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  • Writer's pictureBalance & Bridge Team

Hands-On: Review of the NODUS Avalon II. The Flagship Professional Dive Watch from the Los Angeles Based Company.

stainless NODUS watch with blue dial
NODUS Avalon II

Here at Balance & Bridge, we have covered NODUS extensively, and for good reason. The Los Angeles based watch company has built a highly respected reputation and a cult-like following since their founding in 2017. Nodus focus on researching, building, and developing incredibly durable watches and components. Not only is the company based out of the good ole' US of A, their watches are also assembled, tested, and regulated for higher accuracy in their Los Angeles workshop. While many brands choose to fully outsource the watchmaking process, NODUS has taken the opposite approach, choosing conscientiousness and inspiration over cost savings and convenience.


We have already had the chance to cover various releases from NODUS and have been fortunate to get hands-on with a variety of their offerings. We have been incredibly satisfied with each model we have reviewed and have been blown away by the value brought forth, especially with respect to the asking prices. The NODUS Sector Pilot Blackbird was one of the most comfortable and cool modern takes on a Pilot's tool watch and the NODUS Sector Deep positioned itself in our minds as one of the best 500M dive watches on the market especially below $1000 USD. We got our hands on the "Pelagic Blue" Avalon II next and can't wait to tell you about it.


 

About The NODUS Flagship Dive Offering


stainless NODUS watch with blue dial in man's hand
NODUS Avalon II - Pelagic Blue
 

First, the Overview

The NODUS Avalon II, a flagship professional dive watch from the American brand, showcases a CNC-machined cushion case reminiscent of classic dive watch aesthetics, yet it maintains a slim profile and offers exceptional comfort when worn on the wrist. The watch is equipped with Swiss Super-LumiNova® T-C1 X1 Grade lume, ensuring excellent visibility in low-light conditions. It features a regulated Japanese Miyota 9015 automatic movement, chosen for its reliability and accuracy in timekeeping.


stainless NODUS watch showing shape and finish
Sporting Various Bevels, Chamfers and Surface Finishes
 

Second, the Detailed Specs

The case of the watch is constructed from 316L surgical-grade stainless steel, featuring dimensions of 41.50mm for the bezel width, 43.50mm for the case width (wears smaller), 12.75mm for thickness, 48mm for lug-to-lug length, and a lug width of 20mm.


The crown is a screw-down type for added protection. Its glass is made of double-dome sapphire with a blue anti-reflective coating on the underside. The bezel operates with a 120-click uni-directional mechanism equipped with a ball-bearing system and a lumed ceramic insert for enhanced visibility. The lume utilizes Swiss Super-LumiNova® T-C1 X1 Grade, emitting a blue glow in low light conditions.


stainless NODUS watch bracelet and clasp
NODUS NodeX™ Clasp

The watch boasts a water resistance of up to 300 meters. Its bracelet features a 20mm-18mm taper and is equipped with a proprietary NodeX™ adjustable clasp along with quick-release springbars for ease of adjustment and maintenance.


 

Third, the Movement and Regulation

The NODUS Avalon is powered by the Miyota Cal.9015 Premium Automatic caliber, originating from Japan and boasting 24 jewels. It offers a respectable power reserve of 41 hours, ensuring reliable performance over extended periods on and off the wrist. The watch's accuracy is guaranteed to within +/- 8 seconds per day, a specification fine-tuned and regulated by NODUS to maintain precision timekeeping standards. The fact that NODUS assembles all their timepieces in Los Angeles allows their watchmakers to fine-tune their movements to greater accuracy than most. The Miyota 9015 movement without fine-tuning and advanced regulation is rated at - 10 to +30 seconds per day, NODUS knocks this variance down by about 250%.


 

The NODUS Avalon II Overall Review


NODUS stainless watch with blue dial and blue background
NODUS II Displaying Red Accents

NODUS had us at cushion-cased diver. It's no surprise that this offering from NODUS is a crown favorite and fits with supreme comfort. The cushion case design has been made popular by many of classic divers before it and it still a staple design in modern watchmaking. The ability to manipulate the wrist with the freedom from digging is a welcome addition to any active lifestyle. Mix in the 4:00 crown and the back of your hand/wrist will be sure to thank you.


