NOMOS always seems to find it’s way into the center of conversations when they involve someone looking for a good watch for a reasonable price, and for good reason. The Club Campus 38, in my opinion, with it’s funky “California” dial (more on that later), agreeable dial-to-case proportions, in-house (kinda) movement, impeccable build quality, and reasonable price make it a spectacular recommendation for someone looking for their first watch, or even a seasoned connoisseur looking to add a little variety to their collection.
- Case: Stainless Steel – Polished
- Movement: NOMOS Alpha Caliber – 17 Jewels (manual wind/hacking)
- Power Reserve: 43hrs
- Dial: Matte Grey
- Lume: Superluminova (Hands/Indices)
- Crystal: Sapphire (slightly domed)
- Water Resistance: 10 bar – 100m (suitable for swimming
- Case Width: 38.5mm
- Lug Width: 20mm
- Case Height: 8.5mm
- Weight: 60.0g
- Warranty: 2 years
- Price: $1650 USD
Confession – I struggled to find word to describe how I feel about this case, until I realized one thing; it doesn’t make me feel anything – maybe that’s its “party trick”?! It sits atop your wrist just as it should. Although it may not be the most striking case out there, it’s good enough. Coming in at 38.5mm wide, 8.5mm tall, and with a long set of lugs, this watch wears unobtrusively. I never find myself thinking it’s too small, nor do I ever feel like it’s over-sized. It just sits there largely unnoticed on my 7.25″ wrist until I need it for something. No flares. No frills. Nothing extra. Just right.
P.S. – This thing is the absolute business on a NATO (o.d. green.. trust me).
NOMOS took a chance here with a matte grey, “California Dial” that seems to cause more disputes among enthusiasts than asking someone about their stance on climate change, guns, or a Facebook post about a guy with an orange face.
I can’t be sure, but from the information gathered, I think the dial is made from silver (yell at me in the comments if I’m wrong). NOMOS states on their site that it’s a “galvanized, ruthenium plated” dial. Whatever it is, I’m a fan. The painted numerals/indices are nicely done, and smartly outlined with a slightly darker shade of the same color, and glow reasonably due to the SuperLuminova. The lume is usable to an extent, but don’t expect it to be glowing for long after the lights are off. There’s a small register at 6 o’clock displaying a running seconds hand. The brightly painted hand used here is a nice, visually interesting touch that seems to make the watch seem even more young and vibrant than it already is.
So, the California dial… Arabic numerals up top, and Roman numerals below. To be completely honest; I don’t even notice they’re different anymore. Don’t like it? Buy a regular NOMOS Club. Moving on.
The Alpha movement was the first caliber produced by the NOMOS, and still powers more of their watches than any other produced since. The Alpha’s DNA can be linked back to the mighty Peseux/ETA 7001 movement; a 40yr old workhorse. NOMOS quit using ebauche movements in 2005, and although the two are similar, very few parts are interchangeable, and there are many major differences between the 7001 and the Alpha – most notably – the Alpha hacks, the 7001 does not. Robust, accurate, and reliable (as NOMOS states) – it works flawlessly. An in-house, hand-wound, hacking, 17 jewel movement with a bit of horological history, decent finishing, and a 43hr power reserve… not bad for the suggested retail price. No, it doesn’t house the brand’s proprietary Swing System, but it’s a great value nonetheless, and an even better one if you score a used example for closer to $1,000-1,200.
Fun Fact: Earlier versions of this foundation can be found in some vintage pieces made by Jaeger-LeCoultre, Omega, Blancpain, Montblanc, and many other notable watchmakers.
This one came on a VERY basic blue fabric strap. It’s a far cry from the grey leather that most come on, but I didn’t mind. This bad boy has almost always been sitting on a NATO (shoutout https://www.crownandbuckle.com/), or 2-piece NATO (Shoutout https://www.cincystrapco.com/) ever since I picked it up.
I love it. It fits in almost everywhere, doing anything. Never seeming out of place, you can strap this thing on and head out to tackle nearly anything short of a full-on diving excursion that life can throw at you. NOMOS markets this as a watch to be bought in celebration of a major life change, more specifically, a graduation. Although I did not wear this at any sort of graduation, I did wear it during my wedding, having ZERO knowledge of this watch’s intended purpose. What are the odds of that?!?! No, I may not have taken advantage of the complimentary engraving services offered with each purchase of a Club Campus, but I’ll probably just pay for it out-of-pocket and have our wedding date stamped on the caseback, eternally justifying this watch, why it was made, why I own it, and why it’ll forever be part of my collection.
For more information, or if you’d like to purchase this watch – visit https://nomos-glashuette.com/en/club/club-campus-38-night-736