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Hands On: Nixon Regulus Watch Review

In the world of watches, up until now, Nixon has kept the reputation as a dominant surf watch brand building highly capable waterproof timepieces for both life in the local lineup and on the ski lift. It’s a reputation that’s propelled the California-based company into direct competition with fellow brands in this space. And we can certainly see why. With releases such as the Mission and Ultratide collections, they’ve demonstrated how watches built for modern-day actions sports can truly push operational boundaries.

Now, it appears the brand has taken this operational mentality to new heights with the release of their Regulus lineup – built in conjunction with a former Navy SEAL who’s pedigree include 21 years of service, nine combat deployments, and is a Silver Star recipient. Meaning, Nixon wasn’t building the Regulus in a vacuum surrounded by beach kids. Instead, experienced insight was taken into consideration while developing this tactical timepiece. But how does it measure up in practice? We got our hands on their Multicam colorway and field tested it ourselves to find out.

The Look

Tactical and Rugged

Despite its unique appearance, at first glance you can tell the Regulus belongs to the Nixon family thanks to its adaptation of their squared dial – a characteristic that permeates across their surf watch lineup. Other than that, however, the Regulus is a new breed. It’s minimalist yet the rugged appearance works quite well with any adventure-ready getup you may have at your disposal. The sturdy digital timepiece also measures in at 46mm which we found adequate in terms of display and user experience without appearing overly gaudy or cumbersome.

Additionally, for its size the watch was relatively lightweight as well – considering the thicker than average case held in place by durable stainless steel screws. However, we did find that it fit comfortably underneath looser-fitting long sleeves and hoodies without any issues – which was A-okay with us considering you probably won’t be wearing this colorway to any boardroom meetings. On that note, Nixon does offer sleeker less prominent versions of the Regulus in black, sand, or gunmetal for such occasions. Needless to say, it’s made clear by both the functionality and build of the watch that Nixon’s banking on this thing surviving years of outdoor use and abuse.

The Build

Ready for Action

Regarding the Regulus’ construction, we can say with confidence that there’s little out there for this price point that measures up. Which, quite frankly,  is what you’d expect from a brand that specializes in action sports watches. In this instance, it came as no surprise when we discovered the watch’s 10 ATM water-resistant rating (this is after all a Nixon watch) in conjunction with a tapered custom injection molded TPU 80 band with water flow texture on the bottom and a locking looper boasting a stainless steel buckle and screw bar to keep everything in place.We can say with confidence there’s little out there for this price point that measures up to what Nixon offers with the Regulus watch.

It’s not all water resistance either, for Nixon clearly worked to position the Regulus to take a beating. We’re talking a shock absorbing PU jacket to keep the digital module safe, highly durable screw bar construction, an impact-resistant Poron XRD foam between the module and the stainless steel caseback, a stainless steel bezel, and hardened mineral crystal for good measure. All these pieces worked in conjunction with one another to provide us with peace of mind when field-testing the device. Nixon also built a fiber-reinforced case for the LCD dial as well to help the timepiece withstand harsh unforgiving maritime conditions.


Sleek Operations

This leads us to the watch’s functionality; in short, how (if at all) Regulus outperforms fellow competitors. Well, part of the allure here comes in its simplicity via both form and function. The point? Focus on what’s necessary, not superfluous. The result is a reliable dual chronograph with basic operation for those who know what they want and don’t have time to fight through a myriad of modes when time is of the essence. From here, we found the dual chronograph feature to be the most reliant and unique mode on the Regulus. It’s all controlled via two polycarbonate water-resistant pushers on the left side of the watch that start and stop with the simple push of a button. Resetting either chronograph timer is done by holding down on the pusher – again very easy and straightforward.The result is a reliable dual chronograph with basic operation for those who know what they want and don’t have time to fight through a myriad of modes when time is of the essence.

Nixon also implemented military time, and dual time zone functionality into the module as well in addition to an auto calendar through 2099, customizable time options, three alarms, adjustable LED backlight, and their silent mode to help avoid detection when continued stealth is of the utmost importance. All modes are accessible via the “mode” pusher at the bottom left of the dial face and are quite self-explanatory for any neophyte to the digital watch world. In fact, with one of the pushers dedicated solely to the watch’s LED backlight, we found ourselves comfortable with the Regulus’ functionality after only a few minutes.

Time's Up

Mission Accomplished

All in all, we found the straightforward and simplistic nature of the Regulus to be its strongest asset. Clearly, the purpose here was to offer an extremely durable and functional digital watch without a steep learning curve that’s built for weekend outdoorsmen, water-bound maritime watermen, and our Armed Forces. And with the Regulus they’ve succeeded in these efforts – especially when you consider the various colorways made available for various purposes, tastes and preferences.

What’s also unique about the watch is the orientation of the pushers – located on the left side of the bezel. Through their development, Nixon appears to have strategically placed them in this manner – similar to a left-hand watch’s crown – to avoid any unwanted interference with the moving wrist. A subtle design feature without a doubt, and one that we can certainly appreciate. At its core though, Regulus serves its purpose both in the field and via a stylistic approach – proving that Nixon can, and will, continue expanding their lineup of durable timepieces away from the coast and onto the wrists of those looking to score a dependable watch free of unnecessary flair or over-engineering aesthetics.

© Photography by HiConsumption

The Watch: Nixon's Regulus Multicam

Built in conjunction with Special Ops personnel, Nixon’s striking Regulus watch is built to perform under pressure in the most extreme environments on earth. Each durable timepiece comes equipped with a custom LCD module with 100m water resistance, dual chronographs, an oversized LCD display, and a fiber reinforced case for enhanced durability. Available now.

Purchase: $150