If the name of the game is continued improvement, then Nodus is the undefeated champion. I have a hard time thinking of another brand that can iterate on their watches as well as Nodus. Traska comes to mind, but at the clip Nodus puts out their releases, they maintain the title. Even with the improvements they make to their existing catalog, they still find time to release new watches. Earlier this year, they released the Deep (review here), and today we have the Unity. The Nodus Unity is the brand’s take on a 36mm sports watch. While that segment quickly becomes crowded, it is doing so with many similar watches. Black-dialed sports watches with simple dial layouts are almost ubiquitous at this point. The Unity is a clear break from that mold and does so in the most Nodus fashion possible. Let’s take a look.
On the Wrist
I’ll start with the punchline; this has overtaken the Contrail as my favorite-fitting Nodus watch. A thin case with a short lug-to-lug and lugs that refine the lovely profile from the Sector series make for a killer fit. The Unity’s specs come in at 36.5mm wide, 43.5mm lug-to-lug, and with a wrist-to-crystal of 9mm (11.3 case thickness), you have near-perfect dimensions for a low-profile sports watch.
When Nodus set out to do a sports watch, anyone who knows anything about the brand could tell you they wouldn’t launch with black and dark blue dial colors. Nodus has never shied away from bright color palettes, and the Unity is no exception. The pastel blue and pink colors offered are complemented by a color-matched bezel (which I will discuss later). The bezel sizes up the perceived width of the watch and should make anyone with a slightly larger wrist feel happy wearing something only 36.5mm in diameter.
When I saw the press images, I was concerned the bright dial colors would drown out the markers and hands, making it difficult to read the time. However, Nodus employed two things that mitigated this effect. The sandwich dial gives the markers a ton of depth and properly separates them from the bright dial color. Secondly, the dial texture casts tiny shadows on the dial, which creates enough contrast for the hands to remain legible. If either of these elements were not present, I’d be telling you something much more pessimistic about this watch. Nodus nailed it.
Nodus Unity Specs
Super-LumiNova BGW9 Grade A
Let’s talk about that dial texture. The texture radiates out from the center of the dial and resembles the grain of a slice of orange. Nodus describes the texture as organic, and I have to agree. I bounced back and forth between saying it resembled an orange or shards of rock layered on each other. Either way, it is a texture you do not see many microbrands execute successfully.
The dial texture pushes itself outward until it meets the color-matched ceramic bezel. The bezel is something that took some warming up to. I’m so used to steel, standard-color ceramic, and aluminum bezels that it was outside my comfort zone. I won’t go so far as to say this is a risky choice for Nodus because once I had it on my wrist for a day, it got really comfy really quick. As I mentioned, the bezel creates the effect of a larger watch. Even though the bezel has a smooth texture, it brings the perceived width of the watch closer to 38-39mm. It’s a unique effect I wish more brands used when crafting their bezel options.
The sandwich dial gives the marker cutouts plenty of room to shine, and with the polished surround on each one, they literally shine as well. The hands are probably the most unremarkable thing about the Unity, but that speaks to how well this watch is executed because the handset works perfectly. It is reminiscent of the Retrospect handset except for the seconds hand. The seconds hand is a simple polished stick hand with no lume.
As with all Nodus watches, there is plenty of lume on the hands and markers. Lume junkies will have no qualms with the Unity.
Case & Bracelet
This is Nodus’ best case. Period. They’ve done a lot of outstanding casework over the past several years, including the Sector case, which seems to work with everything. However, this case is on another level regarding its profile and finishing.
I’ve always liked the Sector case, but the lugs can be a little bulky-looking on some of the series’ designs. The Unity’s case feels like Nodus went into my head, took every thought I had on improving the Sector case, and put it into the Unity. The turndown in the lugs is perfect for the length of the watch. The case height is exactly where I want it for this case diameter, and the finishing…*chef’s kiss*
The finishing on the Unity’s case is something I have not seen from a microbrand aside from Formex and Monta. Those are watches that are 3x or more the cost of the Unity. Let me say that again. For $700, you get a case with finishing that rivals some of the best brands on the market.
Nodus is including the next version of their NodeX clasp with the Unity. The clasp is now 16mm wide to accommodate the larger taper on the Unity’s bracelet. The clasp is also much more refined, with a polished step down on the edges of the clasp. Not only does it look better, but it feels a lot better when pushing the release buttons. Nodus has stated the tolerances have been tightened in the clasp as well.
The clasp still has the slightly annoying connection piece that sticks out when fully extended. However, I have voiced my dislike of this to Nodus, and they have assured me this is something they are working on for future versions of the clasp. I only hope they offer a retrofit for anyone with a NodeX clasp on one of their watches.
$700 is the price point where you can get great watches without totally destroying your wallet. A few years ago, these were the $500 watches. Nodus is a brand that constantly provides solid value for the watches they release, and the Unity continues to build upon that ethos. Color-matched ceramic (something that is extremely difficult to execute well), outstanding case finishing, and above all else, a great-looking watch.
If pastel colors were my thing, this would be an instant purchase. The rest of the Watch Clicker staff constantly harasses me for it, but I am a black and blue dial lover. Branching out for me was a green dial watch. That said, many of you are a lot more adventurous than me and will fully embrace the Unity.
Check out more Nodus reviews at The Watch Clicker here
Check out the Nodus website here