“I never thought I’d ever be so excited to see a grown man cry.”
– Wes of @noduswatches
Today we thought we tell you a little story – a detailed account of what transpired over the past 2 months. Prior to publishing this, I’ve read the draft over and over, and all I can say is that what we’re about to tell you pretty much sums up in a nutshell, what watch collecting means to us at Team Matick – the camaraderie, friendships you forged over sharing the same passion over these beautiful little objects that ultimately outlast us at the end of the day.
I’ll never forget the warmth of this wonderful community, nor will I ever take it for granted.
So before you jump into this #FieldNotes entry, here’s a little bit of a background to give you a bit of context. Sometime around Christmas of 2018, our mate KC unfortunately lost his beloved Nodus Contrail, which was the trigger for this ‘expedition’, our friends from all over the globe (mind you, humans from several continents were involved. Absolutely amazing.) decided to give our dear buddy a little push and to present him with something even better.
So without any further ado, the story goes a little bit like this …
“A Christmas Tragedy: How Friends from Across the Globe All Came Together to Help Their Friend KC”
Written by: Furry Wrist Abroad (@furrywristabroad) & KC (@the.watchdoc)
Edited by: Adam H. @ahartfie
Photo Credits: Nodus Watches (@noduswatches), KC (the.watchdoc) , & @wiswc
Disclaimer: real names and locations of participants and events will be left anonymous and/or will use their Instagram handles.
(by Furry Wrist Abroad in Canada)
It was a pleasant Christmas Eve for many of us. Some were finalizing their plans for family dinner parties. Some had just gotten back from a long scuba diving trip and were furiously getting ready for Christmas parties. Some were sobering up from one Christmas party as they gathered up the strength necessary to go to another party. Some had finally gotten the chance to sit back and relax for the first time in what seemed like months. However, all our collective attentions were immediately drawn to our phones when we read the following in our group chat. For it was not all quiet that Christmas Eve. A little mouse was certainly stirring, and his name was KC.
Act 1: “The Band of GDMFE”
(by Furry Wrist Abroad in Canada)
“Worst Christmas Eve Ever,” wrote the ever-lovable yet always dramatic KC.
We were used to such statements from KC before, but this time it very well may have been his worst Christmas ever.
“It was in a watch pouch in my bag. I don’t know if somehow I dropped it, misplaced it, forgot it, or if someone nicked it, but it’s gone,” KC explained to us as he had either lost his beloved Nodus Contrail, or had it stolen.
Even though we all held out hope that the watch would be found and returned to KC, within minutes we started a separate chat that did not include the victim in this tale. The chat included thirteen members who all had come together through their love for watches. We all had gotten to know each other through Instagram and all resided in different countries, states, provinces, and cities globally. Even though watches are what brought us together, we only talked about watches some of the time. Matters such as work, family, nutrition, and many other topics were openly discussed thus creating a safe haven for a group of people who quickly became good friends.
One member even offered KC his own Avalon after offering his condolences.
“Sigh, it’s fine,” replied KC. “Worst case, time to buy an Avalon?”
“Do you want my Avalon?”
“Lmao no man. It’s very generous of you, but no thanks.”
Without hesitation, all members agreed to chip in and buy KC a new Nodus Avalon to help fill the void left by his missing Contrail. When you get to talk with someone for over a year on a daily basis, you get to innately know when someone has been wounded by an experience, and we all knew it. This would later be confirmed by KC speaking with one of the founders of Nodus, Wes Kwok, a full month later about how devastated he still was about the loss of the watch.
@Jwit94, a member of the group who is close to Wes, brought him into the fold and very quickly we got to work choosing the right colour of the watch. Some of us within the main chat went along and did some digging and some investigative work into discovering his preference. Unfortunately, whenever the topic of a Nodus came up, KC stopped making any sense and said that he would love to have any colour variant. When asked about his chance to get a new one in the future in case Nodus ever re-released the Contrail, he again would fall into a panicked emotional state.
“It’ll never be THAT Contrail though,” KC wrote followed by a long and desperate silence.
The other chat in the meantime was anything but silent.
“You guys are a bunch of dirt bags,” typed @ralphman5000.
“No, YOU’RE crying!”
“Nobody did anything like this when I lost or got my Speedmaster Alaska Project stolen. (It’s not too late to do the right thing),” typed the man known as the “Future Cat Laser Man” because of his hilarious Instagram profile photo.
One of his closest friends (or rivals depending on the day), @thechronotrooper chimed in as well. “As horrible as he is to me, I’m in.” Little did he know that this venture from all of us would be dramatically transformed because of his close relationship with KC.
