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Nodus Avalon Watch Review

Nodus Avalon Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

While it can be difficult to keep up with the constantly growing pool of microbrands popping up left and right, usually only a few float up to the top due to their standout quality, marketing, or unique designs. Brands such as Halios, Oak & Oscar, Monta, and Unimatic come to mind as brands who have staked a claim as a fixture within the microbrand universe for one reason or another. However, it seemed that seemingly out of the blue, everyone I follow on Instagram had ended up with a Nodus watch, and couldn’t stop singing the praises of it. The sheer volume of people in love with this brand’s watches intrigued me, and after a couple months with one of their latest releases, the Avalon, I understand why Nodus quickly built up a cult following.

Nodus Avalon Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Nodus is based out of Los Angeles, and was founded in May of 2017. As with many microbrands, the team behind Nodus is extremely passionate, and it shines through in the quality of their watches. Wes & Cullen, the co-founders of Nodus, assemble all their watches in LA, regulate the watches to four positions, and have been pushing the brand further with each release.

The Avalon on the surface seems like just another microbrand diver, in the under $750 range, however it’s once you see it in person that the fanfare starts to make sense. Uniquely designed and finely machined cases, color matched matte ceramic bezel inserts, a comfortable bracelet, hell, the Avalon even has freaking Excalibur on the caseback (cliche divers helmets or fish be damned). Let’s dive into the Avalon and what makes it tick.

As I mentioned in the intro, one of the immediate standout components of the Avalon is its case, both in design and in quality. I have often seen the Avalon compared to a Seiko Turtle, due to its cushion/tonneau shaped case, however I would more likely draw the comparison to a Doxa Sub case. With that being said, the Avalon is in no way a homage to either.

Nodus Avalon Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Measuring in at a diameter of 43.2mm, a lug to lug of 48mm, and a thickness of 12.9mm, the Avalon wears quite comfortably on my 6.5” wrist. While the larger diameter might seem like a non-starter for some, the short lug to lug length, and design of the bezel, makes this watch wear much smaller than its dimensions might suggest.

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Nodus Avalon Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The majority of the case is done up in a nice tool watch styled brushed finish, with some polished accents along the side of the case to add some nice flair. One of my favorite aspects of this case design, is the downward slope design of the side of the case. This swooping design gives the profile that the watch is really hugging your wrist, and is another way that Nodus stands out from the competition with a more complex case design made possible by its CNC production method. One other detail I really appreciate here is the crown placement at the 4 o’clock position, this is such a comfortable place to put the crown and I wish more brands would do this.

Nodus Avalon Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Rounding out the case design, the Avalon has a steel caseback, the usual caseback specifications, and an engraving of Excalibur. Why Excalibur? Because Avalon (according to the tale) is the island where Excalibur was forged. Kinda neat little detail, I think. And of course, being a diver, we’d expect some water resistance here, and the Avalon is rated to 300 meters.

Nodus Avalon Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews The dial of the Avalon continues the trend for high quality as set by the case design. Every hour marker is designated with an applied indice, filled with a hearty amount of Super-LumiNova C3 (green) lume. The overall design here is clean & basic, with a minimal amount of dial text, only having the Nodus logo in the upper hemisphere, and “Avalon 300m” in the lower hemisphere.

Both the blue and green versions I got to check out look great in person, and I’m glad to see Nodus embracing interesting color variants like these. Definitely a welcomed breath of fresh air from my collection of black dialed divers, and makes the Avalon feel fun & light hearted.

Nodus Avalon Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The hands are legible and filled with a hearty amount of lume as well, and I particularly like the pop of color added to the seconds hand. The dial of the Avalon overall isn’t over-designed, a trap that I think many microbrands can fall into, and this restrained design approach also flows through Nodus’ other models as well.

Bezel
At this price point, bezels can be pretty hit or miss, especially with microbrands. It’s tough to produce a quality watch at this price point, and given the complex case design & manufacturing of the cases, I was expecting the bezel to be a point where “something had to give” to achieve the price that Nodus wanted for the Avalon.

Nodus Avalon Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

I’m happy to say, surprisingly, that the bezel action here is fantastic. Each click is satisfying with no play between positions, it’s easy to grip and turn, and there’s a well lumed plot at the 12 mark. However the real star here, in my opinion, is the ceramic inserts that Nodus is offering on the Avalon. Sure, it’s available with a steel insert, but I’m a huge sucker for matte ceramic bezel inserts, and Nodus pulled it off very well. On the green unit I have, the bezel and dial colors match perfectly, and all the numerals are lumed (which is not the case on the steel insert). That isn’t to say that the steel inserts are bad, they’re well done and look good as well. But for only $25 extra, I’d definitely spring for the ceramic insert in the color that fits your fancy (I dig this green).

