Rounding out the dial, you’ve got the date display down at 6 o’clock, and a red (unlumed) pip up at 12 o’clock, as well as the branding. Here, the white date display actually doesn’t look out of place – it’s aligned well with the black/white color scheme that the dial presents. The dial is topped with a hardened mineral crystal (slightly domed), with AR coating on the underside. This, in turn, is surrounded by a beefy unidrectional bezel, which itself sports a stainless steel insert with filled markers. The bezel locks into place well, and the insert is much nicer than a simple (read: flat and screen-printed) insert would have been giving the watch, as a whole, a better look and feel.
That just leaves us with the feature that first drew me to this watch in the first place – that Horween leather NATO. Simply put, this is a beautiful strap (if oddly sized at 23mm wide). The top side has great coloration and a smooth feel, while the raw underside lets you know that this came from a hide, and isn’t something plastic trying to pass itself off as leather. Given the style of the strap, stitching is at a minimum, only employed to hold the keepers in place. Where it is present, it’s contrasting, and looks solidly done.
Now, back to those keepers. They’re a sort of roller bar, easing the threading of the strap end through. It’s an interesting touch, and I can see how these would keep the finish on the strap relatively unmarked as you take the watch on and off. Then again, with leather like this, you kind of want it to pick up some wear marks as it ages, giving it another quality you can’t quite reproduce otherwise. That said, the rollers are something that I don’t know that I’ve seen anywhere else, and makes an interesting statement.
As a whole, the strap wore very well, even being probably the thickest NATO I’ve worn (though, compared to a regular or padded leather strap, it’s not particularly thick). In short, this is a strap that I could see lasting a good long while, and if it were a more common width, I think people would be swapping it onto other watches in their collections in a heartbeat (I know I would). One thing I will note with the strap – with its thickness, it’s a bit trickier to fold over than your regular nylon strap. Not impossible by any means, just something to be aware of.
The only thing that this strap wouldn’t be good for is for testing out the 200m WR rating that the piece carries. Then again, if you were planning on swimming with this watch for some reason, you could opt for the stainless steel bracelet version, which adds $50 to the base price. At an asking price of $450, the Nixon Diplomat offers a useful complication (GMT) in a boldly-styled package. Add in an amazing strap that should only get better with time, and you’ve got a nice little combo here, if you don’t mind the non-lumed handset. nixon.com
>Price: $450 (Horween leather), $500 (steel bracelet)
>Would reviewer personally wear it: The strap, yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: This is for your friend who wants a big, bold watch and wants more than a simple three-hander
>Best characteristic of watch: The Horween leather strap, the GMT complication, and the strap. Did I mention the strap?
>Worst characteristic of watch: The main handset and its lack of lume