Act 2: “The Hunt for the Finishing Touch”
(by Furry Wrist Abroad in Canada)
When asked whether we could get a custom engraving on the watch for KC, Wes surprised all of us by springing into action by resolutely saying yes, and that he would cover the costs for the engraving. At this point, all of us were extremely involved emotionally, so when it came time to decide what the engraving should be, the suggestions came raining in.
Our not-so-gentle giant of the group @ea8 first chimed in. “Lose this one and we send @camronlaz for your hand. Love yah.”
“Don’t bloody lose this one,” offered @tritiumballs.
Future Cat Laser Man himself @ralphman5000 offered his suggestion which resulted in a roar of laughter. “If you can read this, you run the risk of losing it! Put it the heck back on your wrist, son!”
As the laughter died down, we were then treated to comic gold from KC’s close friend @thechronotrooper. “Lose your virginity, not your watch.”
It was perfect. After about twenty minutes of causing twelve other grown men to be reduced into tears laughing across the globe, we all agreed that this should be the engraving on the back of the watch.
Wes quickly leaped into action getting the watch engraved and sent out to @wiswc, KC’s other close friend who lives nearby. The watch surprisingly arrived on KC’s birthday. However, after a vote we decided to wait until more of his friends could be there when he received the watch, and to give him and his lovely lady some privacy on that special evening.
As the days went on, many of us kept the chat open and talked about how excited we were about our KC receiving the watch.
“He is going to lose his poop when he receives the watch by the way,” I said. “He kind of has a negative outlook towards humanity which is why this watch would mean so much to him.”
“I never thought I’d ever be so excited to see a grown man cry,” said Wes, resulting in instant laughter.
There was never any pressure added by any members of the group for others to contribute funds. Many actually contributed too much which resulted in us adding a couple of straps as well.
There has been a lot of talk about smaller watch companies and their place within the horological world. This experience would not have been possible without the help and enthusiasm from Wes Kwok and Cullen Chen of Nodus. Much has been made of the status of “micro-brands” but this is proof that categorizing these companies under such a title is not doing them the justice they deserve. With a level of care and passion for their consumer base that larger and established companies usually feign through marketing campaigns, Nodus has shown us the true value of their company. Not only are their watches on par, or as their new release the Avalon has shown, superior to its established competition, the people behind the company truly care about their work. More importantly Cullen and Wes care deeply about the people who wear their hard work daily in the real world.
In a discussion surrounding the engraving, Wes went on to tell us, “Also, I just want to say that I know you guys are doing something nice for KC, but it was a reminder of why I started this crazy venture with Cullen in the first place. Crazy how these little objects can bring people together.” Needless to say, all of us are indebted to Cullen and Wes and are eternally grateful.
To many outside this hobby, such an effort from more than a dozen people globally would seem awfully strange. They do not know that even though the watches are what brought us together in the first place, we became friends because of who we are outside of our shared hobby. All of us come from vastly different backgrounds, hold different jobs, are in our early twenties, or are so old that others continually make fun of us, some have large families, and some of us are single. Yes, we all love watches. More importantly though, we all are people who put others and their concerns ahead of our own without hesitation.
On the day of the hand-off of the Nodus Avalon to KC, we received a picture from @thechronotrooper of himself and KC on their way to meet @wiswc. Some of us grabbed an alcoholic beverage to celebrate. Then we waited.
Act 3: “Through the Lens of the Victim”
(by KC in Malaysia)
I am, for better or worse, a rather sentimental person. Perhaps that’s why I haven’t sold a single watch, although I have gifted several pieces to friends and family. Perhaps I subconsciously attach memories and meanings to my watches. Or maybe I’m just a hoarder.
The Nodus Contrail, however, really was something special to me. It was the first micro-brand watch I had ever purchased. It was also the first watch that I bought purely based on the recommendation and testimony of my friends. Friends I’d never actually met in person, but whose opinions and tastes I trusted. It also helped that we, as a group, talked about way more than just watches, and we were always on the same wavelength even when our opinions differed.
Buying the Contrail was also my first contact with Wesley Kwok, one of the co-founders of Nodus Watches. I think I harassed the poor man for days before making my purchase, but he did an excellent job of tolerating my persistent harrying. And when he told me that the Laguna Sand was close to selling out, I bit the bullet and made the purchase.
My experience with the Nodus Contrail was no secret; I made my love affair with that watch rather public to the watchfam on Instagram. I fawned over the thoughtful design, unique aesthetics and excellent ergonomics. And when I’d gotten over the honeymoon period, I found that I was still in love with it. I had already expressed my opinion on the piece in several short posts on social media, but I figured it was about time for me to write a full review.
Alas, it was this full review that led to my downfall. On Christmas Eve, I spent my day at a café in a shopping mall to work on my review, while I waited for my better half to get off work. I had my camera bag with my Olympus E-M10 Mk III, the Nodus Contrail in its canvas pouch, and my iPad + keyboard cover with me. As I sat in the café, I put my thoughts to electronic paper and took several pictures of the Contrail.
