Review: Nodus Avalon Matick Limited Edition, AVAMATICK.

Vincent

Introduction

This is my first ever microbrand in my collection, and it is the most prized piece in my collection after my Alpinist. When I first came across the word ‘microbrand’ as introduced to me by James Stacey’s article over at the dinks’, I did not find any logic nor reasons behind owning a microbrand watch as I was a victim to marketing prowess of our mainstream choices, and I still am to a degree. In my book, if a watch from a reputable international brand is pop-music, then microbrand watch is indie/alternative music.

Take the daily life of an amateur watch collector as an example, not necessarily every amateur’s daily life, but it was mine: Scrolling through Facebook and Instagram at free time, or before bed, seeing all the branded conglomerates gloriously claiming most discussed posts on these ‘horological’ Facebook groups.

“Which Seiko do you prefer? SKX007 or 009?”

“I’m new to watch collecting, any recommendation under US$200?”

“#Speedy Tuesday”        “insert watch meme here”

“Ranking watches from entry to ultra-luxury.”        “Seikos are cheap trash.”

The point is, I was not keen on having microbrand watches in my staple. That is until I was introduced to Team Matick’s Nodus AvaMatick. I knew I needed one despite my financial circumstances (again). While I wasn’t sure of jumping the gun and the hype, when the opportunity arose, I did not hold back on my thoughts on getting it.

And the rest? Went to History channel (lol) while we waited till Time Well Spent Edition 3 to receive the AvaMatick.

Nodus Watch Company

While the watch is no stranger to my followers on Instagram, I thought it would be proper to introduce the company Nodus.

Nodus is a company founded in 2017, by Wesley and Cullen in Los Angeles, California. They have been making Nodus among the best in microbrand space in the watch scene, and as partners (TMB) in making the AvaMatick happen, we are all proud of the work they have produced.

To read more about the company, their story, vision and photo of handsome boys, do visit Nodus website over here.

Also, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Cameron for joining the Nodus team. All of us here at Team Matick and Shikaiseki cannot wait to meet everyone else over at Nodus as Wesley is the only one who came over for TWS Ed.3 here in Kuala Lumpur. 

Read more about what went down during the event by clicking here, as I joined fellow Team Matick members Marshall and KC, and Wesley over from Nodus too.

The Avalon Matick Edition, AvaMatick

While the AvaMatick is no stranger to Avalon owners, and those who know about Nodus, it is still an unknown watch for the masses. 

The AvaMatick, like the rest of its Avalon brothers, is a sports/tool watch, specifically a dive watch. It’s equipped with a great size of a case, a dive time bezel that runs unidirectionally counter-clockwise, and with a great water resistance/depth rating of 300 meters. It took two years for Nodus to perfect the watch’s design. While it is heavily inspired by Seiko diver’s design, this acts as a nod and respect from one watchmaker to another for the watch community’s love for Seiko’s watch designs. 

At first glance, you will notice the watch sits on the larger side of numeral specification at 43 millimetres across, and 48 millimetres from the top to bottom, as what we call, lug-to-lug. FYI, lug-to-lug measurement is important for everyone to determine on how large the watch sits (small or large) on your wrist, and I would say the total of 48 millimetre fits “ngam-ngam” just nice on my 14.5 centimetres (<6 inches) wrist while it runs at a larger size.

The case construction is made up of 316L grade stainless steel that is a fully CNC machine produced case, and its design takes on an iconic cushion case design, popular with Seiko watches since vintage. With a cushion case at the given dimension, it was a pleasure wearing it on my although tiny wrist. While it is a large watch and one would expect the larger appearance, the magic happens when you put it on your wrist and suddenly, you will feel that it’s not about the numbered specifications but the design quality of the watch’s aesthetics that makes it feel more of a 40 millimetre. Along with the double-domed sapphire crystal on top, it only measures 12.9 millimetres thick, making it ever easier to wear it with long sleeves and jackets thanks to the curvature of the cushion case. But I would like to think aside from the case, it is the overall attribute of the watch design and construction that gave such amazing versatility with our daily outfit, whether you’re in office, out and about, summer or winter.

