Nodus is a relatively new brand that has quickly made a name for itself. With a passionate focus on creating increasingly better products, the Los Angeles-based brand has gained a dedicated following. We covered multiple prior Nodus releases that show great design versatility. It makes it interesting to follow the brand’s journey. With the new Contrail GMT, the third generation of the Contrail line, Nodus has created a series of traveler’s watches that immediately piqued my interest. A modern flyer-style GMT in a relatively slim case for well under €1,000 — what’s not to like?

Nodus has been around since 2017, but I first discovered the brand in 2022 when Dave wrote an article about the Avalon II dive watch. As Dave had already mentioned back then, the quality of the case and the bracelet production made the watch stand out. Vincent’s reviews of the Sector Deep, Sector GMT, and Unity models further confirmed this quality focus. What stood out for me is that Nodus is not scared to change the designs of its watches. I loved seeing the Sector Deep with its blue dial, and the new Contrail GMT series is right up my alley. With some major improvements, the new Contrail GMT immediately ranks among the best affordable GMT watches.

Nodus Contrail GMT lineup

The Nodus Contrail GMT presents familiar vibes

Let’s kick things off with the design of the Contrail GMT. The first stylistic reference that immediately pops up is Grand Seiko’s line of GMTs in the Sport collection. We have reviewed the SBGJ237 and the SBGJ239 from that series in the past. For this year’s Watches and Wonders, I wrote about the SBGJ277, the latest addition to that lineup. So, are the visual links a bad thing? Not if you ask me. I love that Grand Seiko series a lot. On top of that, Nodus offers four Contrail GMT models that present a similar aesthetic in a better size and at a different price point. So I was happy to find out more.

Nodus Contrail GMT Polaris

The four Contrail GMT models have a redesigned stainless steel case measuring 40.5mm in diameter, 11.8mm thick (including the domed crystal), 46.6mm from tip to tip, and 20mm between the lugs. This watch is 1mm wider than the second-generation three-hand Contrail, which housed the Miyota 9015. However, despite the 1.02mm-thicker GMT movement inside, Nodus managed to make the new Contrail 0.8mm slimmer. It is also water resistant to 200 meters and offers a bidirectional 48-click bezel with a luminous 24-hour insert made of sapphire crystal. These two features also link to the Grand Seiko models, but the bezel, in particular, is a detail that I adore. It’s one of those visual party tricks that also serves a practical purpose.

Four different Contrail GMT models with distinct character

Nodus has created four different versions that all have a distinct charm. The brand used three different dial textures, and all models feature dials with applied indices and a date of 6 o’clock. The first model is the Polaris, which comes with a blue-accented matte white dial and a black and white GMT bezel.

The second is the Impulse, which has a yellow-accented blue sunburst dial and a blue and white bezel insert. Both these models feel crisp and super clean. A detail that stands out immediately is the 24-hour GMT hand. The tip’s chevron design is based on half of the Nodus brand logo.

The third and fourth models have a similar sand-textured dial. The first is the Laguna, bearing a red-accented sand-colored dial and a black and gray bezel insert. The dark gray color makes it hard to see a difference, but there is one. Lastly, the Terra has a black dial with red accents, but it offers a black-and-white bezel insert, just like the Polaris.

These two last dial variants are back by popular demand, and I understand why. Both offer an aesthetic that steps away from the familiar visual references. But there is more to the story than just the dial and bezel colors. You will see intricate design details if you zoom in on each dial.

A lot of intricate details on the dial

First off, the date discs are color-matched with the dial colors. The date color is also printed in the accent color used for the dial and GMT hand. Another detail that stood out immediately is the 24-hour scale on the rehaut of the dial. While there is a 24-hour scale on the bezel insert, this additional scale adds more practicality, allowing the wearer to track three time zones at once. It’s a clever detail that makes the design even better.

The indices and hands are filled with white BGW9 Super-LumiNova, which lights up blue in the dark. Combined with the luminous sapphire bezel insert, the watch is easy to read in darker conditions. I love that Nodus went to great lengths to develop four designs that all look different but share the same eye for detail.

The Miyota caliber 9075 powers the Contrail GMT

Hidden behind the steel case back is the popular Miyota 9075 movement. This affordable movement has quickly become the most popular choice for a GMT caliber among small brands. As a flyer-style GMT movement, it offers the practicality of an independently adjustable 12-hour hand for the local time. This makes the watch especially useful when traveling. Since the hand adjusts in one-hour increments without stopping the seconds hand, adjusting the time to your destination takes just a few seconds. The automatic movement operates at 28,800vph, has 24 jewels, and offers a 42-hour power reserve.

As you can see, the movement has rather basic finishing, but it offers the much-wanted flyer function that many watch fans love. Consequently, it is a go-to movement for many brands. While I always stated that if a GMT looks amazing, I could do without the flyer-style movement, with the increasing number of brands offering one, it gets harder and harder to ignore.

A flat-link bracelet with the NodeX adjustable clasp

Whereas the previous Contrail had a softer-looking H-link bracelet, these four new watches each have a three-row flat-link bracelet with the brand’s NodeX adjustable clasp. It offers a 10mm adjustment, and the proprietary NodeX module ensures that finding the perfect fit is as easy as pushing a button. On top of that, the bracelet tapers nicely from 20mm to 16mm and features screws for easy sizing. The quick-release spring bars also make switching from the bracelet to a strap easy.

It is a super functional bracelet with a predominantly brushed finish. Only the angled edges of the links feature a polished finish for some visual delight. While I haven’t seen the bracelet in real life, it seems like a great fit for the watch, and it comes fitted with all that you need from a modern bracelet in terms of practicality.

Final thoughts on the updated Nodus Contrail GMT series

These new and improved Nodus Contrail GMT models seem like a complete package. They offer everything you could need from a modern GMT, from the updated, slimmer case to the flyer-style movement and a greatly practical bracelet. On top of that, each of the four models has a particular charm.

I like the two sand-grained dials the best, with the black variant being my slight favorite. At US$825, these new Nodus Contrail GMTs stand out in a competitive market. With a growing number of affordable great offerings from different smaller brands, there is some tough competition.

But I do not doubt these new Nodus GMTs will find their way to fans quickly. Since 2017, the brand has focused on constantly improving its watches, and the new Contrail GMT is the perfect proof of that. I can’t wait to learn more about these watches in a hands-on review. These new Nodus Contrail GMTs seem to be among the most aesthetically pleasing offerings for the money, which is a great achievement in an age when we have more options than ever.

All four Nodus Contrail GMT models are now available on the brand’s official website. Let us know what you think of these new watches in the comments below.

Watch specifications

Contrail GMT
White with blue accents (Polaris), sunburst blue with yellow accents (Impulse), grainy sand tone with red accents (Laguna), or grainy black with red accents (Terra), all with luminous applied indices
Case Material
Stainless steel with sapphire bezel insert
Case Dimensions
40.5mm (diameter) × 46.6mm (lug-to-lug) × 11.8mm (thickness)
Domed sapphire with blue antireflective coating on underside
Case Back
Stainless steel, screw-in
Miyota 9075: automatic GMT caliber with manual winding, 28,800vph frequency, 42-hour power reserve, 24 jewels, hacking seconds
Water Resistance
200m (20 ATM)
Stainless steel flat-link bracelet (20/16mm width) with micro-adjustable NodeX push-button clasp
Time + flyer GMT (12-hour hand with independent adjustment, minutes, seconds, 24-hour hand), date, 24-hour GMT rehaut and bezel