Welcome to another edition of Sunday Morning Showdown! Grab a hot drink and settle in for a brawl between two affordable field watches. Like the upcoming Six Nations game, it’s France versus England, with Serica facing off against Studio Underd0g. Serica started its journey in watches by releasing the 4512 field watch, the predecessor of the new 6190 Field Chronometer that came out last year. For Studio Underd0g, the 02Series Field is the brand’s sophomore effort, which debuted last October after the success of the 01Series chronographs. Which country and brand will come out on top? As always, you all will decide the outcome of this battle, so let’s start this Sunday with a rumble!

Ben and Jorg go head to head in this week’s showdown, each picking an affordable field watch. While these watches don’t have military credentials, the style inspires each model’s aesthetic. Despite both brands’ relative youthfulness, each has made a name for itself with exciting creations. Jorg picks the Serica 6190 Field Chronometer, while Ben chooses the Studio Underd0g 02Series Field. Both announced late last year, these timepieces are now beginning to land with their respective enthusiastic owners. Let’s find out which one will come out on top.

Vacheron Constantin

Last week, on Sunday Morning Showdown…

But before setting up a scrum, let’s look at last week’s Sunday Morning Showdown. It was a brawl of extravagance between two gold beauties. Ultimately, the Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222 easily won the battle, taking 74% of the votes, with 26% going to the brand-new Piaget Polo 79. The winner is no surprise, but we had expected a somewhat closer outcome due to similar concepts. For this week’s showdown, we flip the script and focus on the lower end of the scale, which is no less attractive. With that, it’s over to Ben and Jorg to exalt their respective contenders.

Serica 6190 Field Chronometer

Jorg: Serica 6190 Field Chronometer

My first encounter with Serica was back in 2021 when I had a chance to take the 4512 field watch for a spin. It was a great first introduction to the brand. The stylish 4512 proved to be an impressive military-inspired timepiece that combined classic cues with clever and stylish design choices. It was officially released in 2019, so the version we had in for review in 2021 was already an updated one. The improved 4512 proved modest in size but grand in its impact. A certain style and elegance immediately set the watch apart from its more utilitarian counterparts.

Serica 6190 Field Chronometer

Fast-forward two years, and we got the news that Serica had updated its 4512. This time, however, it was not a third rendition of the model but a new reference number with remarkable updates. This Serica 6190 Field Chronometer was a complete redesign of the 4512 with a new case and a new chronometer-certified movement. With the latter development, all the models from the Parisian microbrand now come fitted with chronometer-certified calibers. It’s an impressive step for a small brand, showing dedication to the craft of great watchmaking.

An impressive design update to define the Serica style

So, let’s take a look at some of those new specs. The new 6190 features a 37.7 × 46.5 × 10.4mm case, a 20mm lug spacing, and a 200m water resistance rating. Compared to its predecessor, the case is 0.6mm slimmer. Additionally, the case design has been updated with charming chamfered lugs. The style of the lugs is in line with that of the brand’s 5303 diver and 8315 GMT. It’s a clever move that gives the brand’s timepieces a distinct design style, connecting them nicely. What stayed is the characteristic brushed flat-top bezel, which gives the case a lot of character. Together with the new lugs, the case has a great profile.

Serica also decided to change the movement, as I already mentioned. The manual-winding version of the STP1-11 was replaced with the automatic COSC-certified Soprod M100, which also powers the Serica 5303 diver. This automatic movement operates at a 28,800vph frequency, has 25 jewels, and provides 42 hours of power reserve. Additionally, the new movement comes with Serica’s Grand Chronomètre certification. After getting certified by the COSC, each movement undergoes further testing for power reserve, accuracy, and shock resistance.

Serica 6190 Field Chronometer lineup

Three dial variants to choose from

What has also remained is the choice of three different dial designs for the 6190 Field Chronometer, each with a charm of its own. All three are black enameled dials that feature the text “Chronomètre” and “200m = 660ft” on the lower part of the dial. As we know, the brand name is neatly tucked away at the bottom next to the 6 o’clock marker, so forget about big logos.

Serica 6190 Field Chronometer

The three dial variants are redesigned versions of the dials that were available for the 4512. The first is the straightforward Commando dial. It features Arabic numerals from 1 to 12 o’clock but loses the classic 13–24h scale of field watches to end up looking nice and clean. The Denali dial is Serica’s brilliant take on the classic 12-3-6-9 layout. As we know from the brand, the markers for the other hours are placed further toward the center of the dial. It gives it a tremendous boost in character. Lastly, the California dial has had minor tweaks but still combines Roman numerals on the upper half with Arabic numerals on the lower half. Finishing off the handsome look is the brilliant Bonklip-style bracelet, which is now also signed.

