THE AQUA, MASTERS EDITION by UNDONE WATCHES
Before we begin, I would like to thank Barry a.k.a @bearwrist for the opportunity, his kindness and his generosity. I really value our friendship albeit it has only been a short while, really. We are very honoured to be able to review a piece from Undone Watches. Without further ado, let’s get this review started!
Most of us can agree that customisable watches are an interesting area of the watch industry, often out of reach of the average watch enthusiast due to the high prices such customisability entails. And thus the concept of Undone Watches was born: to offer highly customisable watches to the general consumer market.
With little doubt, Undone Watches knocked it out of the park in that regard. No doubt, there’s something special going on here. How often do you find an affordable watch, made with high quality materials and components, and yet be able to call it yours?
Customisation process and concept
For starters, you are required to log on to www.undone.watch and get yourself registered for an account. The process itself takes no more than 2 minutes. You will then be directed to the Undone Customiser, and here you can start customising your very own Undone watch.
The customiser tool was a refreshing experience that was comprehensive yet simple to use. There were a variety of customisable components to choose from: casebacks, bezels, dials, hands, straps, case finishing etc.
You also get the option to have your personal initials or logo imprinted onto the dial or the caseback, which is an absolute plus in my book! Once again, the process is simple; all you need to do is submit a request via email / DM on Instagram.
The overall impression of the customisation process revolves around the brand’s desire to emphasise one’s individuality, and I believe many will find the concept intriguing and appealing in different ways and in great volumes.
At the time of this review, Undone has only released the Aqua model in their lineup, which is precisely the subject of this review. The watch itself features a modern 45 mm case diameter, 52 mm lug to lug, and 15 mm in thickness. Although on paper 45 mm appears to be on the large side for most, I personally have relatively small wrists (6.5 inches) and it doesn’t at all appears to wear too big on my wrist. This is probably due to the unorthodox construction of the lugs.
The case uses 316L grade stainless steel, with the option to have a PVD coating, and it is tested to a depth rating of 100m.
Aesthetics wise, the Undone Aqua features a very modern and simple diver look, it is very masculine, but again I do not see why it would not look good on a female wrist, because ultimately I believe it all boils down to the customisation process.
The Undone Aqua utilises a Seiko NH35A automatic winding movement, and most would have already know that it is an entry level and high quality movement, which is highly serviceable and very reliable at this price point, so no complaints here in the movement department.
The movement also features a date function at the 3 o’clock aperture of the dial, consumers will be able to choose from 2 options: white date disc and black date disc.
The movement also has a power reserve of 40 hours, and a hacking feature for time-setting accuracy.
And to top it off, I was told by the designer that the reason the NH35A was chosen was mainly due to its versatile nature in terms of moddability. In other words, this was a calculated measure to facilitate the introduction of modification kits for its customers in 2016.
The luminescence on my Aqua is very, very poor, unlike other models but I have to say that this is an aspect on my part in which I overlooked by accident – I picked a non-luminous dial. So please do bear this in mind when selecting your dial. If you are a huge fan of luminescence, you are certainly in for a treat, Undone has recently released a few more additional dial options featuring different presentations of luminescence.
Consumers will have a variety of straps to choose from, and I do not mean solely by colour, but also the material of the strap. So far there are US Horween oil tanned, Italian Leather, Military Bund, Rubber, Suede and Alligator print.
The straps will come with a Quick-Release feature for strap-changing ease.
From my experience, I am really enjoying the strap that I have been provided with, it is comfortable and the Undone Signature on the buckle is pretty cool. And don’t mind me as I have been using the strap with my Seiko SKX007 as well, because it is THAT comfortable.
I was apparently told that Undone stands strongly behind its value for function qualities, the Aqua itself is tested to a depth rating of 300m, and several pieces were recently made and given to divers for professional use.
As far as my personalised Aqua is concerned, there is not much drawback really, aside from the fact that the customisation process tends to be a little mind boggling due to the vast selection of customisable options, which is not really an issue and a very desirable problem to have I must say.(laughs) And also, there were very minor issues where I noticed some dust under the caseback of my Aqua, but then again the watch I was provided with was merely a prototype, and I am absolutely sure that there will not be any more issues as such with the actual production models.
Another drawback I came across was the thought of its resale value, but then again, it might not be relevant under such circumstances, because I foresee that customers who purchased an Undone watch would not really consider the resale factor, as it goes without saying due to the highly customisable nature.
The price for the Aqua starts at 430USD, which in my opinion is quite affordable considering the quality and the customisability options you get, along with the top-notch service that was (thanks Barry!) provided and the watch’s vested potential for further modifications.
In my opinion, the philosophy of Undone Watches is definitely an interesting concept. I have been wearing my CHRMTK edition Aqua for a while now, putting it through its paces. Ultimately, it may seem unfair if I were to comment on the look of the watch since every piece is unique to their owners, and the commentary provided in the above is merely fixated on my thoughts on the stock parts, it does not cover custom components. Anyway, here are some pictures taken by the #watchfam for you to enjoy and to also inspire your potential masterpiece:
Once again, we are very, very honoured and grateful to Barry for this opportunity and we wish them nothing but all the best and more success! Check out their Aqua series here, and get started on your very own design! Do let us see your designs by hashtagging #individualitymatters #undonewatches and #chronomatick or #chrmtk on Instagram!
Design and fun factor: Fun, personal design and customisation process -5/5
Built quality: Good quality for the price –4/5
Movement: Solid and reliable Seiko NH35A movement. –4/5
Wearability: Casual, utilitarian, not suitable to be worn with suits.
Affordability: Relatively affordable, priced at $450. –4/5