This is an archived review from Watch Thoughts. To read all of Tony Villa's reviews (highly recommended) you can see them listed here.
CATEGORY: Watch I have been loaned for review
Being a “fan” of anything can be considered something of a personality quirk. Not a bad thing, but a part of your psyche.
Some people ask me why I would spend so much on a certain watch, why I have so many watches at all and why do I keep looking for more?
I simply reply with the fact that some people see millions of pounds in Ming Vases. I just see something to put flowers in. It’s horses for courses as the saying goes, it’s what floats your boat, bakes your cakes etc.
But like with life in general, once you get a “hit”, you want more. You start off with a cheap watch and like it, so you treat yourself to another, then you start going upmarket, then it becomes compulsive to search out more, see what others are wearing, post your pics online and before you know it you’re an addict. And as such, you keep looking for better “highs”.
Lately I’ve been getting watches and the “honeymoon” period just hasn’t been happening. I sometimes wonder whether I’ve really got all the watches I’m ever going to need, or whether I need to just go upmarket. Save more. Get the “grail” pieces I lust after. I’m just not getting the kick I crave, unless something is really different about a piece.
Manufacturers are trying to up the ante lately. I’ve never seen a Zelos Hammerhead in the flesh, but I like the looks of those. The H2Os look good too. I tried on a two tone Datejust II recently and really liked it. Maybe I’m getting old, but I think these watches would stand out on my wrist. Really look different. Give me a kick that my last few purchases have been missing.
Then this Nodus Trieste turns up. I open the plywood box and look at the watch.
It looks conventional. It doesn’t have anything that made me go “Wow! Look at this thing.” It looked boring. Simple as that.
But, I aim to give anyone who sends me a watch to look at a good crack of the whip, so although the watch didn’t excite me, I was going to wear it for a business trip so I could give it a fair appraisal.
Anyway, here’s the specs for the watch:
- 316L stainless steel case
- 41mm width | 13mm thickness | 50mm lug-to-lug | 20mm lug width
- Swiss STP1-11 or Seiko (SII) NH35A movement (regulated in four positions)
- Sapphire crystal | Double-domed with blue AR on underside
- Sapphire bezel insert | 120-click uni-directional bezel
- SuperLuminova BGW-9 (blue) lume
- 200m / 660ft water-resistance
- Steel bracelet with screw-in links and flip-lock clasp
- 24-month warranty – First 50 purchases get a 36 month warranty
- Wood packaging box, pine, charred finish
- Branded microfiber cleaning cloth
- Warranty/Regulation card
Wesley Kwok, one of the founders comes across as a really nice guy. When asking about the Trieste he was at pains to stress the following:
“Like many other micro brands, all our watches are manufactured in Asia. We receive the watches, which are then completely disassembled for a full inspection, regulation, and re-assembly. Any rejected parts will be discarded or used on samples/future prototypes. This allows us to really keep an eye on the granular details of each watch. We regulate to 4 positions, as you will see on the regulation/warranty card that comes with your watch. For the NH35A, we aim for a -/+10s per day while for the STP1-11 movement, which you have in your hands, we aim for a -/+5s per day in each position. Usually that means even more accuracy while on the wrist. So yes, final assembly does in fact take place in the US. Naturally, some faulty pieces may slip by, especially if the issues only arise after prolonged use, which is why we offer a 2-year warranty (3 years for the first 50 orders). In addition to the additional year of warranty for the first 50 orders, we are also offer a 10% discount coupon with the first 50 orders.
We are based in Los Angeles, where all our inspection and assembly takes place.”
Ok, that’s good. Indeed, I like to think that I may have had a little influence here as my Ensigns were the first watches I knew that included a QC card and timing. Ok, the timings here aren’t a watch grapher output like mine were, but they are doing them in many positions and they are accurate to me.
Indeed, look closer and you’ll see that the case, dial and hands are really well finished. No rough edges. No misalignment.
I really like the hands, they go fat to thin and almost look like baseball bats.
The face looks more Blancpain than Rolex. The writing is small and subtle.
The case is nicely finished, although it is nothing new in its style. Mostly brushed but with polished edges.
The bezel is really nice. I’m really liking the trend towards lumed sapphire bezels and indeed, this has a nice movement, no slop and lines up bang on. The QC’ing is showing through here.
The crown is laser engraved, I’ll be honest, it’s not the smoothest movement for setting and screwing back down, but it could well be because this prototype has done the rounds before it got to me.
The case is slender, the lugs only 20mm. I think elegant is the word, as it looks good on my 7 3/4″ wrist, but also good on smaller wrists.
But then we get to the bracelet.
On the plus side it has screw in pins, but I had to tighten them all when I got it as some were loose. But it’s another generic oyster style.
The SELs look like they need a bit more definition. They look a bit “faded” when compared to the rest of the strap links, but they are tight.
The clasp is a letdown. I had to adjust it to stop it opening by itself and the flip over clasp keeps popping open. It’s held in place by some bearings which are spring loaded and seemingly not loaded enough.
The caseback has decent enough engraving. I’m not sure what the logo is, but it is competently done. You know I’m not a caseback fan.
The lume is what C3 does. I’ve given up on lume shots as it’s obvious that I can’t really do them any justice…
There are 2 movements available. The venerable NH35 at $350 and the STP 1-11 at $500. The STP is in this version I’ve been loaned, but there’s no way of knowing by just looking at the watch.
There are 3 different bezel styles, the burgundy like I was loaned, a blue and a black.
If I was buying one myself, the black with a date (natch, and I like the fact it’s a black date wheel with white text) would be my choice.
So, I wasn’t blown away, but forced myself to wear it, to be fair to it.
And here’s the thing. Like I said earlier, I keep looking for a “buzz” a “charge” when I get a new watch. I want it to blow me away. Be better than the last one which is now consigned to the watch box. Post it around and get lots of “likes”. Just like going faster and faster in a car, we as humans are never satisfied with what came before and want more.
And sometimes in doing so, we miss the whole point.
This watch isn’t showy. It’s not meant to be.
Sometimes you don’t want that Hawaiian shirt, sometimes you just want a navy blue Polo.
After the initial disappointment, it’s quiet demeanor appealed more. It’s really well made. It’s subtle and well finished. It’s QCd so well and everything works as it should. It’s unassuming. Like I’d rather be chauffeured in a black S Class Merc than some limousine, the Trieste just does what it does well and without showing off.
And here lies it’s appeal. It does look good, it is well made and can be worn with anything. But with 200m WR, a lovely flat sapphire crystal and bezel and screwdown crown, I’m sure it could take a beating and yet it just sits there, smartly, on your wrist not shouting “Look at me” but rather “You carry on old chap, if you need the time, I’m right here”. And I’ve grown to like that about it and think it will always look as classy as it does now, regardless of what trends watch designs will follow in the future.
Just wish the bracelet was better.