Introducing: The Studio Underd0g 02Series “Field Watch”
The sophomore effort from plucky British startup Studio Underd0g comes in the form of the “field” watch. Field watches are a tentpole category of timepieces emphasizing simplicity, robustness, usability, and a pining sense of adventure. Historically, there is a military connotation, but for the modern day, field watches meet the practical qualities of everyday, active lifestyles. With Studio Underd0g’s track record of putting a typically fruity twist on its chronograph, will the brand’s second model stay fresh?
I’ve gone on record stating that field watches are as exciting as watching grass grow. Admittedly, it was a flippant statement that applied to some egregiously dull executions of the style. But it’s true; I find drumming up enthusiasm for the genre more challenging. However, seeing Studio Underd0g’s announcement, I knew the effervescent brand had something up its sleeve to breathe life into its first field watch — and it didn’t disappoint. Riding the high from the Studio Underd0g “Blueberry” Chronograph’s astonishing £16,000 hammer price during the Maggie’s Centres’ charitable auction, the fusion of colors continues in the field watch. Or, as it should be, field watches as we have four new executions of this three-hand model with a 37mm 316L stainless steel case.
Studio Underd0g 02Series “Field Watch”
The first twist in this new series of watches is a reverse application of luminescence. Three of the four watches have dials coated with seven layers of Super-LumiNova. By building up each layer of the custom-made luminescent pigment, the dial creates a silhouette for the numeral markings at each hour rather than the numerals glowing themselves. This not only provides illumination in low-light conditions but also creates high contrast and shifting color tones depending on the angles of light exposure.
Applying lume to the dial is time-consuming as each layer requires time to dry and harden sufficiently. With seven layers, each application increases the risk of restarting from scratch. But the process is worth the effort to create a mesmerizing effect with practical benefits.
The three models with lume dials are the white-dial “Full Mo0n,” the blue-dial “Steffany Blue,” and the “Pink Lem0nade.” Indeed, it wouldn’t be a Studio Underd0g launch without some fruit inspiration. For the field watch, the citrus twist is the pink-to-yellow gradient dial of the “Pink Lem0nade”. The playful colors bridge the gap between the brand’s debut chronograph to the second-series three-hander. In a sneak preview, I suggested the nickname “rhubarb and custard” due to the similarity to the British sweet. Pink lemonade, however, is more universal. The dial’s gradient alters the lume colors when underexposed but still provides ample luminosity against the black numerals. “Steffany” blue is a parody of Tiffany & Co’s brand of blue (Pantone 1837 C). It’s good to see Studio Underd0g poke fun at the term “Tiffany blue” to describe anything with a turquoise hue despite no affiliation to the American jeweler.
The “Full Mo0n” and “Midnight” editions are the soberest of the four variations, with a monochromatic style. For the “Midnight” edition, the black dial is not luminescent and has a traditional configuration with glowing numerals. This model is more in keeping with the conventional field-watch aesthetic, albeit with another exciting twist. To further emphasize the dial’s refractions, a 1mm clear sapphire disc sits atop the base dial. All four models have this additional layer, but with the deep black dial, the reflective surface is most prevalent. Within the sapphire disc are the printings for the Arabic indices, brand name, minute track, and “mechanical hand-winding” denotations. Under natural light, the sun pierces through the sapphire disc to elevate the numerals above the dial and cast a shadow underneath.
Keeping the sapphire disc in place are twin screws on either side of the central pinion. These screws may disrupt the clean dial, but they allow for the indices’ unique appearance. Combining the luminescent bases with levitating numerals in motion creates a dynamic dial far from the typically static field watch. Studio Underd0g breathes life into a fairly stagnant watch category with its DNA infused into each aspect. However, despite the spin on tradition, there are some field-watch mainstays here, namely, the drilled, brushed lugs. They hold the 18mm The Strap Tailor handmade Epsom Calfskin (or suede) straps with quick-release spring bars. You can also switch to the supplied pass-through strap with normal spring bars. Another feature is the jellyfish-embossed solid case back, which screws in to provide a 100m water resistance rating.
Final specs and pricing
The 37mm case diameter ensures the dial dynamics do not outstay their welcome, and the 12mm thickness and 46mm lug-to-lug distance ensure the watch suits many wrists. Powering each of the Studio Underd0g 02Series watches is the hand-wound Sellita SW210-1, which provides a 42-hour power reserve and hacking seconds.
These new watches will launch during a pre-order window on November 1st, 2023, between 14:00 and 23:00 GMT. Other time zones for pre-ordering are as follows: 18:00–03:00 GST, 10:00–19:00 EDT, 07:00–16:00 PDT, 15:00–00:00 CET, 22:00–07:00 SGT. The watch comes with two straps and a two-year warranty for £800 / €850 / US$900.
To find out more about the watch and save the link for the pre-order window, check out the Studio Underd0g website. I will have some hands-on experience with the watches, so look out for my follow-up report on this new Studio Underd0g release.