Nodus Retrospect III Review

Bigger is better

The Nodus Retrospect has a special place in my watch-collecting journey. It was the first microbrand watch I bought, and I only did so after multiple conversations with one of its founders, Wes. It sparked a great friendship, and we’ve had the privilege of growing together in our watch industry silos. I’ve enjoyed seeing the Retrospect go through its iterations and improvements as Nodus has perfected its craft and I was excited when I found out they were bringing back the Nebula Blue with a black bezel. I wouldn’t call the Retrospect a statement piece watch, but it is a statement from Nodus. It has the best parts of their DNA baked into it and likely has the most variations available of any of their watches. Let’s jump in and see how the third version of the Retrospect stacks up.


On the Wrist

The Retrospect is Nodus’ largest watch. It comes in at 42mm wide, 48mm lug-to-lug, and 13mm thick. Thanks to some clever case design, the thickness is brought down to a manageable 11mm wrist-to-crystal. The previous iterations of the Retrospect wore true to the dimensions, and this is the first version that feels smaller than its stated proportions. You heard me right; this feels smaller. This is curious because the Retrospect 3 is nearly 2mm larger than the previous versions. How did Nodus accomplish this?


The case is thinned out slightly and now features a chamfer on the underside. This chamfer breaks up the sides of the case and avoids any slab-sidedness. The branding and text on the dial have been given a slight bump in their font size, making the dial look less daunting. It creates an optical illusion and makes the dial look smaller. Weird, but it works. 


With a large case size comes more room for the dial. The bold blue dial has lots of room to breathe, especially considering the text is kept to an absolute minimum. Everything on the dial is large and easy to read, and everything feels crisp and tidy, as if great care was taken not to overwhelm the wearer with a big, busy dial. This is how you execute a dive watch with prominent proportions. 


Nodus Retrospect III Specs

Case Width




Case Thickness


Lug Width






Water Resistance







Super-LumiNova C3 X1


Seiko NH35



Dial Details

The first time I handled a Retrospect, I had no idea what a sandwich dial was. If you’re a novice watch enthusiast like I once was and don’t know, let me break it down for you. The dial comprises two parts, sandwiched together to create what looks like one piece. The giveaway that a watch has a sandwich is cutouts for the markers. The hour markers are underneath the main part of the dial and will look slightly sunken. Think Panerai, which is famous for its sandwich dials. One of the benefits of a sandwich dial is that you can achieve a heavier lume application. Because the cutout sits over the lume application, it allows for a little more wiggle room in how the lume is applied. The Retrospect 3 is no exception.


There is more to the Retrospect than just a sandwich dial. The gunmetal hands are big and give the wearer no hesitation when reading the time. The date window is cut out in a trapezoid shape and features a lumed ring inside the cutout. 


One of the elements of the Retrospect that first made me go, “wow,” was the bezel. The bezel action is excellent, but that’s not what I mean. The bezel is sloped inward, similar to stadium seating. It’s subtle yet effective as it allows the crystal to sit lower, which helps keeps the overall thickness in check. Photos, even mine, don’t do it justice; once you see it in person, it clicks. 


Case & Bracelet

The tolerances and finishing that Nodus has achieved on their watches, even their most affordable, have always been impressive. Their manufacturing is precise and shows the best in watches like the Retrospect. This is a sub-$500 watch, and if you removed the dial and showed it to someone even slightly keen on watches, they would guess it is double that price. I wouldn’t have said this about the first version of the Retrospect, but this version? Different story. The brushing is crisp, the polished chamfers are flawless, and everything feels like care went into it when creating the case. 


The bezel action is fantastic, and the bracelet has female endlinks and the NodeX clasp (which we will get to in a minute). The crown is big and, despite being entirely polished, is easy to grip. These are a few things I look for when deciding if I want to purchase a watch for my collection. This may be why I attached myself quickly to Nodus when I started exploring microbrands. They do the things I like. However, I’d bet these are elements of a watch that the enthusiast community universally wants. 


Nodus unveiled the NodeX clasp on the Avalon II and has vowed to keep improving it as they go. This is par for the course with Nodus, as evidenced by this being the 3rd version of the Retrospect. The NodeX clasp is a wonderful system as it is intuitive and easy to operate. On the underside of the clasp is a small button with NodeX engraved on it. Push this button, and the bracelet can be slid in or out as a quick micro adjustment. 


The best part about this adjustment system is that it does not add any thickness to the clasp. When it is closed and on the wrist, there is no indication of an extra mechanism under the hood. The only area that I would like to see Nodus improve upon this system is when the adjustment is at the end of its extension. The tail of the adjustment system that is attached to the bracelet is visible, and it is a little unsightly. This isn’t a dealbreaker by any means, but I’m sure there is a way to make this look more finished. 


Final Thoughts

I find myself saying in every Nodus review where I’m looking at a new version of their watches that it is the best version of that watch. This may seem obvious, but it is easy as a brand to lose sight of what made your watch good in the first place. Small improvements to the Retrospect, like an underside chamfer and better text on the dial, don’t detract from what made the watch exciting when it was first released. They add additional visual interest to the other elements, like the sloped bezel, and keep the watch’s soul intact. 

Check out more Nodus reviews at The Watch Clicker here

Check out the Nodus website here

More Images of the Nodus Retrospect III

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