We are back with another interview and this time we are interviewing the founder of Nodus Watches. They are a young watch brand, started in 2017 by Wes K and Cullen C. Do read our ‘A Moment with’ with the founder DWISS, if you have missed it.
What is Nodus as a brand? What does it stand for?
Nodus means “intersection” in Latin – and it represents what we stand for as people and as a brand. We believe that people should pursue their passions and do the things they love to do because it is what makes us uniquely human. The name Nodus represents the roads that cross, tangle, and merge in life: the experiences you have, the passions you embrace, the ambitions you chase – where those pathways intersect ultimately defines who you are. In a world where credentials mean everything and peoples’ passions are suppressed, we want people to embrace the passions that drive their ambition the same way we have since we were young. Our watches are designed to accompany their wearers in pursuing their passions, hobbies, and the things they do because they want to – not because they have to. Nodus is about steering the direction of your own life, rather than sitting back and letting life happen to you.
What is your vision for Nodus Watches?
One of our goals is to create a community of Nodus collectors that relate with each other beyond just watches. We want our wearers to embrace who they are and chase whatever passions pull at them – to be completely unapologetic about who they are and what makes them tick (pun intended). We will never stop pushing the boundaries of our design and manufacturing capabilities, and we will slowly bring more operations in house to have more control over our processes. We hope to reach a point where we enable and inspire more watch designers to bring their creations to life. The team is growing, more watches are being made, and more designs are in the pipeline – these are all stepping stones to achieving our goal of inspiring the world to pursue their passions.
What makes Nodus watches different?
Nodus has become an integral part of the watch enthusiast community, which gives us an advantage in designing around enthusiasts needs and tastes rather than trying to steer them towards our design tendencies. Rather than attempting to “sell” the enthusiasts on our brand and watches, we simply design around the conversations that are being had in marketplaces such as Instagram, forums, Facebook groups, and press. Historically, watch companies have always been significantly distanced from their market, and as a result, their incentives were never fully aligned with their consumer. To us, good business is less about making hefty profits but more about aligning our incentives with the market needs – that is to say we do what they ask for and have their back if things go wrong.
Designing around manufacturing limitations has proven to be a frustrating and limiting process, so having a disintermediated approach to our supply chain has given us more flexibility to push our capabilities. Being so close to the source allows us to be innovative in manufacturing and design.
Which is your favourite Nodus watch and why?
This might be the hardest question we’ve been asked, because each watch is designed around specific needs and each one has a time and place. If I had to pick, the Contrail is probably my personal favorite, mostly because I am an avid traveller and am on the road more often than I am in our home town of LA. This year alone, I’ve only been in LA for about a month, and the rest of the time has been spent around Europe and Asia. As I mentioned earlier, a large pillar of our brand is community so we like to go around the world to throw parties and host meet-ups for local watch enthusiast communities. The Contrail and its 12 hour travel bezel make for a quick and easy timezone tracker, especially when I am going through multiple time zones in quick succession. However, the most important Nodus design is probably the Avalon, as it signified a huge step forward as far as our capabilities are concerned. The fully-CNC’d case was something that is usually reserved for larger brands with access to more capital, as it requires a relatively high-level of expertise to engineer and finish.
What has been your best day at Nodus watches so far?
This entire journey is filled with amazing days, but the one that stands out is the day we launched. My co-founder and life-long friend, Cullen, and I were sitting in my dining room late at night, putting the final tweaks onto the website before publishing it. We hit “publish,” not expecting too much, but within a couple of minutes of publishing, we got our first order. I still remember seeing the notification pop up on my phone, and to this day I still remember his name and where he lives. I think that the reason it is such a memorable moment for me is because for the first time, someone had wanted something we created together and was willing to put their hard-earned cash towards it. It showed me that we were really creating value for someone and that all of a sudden, Nodus was bigger than just two guys making watches.
Are you a creator, inventor or entrepreneur?
Of the three, probably leaning towards “creator”.
What is the future for Nodus Watches?
This year, we have had one launch so far and have at least another three, with the option for a fourth. We feel comfortable with somewhere between four and five launches – either a restock, reissue or a totally new model – per year, so we will likely continue that trend for the next 3-5 years. We intend on introducing higher end models using Swiss movements – perhaps a GMT or chronograph. We will also be doing more tours (once the world opens up again) and hosting more events in collaboration with other brands.
What advice do you have for people wanting to start their own watch brand?
1) Figure out why you want to do this before you take the plunge. Having the motivation to keep going – especially when times get tough – can really only come from a place of genuine and deeply rooted passion, and that cannot be manufactured or faked. If you don’t love watches and what they stand for, the work will become painful.
2) Get to know the process of designing and manufacturing a watch. Once you understand the technicalities, you’ll have a better understanding of how to design and what you can and cannot do. You might not be a technically trained engineer, but you should get familiar with the process in order to communicate your vision.
3) Find a mentor. He or she does not necessarily have to be in the watch industry, and you don’t even need to have just one – but having a mentor is highly underrated. You need someone who you can bounce ideas off of, someone who has gone through problems so that you don’t have to, and someone who can keep you motivated when things get hard.
What are your views on upcoming micro watch brands?
I have respect for anyone who tries to start their own thing. As I mentioned, starting is the hardest part. I do tend to lean more towards brands that have a clear identity and align their incentives with customers – maybe it’s the enthusiast / collector in me. For example, one of my favorite brands is Monta because they are really pushing the envelope for independent watch brands. While many enthusiasts don’t know it yet, their work is pushing the bar higher for all brands – including the larger ones – ensuring the stability and sustainability of the watch industry. Brew, Raven and MKII are great examples of brands that put the customer first as well, and with a hobby like watches, the community is really what it is all about. Those are all well established brands, though. Admittedly, I haven’t been as “industry-aware” as I’d like to be as things have gotten insanely busy in the past year, but one new brand that has really captured my attention lately is Dryden. I got a chance to see their upcoming diver, and man, is it sweet. Collins is also doing some pretty cool stuff.
This was our interview with the founder of Nodus Watches. We would like to thank Wes K for such a detailed interview and for spending his time answering the questions. We always love the part where they give advice to upcoming brand and it always interesting and great to see different advises. We also hope to see a GMT Nodus watch because it will look stunning!
Do visit Nodus Watches to see their full range and do keep an eye out for your review of a Nodus Watch very soon.