The Undone Aero Scientific is an homage to Philip Van Horn — short P.V.H. — Weems, who invented the rotating bezel. While rotating bezels nowadays are very much linked to diver’s watches, their first application was aeronautical. The rotating bezel was invented in 1929 — and patented in 1935 — to aid pilots with navigation.

Customizable watches are Undone’s unique selling point. Hong Kong-based Undone produces watches with a personal touch to order. But the brand’s ability to customize is used as well to produce various popular collaborations. And besides custom watches, it can be seen that Undone respects and loves the history of watchmaking.

Most vintage-inspired Undone watches are found in the brand’s Vintage line. For instance, Undone’s version of the Type-XX is a good example. And now as well the Aero models — the subject of this review — honor an important historical watch-related invention.

Undone Aero Scientific

Undone Aero Scientific

The Aero model shares its case, polycarbonate crystal, and movement with a few other Undone models. For instance, the Base Camp and the Cali models use this — in my opinion — perfectly sized 40mm stainless steel case as well. What stands out, at first sight, are the chamfered lugs. Although watch insiders will admire the attractive shape of the domed crystal immediately as well. With a height of 15mm — including that domed crystal — it’s a very balanced case shape. So far, for the Undone Aero’s base structure. Let’s first dive shortly into the history of this type of watch.


The idea behind the rotating bezel

P.V.H. Weems’s invention in the early years of the last century is Undone Aero’s inspiration. As said, he invented and patented a rotating bezel to provide pilots with navigational assistance on the wrist. In fact, the need for such a bezel came from mechanical movements’ inability to hack. On the occasion that pilots had to synchronize their watches with a time signal*, the second hand couldn’t be stopped in those days. The solution was that the appropriate track had to be moved to the second hand and then be fixed. It’s difficult to transfer ourselves to the time that aeronautical navigation was done by the sun, the stars, and watches. But it seems that aligning the seconds was more important than having the correct actual time on a watch.

* Ever since February 5th, 1924, the BBC has transmitted a worldwide receivable short-wave time signal. An idea conceived by astronomer Sir Frank Watson Dyson and head of BBC, John Reith.

Bezel fixation crown

The bezel fixation crown

Longines, Omega, and Zenith

It was mainly Longines who helped US Navy captain Weems develop timepieces that were equipped with his invention. Patented shortly before WWII, American and British governments understood the importance of this invention for their pilots. Soon military tenders were sent out with the appropriate requirements, guidelines, and specifications. This resulted in more or less equally constructed watches from, of course, Longines, but also Omega, Zenith, Movado, LeCoultre, and Wittnauer. An interesting and in-depth article on these watches is published by The Spring Bar.

That’s it for the history lesson now. In fact, the use of the patented construction wasn’t long-lived anyhow. Throughout WW2 and soon after, the need for hacking watches meant that the Weems bezels continued to be used. But soon, the first hacking movements became available in mechanical watches, and thus the demand for the Weems bezel disappeared. Now on to the Undone Aero Scientific.

Super dome

Aero Scientific and Comando

Undone brings this Weems inspired watch in two variations. The creme-dialed Scientific version and the Comando version, which sports a black dial. While the majority of the original Weems watches had light dials, it’s nice to see that Undone didn’t forget the few that had a black dial as well. It’s not only the dial color that’s different. The dial printing and hands differ too. The Aero Scientific is my personal favorite, and so I was glad Undone provided us with that one for review.

Because of a relatively small dial-diameter, it feels like the watch shows off with a lot of metal. In reality, the dial isn’t even that small, but a metal second-track  — color-matched to the casing and bezel — enhances the illusion. In an earlier review of one of Undone’s other models, I criticized the length of the hands. Here, they’re pretty much spot-on. The hands exactly reach the track they’re meant for.

100 meter

Details, details

The metal bezel is another part that immediately attracts me to this watch. The high-quality finish and the red-printed 60 — contrasting to the rest of the printing in black — immediately convince. Even the second crown, used to fixate the rotating bezel once set, functions well and feels like a natural part of the whole concept. I already mentioned the outstanding chamfering of the lugs, which is particularly impressive given the price point. An extra angled and polished cut along the lugs enriches its overall silhouette.

Neophyte mechanical watch admirers and/or collectors will be happy with the glass back. Although not finely finished, it’s always a pleasure to see how an SII (Seiko Industries Inc) caliber NH35 does its work. What I noticed as well is that Undone upped its game concerning pressure rating. Both Aero models are rated to 100 meters, while the Basecamp, for instance, is rated at just 50 meters.

Super-domed Lexan polycarbonate crystal

Contrary to the glass back lovers, the super domed Lexan crystal will be more attractive to seasoned collectors. A plastic crystal has such a different refractive index than a sapphire; it gives the watch a totally different look and feel. The view of the dial from different angles is so much more attractive—it has an instant vintage vibe. Of course, it will scratch! So what? When the view gets troubled, little scratches buff out with silver polish or Polywatch. Deeper scratches will be your battle scars. They belong there. You earned them. And the 3mm thick polycarbonate won’t break, not even when hit hard.


Strap with (not visible here) quick release push pins

The strap

The right strap largely accounts for wearing comfort of a watch. It shouldn’t be too thin nor too thick. And certainly not too stiff. The size and quality should fit the overall watch’s appearance. Undone offers the Aero Scientific and the Aero Comando with a variety of strap options. The Italian “vintage brown” leather strap fitted to our review watch is — in my opinion — just right.

It’s sturdy enough to be for a tool watch and soft enough to wear comfortably. This type of strap uses one wide keeper instead of the regular two slimmer keepers. I must say, even that works fine. And as a bonus, Undone’s leather straps are fitted with quick-release push-pins.

last picture

Conclusion and price

What can I say? I didn’t find anything to complain about during this review. I’ve worn the watch on and off for a few weeks, and it didn’t get old. Technically, the case’s finishing and shape is a class act from an age when craftsmanship was key. The SII caliber NH35a is probably not the most accurate but one of the industry’s most reliable workhorses. All this, express shipped to your door, for a price of €354 (without VAT). I can’t see a reason why not to want one.

Watch specifications

Aero Scientific
Case Material
316L stainless steel
Case Dimensions
40mm diameter (excl crown), 15mm thick (including domed crystal)
Lexan polycarbonate (plastic)
Case Back
Clear mineral(?) glass, optionally printed
SII (Seiko Industries Inc) NH35a, 21.600 bph, 24 jewels, 42 hr power reserve
Water Resistance
100 meter, 10 bar
Italian vintage brown leather
Time and rotating bezel
€354 incl shipping, excl VAT