NOMOS Glashütte multi-award winning designs originate from a small town in the German mountains, adjacent to the Czech Republic border. Founded in 1990 by Roland Schwertner, the NOMOS Glashütte brand draws upon the horological beauty of its surroundings to create flagship timepieces. Now, in their twenty sixth year of life, the brand has reached international acclaim.
Many have joked that NOMOS’ Glashütte designers have excelled at making precise and delicate statement pieces because they have worked in an isolated town that promises no distractions. NOMOS Glashütte has challenged this mold by joining forces with the globally-focused organisation Doctors Without Borders, by raising money through the launch of a collection of special edition watches in 2012. The collaboration has continued through to the present day and the collection now boasts eight styles, all of which have been inspired by the famed non-profit.
Organisations like Doctors Without Borders are reliant on private support, particularly as they work in countries that are so customarily ignored. For every NOMOS Glashütte watch that is sold, the company will donate £100 towards medical and healthcare supplies. £100 might seem a small sum, but it is enough to buy: five emergency shelters; 450 emergency food rations; 20 life-saving treatments; 250 Meningitis A vaccine doses; or 25 full sets of emergency wound dressing supplies.
Doctors Without Borders currently operates in more than 60 countries around the world, where healthcare is in urgent demand. Every day, 30,000 doctors, nurses, logisticians, water-and-sanitation experts and administrators are on the frontline dealing with famine, natural disasters, wars and epidemics. The diseases and injuries they are curing with a limited array of equipment, are more severe and disturbing that what is usually found on the Western world’s ER operating tables.
Frank Terhoest has been working for the Nobel Prize-winning organisation on building a clinic for malnourished children in Chad, following floods that led to malnutrition, measles, meningitis, malaria and eventually cholera. He says: ‘With cholera, logistics in a major problem. It is not just about setting up cholera beds – platforms with a hole in the middle – or tents, quarantine and disinfection materials. You also have to get hold of thousands of liters of Ringer’s Solution in a hurry.’
Frank’s story is not unique, as the difference good medical supplies can make is echoed by his colleagues across the world. Chris Bird is a Londoner working in South Kivu, where conflict has left endless civilians injured and vulnerable to disease. He recalls the impact of having adequate equipment has made: ‘The operating theater now has a light, and the instruments are properly sterilized, instead of being placed in pressure cookers on charcoal braziers as they were before Doctors Without Borders arrived. And they now have a generator that can be used to provide oxygen to patients with breathing problems.’
NOMOS Glashütte has already sold thousands of watches, each following the brand's classic model but adapted to remind the wearer of the cause they are supporting. Below the six dial there is the small ‘Doctors Without Borders’ inscription, together with a mirroring etching on the watch's back. The eye is drawn the clock face's number 12, which takes on the red colour of international aid. The protective case is also redesigned and has been autographed with a ‘Doctors Without Borders’ engraving.
NOMOS Glashütte has resisted the temptation of cutting production costs or increasing market price to cover these donations. Instead, all proceeds will be made by the company without additional cost to wearer. When considering the dramatic scenes of desperation that haunt the aftermath of a natural disaster, these £100 donations may seem like they have limited potential effect. However, these shelters and emergency dressings are defining the individual stories of those trapped in these nightmares. As thousands of watches continue to be purchased, aid workers are able to provide more and more people the medical care that can keep them safe.
Find out more at Nomos-for-doctors-without-borders