- 39mm case, 42mm bezel
- 316L stainless steel case and bracelet (with diver extension)
- Left-side crown (a.k.a. LHD, destro)
- Lume is Super-LumiNova with blue transmission (dial, hands, bezel)
- Dual-scale bezel
- Seiko NH35 automatic winding movement
- 500m water resistance
- Year of release – 2023
- Price upon release – $575
So Many Dive Watches!
I feel lost these days considering a dive watch costing $575. Seiko had been my benchmark; alas, no longer. As the 2020s roll on, Seiko divers have gone up in cost, if not quality, while random Chinese brands are making better Seikos for $179 than Seiko makes for $900. Now in the $500-range, we’ve got Bulova, Timex, Lorier, Vaer, Vero, Yema, Benrus, Vero, Boldr, Unimatic, Raven, and, yes, Nodus to choose from, among many others. At one time when suggesting a cheap diver, all you had to say was. “Just get an SKX007,” and now I feel like you need to lay out a massive horological atlas and begin plotting a course through late capitalism itself.
So why buy the Nodus Sector Deep over the myriad fairly priced equivalents? Two reasons: LHD and the dual-scale bezel.
LHD, Destro, Left, Right, Wrong, Etc…
LHD stands for left-hand-drive, meaning the crown is on the left side. Many assume this is for south-paws, but as a motorcyclist I claim LHD is a great choice for any righty who doesn’t want the crown digging into their wrist. Sometimes called destro, which is Italian for right and implies that the watch is to be worn on the right hand, such watches are fairly rare.
Currently the two most popular LHD watches are Tudor’s Pelagos LHD and Rolex’s 2021 GMT Master II in green, the latter kind of qualifying as a dive watch. The other one is the Alsta Motoscaphe, which I designed myself, for motorcycling, but it’s essentially an upside down dive watch.
LHDs are weird watches, no question, and they’re about as odd to look at as left-handed Fender Stratocasters or British cars. But they’re also perfectly functional, interesting, and if you ride motorcycles or bicycles a lot (or maybe if you golf, I don’t know) LHD’s can offer an advantage.
I really wish more brands did this. The 12-hour scale on the inside of the watch is useful for just telling the time when it’s aligned to Noon, and it’s great for tracking a second time-zone (move it around to whatever the difference is) and for timing hours. The regular dive-watch minutes scale on the outer section of the bezel can be used for all the normal dive watch functions, or for boiling eggs.
This watch’s case is 39mm across and the bezel is 42mm across, which leaves a 1.5mm overhang on the bezel. That’s a lot. I have my reservations about this configuration for beating around a dive boat, because nowhere else have I ever popped off a bezel. It’s really the last place that I’d want such leverage under my bezel. The upside, however, is abundant grip.
I’m guessing the dual-scale bezel needed to be bigger, and that a full re-engineering wasn’t going to happen, but my preference would have been a flush bezel with a smaller dial, or just a larger case—but either way you’re majorly redesigning the case. Major case changes affect how the movement fits, the waterproofing system, the crown, and on and on. Set up charges alone are exorbitant, not to mention prototyping and testing. You don’t get that kind of full reengineering of a rare bird at this price point, or at many price points.
The reason we get so few watches redesigned from the ground-up is that everyone is aiming to minimize production costs. Does this mean less than ideal products get made? I’d say so because compromises are compromises, but I’d say the same of Rolex (particularly lazy in this regard) as well as just about any brand I can think of outside of Cartier and, like, Ferrari—but even Cartier and Ferrari aren’t exactly bespoke products. Compromised design is the downside of Henry Ford’s revolution (and I’ll leave his fascism here in parenthesis, though I suspect it’s related).
To be clear: I don’t expect a brand like Nodus to be building a new watch from the ground up every time they get a funky idea like the Sector Deep. In fact, despite the bezel overhang, I think Nodus has done a pretty wonderful reimagining of their dive watch within the restrictions of Fordism, and the case has been made unique from the standard Sector divers to a degree through finishing and bevels.
It’s Not Really a Sector—Or Is It?
The other watches from Nodus in the Sector series are kind of sector dial watches, meaning the dial is broken into two concentric circles. Sector is a little bit of a misnomer even there, however, because the sector watches of the 1930s used the different sectors to indicate different levels of information (minutes, seconds, and hours, e.g., each had their own sector). So, in some sense the Sector Deep is—despite having no sectors on the dial—more of a sector watch because the bezel is broken into two sectors, each of which carries a different timing scale. There’s a thin groove which separates the two sectors of the bezel, and they’re at different angles. Legibility is pretty good, given all the concentric information.
Anyways, it’s a semantic argument I’m making, and anyone can use whatever name for a watch they please and really no real harm is done other than to the fragile egos of people like me who stake too much of their self identity on their knowledge of esoteric horological terms.
The Specs As They Should Be
The Nodus Sector Deep has all the other normal specs one would expect at this price point, and I’ll just refer you back up to The Skinny at the top of this review for those. No surprises, and the price is just about what it ought to be.
Despite the wonderfully weird LHD and dual-scale bezel, this watch adheres to standards of dive watch design (with an eye toward Seiko’s hands and markers) that have proven entirely useful for decades: legibility, size, bracelet, waterproofness, etc… It’s a perfectly capable dive watch ready for whatever you want to get up to in it, including motorcycling due to the LHD, and maybe golf, but I have no idea about golf.
Buy This Because It’s Unique
For anyone considering an inexpensive dive watch, the Sector Deep from Nodus is a pretty radical entry into the field because it combines the LHD and the dual-scale bezel and comes up with something rather unique. I’ve not really seen anything quite as compellingly unique for the money in a diver in a long while, and I applaud the folks at Nodus for stepping out of their comfort zone and distinguishing their catalog with something that actually stands out as we map our way through the horological proliferation of late capitalism.