Shortly after, two close friends gave me a call and said they were nearby and asked if I’d join them. Agreeing to do so, I packed up my things and made my way over. It is at this point that I believe my memory must be failing me. I have a distinct recollection of placing the Contrail back into the pouch, and the pouch back into my camera bag. But several hours later, when I wanted to show off my new camera to my friends, I realised the pouch was missing.
I was immediately crestfallen. My friends often call me needlessly pessimistic, but I had a feeling that I would never see the Contrail again. Nonetheless, I went through the motions; I retraced my steps and dropped by all the local lost & founds, as well as all the cafes and stores that I had visited. No luck. The Contrail was gone.
Heartbroken, I sought out my support group on WhatsApp: the GDMFE. Of course, they offered me the support I needed. And helped confirm that I wasn’t crazy for losing my mind over losing “just a watch.” Or at the very least, that I wasn’t the only crazy one. As for the conversation going on behind my back, I hadn’t the slightest inkling.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and a couple of whiny reminiscing posts later, and the Avalon was weighing heavily on my mind. Yes, I did want another Nodus, and the reviews were universally positive. But no, I couldn’t make up my mind: the blue and green both looked stunning and I couldn’t decide between them. I decided that was a sign that I simply wasn’t ready to purchase one just yet. I was still talking to Wes, and he mysteriously dropped hints about future models that I might like (as is his wont to do), so I decided to bide my time. I knew I would get another Nodus, I just didn’t know what or when. I figured time would tell, but maybe in a few months. Definitely by the end of the year. I had no idea just how wrong I was.
With @thechronotrooper back in the motherland, he invited me and @wiswc out for drinks. But with some complications with the timing, we ended up settling for a quick lunch. I picked up @thechronotrooper from his place and we headed to the agreed location a little earlier than planned. Once we were there, we engaged in our usual banter. After about an hour, @wiswc strode in and took his place.
The scene was set. A small, brightly lit café. I sat with my back to the counter, with the two of them in front of me. As I got up to turn around and place an order, @wiswc took out a package wrapped in green wrapping paper and thrust it towards me.
“Open it,” he said. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted @thechronotrooper pointing his phone towards me.
“The hell is this?” I asked.
“Just open it la,” said the both of them.
As I held the box in my hands, a thought flashed through my mind. The size of the box, the weight of it, it all felt familiar. Something I’d felt just a few short months ago.
“Guys, no way-”
“Just open it la, damn it!” cried the two of them in unison.
I whipped out my Swiss Army Knife (much to the approval of @jwit94) and opened up one side of the packaging. Pulling on it slowly, a familiar looking black box presented itself to me, shortly followed by the Nodus logo with one simple word below it: AVALON.
After several minutes of me being speechless, jaw agape and generally making a fool of myself, I composed myself sufficiently to take a look at the gorgeous Clover Green Avalon before my eyes. But while I was busy looking at the dial, @thechronotrooper suggested I take a look at the back.
Flanking the vine-wrapped Excalibur in relief on the caseback were the words:
If that doesn’t sum up the relationship that we GDMFEs have, I don’t know what does. Words utterly fail me in expressing my gratitude to this family that I’ve never met. I am touched, thankful, and utterly humbled by this gesture. It has become one of the most precious watches in my collection, and I can’t wait to build more memories with it on the wrist.
I will be buried with this Nodus Avalon. Partially because I truly do love this gorgeous watch. Partially also because I’ll never hear the end of it if I meet these guys in the afterlife without it.
(by Furry Wrist Abroad in Canada)
Addressing the vibration on my wrist I looked at my Garmin and saw a message from KC. Because of his insane work hours he would often be conversing with us on the other side of the planet during our work hours.
Upon unlocking my phone I read the full message from the adorable Good Doctor. “Hey, can you keep a secret?”
Intrigued I responded as quickly as I could. From experience some of the conversations that I had in the past that started out this way turned into something serious down the line. “Of course, what’s up?”
“Well, it’s regarding the Avalon,” KC instantly replied.
“Is something wrong with it?”
As with most instant messaging applications, I could see that KC was furiously typing away. After a couple of minutes I got the response.
“KC, are you serious?” I asked.
“Does this look like what I think it looks like?”
“Yes it does unfortunately. But, no one could have seen this coming,” KC replied in his attempt to relieve my newly found concern.
As KC went on to explain what the issue was and that it had nothing to do with the Nodus Avalon that we gifted him, and that he was totally in love with it, I grew silent.
I finally gave in and asked.
“Oh no! KC, what have you done?”
– To be continued
Special thanks to everyone collectively involved in making this happen.
You guys are frickin’ amazing.
For Team Matick,