Searching for the ideal NTH watch that won’t break the bank? Sure, there are many horological contenders around such as Seiko and Citizen. But for under a thousand bucks, have you considered NTH as a value friendly timepiece?
In five short years, they have come a long way. Placing emphasis on a “vintage vibe,” they are delivering some of the most design friendly recreation and dive watches around. Their subs category is fit to adorn any collection. Less than 12mm thick, there are 30 plus models available with surgical grade stainless steel, 300m water resistance and drilled lug holes meaning changing straps is a breeze.
Despite fierce competition from microbrands and mass producers like Casio and Seiko, the DevilRay also offers excellent performance and first rate design. I’m a fan of the 46mm case that you can wear effortlessly on the wrist. Perfect for amateur deep sea divers, you too can make a splash with its 500m water resistance. But for now, like Jacques Cousteau, let’s take the plunge and explore one of their impressive mid size NTH sub watches - The Näcken.
There’s no bones about the screw down crown. The color choices available are vintage black, blue or white while the 40mm case diameter features 316L brushing stainless steel and without doubt holds its own. My only complaint would be a better color selection. As thin as a rake (well almost) there's no shortage of double domed sapphire crystal which measures less than 12mm.
I like the polished beveled edges that run not only down the case but over part of the lugs. Unlike a jelly, due to the short lug length of less than 48mm, it won’t wobble in a hurry. Au contraire. This could easily replace your everyday timepiece choice with confidence. Although there’s nothing much on the actual caseback or screw down crown per se, the name is lumed up to the max ensuring a great first impression. Shout out to the popped springs that guarantees setting the time is just as simple.
So, what do I actually like about the bracelet? With excellent durability and tapering that measures 20mm , they are ideal for wrists between 6 to 6.5 inches. Both the watch, case and bracelet are made entirely from 316L stainless making it an excellent choice.
Meanwhile, removing one link, two links or a handful of these solid bracelet beauties are pretty painless. Moving ahead with the weight of the bracelet and it's quite a weighty number with not much flexing but a very satisfying closing clasp click.
The screw pins on the bracelet help with adjustment while the branding is adorned on the strongest part of this bracelet. Don’t forget the locking mechanism and the simple release that can be pushed at the side. If you really want a truly luxury experience, here’s a link that won’t let you down. For around $150, they provide an attractive beads of rice bracelet.
Designed to fit different types of sub category, this bold bracelet is spot on and fitted with solid end links, a tri-fold clasp and 6 micro clasp adjustments. With engraving fit for a king, this bracelet can even fit bigger wrists measuring more than 8 inches which is an added bonus. Achieve the premium look but only at a cost especially if you intend to exchange the entire clasp.
Boy have NTH watches done a sterling job with the dial.
Comparable to a Pelagos, the overall package will satisfy most watch snobs with the design and accuracy specifications on the dial. Svelte snowflake style hands meet smart square indices with enlarged rectangular markings. This is in stark contrast to regular dial marker choices. At 12 o’clock you will find a particularly unique triangular shaped marker that is a cut above mass producers like Seiko.
But there’s no time to be a square folks. This understated dial results in the perfect combination of pristine function and refreshing aesthetics. My initial thoughts about the dial? Not only do I admire the seconds hand with its subtle yet elegant diamond design but the tip sweeping around the entire perimeter of the dial.
To date or not to date...that is the question watch fiends. Yet, there's a crucial choice to be made. Either go solo with a no dial date version or there's a framed window wheel alternative in two fetching offerings - black or blue. For seamless viewing, enjoy the identical colour scheme situated at the 6 o’clock mark. Personally, my favorite would be the latter which goes hand in hand with the dial that has supreme function a textured dial base and a neat window border.
For sure, the Näcken's dial is an extremely credible option putting Seiko and other brands to shame. Taking inspiration from Tudor's category of subs, snowflake hands paired up with hour markers lead to the ideal dial concept...time and time again.
Completely lumed and with its impressive 120 unidirectional click bezel, the manufacturers also score highly on the insert category. It's no wonder that they are lauded for delivering some of the best market leading bezels in this specific price category. Made from stainless steel, the design is akin to titanium but doesn't detract from the first rate case insert.
Like soldiers outside Buckingham Palace, the uniformity and bezel materials are in perfect sync utilising a dlc steel coating. I would hasten to add that bezels of this nature are almost fit to sit at any horological top table.
Two things to spot here are both the NTH brand design and the text NÄCKEN located at the bottom of the bezel in white. The 300m depth sits slightly underneath at the 12 o’clock position allowing greater clarity. With case inserts made from both DLC or PVD, the tooth like engineered bezel design demonstrates they have put the hard yards in.
It’s time to look through the looking glass watch snobs. On the inside, the super smooth Japanese Miyota auto 9015 is a sublime, modern movement piece. Switching is seamless and provides wonderful timekeeping specifications. Running as quick as Usain Bolt, this won’t let you down. With more than 20 jewel movements, the no date NTH Näcken sports the 90S5 version. But wait there’s something we forgot. How about 28,800 bph with a 40 plus hour power reserve? You betcha. Gents will never miss a beat again thanks to its smooth function.
Want to light up your world? We can’t promise anything. Yet we have your back when it comes to giving you an in depth review of the Nacken’s Superluminova properties. And I can vouch the lume on the dial is outstanding competing with some of the finest free dive wristwatches around.
Offering superb function, the secret to the Näcken is down to the Swiss SuperLuminova C3 application. In addition to this, the BG W9 lume showcases its prowess on the dial, hands and bezel emitting a more contemporary bluey green glow.
I especially noted all the indices which are fully lumed. From navigating through the office to timing your next coffee break, this could prove to be vital in all manner of scenarios. In terms of lume power, as Lionel Richie declared...you could probably power this nth timepiece “All Night Long.”
Trust us to have the final thought!
So, what are my overall opinions about the Näcken? Well, watch snobs, you won’t be subbing this out in a hurry. Excellent design, double domed sapphire, quality bezel, precise performance, anti reflective offerings and a top notch water resistance rating make this NTH watch an excellent combination for any price conscious time lord! While it's not a 10, it's a cool 9.5 in my book. Are there any other details worth a heads up?
For enthusiastic divers or watch nerds looking to super size their increasing arm bounty, the Swiftsure series is a hot example. Paying homage to the world’s first diving timepieces, it benefits from a 44mm case and helium escape valves.
Do keep your eyes peeled for their tribute to compressor case diving watches. Available from the end of April 2021, the Azores and Antilles category is on everyone's watch list. Nevertheless, if you want ideas for a boutiquey American design brand with old school dive watch glamour at a reasonable price point, NTH should be your go to “nod to history” accessory of choice.