Serica 6190 Field Chronometer

The Serica 6190 Field Chronometer is the best-in-class field watch under €1,000

So, what does all of this info tell us? Both in specs and in looks, this new Serica 6190 is hard to beat. If you ask me, there is no better field watch for its price of €990. The specs are excellent, but perhaps more importantly, the watch is also a perfect display of design cleverness. Nowhere does the 6190 lose the connection to the classic field watches that inspired it. Simultaneously, however, the case and dial design show an incredible dose of charm, and that’s precisely what a watch needs to stand out in the genre.

Serica 6190 Field Chronometer

Now, do I think that the Studio Underd0g 02Series stands out? I do, and I love the new models with their fully lumed dials. I would love to add one to my collection. But before doing that, I would first go for a Serica 6190. It is the perfect proof of how serious brand founders Jérôme Burgert and Gabriel Vachette were about coming up with the absolute best watch in the category. And that is not just commendable regarding what you get for the money. Both men also know how to make a watch that looks better than most. You can’t beat the specs and the charm of this Serica 6190 Field Chronometer. But I’d love to hear your side of the story, Ben!

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Ben: Studio Underd0g 02Series Field

Thank you, Jorg, and I enjoyed reading your thoughts on Serica. It’s certainly a brand that’s captured the interest of several Fratello team members. Unfortunately for you, this is where I disembark the friendly freight train and board the savage carriage. Whatever Serica-appreciation bug is going around Fratello HQ has not reached my modest home office. I’ve had the opportunity to try on various Serica timepieces over the years, but not one has sparked any embers. Not through lack of trying on my part, the Serica timepieces just haven’t taken my fancy.

Chief among the reasons is my previously stated indifference towards field watches. In my view, this genre summons the blandest designs imaginable. Sure, the ones that served a purpose under the “Dirty Dozen” designation or even homages to that military moniker stake a substantial historical claim. But when straying to stand out from the crowd of field watches, the Serica 6190 gets lost. Jorg often spoke about its charm, but the non-descript, logo-less dial is as charming as a slap in the face. Even Jorg couldn’t select one dial out of the three for this showdown. Not so with me. There’s only one dial from the Studio Underd0g 02Series Field collection that truly fires up this fight.

Pink Lem0nade

If you don’t represent the military credibility for your field watch, why limit yourself to dull dials? Stepping into the ring is the Studio Underd0g Pink Lem0nade. Its extrovert dial showcases what is possible for this field of watches. Some readers may balk at bold colors on display, but you can’t argue that the yellow-to-pink horizontal gradient doesn’t stand out. Studio Underd0g is well known and beloved for the signature fruity flavors in its chronograph lineup. Continuing that colorful lineage in another category expands the possibilities of dial treatments. But the show doesn’t stop when the lights go out because the fully lumed dial takes on a new persona in the dark.

With seven layers of Super-LumiNova, the 02Series is a shining beacon after sundown. In particular, the Pink Lem0nade gradient dial becomes a neon green glow, silhouetting the floating Arabic numerals. That flotation is possible via the sapphire disc above the dial surface, trapping the inky black indices in between. While the prominent screws holding this disc in place may disrupt the gradient line, Studio Underd0g wants this as a defining feature. To further emphasize this, the case-back medallion of a jellyfish symbolizes the sapphire disc’s transparency and the dial’s luminescence.

The Studio Underd0g 02Series is the best-in-class field watch under €1,000

Now, there is one inclusion on the Serica that my Studio Underd0g choice sorely lacks — a bracelet. The Strap Tailor handmade 18mm suede strap with quick-release spring bars on the Pink Lem0nade is lovely and supple. However, a matching steel bracelet would maintain continuity with the case and ensure the dial is the focal color. The Serica’s Bonklip bracelet can be easily mimicked by getting an 18mm Forstner Klip bracelet for the Studio Underd0g. While it may not be signed with the same logo as on the Serica, it’s an aftermarket option that still keeps the €850 02Series right under €1,000.

And that’s the appeal of these watches — the amount of thought and consideration for entry-level pieces. The market is flooded with watches in this price range that do not appreciate history or share the enthusiasm of watch collectors. However the voting goes, it’s good to take a step back and realize the great options for mechanical watches with unique designs in the sub-€1K bracket. With that peak comes the trough, as both models are consistently sold out or the ordering windows are closed (for now). For some, it’s frustrating, but the small scale that each brand operates on necessitates control and limiting availability. Yet, it is all the more satisfying when you finally bag a watch that takes design and functionality in a new direction. And for my money, that’ll be the Studio Underd0g 02Series Field Pink Lem0nade.

It’s up to you now

That’s it from the editors. Now it’s your turn to have a say! Make sure to vote for your champion and let us know why you chose it in the comments below!

Serica 6190 Field Chronometer vs. Studio Underd0g 02Series Field