Manufacturer: Nodus Watches | Price: $450 USD (£359 GBP, €399 EUR)
The most common watches produced by microbrands has always been the Seiko NH35/38 powered diver. Not only is it an affordable and very popular option for the customer, it also minimizes the risk of unsellable stock for the company. I’ve had a ton of these watches in for review, from various companies, at all different price ranges, although 99.9% of them do maintain a price point of under $500. I will standby my statement though, that the best I’ve seen of these, is the Traska Freediver II. So… will the Retrospect II from Nodus Watches be good enough to take the crown? Let’s find out…
- Dimensions: Diameter – 40.1mm, Thickness – 12.9mm, Lug to Lug – 48.6mm, Lug Width – 22mm
- Movement: Regulated Seiko NH35, 21,600vph (3Hz), Hackable, Self Winding, 41hr Power Reserve
- Case Material: Brushed 316L Stainless Steel (Polished Sides)
- Bracelet: Brushed 316L Stainless Steel (Polished Sides), Solid Links, Screw Pins, Milled Clasp
- Crystal: Double Domed Sapphire, Underside Anti-Reflective Coating
- Bezel: 120 Click Unidirectional, Ceramic or Steel Insert, Fully Lumed
- Water Resistance: 200m / 20ATM / 660ft
- Lume: Swiss Super Luminova® BGW9 / C3
- Crown: 7mm, Screw Down, Signed Caseback: Screw Down
- Warranty: 2 Years Weight: 161g (Sized) Where to Buy: Nodus Watches
Nodus Watches - The Brand
Watches play an important role in our lives, accompanying us through adversity, milestones, and above all, preparing us for future endeavors. Our function-first design ethos ensures that these utilitarian mementos can last decades, withstanding active lifestyles as well as passing trends. We aim to give watch collectors all over the world the same gratification, solace, and ambition that we found in creating our watches. We envision a world where people are unafraid to embrace who they are and chase whatever passion pulls at them. Nodus Watches are built for the important things in life, and we hope that wherever life takes you, you take Nodus."
Case & Crown
The case of the Nodus Retrospect II has a diameter of 40.1mm. The lug to lug is 48.6mm and the overall thickness, including the double domed sapphire crystal, I measured in at 12.9mm. The entire case, caseback, bezel, crown and bracelet are all 316L stainless steel. The finish of the watch is mostly brushed but with the addition of polished sides.
The Retrospect II has a water resistance rating of 200m, thanks to the screw down caseback & crown. The proportions of the watch are quite large, especially as seeing it’s essentially a 40mm diver. This is down to the relatively long lug to lug length of just under 49mm. For me personally, is does wear very well on my 6¾″ wrist and it is comfortable however, it’s pretty much at the maximum size that I can pull off. If the lug to lug was a bit shorter, it would suit a lot more wrist sizes.
The signed crown is fantastic and pretty much the perfect size at 7mm, it looks great too with it’s etched logo. There is absolutely no wobble either when the crown is in use and you can also feel a very nice pop as you unscrew it. The caseback is rather sterile (which doesn’t bother me), although there is the usual various specs etched around the edge.
Strap / Bracelet
Straight out of the box, the Retrospect II comes fitted as standard with a gorgeous 22mm stainless steel bracelet. It is one of the best bracelets I’ve seen on a sub $500 USD microbrand. Just everything about it is excellent, female links for instant articulation, solid links throughout, screw pins for resizing and a total of 6 micro-adjustment holes to ensure that perfect fit. It also has a brilliantly sized, milled clasp to complete the perfect bracelet. It is super comfortable with it’s H-link design and although the polished sides wouldn’t have been my choice, it does match the polished sides of the watch.
As you can probably guess, I’m a big fan of this bracelet. A few other points to note are, the bracelet has a lovely taper to it, from 22mm at the lugs, down to 18mm and back up to 20mm at the clasp. The fit & finish of the bracelet is absolutely outstanding with no movement at all at the lugs and the links also conform to the wrist brilliantly. Oh yeah, you will also find a Barton Elite Silicon strap in the box. These straps are superb by the way and are the only 2-piece strap that I would actually wear time after time. Being the Elite version, you’re given 2 sizes so it will fit, no matter what your wrist size is. Unfortunately, I didn’t get one with this sample, so I can’t show you any pics. Trust me though, they’re bloody good!
The chosen movement for this Nodus Retrospect II, is the very reliable workhorse and microbrand movement of choice, the NH35 manufactured by Seiko. Checking the accuracy after running the Retrospect II for a good couple of weeks, mainly on wrist and occassionally in my watch winder, I was really pleasantly surprised with the results, with it coming in at an average of just +2.3 spd, an absolutely outstanding result!
Dial & Bezel
The text on the dial that’s printed in black, are the words RETROSPECT and the NODUS logo at 12, that’s it, that’s yer lot! It is a very clean design choice though, that I like, A LOT! As this is a sandwich dial, all of the hour markers are cut into the dial, with the lume disc fitted underneath. All of the hour markers are triangular in shape with the markers at 3, 9 & 12 being just a wee bit bigger. The minute track is also printed in black and matches the rest of the print work on the dial.
As you can see in the images, the hour and minute hands are very nicely done with their very proportionate design. The seconds hand is great too, with it’s wee lumed arrow tip and blue paint finish reaching right out to the minute track when sweeping around the dial. There is a borderless date window at the 6 o’clock position too, which looks fantastic… and what’s this…? It’s colour-matched! WooHoo! Love it, great work Nodus.
The lume on the Retrospect II is fantastic! The actual lume that’s been used on the Retrospect II, is a slight combination of Swiss Super Luminova® BGW9 & C3 and it’s been executed perfectly as part of the sandwich dial. The C3 that’s been used is only on the triangular marker on the bezel, as you can clearly see in the image below. Another point to note is, you’ll also see the lume bordering the date window, although it doesn’t help you read the date in low light. A nice touch though.
Before I start on this conclusion, I want to make it quite clear that the Nodus Retrospect II is a fantastic dive watch and if you’ve bought one, or intend to buy one in the near future, then congratulations, you’ve made an excellent choice! The reason I’m writing my wee disclaimer, is because, when I got the Retrospect II in for review, I knew it would be good, but I wanted to put it head to head with the Traska Freediver II. As I stated in my introduction to this review, I regard the Traska as the best NH35/38 powered microbrand under $500 USD since reviewing it. I actually bought one too, it was that good.
Even although the Nodus Retrospect II is a bloody good watch and I’m really splitting hairs here when I say this… In my opinion, the Traska Freediver II still retains the crown for this sector of microbrands. If, like me, you love dive watches at this more affordable end of the market, there maybe, just maybe, another contender coming very soon that might just steal the crown from Traska. Give me a follow on Instagram to see early pics of what’s coming in for review.
Nodus Watches – An excellent dive watch that I’d wholeheartedly recommend to anyone.