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  • Writer's pictureBalance & Bridge Team

Hands-on: NODUS Sector Pilot 'Blackbird' Review - The Modern Aviation Watch


NODUS Sector Pilot Blackbird
NODUS Sector Pilot Blackbird - Photo: Balance & Bridge


 

Spoiler Alert

I did not want to take this off after putting it on for the first time. I tend to be biased towards watches that are purpose built. Combine a tool watch aesthetic with modern upgrades, original designs and a sub $500 price tag and its no wonder NODUS is making a name for itself with each release.

NODUS Sector Pilot Blackbird
NODUS Sector Pilot Blackbird - Photo: Balance & Bridge

If you are looking for a daily wear that combines toughness, legibility and comfort, the NODUS Sector Pilot Blackbird with Steel Bezel should be top of list. The symmetry of the dial, the day and date stacked at 6 o'clock and the elongated green second hand along with recessed hour markers in the chapter ring all add to the interesting design cues.


Pair all the above with a 39mm case size and you won't want to take it off either.


 

Winning Specifications

NODUS Sector Pilot Blackbird
NODUS Sector Pilot Blackbird - Photo: Balance & Bridge

 

Materials

The Sector Pilot features a sturdy 316L surgical-grade stainless steel case that's 39mm wide, 12.5mm thick, with a 47mm lug-to-lug distance and a 20mm lug width. Its screw-down crown adds to its durability, though only rated to 100m of water resistance. The crown is one of the stars of the show and features one of the easiest to grip designs I have ever wound.


NODUS Sector Pilot Blackbird
NODUS Sector Pilot Blackbird - Photo: Balance & Bridge

Crystal & Bezel

The watch's face is protected by a flat-top sapphire crystal with a domed underside, reducing glare with its blue anti-reflective coating. The bi-directional friction bezel is a practical feature for quick calculations without clicks and is available in either Black DLC steel or stainless steel. The stainless steel bezel just has the rugged, exploration feel. You can give a nod to the Rolex Explorer II and see why I also have the TAG Heuer Aquaracer stainless bezel in the rotation.

NODUS Sector Pilot Blackbird
NODUS Sector Pilot Blackbird - Photo: Balance & Bridge

Lume

In low-light conditions, the Swiss Super-LumiNova® BGW9 Grade A lume on the watch hands and markers ensures excellent visibility. It also offers water resistance up to 100 meters, making it suitable for a wide range of activities.


Bracelet and Clasp

The bracelet is designed for comfort, tapering from 20mm to 18mm, and it features a proprietary NodeX™ clasp for a secure fit. Additionally, quick-release springbars make it easy to swap out the bracelet, allowing you to adapt the watch to different occasions and styles. The NodeX™ was easy to use and is a welcome addition to any stainless bracelet. Changing temperatures and wrists have never gotten along when it comes to stainless bracelets, and this combats that with ease.

NODUS Sector Pilot Blackbird
NODUS Sector Pilot Blackbird - Photo: Balance & Bridge

 

The Movement

The heart of the Sector Pilot beats with a Seiko TMI NH36 movement, a Japanese powerhouse known for its reliability. With 24 jewels and a power reserve of 41 hours, this movement ensures that your watch keeps ticking through long flights and adventurous journeys. Its impressive antimagnetic properties (≧ 4800 A/m) shield the watch from the interference of magnetic fields, further enhancing its precision.


NODUS Sector Pilot Blackbird
NODUS Sector Pilot Blackbird - Photo: Balance & Bridge

NODUS regulates this movement in house, increasing the NH36 base accuracy to a tune of +/- 10 seconds per day. An impressive attribute at the price and it proves you can trust that the Sector Pilot will always keep you on time.


 

On Wrist

NODUS Sector Pilot Blackbird
NODUS Sector Pilot Blackbird - Photo: Balance & Bridge

I mentioned that I didn't want to take this off after a few days, and it was due to more than just the looks. It was one of the most comfortable watches I have worn, and it was quite a departure from the case size I typically gravitate toward. As a matter of fact, this Sector Pilot may be the reason I expand my tool watch options to the sub 40mm case size.


There were times where I felt like I had nothing on, and this was a strange feeling. Typically with stainless sports watches, there is constant awareness of the wrist due to bracelet thickness or unbalanced weight in the case, but this NODUS had neither.

The H-link bracelet combined with the quick adjust clasp and 12.5mm case thickness made it disappear - in a good way.


One of my favorite parts of wearing the NODUS Sector Pilot was actually pulling back the sleeves to check the time and having it re-emerge after subtly falling under jackets and sweatshirts.


 

NODUS Sector Pilot Blackbird Conclusion

NODUS Sector Pilot Blackbird
NODUS Sector Pilot Blackbird - Photo: Balance & Bridge

It is an exciting time to be a watch enthusiast. There are innovative companies like NODUS doing awesome things at incredible value propositions. You would be hard-pressed to find so much original design DNA in a true sports watch at this price range. For a retail price of $475, you can't beat it.



 

A special thank you for the NODUS team for allowing us to review this awesome watch. All images in this article were taken by Balance & Bridge while reviewing.


Balance & Bridge


 







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