California-based small watch brand Nodus made the uncommon (but not unwise) business decision to make an entire new collection for someone else. That led to the Canyon watch family that was creative-directed by Matt Farah, founder and host of the popular car review channel The Smoking Tire. Most small watch companies are typically run by artistic entrepreneurs who tend to focus on making the products they personally desire and design. It isn’t until companies grow to be medium or large in size that producing an entirely new product family with an outside influencer becomes more common. Just a few years into running their business, Nodus took the bold step to try this approach. Their justification for the investment was that the money would have gone into marketing anyway (actually, producing a new product is more expensive overall), and that at least they would be working to create something new with someone. So, while the concept isn’t entirely novel, the fact that Nodus and Matt Farah have created a new watch collection together (as opposed to mere cosmetic changes on an existing product line) is noteworthy in itself.
The biggest risk Nodus took in this project was in making a new family of watches given the cost and time involved in the research and development. Their relationship with an influencer in this instance was a comfortably conservative choice. What I mean is that working with Matt Farah himself was actually a relatively safe decision, compared to a number of other influencer personalities out there. Even though Farah’s large audience on The Smoking Tire comes for car content, it is well-known that there is a heavy crossover between automotive and timepiece interests. Second, The Smoking Tire is a large channel that works with a lot of advertisers, including past watch brands and retailers. That means the platform has a proven ability to influence consumption, and at least several other watch-category advertisers have also trusted The Smoking Tire. Finally, Matt Farah is a watch enthusiast himself. He knows and likes watches and ostensibly wouldn’t want to put his seal of approval on a subpar product. All of this led to a relatively easy decision when it came to Nodus determining if a product development and partnership relationship offer should be extended to a personality like Farah. In fact, I think the idea of coming up with a new Nodus collection was his idea to begin with.
The Nodus Canyon watch is a combination of meeting various benchmarks put forth by Farah, as well as trying to incorporate design elements that are important to his life. His favorite places to drive and review cars are canyon roads here in Southern California. He often drives on the Angeles Crest Highway, which his followers will recognize from the many car reviews he has filmed there. A visual map of the route he likes to drive is the design on the caseback (although I don’t find that to be the prettiest part of the watch). This is where one of three different The Smoking Tire logos is. There is another on the hardware of the included orange strap (supplied by Under The Cuff), and a third version of the logo put into the deployant of the steel bracelet.
Nodus launched the Canyon with two dial color options including a Tiffany & Co-style aquamarine called “Mint” (Matt’s father was a Tiffany & Co. board member), as well as the pictured “Orange Sunset.” Both dials have a slight color gradient and offer excellent visibility. In fact, Farah’s benchmark watches mostly include Rolex timepieces, and thus the case proportions, dial legibility, and other benchmark elements were set pretty high. Most people familiar with watches will handle the Nodus Canyon and probably agree it feels like a more expensive timepiece. A lot of love was put into creating harmony between elegant design elements and robust utility. The goal was to make a sports watch that people want to stare at because it’s pretty. While tastes differ, I think Nodus and Matt Farah largely succeeded. I’ve been very happy looking at this watch on my wrist. And I say that even as someone who rarely wears all-orange watches.
The Nodus Canyon’s case size is very well-suited to a wide variety of tastes and anatomies. In polished and brushed steel, the case is 41mm wide, 11.5mm thick, and has a 47mm long lug-to-lug distance. Over the dial is a domed sapphire crystal, with a good amount of AR coating that noticeably reduces glare. The case is water resistant to 200 meters with a screw-down crown. In the crown is a brass insert with the Nodus logo on it, which adds a bit of extra color. If you like how Rolex watches wear on the wrist, then you’ll probably like how the Nodus Canyon wears, too.
The Canyon package includes a comfortably orange nylon strap as well as a “Jubilee-style” tapering steel bracelet. Both are on quick-release bars, and they can be swapped out rapidly without tools. The bracelet has a lot of details including a particular comfort taper size, as well as a micro-adjustment in the deployant clasp. Given how much I like matching a colorful dial with a splashy strap, I chose that wearing option for the Canyon even though the bracelet is more than competent and comfortable.
What Nodus got right about the Canyon dial was making it legible, deep, and free of unwanted reflections. The dial itself has two layers, and there is also a sloped flange ring with minute markers on it. The hour markers are applied, and the properly proportioned hands are brushed as opposed to polished, which reduces unwanted reflectivity. The lack of a date window allows for a more attractive, symmetrical dial that enthusiasts typically prefer nowadays. Both the hands and hour markers are given a generous amount of Super-LumiNova for viewing the dial in the dark. The sapphire crystal is raised and has a beveled edge, which in combination with the narrow brushed bezel, gives the dial a more expansive look to it. In combination with how the side of the Canyon is designed, the shape of the crystal also helps reduce the visual mass of the overall case.
For the movement, Nodus chose a still pretty new automatic mechanical caliber known as the G101 from Swiss La Joux-Perret. This is an interesting movement because it combines performance and value. The G100 series is basically an upgraded version of the Japanese Miyota 9000. (Citizen is the parent company of both Miyota and La Joux-Perret.) The G101 is the G100 without a date complication and the movement operates at 4Hz with a long power reserve of 68 hours. This is a very sensible movement for a watch like the Nodus Canyon.
Like The Smoking Tire, Nodus is based in Los Angeles, and that is where the timepieces are actually assembled. There will likely be future versions of the Canyon, given that there is a lot more for Nodus and The Smoking Tire’s Matt Farah to accomplish together. As a limited edition of 200 pieces, the Nodus Canyon in Sunset Orange has a retail price of $1,199 USD. Learn more at the Nodus Watches website.