Published by Joshua Clare-Flagg on 25 Jun, 2020.


There’s something you should know: Nth watches have a reputation for having class-leading cases and bezels in their price range. You might think to yourself “why is that so impressive?” – but once we go through this review of the Näcken & Tikuna, you’ll see why this is such a great feat.

These two models are very similar in construction – the differences being the dial and bezel insert, and both pose different questions. Whilst both boast vintage vibes; you may prefer the slightly more traditional vintage Tudor snowflake sub influence of the Näcken, or the slightly more out-there Tikuna – which takes inspiration from vintage UG Polerouters, the Longines Legend Diver, and some other vaguely sci-fi-looking stuff from the ’70s.

Whilst which one you prefer is down to personal choice, one thing’s for sure – these are built to last, in a beautiful manner. Let’s check them out.

The specs

The video review

The case

First thing’s first – the size of these cases fit so well on the wrist. Not only is 40mm a real sweet spot for vintage-inspired divers, but also the slender height of 11.5mm is a joy to have strapped on. Divers (especially those rated over 200m) so often measure over 12mm, and you’ll be surprised the difference just the smallest amount makes.

The shape is a lean barrel, with down-turned lug tips which hug the wrist well. The finishing is spotless and rivals watches much more than the Nth subs; it’s primarily brushed with a polished ridge along the top and bottom edges. The drilled-through lugs offer quick and painless strap removal, as well as a vintage vibe.

The watches are loaded with a smooth 120-click uni-directional bezel, which is a joy to use. All of the inserts are either DLC or PVD; if it’s black or some shade of dark grey, it’s DLC. Otherwise, it’s PVD. In either case, Chris informs me it’s the thickest (and highest quality) application Nth can get. The toothed grip of the bezel is stupendously machined: clean, crisp edges and perfect finishing.

The crown is another lovely aspect of the case. It has the Nth logo deeply set within the end – and yep – it’s lumed. The lack of crown guards is another vintage nod. The shape is on the flat side, which sits neat and flush to the case; a good thing as there are no crown guards present. It has great grip, has a smooth thread, and feels solid in the hand.

The screw-in caseback is a simple, no-frills affair – polished outer ridge surrounding a brushed flat disc, with the logo and 3 specifics rotating around the centre.

The double domed sapphire crystal provides a clear view of the dial at even the sharpest angles. Whilst it does have an anti-reflective coating, it is still a little bit reflective.

The dial(s)

This is clearly the primary difference between these two watches.

The Näcken is a “safer” option, taking clear cues from Tudor’s snowflake sub. The traditional snowflake hands and the accompanying hour markers are a tried and tested design which works great.

I love the textured base of the dial, which catches the light so gently and peacefully. I’m also a sucker for a date window at 6, as it keeps the dial symmetrical. The gentle border around the window is neatly executed and is a subtle addition.

Whilst the Näcken can be classed a bit of an homage; the Tikuna, on the other hand, is certainly more out-there with a unique style. If you check out vintage UG Polerouters and the Longines Legend Diver, you’ll see the inspiration. Chris’s description of “and some other vaguely sci-fi-looking stuff from the 70’s” fits well; whether it’s the red lines, unusual hands, or extravagant hour markers, there’s something about it that takes you back 50 years.

The strength of the Superluminova lume is unreal. I asked Chris Vail how and why it’s so darn good, and he said it’s simple: a good application makes a big difference, and that’s plain to see here. It’s so fast to charge, glows so bright, and lasts all night, despite being a type of lume that sounds many other brands use.

Legibility is therefore excellent: not only due to the bold designs but the lume strength too.

The bracelet

Whilst the build quality of the bracelet is precise, visually I feel I would have preferred the width of the central link to be wider, with thinner outer links. However, that’s my personal preference, and it won’t stop me from wearing the watch. The bracelet is 20mm wide at the lugs, tapering down to 18mm at the clasp which fits well on the wrist.

The finishing of the bracelet is completely brushed, which will hold up valiantly against scratches. The side profile of each link is sort of grain of rice-shaped; which means it’s soft and comfortable on the wrist as it moulds around it.

The fully brushed double-locking diver’s clasp is sturdy and reassuringly secure. The angular top flap features the Nth logo neatly engraved, and 6 micro-adjustment positions ensure you can get a perfect fit.

The movement

The movement powering the Nth Näcken and Tikuna is the prevalent Miyota 9015. It seems to be the go-to movement for non-Swiss brands who want an affordable decent high-beat automatic. There’s little wonder too, as they are consistent, solidly dependable, and boast all the same specs as the ETA or Sellita equivalent.

They’re a bit ugly, but that’s not an issue here due to the closed casebacks.

The specs are as follows: a high beat rate of 28.8k bph (8 ticks a second), 42 hours power reserve, 24 jewels, hacking seconds, as well as hand and automatic winding capabilities.

Final comments

In the outset, I eluded to the quality of the Nth subs cases. Whilst some may shrug it off, the quality of the case, bezel, and crown are genuinely class-leading. Beautiful construction and finishing to rival watches costing much more, as well as insane lume which is also some of the best I’ve seen on a microbrand make the Nth Näcken & Tikuna the real-deal: a serious diver that’s built to last. This is exemplified when you consider the impressive 2-year warranty and 6+6 guarantee (6 weeks to return watches for a full refund, net of shipping costs; and guarantees the movement for 6 years from the watch’s date of production).

The Näcken is the safer choice, whilst the Tikuna is a more unmistakable design. Either way, you’re sure to get a superb watch that will last.

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