The Avalon is powered by the Miyota 9039 automatic movement, a 24 jewel movement with a power reserve of 42 hours, beating at 28,800 bph. It’s pretty standard fare to see a Miyota movement in a microbrand these days, given Swatch’s tightening on ETA distribution. Under my observation, the timekeeping has been perfectly fine, and it helps to keep the Avalon at a digestible price point.

Nodus Avalon Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Interestingly, Nodus includes a card in the box with the timekeeping specifications of your specific watch, taken in 4 positions: crown up, crown down, 12H down, and dial up. Both my units are showing between -6/+6; not too shabby, I’d say, a testament to Nodus’ in-house regulation process.

Nodus Avalon Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

One important thing to note here, is that the Avalon is a no date watch, and unlike many microbrands, there is no “phantom date” position on the crown when adjusting the time. Definitely an appreciated detail, even if I miss having the date complication.

Like the bezel, I’ve often found that the achilles heel of many well done microbrand watches is in its bracelet. But again, I came away overall impressed by Nodus’ bracelet here. The Avalon’s bracelet is an H-link design, with a slight taper. The links articulate well here and I found it to be very comfortable on wrist.

Nodus Avalon Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The clasp has a flip-lock mechanism, with 6 micro adjust holes (wow!). Despite being a dive watch, there is no dive extension in this clasp. While I’ve never had an actual use for a dive extension, it does seem to be an odd omission for a dive watch. But, the bracelet is overall well designed and matches the style of the watch well, and it features screw-in pins, a feature that I wish that every bracelet, everywhere, utilized, as it makes the process of sizing the bracelet a breeze compared to traditional pin and collar styled bracelets.

Nodus Avalon Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Packaging
The Avalon comes presented in a rather unassuming cardboard box, branded with the Nodus logo and model name. However once you crack it open, you’ll find a slick Nodus branded canvas watch roll, containing the watch and paperwork. This is another detail that I really appreciate about Nodus & the Avalon. I love when brands make their packaging functional outside of just being pretty, and this two-pocket watch roll would surely make for a great travel companion to toss in your bag and keep your watches safe. This is an aspect that I’ve seen a few microbrands do (namely Oak & Oscar with their watch wallets), and something that I wish more brands would do across the entire watch industry. What use is a giant suitcase sized wooden box? I’ll take a watch roll over a huge presentation box any day.

Nodus Avalon Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Nodus Avalon Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews Nodus was a brand that largely wasn’t on my radar. The designs didn’t particularly speak to me in photos, but after spending time with the Avalon, I’m very impressed by what the guys over at Nodus are doing. From the finer design details of their cases, to its thoughtful elements sprinkled throughout, and even the card detailing out the exact timekeeping of your watch, timed in 4 positions, it’s clear that Nodus is focused on creating an enthusiast level watch.

Nodus Avalon Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

There’s no fancy display casebacks or ratcheting glidelock-esque clasp, but the Avalon represents a well designed, well executed, deliberately made watch from a couple guys whose passion for watches is obvious. At a price point of $625 ($650 for the ceramic bezel), it’s really hard to find much to complain about with this watch, and I think Nodus could easily compete with other watches at double its price point. I’ll be closely following Nodus moving forward, and I suggest you do as well. In the crowded waters of the microbrand diver world, Nodus no doubt stands out. You can learn more at noduswatches.com

>Brand: Nodus
>Model: Avalon
>Price: $625 for steel bezel insert, $650 for ceramic insert
>Size: 43.2mm diameter, 12.9mm thick, and lug to lug of 48mm.
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Absolutely. This is a comfortable, attractive watch that works well for every-day wear.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone looking for their first “nice” watch, under $1000. This is pretty tough to beat, and would serve them well.
>Best characteristic of watch: The case design and execution. I love the finer details & design here.
>Worst characteristic of watch: The bracelet clasp. While a minor issue, I would have expected a divers extension here, and would have loved a tool-less micro adjust.

 

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Comments

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  • IanE

    Not my style, but a good price given the details – especially impressive is the micro-adjustment for the bracelet. If Nodus can do it, why, oh why, can’t Audemars Piquet? I really want an RO, but bracelets without micro-adjust are such a no-no!

