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Nodus Contrail III Review

The pinnacle Nodus GMT

Dear reader,

It would be remiss not to mention that this website has collaborated with the brand Nodus to make a watch, of which we are now reviewing their newest release here. We should also point out that multiple staff members of The Watch Clicker consider the founders and team members at Nodus Watches to be close friends. As a result, we will use this and the access available to enrich this review with a more profound and closer look into the brand’s new release as we look into its past and present.


Thanks in part to the pandemic’s role in warping our relationship with time, it seems only a couple of years ago when the Californian watch company named Nodus came onto the scene. In reality, Nodus just celebrated its seventh birthday earlier this month. With their newest release, the Contrail GMT, we have seen the culmination of their efforts over those years. On one’s wrist, it becomes apparent that this timepiece is put together with the level of care and intention that one would expect from a brand that has existed for about a century.

Nodus did not get here overnight. What separates this brand from the rest in its perceived weight class is the level of care the two founders and their team apply to every aspect of their watches. Few other brands have put as much effort into their manufacturing as Nodus. Not many design their own adjustable on-the-fly bracelet clasp and then license it to other brands. As the new Contrail is about to be released, we also must acknowledge that the original Contrail played a pivotal role in where the brand is now in terms of its product’s quality.

“It was one of the most painful projects,” said Wes Kwok, co-founder of Nodus. Recalling the work needed to go into the first Contrail, which was released in 2018, he said that “the Contrail was what prompted us to break down our supply chain and manage it all ourselves.

I am fortunate to own two versions (one with a 12-hour bezel and one released without a bezel) of the first-generation Contrail, and holding them beside the newest iteration is telling. When seeing and holding the separate generations together, one would not believe that the same company made the two watches.

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Both first-generation Contrails had an immense density and robustness that left all those who handled one six years ago in a state of awe. The version with the bezel had dozens of collectors gawking over its ceramic ball bearings and how precise and powerful it felt. A Toronto-based watchmaker bought the bezel version simply to disassemble it to figure out how Nodus made such a substantial timepiece at its price point – as a note, that watchmaker could not put the bezel back together due to its highly intricate construction.

The second-generation Contrail shifted the watch’s focus to a more refined wearing experience. For the first time, the newest Contrail features the Miyota 9075, a flyer-style GMT movement with a dedicated GMT hand and two 24-hour scales to measure two additional time zones. Nodus regulates each movement to be within +/- 8 seconds a day. Many compared the previous Contrail to Grand Seikos, which also holds true of the newest Contrail. But how does the newest Contrail wear?

On the Wrist

Continuing the mission statement of refinement from the second-generation Contrail, this watch looks perfectly at home in the first-class lounge of an airliner in any major international airport. The Contrail’s short yet incredibly well-sculpted lugs ensure that this watch will look great on wrists ranging from five and a half inches to eight or even larger. The lyre-styled lugs are most reminiscent of Omegas, and here, they give the impression of the watch organically forming out of one’s wrist. The mixed surface treatments of the polished top and brushed sides make the timepiece visually lighter yet more substantial as it blends and morphs into its environment.

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This seamless character prevails in every facet of the watch, such as the chamfers on the top of the thin (but in no way cheap) bracelet, which brings visual substance without any additional weight. The line from the chamfers leads into the lyre lugs in a manner that lifts the watch from one’s wrist without making the watch physically thicker. These bracelet chamfers were a costly part of the overall manufacturing of the watch. Every single link had to be precisely computer-numeric-controlled and machined individually. This is just one example of what sets Nodus apart from other brands.

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Ensuring a perfect fit at all times is their adjustable NodeX TM clasp, which continues to see improvements in every single new release. Many others would have phoned in the first functional design, but Nodus continues to improve on this clasp. The light bracelet is balanced from the weights of the watch itself and the clasp. This results in an unexacting experience for the wearer throughout the day. The Contrail GMT exudes severity and strength when worn with formal and business attire. When paired with casual clothing, it transforms into a lean athletic stance, similar to a retired Olympic swimmer who recently started taking up bodybuilding. This timepiece quickly makes its case as being the only watch one would ever need.

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This effortless wearing experience directly contrasts the amount of heavy lifting the timepiece does when it comes to telling you the time across three time zones and the date. To pull this off while not undermining the wearing experience, Nodus had to design a dial that would not detract from the case.