Side profile of the AvaMatick.

Magic.

-KC, Team Matick – @the.watchdoc on Instagram

Sits on top of the case, is a dive time bezel with ceramic insert, measuring 42 millimetres across. This is something that I am really impressed with at this price point. Ceramic bezel for a watch that costs just US$650, it just tells you how much of a value for money piece this is. Not to mention that the markers on the bezel are fully lumed with Swiss Super-Luminova C3 Grade X1, and it is heck of a good lume.

AvaMatick’s lume alongside Seiko Prospex SRP779 ‘Turtle’.

Next, onto the dial of the AvaMatick. 

I remember when I first unboxed the AvaMatick, I was greeted with this great gilt colour that just makes me smile whenever I look at it, and it still does. Compared to the vibrant colour of green and gold on my Seiko SARB017 ‘Alpinist’, the AvaMatick gives off a luxurious vintage vibe, while it stays subtle among the other watches in my collection. The logo, hour, minute, and seconds hand, along with the indices are all in its gilt glory, with the hands and indices filled with the amazing photoluminescent materials as aforementioned on the bezel. This is what sets the AvaMatick apart from the rest of its brothers, and it is the very first Nodus watch that comes with a gilt colour scheme. The surface of the dial is subtly textured, not that it is obvious that the textures pop, and the model name ‘AVALON’ can be found in red at the bottom side of the dial, along with ‘MATICK’ underneath.

Another cue of Seiko inspired design can be found here on the seconds hand. It certainly does remind me of Seiko Sumo. Apart from that, the hour and minute hand are both in the shape of less-aggressively angled broadsword hands, and I really love it as for the combination inspires me of a hardcore diver watch it is.

Photo taken on the day of unboxing at TWS Edition 3.

I really do love when the sun hits the dial of the watch. It makes the gold logo and indices shine and reflect its pride, while the black dial tones it down with its contrast, giving it a balance of lights and colour that doesn’t offend one’s eyesight with full-blown reflection and piercing light. If you ever hang out with me at golden hour with me wearing the AvaMatick, you might catch a glance of how a watch doofus stares at his wrist and drools away. 

Flip this baby over on its butt, you will find an engraving of a sword in the middle of a solid case back, along a few differences compared to its brothers. That is the Excalibur that belongs to King Arthur, and the name of the watch, Avalon, is where the Excalibur was forged. You will find extra laser engravings of ‘Nodus X The Matick Blog’ (Fun fact: The writings of ‘The Matick Blog’ here is actual writings that Marshall made practices to perfect its look for the engraving.), and Team Matick’s events’ signature slogan: Time Well Spent, Life Well Lived. A memento for all members of the community that Team Matick has built over the years. You will find some extra line underneath: Limited #XX/30.

Yes, you have guessed it right. This is a limited-edition release to only 30 pieces worldwide, while sticking at its original price of US$650. I got mine as #26 here.

What’s more?

For owners of the AvaMatick, it comes with a solid bracelet that I have no complaints about. It is 20 millimetre of lug width and it tapers down to 18 millimetres, making the vintage aesthetic prominent and extremely wearable. The clasp has a generous amount of micro-adjustments so you can have great flexibility of changing the size, and it helps with accommodating more wrist sizes, especially if yours is as tiny as my wrist.

Stock bracelet + Barton’s Elite Silicone

For Malaysian owners though, we got an extra Barton’s Elite Silicone strap in the box, which is the first time for me to own a great quality silicone strap other than the Seiko’s diver straps. It comes with two lengths, both short and long to accommodate the owner’s preference of strap length. The strap comes with an extra hole punch at the end to help secure the second rubber piece that has a rubber block underneath with the strap in place. Great quality and thoughtfully designed by Barton.

