Nodus Watches Retrospect III Review
The Nodus Watches Retrospect III may be the oldest watch in the American brand's back catalogue, but it remains a reliable and stylish option for some exceptional value for money.
In the grand scheme of things, the £475 price tag for the Retrospect III isn’t too much for what you’re getting, and for those wanting a solid tool watch with a great bracelet, it’s definitely one to consider - allow me to explain why.
Nodus Watches Retrospect III Design - A deep blue dial, with lots of little details
You can grab the Retrospect III in a choice of four colours - there’s Salmon Sky, Flare Orange, Cosmic Sky, and the one I’ve got here, Nebula Blue. All of them have their own texture and look to them, but I think the deep Nebula Blue is my favourite.
Much like the Sector Sport I looked at a few weeks ago, the Retrospect III is comprised of industry-standard 316L stainless steel, and its brushed and polished edges look fantastic. It catches the light well, and combined with its deep blue dial, looks truly excellent.
This is a bit of a larger watch, though, with a 42mm case size. Its proportions are marvellous with a 48mm lug to lug, and the Retrospect III is a watch that carries a fair bit of presence with it when on wrist. There’s something remarkably clean about the entire fit and finish, with the solid case finishing, blue sandwich dial and inward-sloping dive bezel that the Retrospect III has. This is also inspired by dive watches from days gone by, with the concave bezel also featured on similar retro-inspired models such as certain Rado Captain Cooks and the Breitling Superocean Heritage ‘57. That certainly puts the Retrospect III in good company.
There’s also the same H-link bracelet that features some quality finishing, while it also comes with solid end links and drilled lugs, as well as Nodus’ own NodeX extension clasp. The bracelet tapers well on the wrist, although if you want to swap the strap out for anything else, you’ve got quick-release pins to do so. As a watch with 22mm lugs, you should also be spoilt for choice when it comes to any straps to use.
Even for a slightly larger piece, the crown on the Retrospect III is large, and screw-down to help with the watch’s 200 metres of water resistance. It is also grippy to use, and it was easy to set both the time and date with ease. The flat sapphire crystal also works well with that inward-sloping bezel and gives the Retrospect III a wonderfully clean and sharp aesthetic.
As mentioned previously, it’s the Nebula Blue dial that had me sold immediately on the Retrospect III. Much like with the William Wood Watches Bronze Sapphire, it’s also a sandwich dial, with cut-outs for the hour markers sitting beneath the fume dark blue and black dial. There’s a lot of depth here, and I can’t take my eye off what’s on offer. Catch the light right, and the Retrospect III has sometimes thrown me for a similarly-coloured Rado Captain Cook I’ve been pining for quite some time.
There’s minimal writing or details on the dial beside the Nodus logo and the word ‘Retrospect’ printed at 6 o’clock. You also get a colour-matched date wheel for added convenience, with a similar font to the numbers on the bezel. Much like with the Sector Sport though, the minimalistic nature of the dial lends itself to the point that it's clear Nodus cares more that the watch speaks for itself, as opposed to feeling the need to plaster its branding all over it.
The sword and dagger handset fits in well with the cut-out triangular hour markers, while the arrow seconds hand with its small red outline on the arrowhead provides a small, but welcome contrast, and pops nicely. The concave bezel also features the same red outline, bringing things together nicely.
The reverse of the caseback is plain but has some useful information concerning the watch’s 200 metres of water resistance, and the fact the watch is made of stainless steel. Nodus also proudly declares the Retrospect III is ‘Designed and Assembled in Los Angeles’. They actually moved their assembly process back to the United States after experiencing issues with overseas assembly, which definitely seems to have worked out in Nodus’ favour, as they can oversee every element of the process.
Nodus Watches Retrospect III Performance and Wearability - A great bracelet, and excellent movement for the price
The Retrospect III is certainly a comfortable piece, with good proportions and and excellent H-link bracelet. The cut-out hour markers fit are especially legible, and also allow the dial to offer some brilliant legibility even in the dark - for the price, it’s some of the best lume performance I’ve seen.
This is a great watch to pair with a wide range of outfits, and I wore it mostly with casual wear. It’s marvellous with shorts and t-shirts, especially as a dive watch and as an everyday piece if you’re going out, although with a darker and more interesting dial (or a new strap), you can also pair it with some more formal wear, too.
Its 13mm thickness makes it a little on the chunkier side, but it still should fit under a coat cuff no problem at all. The fact it’s a bit thicker is in the name of providing a workhorse Japanese movement - in thia case, it’s the Seiko NH35, the same as is in the William Wood Watches Bronze Sapphire. Except, it fits well with the Retrospect III, as a watch that’s under half the cost.
The NH35 offers some decent performance, with an accuracy of + 20/- 40 seconds per day, as well as a decent 38 hours of power reserve. It’s also regulated at Nodus in four different positions before it leaves their factory. Combined with this, the Retrospect III also comes with 200 metres of water resistance. It’s suitable for you to take scuba diving, and this option from Nodus is a proper diver’s piece.
The Nodus Watches Retrospect III is a gorgeous diver’s watch for rather reasonable money. It’s finished well, and offers a vibrant and interesting dial, and associated dial furniture. The H-link bracelet is great for the price, too, and helps the Retrospect III to be an especially comfortable choice. The Seiko NH35 movement inside also makes the Sector Sport an accurate and reliable timepiece, with a solid power reserve to boot. If you’re looking for a retro-inspired dial with a lot to like about it, then the Retrospect III is a fantastic option.
You can purchase the Retrospect III from Watch Gecko here. Nodus Watches provided a sample for this review.
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