When you eat and sleep, live and breath watches you develop a strange view on money. Some brands feed you with empty and – sometimes – ignorant phrase like “this is a great price point for this model” or “we managed to offer this watch at a very attractive price”. Often, astronomical numbers follow these phrases; $10,000 here, $25,000 there like we’re talking Monopoly money. So every once in a while you have to take a step back and look at the industry from a different perspective. At least this is what I do. It is a good strategy to detach a little and to evaluate what I like about a watch.
Undone came with a very simple idea. For a low price you can choose a watch design (two choices). Then, using the offered options you can completely customize the watch. From dial color and design, via material for the case to the strap. And the options they offer seem to be endless. The two basic watch types you can choose from are Urban and Aqua. Urban is a very simple looking 2-pusher chronograph with subs at 12 and 6 o’clock. The Aqua variant is a large diver. Undone offers a meca-quartz movement for the Urban and 2 automatic movements (date or no date) to Aqua. Both movements are coming from Seiko by the way. Being the vintage guy I am I had to go with Urban. I just love the look of this chronograph. So I customized a watch, Undone produced and shipped it and now we’re going to review it.
The process starts with the case. You have a wide selection to choose from but I went with steel. The case has a 40mm diameter and measures 48mm long from lug to lug. It is a tad bit thick at 13.7mm. The case is polished with brushed sides all the way from the lugs to the side of the case body. Overall the case really looks like something from the 1950’s. The chronograph has two pump pushers, and a fairly large Undone signed crown. Thanks to the meca-quartz movement the action on the pushers (catch phrase of our very own Michael) actual feels like you’re operating a mechanical watch. The hands also reset back like such, not running full circle like normal quartz chronographs would do.
The case back option is a bit of a gimmick: if you prefer a solid case back that is of course possible. But you can even also your own text, choosing font type and size. But something I don’t see often, and what I was referring in the beginning of the paragraph is the option of a display case back. I mean why would anyone want to see an undecorated quartz movement? Why not, right? Needless to say this was my choice using the extra option to add an image. I chose our site’s logo; FW. Around the edge you have the name of the brand, the type of steel it comes from (316L) and water resistance (30m). So far so good, now let’s move over to the dial.
The dial of the Undone watch is where one gets easily lost. I mean, the list of options is just enormous. The four categories (vintage, modern, classic and limited) hold 24 types of dials all together. The vintage dials even have names like “Killy” or “Speedy” highlighting the obvious inspiration the dial design is coming from. Once you picked your dial you can again customize it with a small text. I went with a white and blue version from the limited group and added my initials of FB to it as well. The cool thing is whether you like simple and shiny or matte dials, busy or clean ones you surely can pick one that fits your taste. Hands also come in 3 styles and 9 colors. I added steel hands with lumen and a blue chronograph hand with a lollipop.
The only thing you cannot choose for the Undone Urban is the movement. As I already mentioned, it is a meca-quartz movement coming from Seiko (TMI). It has date (with quick set), though depending on the style of dial you choose you might not have it – just like me. Still if you pull the crown out to the first position you can flip the date wheel through and hear it turning under your dial. The Undone Caliber VK61A is also a hacking second hand caliber for accurate time setting. This caliber is actually pretty popular due to its price point, reliability and availability. You can find many different (micro)brands on the market using it.
Once you picked your case, dial, hands and movement and added all your custom texts and images you need to find a fitting strap. Undone offers six strap categories everything from four different sub categories of leather, nato, and perlon or my choice; cordura. The selection is so vast it is simple impossible you cannot find one that looks great on the watch. The cordura on my is very solid, has leather lining and quick release spring bars. The buckle is brushed and also bears the Undone logo as the crown. The whole strap just like the watch itself feels quality.
The price of my Undone watch was about $300 (around €260) and this includes express shipping from Hong Kong. If you want EMS it will cost you $50 extra. The watch comes in its standard box, which is more like a travel case. It is a sturdy case and the container is fixed with a snap button. If you pull it out you see there is space for an extra strap that you can take with you. You can also order extra straps or buy a gift card and surprise some for Christmas. Undone as a great way for someone who does not want to spend a lot on a watch or maybe the one he/she likes is too expensive, to fully customize a time piece. I mean you have to like the two case designs but the rest is up to you.
If you would like to check out Undone’s site please click here.
Balázs joined Fratello Watches in 2014 and he has been a fan of watches as long as he can remember. His passion for watches really took off in 2007 when he purchased his first fine Swiss timepiece. From 2007 up... read more