical date lines, crossed by the different hour lines in different angles. The sunlight through a small ring hole on the opposite side of the scale casts a spot on the scale.
Unfortunately, there’s a small hitch for most of the world – it shows the true local time for all places found along the same latitude as Glashütte, 51° North. For all other places around this latitude, the time shown is approximately correct, the deviation is only a few minutes per degree latitude, so if you are not too much of an accuracy fiend, you can use it on the Northern Hemisphere in a belt of ca. 40°- 60°N Latitude North to stay within a tolerance of about half an hour.
In the Southern Hemisphere, it supposedly works correspondingly in the 40°- 60°S Latitude South range; all one has to do is adding 6 months one the month scale, i.e. January = July etc.
Admittedly this sundial is not exactly the most accurate of time measuring methods, and it takes a little while to work out if you’re not on the same latitude as Glashütte, not to mention its obvious inability to be of much use if there’s no sun, but it is a beautiful piece of design, very inexpensive for a Glashütte timepiece and a lot of fun. I am enjoying it immensely, and would wager that there are few who would not find this appealing.