  • Independent_George

    Design is a little safe, but it also looks like it all comes together. I like the regulation card, it is a nice touch, especially for an affordable. I would have very surprised, and very impressed if the bracelet offered tool-less micro adjustment since divers 8x the price don’t. Looks like a very good value for what is offered .

  • SuperStrapper

    Russ you praised the lume several times and didn’t provide a lume shot? For shame..

  • Simonh

    Green beats Blue as far as I am concerned.

  • Pedro Lambareiro

    While it can be difficult to keep up with the constantly growing pool of microbrands popping up left and right, usually only a few float up to the top due to their standout quality, marketing, or unique designs.

    Barnum said “one was born every day” so this brands need to pop-up in order to separate them from their hard-own cash. Why should the likes of the Swiss get all the fun?

  • Pedro Lambareiro

    “The Avalon is powered by the Miyota 9039 automatic movement, a 24 jewel movement with a power reserve of 42 hours, beating at 28,800 bph.”

    Funny how a watch powered by a $50 movement ends up costing $650 when the dust sets in…

    • Wesley

      Sorry you feel this way. Unfortunately with our in house assembly, regulation, and testing, we are unable to offer our watches at a price point that is any lower, as much as we’d like to.

      Additionally, the fully CNC-machined case was an added cost that was unavoidable if we wanted to maintain the sleek profile.

      Thank you for your feedback!

      Wes

      • Pedro Lambareiro

        Additionally, the fully CNC-machined case was an added cost that was unavoidable if we wanted to maintain the sleek profile.

        So Formex are installing actual Swiss movements in their cases and somehow producing all this intricate finishing to their watches… and somehow they have a date on them… and they’re COSC certified. Just tell me… and I’ll make no secret that I’m an admiringly reluctant possible costumer: other than looks, what’s more expensive to make in your watch, more detailed, than their effort?

        • Wesley

          Thanks for the kind words, Pedro. Rather than post two separate replies, I’ll just put them together in one post.

          Admittedly, I am a fan of Bremont, particularly in their case construction. They use a fully-milled case, just as the Avalon does, but unlike the Avalon, many of their comparable watches have a much more complex construction. I’m assuming this is at least partially what leads to their much higher price point (in addition to inflated marketing costs).

          I am also a fan of Formex for a similar reason I am a fan of Bremont. They are actually doing some pretty cool things in the realm of both design as well as manufacturing. I admit that I am not as familiar as Formex as I should be, but after browsing their site, the closest match I could find was in their diver line, and ends up being a little over $200 more expensive, but in my opinion is still a great deal given how much intricacy goes into manufacturing one of their watches, though I haven’t seen on in the flesh before.

          I try not to compare our brand or our watches to other brands, mostly because I am a watch enthusiast before I am a watch entrepreneur, I wouldn’t do it between other brands either. Holding up watches against each other tend to ruin the enjoyment for me, and I think for many of the people who truly love watches as well.

          I think there is something to be said about a watch being more than the sum of its parts. Unfortunately, and understandably so, many consumers in the market have become calloused by the ever-growing list of new independent brands; I am guilty of it too, sometimes not giving new brands a second look, simply because they are new.

          I’ve challenged myself to be better at this, because not so long ago, I was just a consumer like many of the readers of this blog. I’ve realized that reducing a watch to merely the sum of its parts takes the artistic and creative aspect out of watches. It defeats the point of creating something new, which sometimes attracts just as much hates as it does support. Approaching the art of watch making from this angle would make it impossible for new brands to have a new and innovative way of thinking, and perhaps one day, the only option under $1000 would be the infamous sub-homage.

          I understand that I haven’t directly answered your question- as this is not a sponsored post, I want to refrain from posting links to our website, but we do have a detailed blog post on it that describes the difficulty of why this watch took two years to make and the costs associated with it. I encourage you to take a look around, start a dialogue with us via email, Facebook, or Instagram, and if you’re ever in LA, we’d love to meet up and hangout over some coffee, beer, and of course watches.

    • ??????

      How’s much, in your opinion, is the actual cost of a Rolex submariner and what is the street price for it??

      • Pedro Lambareiro

        Around 2k since that’s the price a clone with the actual platinum lettering insert will cost to produce in 904L steel.

  • Gokart Mozart

    Now the party’s over
    I’m so tired
    Then I see you coming
    Out of nowhere
    Much communication in a motion
    Without conversation or a notion
    Avalon

    They should have had a picture of Bryan Ferry instead.

