Review: Undone Type XX Classic Flyback Chronograph
It’s just over two months ago that we published our review of the Undone Basecamp. They seem to be busy at Undone because even in this short period, we’ve seen quite some new additions to their line-up. Our next, and probably last, Undone review is the Urban Type XX Classic Flyback Chronograph, or short:
Undone Type XX
We already criticized the use of the iconic Rolex Explorer-II 24-hour hand as hour hand in the Undone Urban Explorer model in our last review. But with every newly presented watch model, it becomes clearer that Undone overly loves to get their inspiration from rather well known and authentic designs from the past.
Again, certainly for $ 315.- technically there’s not much wrong about the Undone Type XX. At this price point, one could even overcome the use of the SSI (Seiko Instruments Inc) VK64 meca-quartz movement. Like we did the last time when we encountered this movement, which was in the similarly priced Corniche Heritage Chronograph.
..the VK64 seems to attract design copies
And I don’t know what it is, but the use of the SII VK63/64 caliber seems to attract brands that rely on other’s design. The Corniche used the DNA from two highly respected Patek Philippe and A. Lange & Söhne chronographs. And then there’s Dan Henry. We never covered them, but their chronograph designs are all directly taken from well-known vintage watch models. I am aware that these watches probably sell well. However, they don’t get much credit from watch aficionados. Often these brands describe this kind of watches as homages or tributes to the originals. That doesn’t work for me though, I see it as stolen designs to ignite sales.
Ultraman and Snoopy
In 1968 an Omega Speedmaster Professional with an orange chronograph second hand was used in the, specifically in Japan, popular Ultraman television animation series. When we at Fratello in direct cooperation with Omega decided to do a modern re-edition of this model for the Speedy Tuesday community, it happened to be extremely popular and successful. Shortly after this success, Undone presented their Ultraman. Undone brought it as a celebration of Ultraman’s reboot on Netflix in 2019. Was it a coincidence?
..please help me
Then this week I received an invitation from Undone to pre-order their version of a Snoopy Moonwatch, literally like that. Complete with a glow-in-the-dark Snoopy in the dial. Please help me, on which other Moonwatch did I see a glow-in-the-dark Snoopy before..? And precisely that made me look closely again at the Undone Type XX which I was wearing for review at that moment.
So far for the rant, on to the watch
Although its name doesn’t leave much room for guessing where the watch got its design from, I must admit that I visually didn’t immediately recall it. It was an article over at our friends of Revolution that taught me that for instance, Breguet indeed used rotating plain bezels with just one triangular marker. We saw a plain bezel with only a triangle as well on the Undone Basecamp, and I expressed my appreciation there already. While the one on the Basecamp was fluted on the outside, here on Type XX we find a thinner reeded bezel for enhanced grip.
Dial and hands
For the rest, the design of the watch is quite apparent. A mat black dial with large Arabic numerals and two sub-dials. While (most of) the printing in the dial is white, the large luminous numerals are creme. I don’t want to use the term ‘faux-patina’ anymore as many of you don’t like this. All hands are painted white, with the hour and minute hand filled with creme colored luminous material as well. As is the triangular tip of the second-hand by the way. The sub-dial hands are plain white and don’t sport luminosity.
The SII VK64 meca-quartz caliber
Other than the real Type 20, or Type XX, watches from past and current manufacturers, the Undone Type XX does not feature a permanent running second-hand in one of its sub-dials. Given by the functions of the SII VK64 meca-quartz movement, it shows a chronograph minute counter and a 24-hour hand. Unfortunately, the 24-hour hand can’t be set separately from the regular time of the watch. It can’t be used as a second-time zone or UTC, for instance; it’s merely a day and night indicator.
Further about the VK64 movement, originally it does offer a date function. However, Undone decided not to use it in this watch. Pulling out the crown to the first position, one can still feel the quick setting of it though.
…a 0 jewel movement with less than a second per day accuracy
As extra information, I would like to add that the VK64 is a 0 (no) jewel chronograph caliber with 2 two-pole stepping motors. Operated by an SR936SW battery, it will run for three years under normal temperature conditions (-5 to +50 degrees Celcius) and operating the chronograph for no more than 60 minutes a day. The VK64 has no regulating device; however, its accuracy lies between – and + 20 seconds a month. It’s antimagnetic to at least 1.600 A/m.
Type 20 requirements
Due to the lack of a permanent running second-hand, there’s no other way to tell if the watch is running or not, other than starting the chronograph. I have to admit that I didn’t investigate the French government Type 20 requirements thoroughly. However, I can imagine that some kind of running indicator must have been crucial.
… to fly back or not Flyback?
This brings me to the point of printing in the dial, which isn’t white, the model indication TYPE XX, which is red. Below this red, we can see FLYBACK. I do know for sure that the French government required the Type 20 chronographs to have Flyback functionality. Pilots should be able to stop the running chronograph, reset it to zero, and start it again from there, with just one push of a single button. That’s what Flyback means, or SRS as the German Sinn manufacturer names it accurately, Stopp-Rück-Start.
Undone indicates this Type XX to be Flyback. However, it seems it doesn’t have the proper functionality. Again the SII VK64 meca-quartz movement’s functionality does allow to stop the chronograph, and zero it, with the push of the bottom button. But it doesn’t automatically start it from there again at the same time. After stopping one has to push the top button to get the chronograph running again.
About the dial
What I like about Undone is that they don’t exaggerate with their brand name on the dial. From time to time, we see novelty brands printing their name as big and bold as possible prominently in the dial. I can imagine one is proud of a brand name and wants to ventilate it as much as possible. But I don’t think it should negatively influence the appearance of a watch. And Undone does this very right, in my opinion. The brand name in this Type XX is, like at most of their other models, printed at the bottom of the dial. Just below the 6-position.
That leaves as well a space for something else, your name or initials, for instance. This can be entered at Undone’s personalization website here. For our review watch, Undone very thoughtful printed our Fratello logo on the dial, even in the right color.
But there’s much more which can be personalized about the Type XX. Besides the classic design of our review watch, there’s an attractive white panda dial and a black reverse panda with blue numerals. The color of the hands can be chosen as well, and even a glass back to show the meca-quartz caliber is available.
The Undone Type XX as well is supplied in their meanwhile familiar and adequate box.