We’ve turned back to the community for another hands-on review. This week, our long-time forum member Boatswain takes on the Nodus Sector Field.
Recently I was tasked with finding a simple sturdy watch for a family member that would be intuitive to read, waterproof, and easily wearable in a compact size—oh and affordable too! In short order it was obvious to me, despite my dive watch bias, that the answer was the humble field watch. That successful quest renewed my appreciation of the field watch genre and its simple functional purity of design. There are no gemstones, ratchets, escaping helium devices; they simply tell the time in an active environment. As a result, field watches have long been a staple watch design, but the current surge and popularity of vintage inspired aesthetics has pushed the style to the forefront of the collective watch conscious once again.
Nodus Watches has recently released a new series called the Sector. In the first dual release of the series Nodus has issued field and dive versions sharing the same base case. We’re told that dress and pilot variants are set to be released in the future as well. The Sector Field is a departure from Nodus’ previous diver-centric designs, but still fits within their overall tough, active, and sport-ready design language. At first glance, the Sector Field very much fits the archetype of the style; let’s take a closer look and see if Nodus’ offering can separate itself from the… field.
The Sector’s 316L stainless-steel case straddles the line between vintage and modern design, and comes in at a trim 38mm size—entirely appropriate for a contemporary field watch. The height sounds a bit lofty at 13.5mm, but on the wrist the clever use of broad bevels on the top and bottom of the case, and a unique stepped bezel dramatically diminish the apparent height, causing it to wear like a much thinner watch. Sweeping tall yet muscular lugs and an overall length of 47mm give the Sector solid presence without overpowering its overall design. A vintage vibe is conveyed by the absence of crown guards for its signed oversized 7.4mm screw-down crown. As the only tactile point of engagement with the watch, the crown is reassuring to use, being rock solid and easily operated through three full smooth-threading turns.
Simply put, the case finishing on the Sector is excellent, especially at its value-oriented price point. In a unique twist, Nodus has combined a mostly bead-blasted finish with polished highlights. The semi-matte blasted finish imbues the sector field with the tool-like aesthetic that a field watch deserves, but it still has some pop and sparkle in direct light especially when combined with the polished elements. This added refinement gives the Sector field a bit more versatility than your average field offering. The transitions between finishes are crisp under a loupe, shown to best effect on the stepped bezel where the polishing and blasting alternate 5 times, and end with a lively narrow polished rim around the crystal.
By its nature the field watch is a simple and straight forward design, and one that runs the risk of being flat and drab at times. Nodus has tackled this by adding additional interest, depth, and colour to the dial, most notably via its eponymous sector element. The raised inner sector component has a satiny semi-matte sheen that perfectly matches the blasted case, and has been punctuated by a slick sandwich construction. British Racing Green highlights are revealed in a central crosshair cut-out and curved dashes between the 24-hour scale increments. These really pop in bright direct light, but otherwise remaining subtly hidden. The charcoal-toned mid-dial shares the same satin texture and has a gentle fumé treatment. The indices are crisply printed in stark white Superluminova BGW9, which provides a good blue glow.
The dial printing is well executed, with a modern feel that provides all of the classic field watch info without being too cluttered or busy. For added depth, the dark outer minute track is raised to match the inner sector, and features glossy green blocks at the cardinal points. The no-date layout is perfectly balanced, however I would have been equally happy with the addition of a date for increased functionality on such a practical daily watch. The Sector’s bold and simple matte white hands are lumed to complement the field style, while also tying into the existing Nodus design language. Alignment and lengths of the hands are perfect, just tracing the rims of their relevant data points, and the highlight of green on the seconds hand tip is a welcome addition of unifying character.
Capping off the dial is a neat double-domed sapphire crystal that features a beveled edge and a unique internal curvature that creates a curved pie pan effect on the dial at low angles. Taken together, these various components create a legible dial that feels fresh and dynamic when scrutinized while still being rooted in traditional design. The Field Shale reviewed here is the most subdued of all the Sector releases. If you want something a bit more colorful, check out the other offerings in the Sector collection.
One element that shows Nodus’ passion and commitment to putting out a quality product is that all the watches are assembled and quality-checked in house at their Los Angeles HQ. Most notable is the attention that they give to the movements used in their watches. In the case of the Sector and its Seiko NH38, Nodus has taken the Japanese manufacturer’s -20 to +40 seconds per day accuracy range and tightened it up to a rating of +/- 10 seconds per day, running an extended observation of the movement and adjusting it in 4 positions, thus eliminating the greatest knock on the robust NH-series (its wide accuracy range out of the box). The review example was consistently running at a more than satisfactory +2 seconds per day. It’s also great to see Nodus use a true no-date movement, with no ghost position on the stem. The movement isn’t flashy or exciting, but with the oversight Nodus provides you get a solid, good value movement in the watch with some peace of mind that it has been checked over.
The Nodus Sector Field wears extremely comfortably on my 6.75” wrist given its 38mm case and the curved and beveled lugs. The watch does have a bit of “float” to it though, riding slightly up off of the wrist—a trade-off for making the midcase appear thinner. Despite its sub-40mm size the Sector still has a strong presence thanks to the muscular case architecture and a dial aperture that is similar to that of a 40mm diver. The Sector is a very versatile watch both practically or aesthetically, with its adaptable black dial, mixed case finishing, and 150m water resistance. The included steel bracelet is well-made, using an H-link design, a 20/18mm taper, and a new custom compact clasp. The bracelet is easy to size via single-sided screws, and wears comfortably overall. I do think however, that like any field watch, the Sector is begging for personalization and to be worn on a strap, especially with the convenient drilled lugs. I tried a variety of straps, and particularly enjoyed it on an olive drab canvas, and a brown Horween leather.
The Nodus Sector Field has the sturdy and reliable feel of good field watch. It unassumingly does its job, and will be there with you through whatever adventures come your way. To me, it exudes the quiet confidence and calm presence of a trusted friend. The kind of friendship in which you don’t need to say much to know and trust that you have each other’s back. The Nodus Sector field is priced at $400USD. Some other solid options to consider in the mechanical field watch segment are the Hamilton Khaki Field ($495) and the MkII Crucible ($649)
If you are looking for a well-made traditionally sized robust field watch with some unique flair, that is backed by passionate service and assembly, you may want to check out the Nodus Sector Field.
Our thanks to Boatswain for sharing this review. Interested in submitting your own community review? Reach out to our Editor-In-Chief via email here.
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