Nodus Retrospect

Nodus Watches set a high bar when they released the Trieste last year. That watch delivered a clean, meticulously balanced design and top-notch execution at an almost unbeatable price. Given my admiration for that model, I was anxious to get my hands on their next offering. The folks at Nodus provided a pair of press loaners in Industrial Brown and Frost White for evaluation, (they also have a Slate Gray variant). You might expect something called "Retrospect" to be a line-for-line homage, but Nodus did not take that approach. Instead, they adopted some cherished retro design cues and updated them, creating a thoroughly contemporary watch.


The stainless steel case is 40.5mm wide, 49mm long, and 12.5mm thick, offering a nice balance between classic proportions and modern wrist presence. Finishing is top-notch. Circular brushing its top surface complements the bright polish on the sides, bezel, crown, and even the space between the drilled, angular lugs. The holes make strap swaps easier while also adding some sporting flair, reminding you that this handsome watch is also a fully capable tool; a message underscored by its 7mm, signed, screw-down crown. Water resistance is a scuba-worthy 200m. The caseback is engraved with some basic information but its otherwise completely unadorned.



The Retrospect's signature feature is its concave, "stadium" bezel, inspired by certain 1960's vintage divers made by Breitling, Rado, and Gruen. I have always liked this feature and even listed it as one of my five Retro Watch Designs That Need To Make a Comeback. Nodus has made the most of this uncommon shape by pairing it with a voluptuous double domed sapphire crystal, creating an appealing interplay of angles and curves. The crystal has a blue anti-reflective coating inside.

Buyers of the brown dial may choose a matching brushed aluminum insert or opt for the all-stainless look. The white comes only with contrasting black aluminum. The sparse, 60-minute index is engraved and painted, but only the triangle contains lume. Bezel grip is positive and its action is ideal, giving just the right amount of resistance as it travels through its 120-clicks without a trace of shimmy.


The dial appears to be set deep in the case, an illusion no doubt enhanced by the steep, almost vertical, brushed rehaut surrounding it. Dart-shaped markers perforate the dial, showing the bright C3 SuperLuminova that also lights up the polished and faceted dauphine hands and arrowhead second hand tip (blue on the Frost White dial!). Kudos to Nodus for making these last two long enough to graze the printed index at the perimeter. The white dial is solid while the brown shows a subtle sunray effect – maybe a little too subtle. I found I noticed more in pictures than in person. As with previous models, the text is limited and tasteful. Both versions have a 6 o’clock date window that matches the dial: white-on-black for the brown, black-on-white for the white.


Timekeeping duties fall to the stalwart Seiko NH35A, a popular automatic workhorse with Dishock protection, 24 jewels, 21.6k bph sweep, and a quiet bi-directional rotor. Nodus regulates each unit in four positions before the watches are assembled in their Los Angeles facility, and is documented on the warranty card.


All watches ship with both a 22mm, tapered, two-piece leather strap on quick release bars and a smooth seatbelt nylon NATO. Both straps have signed buckles but the where the one on the leather polished, the hardware on the nylon is brushed, offering a nod to their respective duties. I found both to be a comfortable fit and very much appreciated the way the sleek nylon tucked in tight, minimizing the usual NATO bulge on my modest 6.5”wrist.


The full kit is packed into a very handy olive canvas watch roll with two pockets. As I continue to accumulate watches I have grown to loathe bulky, wasteful display boxes. Give me a quality travel pouch any day.


Once again, the Nodus team has proven their talent for modern industrial design because name aside, the Retrospect is every inch a forward-looking watch. Its old-school elements are there to generate character and interest, not nostalgia. It packs tool watch capability into a clean, impeccably tailored package, making it a true “anywhere, anytime” watch that won’t look at all out of place when you need to dress up. Best of all, it is affordably priced, just $399 at NodusWatches.com.

It may be a cliche, but the Nodus Retrospect punches well above its weight. I highly recommend it. ⬩


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