This is a refreshingly modern take on a classic field watch. Despite its modest size, it has plenty of wrist presence thanks to an eye-catching dial. It also retains all the key elements of an authentic military-spec field watch – such as easy legibility, a water-resistant construction, 24-hour military time track and a robust build. All in all, it’s a versatile and stylish piece, yet still plenty tough too.
Small date window
Steel bracelet design not perfect
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Nodus Sector Field: first impressions
Designed and assembled in Los Angeles, California, the Nodus Sector Field Marina is a modern West Coast take on a classic field watch, designed by up-and-coming watch “microbrand“ Nodus. Fresh, contemporary colors and sophisticated design touches give this little beauty plenty of wrist presence. But has it got what it takes to be one of the best field watches?
• RRP: £450 (UK)
• Dimensions: 47mm (lug-to-lug) x 38mm (case diameter)
• Thickness: 12.5mm
• Weight: 74g (160g with steel bracelet) / 2.6oz (5.6oz with steel bracelet)
• Movement: Seiko NH35 / NH38 automatic, regulated in 4 positions
• Water resistance: 100m / 10 ATM
• Materials & features: 316L stainless steel case; screw-down case back with unique serial number; single-dome sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating; Swiss Super Lumi-Nova: Premium grade BGW9; screw-down, signed crown; steel bracelet
It’s certainly not all style over substance. The Nodus Sector Field has all the key elements of an authentic military-spec field watch too. The 316L stainless steel case gives it a purposeful field watch vibe, as does the highly scratch-resistant, flat-top sapphire crystal, which has an inner anti-reflective coating. Meanwhile, the outer edge of the crystal is bevelled to minimize the chances of chipping. It’s an example of the subtle attention to detail that elevates the Sector Field above most other field watches, while also aiding legibility and durability.
The eye-catching dial is full of color, texture and depth thanks to its sandwich-construction “sector” design (hence the watch’s name). There’s also a date window placed at 4.30. This feature does feel like it’s been shoehorned in a little, but at least the date wheel is color-matched to the dial. The watch is actually available without a date function if preferred. (In all honesty, if you don’t need a watch that tells you the date, we’d probably dispense with this feature – the dial looks much cleaner and more balanced without it).
With a 38mm case, the Nodus Sector Field is squarely within classic field watch dimensions. It measures 47mm lug-to-lug, so it looks relatively compact on the wrist. The chunky crown sticks out a bit, but on the flipside is easy to unscrew and wind or adjust – a plus for practicality. At 12.5mm thick, the watch is fairly chunky, but still slides neatly under shirt cuffs or jacket sleeves. It also has a bit of heft, especially when worn on the steel bracelet, but overall feels wearable and well-proportioned.
Depending on whether you opt for the date or no-date version of the watch, the Nodus Sector Field is powered by either a NH35 or NH38 automatic movement. Both are 24-jewel, 21,600bph calibers built by Japanese watch giant Seiko. They are known for being reliable, relatively inexpensive to maintain and use Seiko’s proprietary Diashock protection system.
Both movements hack, which means the seconds hand stops when you pull the crown out for precise time setting. They can also be hand-wound, so you can use the crown to wind the mainspring in addition to charging it via natural hand movement, just like any other automatic watch. Lastly, they have a decent power reserve of up to 41 hours.
Nodus have also taken the trouble to regulate every watch movement they use, too. This typically takes the accuracy from Seiko’s standard factory tolerances of between -20s and +40 seconds per day to within -10s/+10 seconds per day. That’s a level of attention to detail that you don’t get from most small watch brands – or even some larger ones.
Nodus Sector Field: on the trails
The Sector Field is almost too pretty to feel like the sort of watch you want to take into the great outdoors. But it nails the fundamental essentials of a field watch: namely easy, instant readability in all situations and scenarios, even from acute angles or in dim light.
Hour numerals are printed in crisp white, and a smaller 24-hour inner track nods to this watch’s military inspirations. The hour and minute hands are painted matte white and fully lumed, with a broad baton shape that tapers to a sharp point. The seconds hand is a classic arrow pointer in powder blue with a lumed tip, extending all the way to the edge of the dial for maximum precision. Hands and indices are liberally coated in Swiss Super-LumiNova T-C1 X1 grade luminescent paint that has an attractive blue glow. It’s thick-printed for a 3D effect, but this also has the benefit of boosting performance in low-light conditions. It glows brightly and distinctly, with good duration.
The watch also has a screw-down crown and case back, giving the Sector Field a water resistance of 100 meters or 300 feet. That’s a good rating for a field watch, and means you could happily do some wild swimming, canoeing or kayaking with this on your wrist and not worry about water ingress or damage.
Unusually, it comes on a sturdy steel bracelet – more common on dive watches than field watches. The links have a blasted finish and are easy to adjust or size, while the button release clasp has three micro-adjustments for a decent fit. The bracelet also uses quick release springbars that fit into the drilled lugs. That makes it easy to swap out if you prefer a classic leather watch band or a nylon NATO, which might be more fitting for a field watch.
Changing the band would eliminate one slight drawback of the bracelet too, which is purely aesthetic – there’s a pronounced step at the end links, where they meet the lugs. It doesn’t affect functionality or comfort, but it does look a bit awkward.
An outdoors writer and editor, Matt Jones has been testing kit in the field for nearly a decade. Having worked for both the Ramblers and the Scouts, he knows one or two things about walking and camping, and loves all things adventure, particularly long-distance backpacking, wild camping and climbing mountains – especially in Wales. He’s based in Snowdonia and last year thru-hiked the Cambrian Way, which runs for 298 miles from Cardiff to Conwy, with a total ascent of 73,700 feet – that’s nearly 2½ times the height of Everest. Follow Matt on Instagram and Twitter.