Hands On with the All New Nodus Unity

I must admit that I have been admiring this LA-based microbrand from afar for quite some time. I promise I will try to avoid the easy pun about taking “Nodus” despite my Dad status and love of cringy, unfunny jokes. Although Nodus watches have been a regular feature on my Instagram feed and at RedBar events, I haven’t had the chance to try them on or examine them closely myself. So when Nodus reached out and offered me a sneak peek at their new Unity line of watches, I jumped at the opportunity. Soon after, my curiosity got the best of me and I asked for a review sample. 

After seeing the watch in photographs, I was intrigued by its unique concept and bold use of color. It struck me as distinct from anything else in the Nodus catalog, particularly in contrast to their previous Duality Unity with its dual crown and inner rotating bezel. Still, I had reservations about where a watch like this could fit into my collection. A few days later, it arrived, and the timing couldn’t have been better. I wore it during a sunny Easter weekend and for a few days at the beach, and my initial intrigue quickly turned into fondness. The attention to detail, comfort, and playful color scheme charmed me. 


Hands On with the All New Nodus Unity

Stainless steel
Miyota 9015
Stainless steel bracelet
Water Resistance
36.5 x 43.5mm
Lug Width
Screw down

The first thing you’ll “Nodus” (last one I promise) about the Unity is the use of color. It smacks you in the face. Both the blue and pink variations are unapologetically pastel and work as fun, summer colors. It starts with the fixed ceramic bezel, which has a consistent, clean color and frames the color-matched dial perfectly. This is a welcome and unexpected change from the fixed steel bezels often found on watches this size, and to me almost looks like an unmarked dive bezel. Although pigmented ceramics are no small feat, this bezel accomplishes a deep, consistent tone. Ceramic also adds incredible hardness and scratch resistance so this watch will wear well on summer outings and take the owner’s mind off of potential scratches.

The dial on the Unity is striking and, to me, the showstopper. Take a close look, and you’ll be greeted by a stamped radial pattern that offers a deep texture that feels organic in the design. The texture resembles a cross-section of a citrus fruit. Even the brand will tell you that the dial was inspired by Seiko’s dial motifs, minus the inspirational backstory. The dial is constructed in a hybrid/sandwich style, and each watermelon seed shaped cut out is framed by applied polished steel. The legibility is great, even at night, considering the healthy application of blue BGW9 Super-LumiNova. The dial also has a date window at six with a sloped cutout leading to the color-matched date wheel, making the date available when needed without interrupting the symmetry. The hands are beveled and polished to play with the light. Each element of the dial works together to add a ton of visual interest, and has the functional effect of increasing legibility and contrast.

The watch case follows Nodus’ angular design language that you will find in other parts of their catalog, although this time at 36.5mm, which makes the Unity the smallest watch in their collection. The case is mostly brushed except for the bezel ring and two polished beveled edges following the upper and lower portions of the case, giving the watch a little light play, and the appearance of a slimmer profile. The crown is slightly oversized and provides plenty of grip. It screws down, providing 150 meters of water resistance. The threading is clean, and the watch winds, hacks and sets smoothly, which is to be expected considering it is powered by the trustworthy Miyota 9015 movement. The use of this particular movement also allows the watch to be quite thin, measuring just 11.3mm tall, including the box domed sapphire crystal, which gives the dial a little playful distortion at the edges.

The case also has drilled lugs and quick-release functionality on the bracelet, making strap and bracelet changes a breeze. The bracelet is 20mm at the lugs, tapering down to 16mm at the clasp. The clasp has a push-button enclosure and houses the NodeX on-the-fly micro-adjust, which is always welcome, especially for a watch aimed at those hot summer months. The bracelet is primarily brushed, with a touch of polish on the sides of the links, which are secured by screws. The Unity’s bracelet is designed with clean articulation and features female end links, although those links do not fully articulate downward, which somewhat extends the lug distance. However, at 43.5mm lug to lug, the watch wears appropriately to its dimensions, if not a little larger, and should fit well on most wrists.

On my 6 ¾ to 7 inch wrist, the Unity fits comfortably and wears similarly to a Rolex Explorer 36 in terms of wrist presence and comfort. However, the use of color gives it a little more visual weight, making it wear perhaps a tad larger than the numbers would suggest. The bracelet articulates well, is well-finished, and is of great quality for this price point, with no sharp edges or snags in its execution. 

To be honest, I struggle to find much to critique on this watch. It is unapologetically unique and fun, but also well executed, somehow elevating playful without pandering or losing the plot. 

I have one small critique. Although this watch has an on-the-fly micro adjust, I would like to see a half link or smaller links. While a 36mm watch can easily be worn loose, I have found that even with the micro adjust, my wrist fluctuates too much for it to be a panacea. In the heat, the Unity wears too tight with a link removed, yet it’s a touch loose in those cool inactive moments with a link added. Still, I am nitpicking at this point, and perhaps I should reduce my salt intake or consult a doctor rather than critique the bracelet too harshly.

When seeing the Unity I immediately began to consider where this watch sits in the overall market. No doubt, we are in a crowded market, and enthusiasts who are open to microbrands are spoiled by choice around or even below $700, so the Unity buyer likely has other pieces they rotate through. Even within their own catalog, the Unity sits near the top of Nodus’ pricing, and over the price of their own compelling offerings like the Sector Deep and Sector GMT. Clearly, those watches offer something very different from the Unity but it bears pointing out. 

Still, the Unity offers up something unique at this price point with its use of colored ceramic accents, which elevate the watch while also adding durability. And, like other Nodus watches, it has some clever features that push it slightly up-market, and make it a great value. Also, the execution of the textured hybrid dial on the Unity is impressive and adds a ton of depth, visual interest and a cohesive design to the watch. Add all that to a watch that is otherwise well finished and incredibly comfortable and you have something better than the sum of its parts. These choices tell me that Nodus considered the total package, and didn’t just toss color onto an existing model and call it a day. 

All in, Nodus has made an incredible watch that I have enjoyed my time with. It is comfortable, flexible, beautiful and above all else a ton of fun. What do you think? 

The Nodus Unity will be available on May 5th 2023. Nodus

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Stephen is a photographer from Houston better known as @talkingabouttime on instagram. He is a watch enthusiast that has an appreciation for big brands but is actively searching for sleeper microbrand hits.