NODUS stainless steel watch with yellow dial in water
NODUS Avalon - Coral Yellow - Image Courtesy of NODUS

The beveled edges on the case turndown add an awesome visual depth and take some of the roundedness out of the look. Many of the benefits of the comfort provided by a cushion case design are often offset by the rounded appearance in the wearer's mind, ourselves included. The comfort is undeniable, but the aesthetic is slightly obtrusive and NODUS has found a way to combat that. There is now some depth as the polished bevel throws light in contrast to the brushed case top.


 

Take a look at the NODUS catalog and it becomes quickly apparent that they know how to do dials. We were also lucky enough to get hands on with the NODUS Sector Sport 'Marigold' and this confirms our NODUS dial hypothesis. I mean, look at it...


NODUS stainless watch with gold dial
NODUS Sector Sport 'Marigold' Dial

The Avalon II is no different. The Pelagic Blue dial features patterned raised squares, or as NODUS refers to them, 'stamped tapisserie' that gives off incredible dimension and depth. Each square is uniform and perfectly aligned. Even the lettering 'AVALON' and '300M' are centered in their own respective raised squares. The level of quality control required to ensure the consistency from dial to dial is impressive. All of the indices are applied and feature additional high-polish chamfering. NODUS keeps layering in more and more detail.


macro image of NODUS Avalon dial
Chamfered and Polished Applied Indices

 

If the Blue isn't your cup of tea, fret not. NODUS has been expanding the availability of different variations and with a bit of patience, you can grab one that suits your color preference. At the time of writing this (Feb 2024) NODUS currently has two additional models available for purchase. In contrast to the 316L Stainless variety featured here, there are two Bronze case models featuring warmer blue and dark green dials. Both of the bronze cased variations feature Nodus Hybrid Tectuff Rubber® Straps. For those unfamiliar with Bronze watch cases, they offer a bit more personality and individuality as the bronze patinas with exposure to moisture and ambient humidity.


two NODUS bronze watches with blue and green dial and taupe background
NODUS Avalon II Bronze 'Green' and 'Blue' - Image Courtesy of NODUS
 

NODUS has also featured colorways that include 'Coral Yellow' (shown previously above), 'Seaspray White', and 'Trench Black'. The white and black variations are shown below and offer more a traditional diver's aesthetic and higher contrast. These two models are no longer available for purchase, but show the extent to which NODUS is consistently developing and iterating their designs.


NODUS stainless steel watch with black dial in water
NODUS Avalon 'Trench Black' - Image Courtesy of NODUS

NODUS stainless steel watch with white dial in water
NODUS Avalon 'Seaspray White' - Image Courtesy of NODUS
 

The Complete Package and Price

The NODUS Avalon II is certainly up for any adventure, whether it's diving into the depths or just accompanying your wrist every day. This watch is all about comfort, with a design that's been carefully crafted to feel just right, no matter what you're up to. It's got those little touches that make you go "wow" – think above-class finishing and attention to detail that you wouldn't expect at this price point. At $700, it's playing in the big leagues alongside Seiko, Citizen, Bulova and other heavy hitters, but the Avalon II offers way more bang for your buck in various ways. We're looking at you, Quality Control.


macro image of NODUS avalon blue stamped dial
NODUS Avalon II 'Stamped Tapisserie' Dial

With its regulated NODUS Miyota automatic movement, you know you're getting reliable, accurate timekeeping that won't let you down. Plus, that Swiss Super-LumiNova® lume means you'll always be able to see what time it is, even in the darkest of nights. So yeah, if you want a watch that's not just good, but great – and won't break the bank – the Avalon II is where it's at. Grab yours at NODUS.



 

Let us know what you think about the NODUS Avalon Review and thanks for stopping by.


Balance & Bridge





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