When I reviewed the Nordgreen Pioneer last year, the response was very positive. Most of you guys seem to enjoy these lesser-known microbrands, and so do I.
When Nordgreen contacted me to review another one of their pieces, I went to the other side of the spectrum. This time, I chose the Nordgreen Native; a small understated dress watch that’s the polar opposite of the bulkier & louder Pioneer.
With the Native, everything is toned down to its simplest form. Why bother with a seconds hand when you don’t really need it? Why include a date display if I’m trying to live in the present moment?
For Nordgreen, functionality was at the back of their mind when designing the Native. What’s important is to create a style that stands out to watch aficionados, but that will fly under the radar of the average person.
I won’t lie, I was taken aback when I first opened the box. How could such a simple watch be priced close to the $200 mark?
However, it’s in the tiny details that the Nordgreen Native distinguishes itself from a run-of-the-mill quartz watch. For instance, the slightly curved sapphire crystal helps with scratch resistance while also setting the tone for the general styling of the watch: roundedness.
Everything from the lugs to the case back, case sides, and crown have a softly rounded shape. It’s a very unaggressive styling that gives a gentle and kind personality to the Native.
This goes perfectly well with the general mission of Nordgreen; being environmentally friendly. We’re reminded of this mission through the leaf logo and nature-inspired case back. Also, Nordgreen takes concrete action such as using ethical & sustainable packaging.
Furthermore, they offer a range of vegan leather straps. I chose the brown one for my Native as I thought it paired well with the blue dial.
Had I not known that this was vegan leather, I probably couldn’t have told the difference by looking at it. However, there’s one dead giveaway: you don’t get that recomforting leather smell.
The quality of the bracelet is okay, but it started cracking pretty early. I would liken the quality to that of a Fullmosa leather band, which I’m not particularly a fan of. It might get the job done for the first year or so, but you’ll most likely end up changing it.
The dial of the Nordgreen Native is pretty standard for a dress watch. Super straightforward baton hands and indices, a subtle Nordgreen logo at the 12 o’clock position, up until now, nothing out of the ordinary.
However, the blue dial I picked is absolutely stunning. In a dark setting, it has a matte grainy finish with a deep blue color that might be mistaken for black. Once the slightest ray of light starts hitting the dial, the sunburst effect starts dancing around revealing an incredibly playful light blue hue.
There’s also something interesting going on with the minute indices. I can hardly tell if they have a silver, black, or white finish. Depending on the angle, they’ll either completely disappear into the dial or pop out in a reflective manner.
With such a simple and timeless design, the Nordgreen Native is well suited for men, women, or any gender. The 28mm and 32mm versions will shine on a women’s small wrist, while the 36mm and 40mm versions will be well-adapted for men.
I personally chose the 36mm Nordgreen Native and I’m very pleased with how it fits on my 6.25” wrist. The thin rounded case and supple leather strap make for a very comfortable experience. This is one of the rare watches which I can wear for the whole day without taking breaks here and there.
Although the dial is offered in white, black, pearl, and blue variations, I think the blue dial is the only one that brings the Native to its full potential. The sunburst effect just isn’t as noticeable on the white or black dials, and you miss out on the gorgeous blue shades.
The case of the watch can be silver, gold, rose gold, or gunmetal grey. I recommend the silver one since it pairs well with the understated nature of the Native. The gunmetal color isn’t dressy enough for me, and I’m never a fan of a gold-colored watch if it’s not actually made of gold.
The Nordgreen Native is powered by what they call a “Japanese quartz movement”, which I’m willing to bet is the Miyota 2025 caliber. This is a simple but reliable 2-hand movement that should go for at least 3-5 years between battery changes.
The time is set using the 3 o’clock push-pull crown that features a small engraved Nordgreen logo and notched sides. Of course, water resistance isn’t a priority for a dress watch like the Native, so you have a simple 30m WR rating that won’t allow for a dip in the pool.
In conclusion, I think that the Nordgreen Native is a good simple dress watch that’s differentiated by small details such as the rounded case, curved sapphire crystal, and playful blue dial.
The price point of $189 is a bit exaggerated in my opinion, but this can of course be offset by buying the watch during one of Nordgreen’s numerous sales. For instance, you could use the code ROMEO35 to get 15% off the Native, which would bring the price down to a more reasonable $161 price tag.