The beating heart, the movement

Like the brothers of AvaMatick, it comes equipped with a high-grade, hi-beat, no date Miyota 9039 beating inside. With the hi-beat counts at 28,800 vibrations per hour, the seconds hand sweeps away smoothly, giving the overall solid and pleasing flow of motion and adds more aesthetically pleasing details to the AvaMatick.

Sweeping seconds hand of the AvaMatick. Hand mad shaky.

For those who are unfamiliar with the movement, it is Japanese-made by Miyota Movement, a Citizen Watch Co., Ltd-owned movement manufacturing company. While the company does supply a lot of cheaper quartz movement to a lot of fashion brands out there, they do make amazingly well built movement to compete with their Swiss and Japanese Domestic counterparts such as the Swiss made ETA-2800 series, and the highly reliable Seiko calibres such as the NH35s that beats although at slightly lower vibrations count for a trade-off of longevity.

Let us not forget that Citizen Watch too, owns Swiss watchmaking brands which some of you out there are familiar with, such as Frederique Constant and Arnold & Son. With that it is possible that Citizen acquire the technologies and skills needed for them to compete with their Swiss competitors.

With a higher beat count, the movement will be much aligned to its accuracy reported on specification, and better rate of accuracy in time keeping. But our friends at Nodus took these watch movements with extra care, taking it to the next level which we rarely see out of manufacture. Nodus regulates these movements to 4 positions and allows it to perform at an excellent accuracy that my AvaMatick here measures within ±2 to 8 seconds per day. While it is no Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC) level of precision of ±4 to 6 seconds per day, it’s the effort of making the watch much more accurate than out-of-factory accuracy that makes us owners appreciate the work and care of Nodus for their watches.

Wearing the AvaMatick

As I write this, Malaysia like most of the country that are responsible for their citizens, is currently under Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) as a country-wide lockdown in light of the pandemic COVID-19, so half of its wrist time is at home. Prior to the CMCO, I was wearing it proudly on my wrist whenever I go out for the night, or to have meals with my extended family members and business partners. I have worn it proud since TWS Edition 3. 

Photo taken after unboxing and adjusted bracelet at TWS Edition 3.

Wearing the AvaMatick feels great. It wears nicely on my wrist, at the ‘ngam-ngam’ size (just nice for a size). I enjoyed all the moments of wearing. From having to wind it up, to swapping out straps for different comfort and occasions. It was those moments of wearing it under the sunset, driving home after work that makes me smile while looking at how AvaMatick plays with sunlight.

One extra thing that I find it truly enjoyable is, not having to change the date.

“Yo Vincent what blasphemy is this?”

Boy it is such a breeze to adjust only the time. It’s a pain to adjust the date of any watch. It was the experience that made me feel slightly annoyed and by default for that, I gravitated towards no date watches and appreciated quartz watches more. Also, that one bimonthly day that every mechanical/quartz analogue watch owner, except for perpetual calendar watches, needed to adjust from 31 to 1.

Wearing the AvaMatick on Dials&Strap’s premium slim seatbelt NATO

Anyone could argue that a “true” watch collector will appreciate these moments with the watch. But please pardon me for not finding nor spark joy in adjusting the date. I do find more joy in bok choy instead (pardon my lame pun attempt), especially when you have multiple watches and no time because of excuses.

<insert Vincent is not a true watch collector bullshit here>

The AvaMatick definitely is a comfortable watch to wear. I do find it much more comfortable on the Barton Elite Silicone strap than the bracelet under this Malaysian sky, as I am permanently back in this tropical homeland greeted with this hot and humid ass-sweating weather. *Hit me up to watch meet-ups when COVID-19 went to hell though.* 

It hits the same node as the Alpinist that I enjoyed so much despite the larger case size and 0.9 millimetres thicker than the Alpinist. It slowly became my staple of a watch to wear. With the AvaMatick, I do not worry much about my wardrobe selections too as the subtle bling with the gilt compliments any choice of apparel that I chose for the day, while I do find it better on pastel colour outfit.