    But then again he hangs out with Peter Speak-Marin and designs watches with Moser, so he may have turned them down. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0d49401e5804ae1e1c6a68147d03f2f684c1c9c7f1e390f8d173089f3420b9a3.jpg

  • Wesley

    Hey Raymond,

    I’m sorry you feel this way but sincerely appreciate your feedback. I hope one of our other designs or a future designs speaks more to you!

    Wes
    Nodus Watches

    • Raymond Wilkie

      Although it read like one I wasn’t aware this was a sponsored post.
      Good luck.

  • Wesley

    Hey John,

    When we first started, we actually struggled to find LA based brands. But I do have to say that LA is a great place to run a watch brand as the RedBar and other GTG communities, trade shows, and other niche brands seem to reside here.

    I think this also explains why cities like New York, Singapore, and Hong Kong have a ton of independent watch companies.

    Wes

  • Ooooh! A dive watch!

  • bbfrid

    I’ve seen the Nodus watches pushed by “influencers” on Watchuseek, but I fail to see any differentiation of these homage-type micro brand watches from other $250-$400 watches. I don’t see anything interesting here…it might be a good deal at 1/3 to 1/2 the price.

  • Looks really great! I wanted to hate it but couldn’t lol. The case shape makes it pretty unique! Great profile!

  • Pedro Lambareiro

    Please make a search for “Ochs und Junior”. Truly handmade unique watches where there is actually a lot of work going into the watch. They’re not going out of business anytime soon and they have 0 marketing budget. You just need to come up with something that is unique and truly innovative. I complained about the movement, ok: get a silicon spring in it and make the thing tick for a week. The looks are bland, so why its saying there was a lot of thought went to it? Was that tested with actual watch owners before the started ramping up production? The bezel is all over the body of the watch, making is look so much larger than it actual it is, what beautiful watches are with that feature? Research, research, research. I might have over 400 watches in my collection, ranging from $20 to $20k but I really don’t understand how an ugly watch gets through the opinions of so many people developing a watch. Take Bulova’s Precisionist: it sells… a lot. Huge sales… the fastest growing brand inside Citizen’s world. Yet… so few second-hand sales. And people don’t sell them that cheap, which is weird for a quartz watch. I’m still to read somebody saying “lets study that format, that HAQ quartz timepiece people seem to love so much and hold on to it”. No: all I see is very basic automatic movements getting churned with minor tweaks on the design from allowed brands. If I want to be blunt, and there isn’t anything more blunt than a comparison to show how the king is naked, just compare this watch with the MAKO AA02002D which has a “22-jewel, Caliber F69 automatic movement. This new movement is self-winding, hand winding, and it hacks (second hand halts when you pull out the crown). In addition to the new improved movement, the new Mako II watch has an improved uni-directional bezel with 120 clicks, and it has a new case design (gone is the quick day pusher at 2:00) for a trimmer, more simplified look. The day and date window is the same, but you adjust both via the screw-down crown. The case size comes in at 41.5mm in diameter and it’s about 13mm thick. As always, you get an excellent stainless steel bracelet with a smooth operating push-button deployant clasp (a hallmark of Orient watches).”
    So now… bare with me… a brand is a brand. Patek Philippe are offing themselves with crazy Instagram stunts that are rubishing the brand more and more, making them a passing fad. They have this industrial finishing in 30k watches that deem disaster for the resale market. You can clearly see a trend of the post-Côtes de Genêve watches have worst performance than while abided by that standard. I’ve nothing against Nodus, I just don’t like to see people deciding to to something without proper knowing if that item they’re introducing the market to… actually has a market.

  • Wesley

    Thanks, no offense taken. I like to give everyone a chance. Thanks for the heads up.

  • David Rainey

    The green dial on the Retrospect 11 is much more vibrant and pretty than the green dial on the Avalon,and it’s $200 cheaper. Why the big difference?

  • What fresh hell is this?

    I wonder if they’re aware that Melbourne Watch Company has already been selling a watch called Avalon for five years?

  • Mikita

    The dial looks cheap, so does the bracelet. The case is okey-ish, but then you have Seiko Turtle in all its variations starting from $250.

  • Laurens

    The watch is listed at a price point where it is easy to compare it with respected companies. Brands like Certina, Edox and Tissot have a lot on offer. All make automatic Swiss watches at this price point, are readily available here in Europe, but probably more a original choice in the US.

    So, a brand with no pedigree, cheapish jap movement and big name inspired watches fetches over 600 usd? I don’t blame Nodus for trying but this watch does make no sense.

  • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

    Wrong.

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