Nodus Contrail III Specs

Case Width




Case Thickness


Lug Width


Water Resistance







Super-LumiNova BGW9


Miyota 9075



Dial Details

The GMT sports watch occupies an exciting space within the industry. Unlike other sports watches, it has to look at home with a suit while also looking at home on one’s wrist while wearing their best to brunch – by the way, brunch is a total scam, and yes, you have a drinking problem if you are looking forward to next week’s brunch before dinnertime on Sunday. First, the applied indices and the date window are incredibly finished. Their luster and finishing are immaculate and consistent when viewed under a high-powered loupe. The Nodus team should pat themselves on the back for this, for this level of finishing is impressive regardless of price point.

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We mentioned the effortless nature of the newest Contrail, and the dial is where Nodus seals the deal, as it is a successful watch within this genre. First, the hour and minute hands mirror those on the Nodus Unity. The finishing and multi-faceted surfacing on the Unity’s hands appear here and propels the Contrail into looking at home alongside a Rolex GMT Master II or Grand Seiko SBG series. The center, where all the hands come together, is neatly tucked under a graceful cap, further adding to this timepiece’s refined yet secure nature. The seconds hand counterweight echoes the seconds hand tip from the Nodus Duality. As you see them together, you can see the family resemblance. The rehaut houses the first two 24-hour scales, and a lighter grey outer chapter ring elegantly handles its contrast. The grey chapter ring transitions in each of the four colorways released on launch.

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The GMT hand, however, is the star of the show here. It is half of the Nodus logo, and its proportions are perfect. Many GMT watches have comically oversized hands in this application, and I am glad that Nodus did not give in to the temptation of overdoing it here. The date window consists of a roulette date wheel and is framed conservatively in black, though the frame is not lumed like on the Unity and some Retrospects.

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The entire package combines the thoroughly even application of Grade A BGW9 Super-Luminova. The beautiful shade of blue is perfectly distributed on every surface of this review sample. The hands, indices, and bezel all radiated at the same level and faded at the same rate. This is incredibly difficult to pull off, as one cannot apply the same amount of lume onto every surface. This lume is also bright enough to shine throughout the day for you. If you are a watch enthusiast who enjoys this level of attention to detail, you are in for a treat.

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The Contrail’s bezel measures a third time zone, and like the Contrails that came before it, it is a joy to operate. The dual-colored sapphire bezel glows brilliantly as soon as you shine a light on the watch.

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As possibly the most crucial touchpoint, along with the signed crown, the effort imparted on the bezel is evident here. The printing of the numerals is perfect when viewed under a high-powered loupe, exhibiting no bleeding or smudging anywhere. The ball-bearing mechanism used is wonderfully tactile and firm. Every one of the forty-eight clicks feels purposeful and requires a reasonable degree of force to operate. Some may criticize that it requires too much force to operate and that one’s fingers must squish the bezel to move due to its slim knurling. Increasing the aggressiveness of the grip on the bezel would result in a less elegant design and thus defeat the purpose of this genre of watch. Furthermore, one is not operating the GMT bezel as often as those tasked with elapsed timing. Grand Seiko and Rolex have also made this design decision, and criticizing Nodus here for a bezel that is not aggressive enough would be senseless nitpicking.

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Final Thoughts

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The new Contrail triumphantly succeeds in every aspect demanded of the luxury GMT sports watch – refined, elegant, sporty, and yet formal. These watches need to look stunning as they are peeking out from the sleeve of a blazer. This is where the Contrail GMT excels, as its side profile view is simply spectacular. Everything from the delicate surfacing to the proportions of the boxed sapphire crystal and its beautiful blue anti-reflective coating paralleling the caseback speaks to this. While a dive watch represents an adventuring spirit, a GMT sports watch exudes that one is to be trusted with the consequences of an operation across the globe. I can comfortably say that the Contrail succeeds in this task.

It is with this, and everything else that I have written above, that I can say with the utmost confidence that the new Nodus Contrail is a no-brainer purchase for those looking for a GMT sports watch. The quality and execution of this review sample approaches the quality of the Tudor Black Bay GMT. Furthermore, Nodus’ new releases can all be viewed as timepieces worthy of being heirloom pieces. Nodus offers watches from their $400 Sector series all the way up to their $1200 Canyon. At $825 USD, I would easily recommend this watch at twice the price.

The Nodus Contrail GMT will go on sale on Friday, April 26th at 9 AM PST on

Check out more Nodus reviews at The Watch Clicker here

More Images of the Nodus Contrail III

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