While Nodus frequently iterates within its popular Sector series and continuously updates its existing collections, the latest release from the Los Angeles-based brand for 2023 is a completely new model. Known as the Nodus Unity, the new timepiece makes its debut appearance in two different playful colorways, and it represents a refined yet lighthearted take on the classic time-and-date sports watch. Featuring a slim case and a smooth fixed bezel that is fitted with a colored ceramic insert, the new Nodus Unity also showcases a multi-layered dial with a texture inspired by nature, and it is arguably one of the most elevated and dressy designs that Nodus has ever put forward.
The case of the Nodus Unity is crafted from 316L stainless steel, and it measures 36.5mm in diameter with 20mm lugs and an overall lug-to-lug distance of 43.5mm. While the majority of the case receives a brushed finish, the edges feature large polished bevels that run the entire length of the sides, and this gives the case a slightly rounded profile, while also adding a touch of refinement. The top of the Nodus Unity’s case is fitted with a domed box sapphire crystal that has blue anti-reflective treatment on the underside surface, and even counting the additional height of the crystal, the overall thickness of the Nodus Unity comes in at 11.3mm, with the curved shape of the lugs helping the case sit flush against the wrist. The reverse side of the watch is fitted with a solid screw-down caseback, while the large signed winding crown at the 3 o’clock location also screws down to help support the Unity’s 150 meters of water resistance.
Surrounding the crystal on the Nodus Unity is a fixed bezel that consists of a polished stainless steel outer ring fitted with a colored ceramic insert that is entirely devoid of any type of scales or markings. Available in either light blue or pink to match the dials of the two watches, the ceramic bezel insert features an angled profile that allows it to sit completely flush with the rounded edges of the crystal. While ceramic bezels most frequently feature engraved scales and are associated with additional functionality, the use of the material on the Nodus Unity is largely ornamental, and making the bezel the same color as the dial helps to increase the overall visual impact of the watch. With that in mind, ceramic is inherently a very hard substance, so while the primary purpose of its use may be aesthetic, the Nodus Unity also benefits from having a bezel that will be incredibly difficult to scratch.
Available in either bright blue or light pink to match their respective bezels, the dials fitted to the new Nodus Unity series serve as the focal points of these two watches. Aside from their colors, both dials offer the same overall design, with a sandwich-style construction that features applied polished steel surrounds for the hour markers. The cutouts for the indexes appear as slightly rounded arrow shapes, with larger markers positioned at the cardinal points and a date window at 6 o’clock (with a proper color-matched calendar disc). The surfaces of the dials are adorned with a stamped sunray texture consisting of radially positioned lines that are inspired by nature and recall the organic appearance of an eyeball’s iris or the internal composition of a citrus fruit. In addition to creating a more dynamic overall appearance, the embossed motif on the dials also helps to increase legibility, with their recessed hour markers and raised surrounds clearly standing out against the textured surface that surrounds them.
At the center of the dial on the new Nodus Unity watches is a trio of steel hands, with the hour and minute hands appearing in a slightly squared-off dauphine shape, while the seconds hand is a simple thin polished needle. Both the hour and minute hands showcase two different finishing techniques, with their beveled edges receiving a mirror polish, while the top surfaces are brushed in order to help eliminate glare and further increase their legibility. The Unity is the first Nodus model to feature hands with this style of intricate finishing, and just like the recessed sandwich-style markers and the luminous frame for the date window, the hour and minute hands on the Nodus Unity are finished with Grade A Swiss Super-LumiNova BGW9, which emits a bright blue glow in the dark.
Powering the new Nodus Unity collection is the Miyota 9015 automatic movement, which is the same caliber that the brand uses inside other models such as the Duality, Avalon, and Contrail. As one of Miyota’s premium self-winding movements, the Cal. 9015 runs at a frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz), while offering users a power reserve of approximately 42 hours. The slim design of the Miyota 9015 is what allows the Unity to achieve its rather thin overall profile, and Nodus regulates its movements in-house so that the Miyota 9015 inside the new Unity will keep time within +/-8 seconds per day. My personal experience with Nodus’ in-house regulation has been quite positive, and while the brand already promises better timekeeping than a standard Miyota 9015, I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the new Nodus Unity watches ended up keeping time within chronometer standards (or at least very close to it).
Fitted to the drilled lugs of the Nodus Unity is a stainless steel bracelet that offers a flat three-link design and tapers from 20mm at the lugs down to 16mm where it meets the clasp. The top and bottom surfaces of the bracelet links are brushed, while the sides are polished, and the clasp receives complementary finishing, with largely bushed components and two recessed polished areas on the sides of the outermost folding section. The Nodus Unity bracelet checks all of the major boxes that most people look for these days, and it features a completely solid-link construction with integrated quick-release spring bars at the lugs, single-sided screw for the removable links, and a double push-button folding clasp that features the brand’s Nodex extension system. Although the bracelet hinges at the end-links, the first center link cannot rotate all the way downward, which means that the center links stick out past the tips of the lugs, making the Nodus Unity wear slightly larger on its bracelet versus when fitted with a strap.
While the core design of the clasp is largely the same as what can be found on other models, this particular version might be the best from Nodus that I’ve seen thus far. From a functionality standpoint, the Nodex clasp extension does exactly what it should, and it features a push button release that offers five positions of on-the-fly incremental adjustment. That said, should you wear the extension open on either of its two largest settings, you will sacrifice a bit of its refined appearance since there will be a small gap between the last link and the edge of the clasp. An easy way to remedy this would be to simply make the clasp longer, although the size of the clasp is currently proportional to the watch, and making it larger to get around this aesthetic hiccup would ultimately come at a detriment to the overall look and feel of the watch.
Generally speaking, I’m a fan of the watches that Nodus produces, although I enjoyed my time with the new Unity series far more than I initially anticipated, and a large part of that is due to its slender profile and highly versatile case proportions. Despite embracing a playful color profile and being one of the dressiest designs in the brand’s current catalog, the Nodus Unity is still very much a sports watch at heart, and I could easily see these being popular summer/vacation watches for those who want something fun and refined, but with enough durability and water resistance to stand up to beach days, hikes, and an occasional swim in the hotel pool. With an official retail price of $700 USD, the new Nodus Unity costs roughly the same as what the brand charges for its various other models that are powered by this movement, which initially seems slightly high (by comparison) until you remember that the Unity also features a colored ceramic bezel, along with more intricate finishing on its dial and hands. Additionally, while the Nodus Unity is making its debut appearance in pink and blue, this core platform could easily be adapted to other styles, and it’s highly possible that we will see this new collection feature a variety of other colors in the future. For more information on the Nodus Unity, please visit the brand’s website.