February 27, 2023
The Nodus Sector series is the Los Angeles brand’s real-life proof of concept that a well-designed watch case can be adapted to a near-endless variety of different kinds of timepieces. While the various models within the Sector collection range from skin divers to pilot’s watches and everything in between, all of the different Nodus Sector models share the exact same middle case, yet each one ultimately offers its own unique style and functionality. The latest addition to this popular series is the Nodus Sector Deep, which takes the collection’s signature middle case design and transforms it into a highly capable sports watch with a downright excessive 500 meter depth rating.
Once a watch is sufficiently sealed against moisture, it is largely the thickness of its external case components that are responsible for allowing it to achieve increasingly deeper water resistance ratings. With that in mind, rarely is it the middle case that is the limiting factor, and with a decent crown system and a thick enough crystal and caseback, almost any depth rating is possible, provided that the middle case itself is decently robust and capable of supporting the beefed up crystal and caseback. At extreme depths, crystals will crack and the caseback of the watch will bend under extreme pressure, ultimately caving inwards and damaging the movement. The answer to preventing this type of failure is to simply use a thicker crystal and caseback — and this is exactly how the Nodus Sector Deep is able to offer five times the water resistance of the other models that make up the current Sector collection.
Just like all of the other Nodus Sector watches, the Sector Deep is crafted from 316L stainless steel and uses the same middle case with faceted and sculpted lugs that measure 38mm in diameter by 47mm lug-to-lug. However, rather than being finished with brushed and polished surfaces like the rest of the lineup, the case of the Nodus Sector Deep is given an entirely matte bead-blasted finish for a highly utilitarian overall aesthetic. The top of the case is protected by an extra thick flat sapphire crystal with beveled edges and a blue anti-reflective coating on the underside surface, while the reverse side of the case gets fitted with a thicker solid screw-down caseback that brings the total height of the Sector Deep up to 13.6mm. This makes it only about one millimeter taller than the other models from the Sector collection. That said, that additional millimeter is solely due to the thicker caseback, which means that the watch itself sits slightly higher on the wrist than its siblings, although it still retains much of the same compact case profile that defines the rest of the Sector lineup.
Surrounding the crystal is a 120-click unidirectional bezel that measures 42mm in diameter with a matte black DLC finish. Rather than just having a 60-minute elapsed time scale like a traditional dive watch, the bezel features an additional 12-hour scale along its interior, which means that it can also be used to display a secondary time zone. The significant difference in diameter between the case and the bezel was specifically done for several different functional reasons. The larger size allows room for both scales, and the overhanging edge also makes the bezel incredibly easy to grip. On top of that, the oversized edge of the bezel also provides protection for the winding crown, as the Sector middle case itself does not feature any type of crown guards. To further protect the winding crown during active use, the Nodus Sector Deep features a destro setup, with the crown placed at the 9 o’clock location to help prevent it from getting caught on things or receiving a direct impact. Additionally, the black DLC-coated screw-down crown features a bright red “Lock” marking that has an arrow to remind users to double-check their crowns before entering the water.
Just like the highly utilitarian case of the watch, the dial fitted to the Nodus Sector Deep offers a similarly function-forward design, and it features a matte black surface with large applied hour markers and a rectangular date window at the 6 o’clock location. The raised metallic structures of the hour markers are given a subtle white PVD finish, and they appear as radially oriented squares with tapered rectangles at the poles, with a double marker at the 12 o’clock position to help provide a clear orientation in total darkness. The minute track is printed in white against an angled black chapter ring, and the structure of the chapter ring features cutouts for the raised hour markers. The cutouts allow the markers to be positioned closer to the perimeter of the dial, which is done in order to increase the amount of negative space and promote better at-a-glance legibility.
Meanwhile, the outward taper of the hour markers at the cardinal points almost creates the illusion of a domed dial surface, and this was done as a way to help trick the brain to counteract the refraction of light when viewing the Sector Deep while underwater. Additionally, the bevel along the edge of the crystal creates a reflection of the hour markers, which increases their perceived size and further helps to promote legibility. Although both the dial and bezel offer a largely white-on-black overall appearance, the word “Deep” is printed in bright red letters on the lower half of the dial. The two white luminous scales on the bezel are separated by small red dots that are placed at the five-minute markers, which complement the red text on the dial and provide the Nodus Sector Deep with a subtle pop of color.
At the center of the dial are a trio of hands that are completely finished white and offer an overall appearance that could best be described as a broader and more modernized version of what can be found on a number of contemporary Seiko divers such as the Turtle and SKX series. Rather than having a traditional circular luminous pip, the seconds hand features a rectangular section near the tip that is filled with lume, while the distinct shape of the hour and minute hands prevent any possibility of confusing them, regardless of lighting conditions. The stark white color of the hands and markers set against the matte black surface of the dial creates the absolute maximum amount of visual contrast possible, and all three of the hands, plus all 12 hour markers and both the 60-minute and 12-hour scales on the bezel are finished with blue-glowing Grade A Swiss Super-LumiNova for an ultra-bright and highly-legible display in the dark.
Fitted to the drilled 20mm lugs of the Nodus Sector Deep is a stainless steel bracelet that tapers from 20mm at the case to 18mm where it meets the clasp, and it features a flat 3-link construction with a matching matte bead-blasted finish to correspond with the middle case. The bracelet checks all the major boxes in terms of what most people want these days, and it features completely solid links, single-sided screws for the removable links, and solid end-links with integrated quick-release spring bars for easy, tool-free strap changes. The folding clasp features a double push-button release, and it includes the brand’s proprietary NodeX extension system that offers five positions of incremental adjustment and allows the bracelet to either be expanded or contracted by a total of 10mm. The bracelet on the Sector Deep is significantly better than most of what exists at this price point, yet it feels slightly less refined than other Nodus bracelets, and this may just be due to its more utilitarian style and finishing.
Powering the Nodus Sector Deep is the reliable and ubiquitous Seiko NH35 automatic movement, which is the definition of a familiar design and one of the most commonly used self-winding mechanical movements within the entire watch industry. Running at a frequency of 21,600vph (3 Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 41 hours, the Seiko NH35 offers magnetic resistance of 4,800 A/m and quickset adjustability for the date display. Although the standard factory specs of the Seiko NH35 are truly nothing remarkable, Nodus further regulates the movements in-house in order to achieve an accuracy rating of +/-10 seconds per day. In addition to being known for its dependability, the NH35 is affordable and easy to maintain, plus it can be outright replaced if absolutely necessary, without coming close to encroaching upon the total replacement cost of the watch itself.
Nodus almost exclusively operates well below the four-figure price point, and the Sector Series is among the brand’s most affordable offerings. With an official retail price of $575 USD, the Nodus Sector Deep is the most expensive model currently in Sector lineup, although it only represents a $75 premium compared to other Sector models with black DLC bezels. This seems like a more than fair price bump given its thicker components and more involved bezel design. While the Nodus Sector Deep is undeniably a dive watch, the fact that it includes an additional 12-hour scale on its bezel and lacks any type of diver-exclusive features (such as a helium escape valve or decompression limit scale) ultimately makes it feel more like a highly capable multi-purpose tool watch that just happens to have a whopping 500-meter depth rating. As a whole, the Sector Deep is easily the most robust and function-forward watch that Nodus has produced thus far, and the fact that it uses the same exact middle case as all of the other models in the Sector series further drives home the point that a well-designed case should be equally versatile as it is functional. For more information on the Nodus Sector Deep, please visit the brand’s website.