Photo above by Nodus Watches

Nodus Watches is a new Microbrand started in the Los Angeles area by Cullen Chen and Wesley Kwok.  Their first watch is named the Nodus Trieste, named after the Trieste bathyscaphe, which in 1960 went 11,000 meters or 7 miles down into the Challenger Deep, the deepest part of the Mariana Trench.  This is the deepest place known on the planet and only two men, oceanographers Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh, have gone this deep and only in the Trieste. Interestingly, the Nodus Trieste has a strong resemblance to the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe watch.  You can be sure this is not a coincidence!

Offered in 316L stainless with a 3 link stainless bracelet or black PVD finish with Nato straps, either watch is available with your choice of blue, red or black 120 click coin edge sapphire bezel inserts with a matt black textured dial.  The watch is offered with the Swiss Technology Production STP1-11 or the Seiko Japanese NH35 movement, with or without a date window.

For my review, I have the all stainless model with the blue bezel, the date window and the STP1-11 movement, which is my favorite combination.  The watch measures 41 mm in diameter, 13 mm thick, 50 mm lug to lug and has a lug width of 20 mm and comes with 200 meter/660 feet water resistance.  The lugs are beautifully machines and turned down while the bracelet tapers to 18 mm at the clasp.

What makes this watch special is it’s a better designed Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe, in my eyes.  The indexes and hands are larger with a better and a more interesting design and proportions. The Nodus is 2.6 mm smaller in diameter and is slightly thinner, making it a bit more wearable.  True, the Blancpain has a power reserve almost 3 times as great, 100 meters more in W/R and the case is now available in a high tech and cool looking ceramic.  Ceramic cannot be repaired if damaged, though it is very light and will likely become more popular over time.  Personally, I like having the option of removing scratches on my watches with a Scotch-Brite sponge when needed. In addition, I prefer just having twenty minutes of minute markings on the bezel of the Nodus which is a cleaner look.

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Lume on the Nodus is Superluminova BGW-9, which is quite good.  A few details that really stand out on the Nodus to me are the signed crown, the carefully engraved case back, polished and brushed case and lugs, the perfect matt texture to the watch face and just the right amount, size and design of face logo and information.  The 4:30 date window is the best I have seen so far on any watch, because it matches and blends into the watch face and does not require modification or removal of any indices.

I have no complaints at all regarding the STP movement.  It is 26 jewels, 28,800 bph with a 44 hour power reserve and is a direct clone of the ETA 2824-2 movement.  Owned by the Fossil Group, STP is making inroads which is helping improve movement availability to non Swiss watchmakers.  Interestingly, the STP movement is supposed to be decorated; maybe an exhibition back option in the future?  My only complaint is the generic bracelet clasp.  It should either have a push button release to eliminate the floppy flip part of the clasp or possibly go with a Rolex glide lock type of clasp or another design that doesn’t look off the shelf.  An alternate bracelet is in the works, from what I understand.  The drilled case lugs on this watch are helpful for people that will likely try on other bracelets and straps.

In summary, this watch is very high quality and isn’t another Rolex homage.  The best part is it is $350 with the Seiko NH35 or $500 with the STP1-11.  I truly wish Nodus all the success they deserve with the Trieste and future models.

Bert Kanne is a freelance contributor to MBWW with a love for well made dive watches and chronographs. All photos by Bert Kanne unless otherwise noted.