The Nomos Autobahn - my unusual start in the world of watches

Hi guys, this is my first post on here.

For my first proper (i.e. not knock-off or cheap junk) wristwatch, I chose to get something rather unusual: a Nomos Autobahn.
It's probably one of Nomos' least popular models and not particularly versatile (way too sporty for formal clothing), but for me it was love at first sight. It nicely combines my passion for fast cars (bonus picture with my other toy included) and classical Bauhaus design. So when I got an unexpected performance bonus at work, there was no question that I'd treat myself to this particular model.

So now for the basic information:
The Autobahn's design is very playful for the brand and combines their signature Bauhaus design with elements inspired by old sports cars and racing in general - the name Autobahn clearly fits it. Some small trivia on the side: Nomos has a short video about the Autobahn's design process up on Youtube and it didn't surprise me to see Werner Aisslinger (its designer) appear in a vintage Porsche. 
My particular model (Reference 1303 "sports gray") features an off-white dial with a blue luminous ring and orange hands. A fully white version and a midnight blue version are also available. Three limited edition models in other colours appear to be sold out.
It has a diameter of 41 mm, but wears much larger with a lug-to-lug width of about 50 mm. Effectively, this is the largest I'd go for my wrist size of about 18.5 - 19 cm. If the lugs were just a little bit longer it would look off. This effect of wearing large on the wrist is quite typical for Nomos and I strongly advise everyone to not buy their watches without "test-driving" them on their own wrist. For comparison, a Submariner has the same nominal diameter, but looks much smaller on the wrist. 
Inside ticks a DUW 6101 automatic caliber with 27 jewels and a 42 hour power reserve. One nice thing about it is it's low build height (3.6 mm), which enables the watch to be quite low (10.5 mm).
OEM it comes on a very finely-woven dark blue fabric strap. I exchanged this for a Nato strap in the colours of Martini Racing, which my girlfriend gifted me.
The watch comes in a nice wooden box, definitely something you wouldn't want to hide in a dusty basement.

Things I love:
The rhodium plated dial is awesome. Its slightly off-white silver (well rhodium) colour looks super nice in the right light. 
I also love that the dial is curved like a racetrack, the 3D-effect makes it much more interesting to look at in real life. 
The colour palette in this variant just works for me, the blue and orange "pop" nicely. Because I liked this combination so much (and because I love fast cars) I paired it with the Martini Racing Nato. The strap's red and blue aren't exact matches, but they complement the watch well enough for me.
Finally, my favourite thing is the unusual date window at the bottom. I often dislike how date windows feel like an afterthought and destroy dial symmetry, but here the date window fits in very organically. It reminds me of a vintage odometer, and it is an intrinsic part of the dial. It's still easily readable because of its large size.

Things I don't love:
At a list price of €3.8k in Germany, I'd expect a metal bracelet for a sports watch. Don't get me wrong, the OEM strap is very well made and fits the watch (it reminded me of a seat belt!), but I think it makes the watch sit a bit oddly on my wrist. Changing it for a Nato was definitely the right choice for me.
The Autobahn's size may also be an issue for many. I feel like it just about works for my wrist, but many others would definitely benefit from a smaller model - it would be nice if Nomos offered 2 sizes (maybe 38 and 41 mm).
The size and playful design also mean it's probably not the right watch to wear with a suit. Personally, this doesn't matter too much, as I'm basically overdressed in business casual in my office. It adds a nice dash of colour to my business casual outfits.

Overall, this watch is proof that you should "buy what you like" and not "what is most versatile or value for money in my budget range" if you ask me. I can only recommend this model to everyone with medium to large wrists who'd like to add something slightly unusual to their collection.
For my next watch, I'm aiming for something slightly more conservative: a two-tone Rolex Datejust (SS/YG), with a fluted bezel on a jubilee. With that I should be able to cover more formal occasions as well. I am starting to think whether I have a penchant for less popular models (two-tone non-sports watches may be to Rolex what the Autobahn is to Nomos).

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I'm always thinking about getting one of those...Probably someday I will...

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Solid review and gave me a new appreciation for this Nomos. I'm not the welcoming committee, but welcome to WatchCrunch all the same and looking forward to more posts of this quality (and photos too!).

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Hey Jan, lovely article!

I can only agree, it sits perfect on your wrist. It is just the right size! The colorful nato complements the playful look of the watch. This watch should help you to overcome the high gas prices, you can now enjoy the good old German autobahn w/o driving your Porsche ;)

Thanks to the changes of style in the world due to covid, this watch can also be worn with a casual suit. Maybe not with this nato ;)

However with the two tone American psycho like Datejust you would have a perfect two watch collection. 

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CTReese

Solid review and gave me a new appreciation for this Nomos. I'm not the welcoming committee, but welcome to WatchCrunch all the same and looking forward to more posts of this quality (and photos too!).

Thanks a lot! Considering the expected wait for the Datejust, it will be a while until my next post - but I'll try to keep up the same standard :D 

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martini

I'm always thinking about getting one of those...Probably someday I will...

Try it on at your AD and see if the size fits (if you haven't already) - if it does, I wouldn't hesitate a second to pull the trigger. 

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Pascal

Hey Jan, lovely article!

I can only agree, it sits perfect on your wrist. It is just the right size! The colorful nato complements the playful look of the watch. This watch should help you to overcome the high gas prices, you can now enjoy the good old German autobahn w/o driving your Porsche ;)

Thanks to the changes of style in the world due to covid, this watch can also be worn with a casual suit. Maybe not with this nato ;)

However with the two tone American psycho like Datejust you would have a perfect two watch collection. 

Thanks! 

You know I'd rather eat plain rice for months than not use the Porsche ;)

(Unfortunately) I think I could get away with pairing a bright pink G-Shock and flip flops with a suit at the office...

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Jan_jgb981

Try it on at your AD and see if the size fits (if you haven't already) - if it does, I wouldn't hesitate a second to pull the trigger. 

I Have 7.25” wrists.  I wear a Seamaster Diver 300m, 42mm and 50mm lug-to-lug,  so I should be able to handle it.  
 

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