Nodus Tour 2019
Another tour has come and gone and it was even more of a success than last year’s - so much so that as soon as the last meetup in Ottawa ended, Cullen and I agreed to make the Canada-leg of the tour an annual endeavor, in addition to other cities. Let’s start winding down from the tour and reflect on some of the highlights:
Although not officially part of the tour, we warmed up with our first official Nodus meetup in Los Angeles. It took place at the Angel City Brewery in the heart of Arts District in Los Angeles. The turn out was a good mix of previous and current customers/friends, with a handful of curious watch enthusiasts. We talked watches, knives, and beer, but the most exciting topic was the Duality, our upcoming release slated for the fall (more on that in the coming months).
It is rather ironic that this was our first official Los Angeles meetup (not including the “Pick Up Your Avalon” meetup back in late 2018), considering that we live here and have been doing meetups all over the country, but never right here in our hometown. With the great turn out, this will definitely not be the last meetup. Though, if you are ever coming through LA or live in the area, feel free to email in and let us know that you’d like to hang out - we routinely meet with people who email in every month.
The tour officially kicked off in Buffalo, where we spent the day with @jwit94 and @furrywristabroad, two good friends of the brand who we’ve been in touch with through Instagram. We got the chance to hang out with them during last year's tour as well, but seeing them this time demonstrated the best part about this job: making life-long friends through this crazy hobby.
Throughout the day, we roamed around Buffalo, taking photos of the historic city as well our watches. We stopped by the infamous Shark Girl (which none of us had the enthusiasm to take a selfie with), walked alongside the USS Little Rock, walked by the world’s largest 6-pack and enjoyed the sweet smell of cereal in the air as we passed the General Mills factory.
Our meetup with RedBar Buffalo, located in a private upstairs room of a delicious brewery, was a success. The owner of Heitis Watches, DJ, also made an appearance with a slew of new prototypes in hand. The beer was so good that we ended up leaving with a case full of IPAs.
Right after the meetup in Buffalo ended, we hit the road for a two-hour midnight drive to Toronto. Despite being held at the border for an hour trying to explain what a watch meetup is and why we had a case full of watches, it was amazing to be back in Toronto. Having lived in Los Angeles for a few years now, it was a pleasant shock to see the sheer vastness and beauty of the Toronto skyline - something that Los Angeles isn’t exactly known for.
The following day started with a podcast interview with Mike and Anthony, the boys from TimeLaps - an excellent podcast that focuses on cars and watches. We had a great discussion that covered a wide variety of subjects including fashion watches, smart watches, luxury watches, and how Nodus fits into the overall picture. We also discussed cars, motorcycles, the Toronto Raptors recent victory at the NBA finals, and how we (LA Clippers) stole their star player. You can watch the full interview here:
After a superb Italian meal with Mike and Anthony that ended with shots of limoncello and espresso, we went to meet with Charles Birchall and Brad Taylor, the dynamic duo behind Canadian independent watch brand, Birchall & Taylor. They have an incredibly impressive workshop, where they kiln, polish, cut, assemble, service, and design all their watches. We had the privilege of getting a tour of their facilities by the two founders, as well as a first-hand look at how they approach watchmaking, from the design to the manufacturing to the assembly. Here are some photos of their setup:
The day ended with our meetup with RedBar Toronto, where we had the chance to meet many of our customers and watch enthusiast friends. Over 50 people showed up to what seemed to be a dayclub, except instead of it being full of bikini-clad girls, it was full of men with watches. We had the pleasure to meet one of the co-founders of the upcoming Canadian microbrand York & Front, and got to check out prototypes of their first model, the Burrard. The event was a huge success, at one point reaching full capacity. There were watches, knives, great company, and beer - what more could you ask for?
The final stop on our tour was Ottawa. Unfortunately, due to less-than-ideal weather conditions, we spent the day indoors, catching up on rest and emails. Despite not being able to explore the city, the meetup at night more than made up for it. It ended late, with the last attendees leaving the venue close to midnight. It was such an amazing time having dinner and talking watches with the RedBar Ottawa crew, and it was refreshing to see a wide range of watches, from Seikos to Pateks, and everything in between.
Since we were limited by the rain earlier in the day, we decided to stroll around Ottawa after the meet-up, even though it was past midnight by this point. The architecture in Ottawa is particularly interesting, influenced by a range of old European styles from Gothic to Victorian to Romantic eras.
As a sucker for European architecture, I am already excited to come back, hopefully when there is no inclement weather.
Following the tour, Cullen and I spent the weekend with close friends working on a farm in Ancramdale, NY. It was a great way to unplug and recharge, despite the physical labor - baling hay, feeding cattle, and harvesting vegetables. It was the perfect opportunity to get quiet and reflect.
Reflecting on the tour has made us realize the importance of human connection. Yes, hitting the road helps get our watches in front of potential customers, which as an online-only brand is hugely beneficial for business. However, seeing what our watches do for our customers in the real world and making life-long friends is what really makes this job worth doing. The friends that we have made through the screen are a huge part of the Nodus family. Although these friendships may have started online, we want to make sure that they continue in the real world. As such, the Nodus Tour will be expanded in the coming years, where will we be going to more cities around North America, and even bringing the tour to Asia and Europe.
Wesley Kwok is the co-founder/operator at Nodus Watches. He is an entrepreneur by day, watch-geek by night, and a musician in the spaces in between. When he is not working or playing guitar, he can be found seeking out the best craft beer in California, perfecting his brioche bun recipe, or keeping up to date on the latest tech trends.