The microbrand watch segment continues to grow, and if you are a follower of us here at Watchreport, you know we review many different microbrands, from the new to the established. Today, we look at a new one, the Nodus Trieste. Microbrands share a lot in common for the most part, but one thing that differentiates some from the others is what type of watch they bring to the market. Some look to recreate a classic or homage a specific piece from a big brand, others set out to bring a new design to the market. The Nodus Trieste has opted for the former, and have done an homage of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe. Now, nothing wrong with that at all, though everyone has their opinions on that subject, and many companies have done homages of Blancpain, including Seiko. The Bathyscaphe is one that I have not seen done before, or at least none that are on my radar. I am not going to compare this watch in terms of quality to the BP of course, but I will state that the noticeable differences in terms of design is the bezel, especially the lume pip, crown size, second hand, and modified hour and minute hand. The Nodus Trieste is in the affordable range, $500 for the Swiss STP 1-11 version being reviewed today and an even more affordable model that houses a Seiko NH35 movement. As I stated, there is no shortage of microbrands these days, and that means a lot of competition, so lets see how the Nodus Trieste stacks up.
Nodus Trieste Specifications:
- 316L stainless steel case
- 41mm width | 13mm thickness | 50mm lug-to-lug | 20mm lug width
- Swiss STP1-11 (as reveiwed) or Seiko NH35 (regulated in four positions)
- Sapphire crystal | Double-domed with blue AR on underside
- Sapphire bezel insert | 120-click uni-directional bezel
- SuperLuminova BGW-9 (blue) lume
- 200m / 660ft water-resistance
- Steel bracelet with screw-in links and flip-lock clasp
- 24-month warranty
Price: $500 as shown, $350 with Seiko movement
The Nodus Trieste arrives in pretty standard fashion, a wood box that holds the watch and warranty card. One difference would be the card that is also included which shows that the watch was timed and regulated and its accuracy in those positions. That is not something your regularly see, at least not with watches in this price range. Nodus Watches offices and workshop are in Los Angeles, CA where they do the final assembly, regulation and QC. Watches are manufactured in Asia.
There is just something about black dials with blue bezels that pulls me. I do not honestly remember if I have always felt this way, but I do know that it is a look I appreciate currently. That is why I chose this example for review. As I spoke about in the video, there are a few other variations available, but all models sport a black dial. Unlike the watch it homages, the Nodus Trieste has a matte texture dial instead of a sunburst. All the things I personally look for, especially in a dive watch are here; uncluttered dial, no excessive text, applied markers, and NO DATE. There are date models available, for those that need the date on their watch. To expand on the date issue, it is more about placement then not needing the date. I am picky and prefer the date at the 6 position or nothing at all.
The Nodus Trieste has a few more elements that tick a lot of boxes for me. Drilled Lugs, an all brushed case, a touch of high polish with the beveled case sides and both the crown and bezel have a smooth, solid action. Speaking of the bezel, that is a sapphire insert which does create some glare in the photos, but the color is definitely blue, a nice shade of blue at that.
Comfort, at least for me, depends on whether it is on the included bracelet (stainless version) or one of the canvas straps that I show in the video. (Those straps should be available for purchase soon on the Nodus Website). Many of our readers here know I am mostly a strap guy, but a really good bracelet can always win me over. Unfortunately that is not the case here with Nodus Trieste. The bracelet is very catalog, run of the mill and while I do appreciate the single sided screws used to hold it together, it is not the best quality, especially the clasp as I found that it needs to be modified to close correctly. The prong that the buckle snaps down on needed to be bent slightly and the safety latch needed to be tightened. I did however really like the canvas straps with quick release pins.
At first I was going to report that the lume on the Nodus Trieste was very much lacking, but after a few more weeks with it, I noticed something. While it is easy to see from my lume shots that it is not very bright, and that is true, however, it is long lasting. I found waking up in the middle of the night the Trieste was glowing nicely, easily readable without having to strain my eyes. The lume might not be the best for photography, but in real life situations it does a more than adequate job.
Options are never a bad thing in my opinion and with microbrands, you have a lot of options. And with the Nodus Trieste, you have even more options to choose from, with the choice of bezel colors, date or no date, steel or pvd and of course, the movement. That is something we have been seeing from a few brands recently, the choice of movements. A watch I reviewed a few months ago, the Pantor Sealion also gave a choice of movement. For the consumer who needs that Swiss Movement, you have that option. For the consumer who would rather have more money in their pocket or is just on a budget, you have the NH35 option. Both movements do their job and though I have had no issues with the STP1-11 movement so far, it is still relatively new. The NH35 on the other hand, has been around for a good while and has a proven track record.
Wrist shot (7 1/2 inch wrist)
The Nodus Trieste is a nice first offering and though I think they could source a better bracelet, I would compare them to Obris Morgan in terms of quality, though these watches are a little higher priced then the aforementioned. To be honest, I have never been sure how Obris Morgan watches were priced so low, but that I guess is a topic for another day. The guys at Nodus seem to be on the right track and I look forward to future models from them.