District Time Wrap-Up
Washington, DC has long been one of the cities on our “to-go” list, and District Time has been one of those watch shows that we’ve been wanting to attend for quite some time. Over the past two years, we’ve been corresponding with Loren (also known as The Time Bum), and this year, we finally made the trip to the East Coast for our District Time debut.
The event was a huge success. Unlike larger events such as WindUp, District Time is heavily geared towards the small independent brand scene, while WindUp has made strides in becoming a mainstream event featuring bigger brands that is covered by large media outlets and press.
District Time certainly has its own charm, as the audience it attracts is extremely targeted and very knowledgeable about the brands that showcase. Having such a knowledgeable crowd made our job easier because most people who came by our booth already knew everything there was to know about our brand and our watches. As it was our first time in the DC area, we finally got to meet many of the people who supported us since day one - but more on that later. First things, first: the watch.
My watch of choice for this DC trip was the 1/1 Contrail Solar Yellow. It has been quietly hiding in my collection as my most treasured Nodus piece, and couldn’t think of a better watch to form new memories with.
Cullen’s watches of choice included the Duality Unity White with the 12-hour bezel, as well as his 1969 Seiko 6117-8000 Navigator Timer.
DC had an oddly familiar feeling, despite it being our first time in the city. Perhaps it was the fact that we reconnected with an old friend, whom we hadn’t seen in 12 years, or maybe it was that all the buildings looked familiar from seeing it in movies and TV. We actually flew in a day early just to spend an entire day roaming the city and exploring the downtown area. I was blown away by the architecture. The grand buildings and museums, especially around the National Mall area, were stunning. I can’t say that the food was the most impressive, but the beer scene was certainly something special, but we’ll come back to that later too.
District Time itself was an amazing time. This year was the first year that the event spanned two days, whereas in the past it was just one day. Without a doubt, the highlight of the entire trip was meeting the people who have been supporting us since day one, many of whom we have developed friendships with through the internet. One thing I noticed about the attendees at District Time that was different from other watch shows was that pretty much everyone who came knew of the brands that were showcasing. The crowds seemed to come to the show just to see specific watches and brands that they were already well-aware of, but just hadn’t had the chance to see in person yet.
Other watch shows tend to attract a good mix of seasoned watch enthusiasts as well as a diverse crowd of casual collectors. Many of the people who came by the Nodus booth had already heard of us before, and most of them were coming specifically to see our latest release, the Duality. Having such an easy and knowledgeable crowd gave me the freedom to roam around and get some coverage of the rest of the show through our Instagram, something that I quite enjoy doing, as many of our followers and watch enthusiasts around the world are not able to attend these types of events.
Some of the brands showcasing at the event were ones that we were already familiar with, such as Collins, Visitor, EMG, Tsao Baltimore, and NTH. There were a handful of newer brands that we hadn’t gotten a chance to see in the flesh yet, such as Attra, Ardor & Forge, and Sakab. Meeting new friends and hanging with old ones is always a great time. It was also great seeing some of the watches that are either about to enter the market or have recently entered the market. My favorites were the Sonar - Collins Watches’ first dive watch, as well as the Attra Classic Sport - a recent project that has been put on hold, but hopefully only temporarily.
All in all, the event was a ton of fun and those of you in DC can expect to see us back again next year.
Outside of the event, we did a few small meetups that are worth mentioning. On the first night, Thursday, we attended a RedBar DC meetup, where we got a chance to speak with some pretty serious collectors (see photos below) as well as a few Nodus fans.
The following day, we had a Nodus dinner at a great brewery called Right Proper, where one of the guys who worked there happened to be a Nodus customer! The group ended up getting a quick tour of the brewing room and a run down of the brewing process, which as someone who thinks about our own process on a daily basis, was very fascinating. The beer at Right Proper was fantastic, considering we hail from Southern California, one of the best regions for craft beer. The porters at Right Proper were hands-down some of the best we’ve had across the country. While the beer was great, the company was even better. A handful of local Nodus customers came out to hang with us on both Friday and Saturday nights, the latter of which also included other brand owners such as Jimmy from Collins, Phil from Visitor, and Michael from Seals, among many others.
As an e-commerce brand, it is hard for us to find opportunities to find face-to-face time with our clients even though it is one of our favorite parts of running Nodus - you can even see on our contact page that we encourage watch enthusiasts - both local and visiting - to email us so that we can hang out and talk watches. Making friends over the Internet was a strange feeling at first, but every single time we meet our customers and friends in person for the first time, it is easy to hit it off right away. Meeting our customers almost turns into more like reconnecting with old friends - and that is probably the reason for the feeling of familiarity when we roamed DC for our first time.