The NTH Thresher 2k1 comes from a brand with a big reputation in the microbrand business. We’re happy to say that it’s everything we expected… and more!
NTH Thresher 2k1 Review
The NTH Thresher 2k1 retails for about £675. That’s not cheap, but taking the fit and finish into consideration, I would encourage you not to see this as an expensive alternative to a £500 Kickstarter dive watch, but rather as a cheaper alternative to something like a Christopher Ward c60.
I always say that I don’t care about the packaging of a watch, but I do appreciate good presentation when I see it. NTH provides a great first impression of the Thresher with a leather sliding watch box within a cardboard slip-case. The watch is not secured in place in its slot with a piece of elastic, so you have to make sure you open it the right way up!
At 44mm I was expecting to struggle with the NTH Thresher 2k1: the top end of my sweet spot is about 42mm and just 2mm (actually 1.75mm as the NTH is 43.75mm in diameter) makes more difference than you might think to the look, feel and balance of a watch. My fears were unfounded: NTH has balanced the case diameter and lug length perfectly to make a watch that fit my 7.5″ wrist snugly. It’s big, but not big enough to notice and it means there is plenty of space on the dial to show off the stunning matt blue finish. The 13mm thickness helps a lot, here: the watch will fit under a shirt sleeve despite its apparent heft.
Around the back is a plain case back with some crisp, engraved text. There’s rarely anything to get excited about round the back of a tool watch so I won’t dwell on it here. There’s a helium escape valve if you intend to visit the wreck of the Titanic wearing the watch, a nice, big, signed crown and holes in the lugs to get the bracelet off without causing scratches.
The bezel is fully lumed with BG W9 lume to match the hands. I wasn’t sure at first I liked how the circle cut up the triangle at the ‘0’ position, but I forgot about it after recording my first impressions video so no issues there.
Inside we have a Miyota 9015 (905S on the no-date models so you don’t get an extra phantom position when you pull out the crown). It’s a really good Japanese movement that I believe is comparable with – and in some ways better than – the common Swiss movements at this price point. Don’t mistake it for the low-end 8-series movements: this one beats at 28,800 bph and is accurate to -10/+30 seconds per day.
What did stand out was the high quality of the finish. Every edge of the brushed case is chamfered with a polished section. The quality of the finish and the crispness of the lines between them astonished me. Compared to the Breitling I am currently wearing as my daily driver, the NTH has a better finish. It’s that good. I really liked the slender crown guards, too – on many watches these make it difficult to unscrew the crown but NTH has designed them just right.
Dial and Hands
The Thresher 2k1 is all about the dial. Clearly drawing inspiration from the Tudor Pelagos with the way the indices cut into a curved minute track, this watch uses rectangles rather than squares and – in my opinion – looks better for it. The indices are lumed with white BG W9 (it glows blue) and the finish is gorgeous. Every index is properly fitted straight in its space, and the lume has been applied neatly. The text on the dial is crisp and easy to read. The hands are a modern-looking triangular design, with a square tip towards the end of the second hand.
If I had to pick fault – and I always try to give a balanced view – I think there are some opportunities to make a great dial ever better. I’d have liked the date to be little lower down so that, together with the part-index beneath it, it made a design element that was the same size as the other indices. This is, of course, limited by the movement, so it would be unfair to pick on NTH for this. I would also have preferred a slightly shorter minute hand, so it just reached the edge of the hour markers rather than extending past them. Very minor points, but making a big deal out of irrelevant design features is part of the wonderful world of watch collecting so I feel obliged to make them.
Bracelet and clasp
By now you will be unsurprised to hear that the bracelet is just as good as the rest of the watch and, again, better than that of the Breitling I was wearing when I opened up the NTH Thresher 2k1 box. It’s solid but smooth, with finishing on-par with the case and better than it has any right to be at this price.