In some of my shots here, the AvaMatick is paired with Dials&Straps’s premium slim seatbelt Nato strap, in sand colour. With some Nato, it can sit real thick, hence I would recommend anyone with an Avalon to go with a single pass, or something like this thin Nato that I have. They’re currently doing a massive sale so do check them out to snatch some value out of it. Link here.

The downs of AvaMatick

Of course, a review is not going to be complete without a little rant. The watch itself while it is a solid, hefty piece of work, I then discovered that the bezel after a week on my AvaMatick is slightly wiggly that it rocks up and down when the watch is placed flat. Not entirely sure of what’s happening, but I might have to check. 

For Seiko owners too, might love/hate this watch instantly because of the vintage Seiko design cues that it possesses with the seconds hand and case shape resembles multiple different vintage and modern Seiko diver. Personally, I find no problem with them but rather it is a plus for me, but it might tick off some Seiko evangelists already triggered mental state.

As much as I don’t like adjusting the date on any watch, the lack of date complication has brought up the first world problem of needing to mouse hovering over my PC’s time for the date, and whipping out my iPhone from my pocket.

Of course for me, except the aforementioned first world problem, this does not affect my day to day use, from performing heavy lifting wood-works, to desk diving in my office, the watch held up fine as I’m taking great care of it. 

Stories with the AvaMatick

I remember when I first met @feedthewrist with this watch. Seeing his reaction on AvaMatick tells me that the team of people that got together and made this happen is amazing. His view is totally aligned with mine when both of us have yet to see the watch in person where we think that the watch looks kiddy in photos. But when we both finally are able to see it in person, our reaction is nothing but in awe, appreciating the build and details of the watch. Funny how looking at something in flesh can change a person’s mind instantaneously. 

I remember when my best mate @complicatedthymes that I used to live with back in Melbourne got an AvaMatick without my knowledge, trying to give a surprise on the purchase but only got exposed by Marshall breaking the news to me. I was filled with joy with support from a dear friend towards Team Matick, Team Nodus, and of course, for the watch itself. 

I remember the friendships made along the way of making AvaMatick happen. How everyone has enjoyed their time and bond over watches at Time Well Spent Edition 3 event. How a watch can break boundaries between two individuals from being complete strangers to each other, to friends with common interests, and for some, lifelong best friends.

It’s like Koss headphones, you won’t believe how good it is until you’ve tried it.

These little stories that originate from one watch has ultimately built a community with no boundaries and discrimination around it. It transcends from being a solid block of metal with parts in its gut, to a bond forming matter for anyone that comes in contact with it.

And this is what Team Matick, and I believe, not only has made the AvaMatick special in every way, but their owners proud, too.

Would like to thank Marshall for his vision and mission that has made this happen, as well as everyone involved.

Team Matick + Wes (in light blue) from Nodus

Closing the review

With everything above said, just like my Alpinist review on The Matick Blog, I have all my reasons to love the AvaMatick. I think for its great size of a diver, along with the CNC machined case makes it almost flawless, the hefty body weight that feels great in hand with both bracelet or silicone bands on it, and its gilt that makes it hell of a looker. The overall of the watch with the price tag of US$650, is definitely well worth the price with a higher-grade movement. 

Disregard the fact that I’m a part of Team Matick, and this is a limited edition release of a collaboration between Nodus and us, I do think that the US$650 used in this acquisition is well worth it with what it brings with its paper specifications, and its performance as a tool and sports watch.

While it is impossible for anyone to buy the AvaMatick, at the time of writing, the Avalon has been phased out of production, and Nodus is expecting to make a comeback with Avalon II in between the time frame of late this year 2020 to early 2021.

Verdict? Sit back, and keep your eyes peeled for the next flagship Avalon II with upgrades from the Avalon, or their Contrail II if you are looking for something that is not a diver.

For friendships across borders and watches,
Vincent

To find out more about Nodus Avalon and the upcoming Avalon II, click here.

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