The clasp – whilst not a ratcheting design, which I consider the best option on a dive watch – has a catch that releases with a squeeze, and a safety clasp on top of that. I was surprised not to see a diver’s extension (not that I’d use one) on a watch with 2001 feet of water resistance but that’s just an observation rather than a criticism. To make up for the absence of a ratcheting extension, NTH has provided a very generous six micro-adjustment holes. Why is this so good? Time for a rant…
The WRUK Watch Clasp Rant
Watches on bracelets are, by definition, pretty much of a fixed length. You can add a link, or take a link out, but whereas with a strap you can change it up or down a notch during the day if you watch feels too tight or too loose, a bracelet rarely has that option. Some watches – mainly tool watches – have a sliding, ratcheted adjustment system that lets you alter the length but most have micro-adjustment holes in the clasp.
These holes commonly give you three choices of bracelet length. It is amazing how moving a watch in or out one notch (and also changing the number of links on each side of the bracelet to move the position of the clasp) makes to the way a watch feels. If the temperature changes then moving the bracelet in or out by one notch is usually enough to stop it becoming uncomfortable.
The problem, of course, with three choices is that unless you are lucky enough for your average fit to be in the centre position; you are then limited to only being able to change the bracelet length in one notch; or out one notch. It is exceedingly common to find oneself “between links”. That is, you occasionally would either have to add or remove a link to get the perfect fit. That is a pain, and it can spoil a watch.
Six micro-adjustments is perfect. It means that, no matter what your perfect size is, you are always going to be able to set the watch to one of the middle four positions so you have the ability to move it both in and out without faffing about with tiny little screwdrivers and scratching up your precious timepiece. It amazes me that most manufacturers do not account for this, and NTH has got a million WRUK Brownie Points for this reason alone.
NTH Thresher 2k1 – Video Review
What I Liked
- The build quality, fit and finish is absolutely top-notch – as good as or better than any of the Swiss brands
- The dial is superb, the sense of depth is just right and the design is stunning
- The wrist feel of the NTH Thresher 2k1 is perfect – no mean feat for a 44mm case
What I Didn’t Like
- I’d have preferred a slightly shorter minute hand
- The price point is right at the brink of where some may prefer to choose a Swiss movement rather than a Miyota (albeit a good Miyota)
- I couldn’t decide whether to say “N-th” or “N-T-H”
NTH Thresher 2k1 – the WRUK Verdict
You can tell by my “dislikes” that I’m really clutching at straws to find anything to moan about here. I mean, I even wrote 300 words on why I like the number of holes on the clasp…
The NTH Thresher 2k1 is superb: it’s obvious that NTH has fine-tuned the design of its watches over a number of years, and it’s also very clear that this watch was designed by true watch enthusiasts who know what really matters over and above raw specifications. The only other sub-£1000 watch I think bears comparison with the Thresher is the Christopher Ward C60 – and I prefer almost every aspect of NTH’s timepiece.
This watch’s price point is also inhabited by a lot of Sellita-equipped Kickstarter brands who are selling with low or no profit margins. Personally, I don’t think a Miyota 9015 is any lower in the pecking order than a Sellita (see Swiss Made – So What?) but I acknowledge that there are Swiss snobs out there. With NTH there’s none of the risk of Kickstarter: you get a watch that is supplied from stock, of known – excellent – quality and that is backed by a brand with both a history and a future.
So, if you’ve been enviously eyeing up NTH’s lineup and wondered if the watches are good as they look… well, they aren’t. They are far, far better. The NTH Thresher 2k1 is highly recommended – indeed, it is in the running for WRUK’s watch of the year.
Buy an NTH Thresher 2k1 Watch
NTH does not currently have a UK distributor so I’ll link to two options: the NTH store in the US lists prices without sales taxes – so you’ll need to account for an extra 20% VAT, which will be charged by the courier when your watch arrives in the UK and Serious Watches in the Netherlands who add EU VAT on sales to this country so there’s nothing more to pay as long as your watch arrives before 1st January 2021: our relationship with the EU after that date is currently anyone’s guess!