Undone Urban Vintage Chronograph Watch Review

Undone Urban Vintage Chronograph Watch Review

Undone Urban Vintage Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

After years of being rather spoiled with high-end luxury watches, I never thought I'd be so happy wearing a $265 timepiece. It's true, though, as I'm wearing the Undone Urban Chronograph Vintage "Killy" watch on my wrist right now, and not only do I really like it, but I feel damn proud when I tell people how much it costs. This is an extremely well-done modern reinterpretation of a vintage-style watch which is also fully customizable and is a valuable lesson for a watch industry that is currently in a state of tumultuous transition.

Undone is based out of Hong Kong, run by a slew of very smart, very talented "watch guys" that realized there was a market for "value for money." Many (many) start-up watch brands begin with this concept, but few (in my opinion) actually manage to deliver on their promise of offering great quality for the money. Undone as a brand began as a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign. aBlogtoWatch has a policy that crowd-funded watch projects (like Undone) have the option of buying a reasonably-priced advertising message article written by them if they want to reach out to the audience. That is, if we feel their product, in theory, would have value to at least enough of our audience in the first place.

Undone Urban Vintage Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Undone Urban Vintage Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

We have the above policy specifically because we as an editorial team have no way of personally recommending or knowing if a potential new brand is going to be any good. We've not seen their work nor do we know anything about the final product's quality. Thus, if a Kickstarter-based watch campaign is serious and feels it has a valuable message to convey to our audience, we offer them the ability to do it themselves - in a clearly transparent way. If after the campaign is over the product is great, then we are happy to tell the world about it, which is the case here with Undone.

Undone Urban Vintage Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Undone Urban Vintage Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Undone delivered on its promise to its backers and at the same time managed to exceed my own personal expectations of what they could deliver. Those who backed the campaign got this exact watch (and others like it) for just $175. Now the price has gone up to $265, but it is still a really good deal. Sure, you can get watches for less money, but I challenge you to find any that have as much character, style, and quality as the Undone Urban Vintage.

Undone Urban Vintage Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Undone Urban Vintage Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

I've not been this excited about a very affordable "traditional-looking" watch since Orient (such as in our review of the dressy Bambino). What excites me the most is that people can get a watch that both adheres to a particular trendy style, but that also isn't so crappy a snob wouldn't want to wear it. As snobby as it'll sound, most "trendy" watches priced at a few hundred bucks are just not "snob worthy." Maybe it is their poor construction quality, wonky design, or cheesy branding, but so many watches trying to be "cool," ultimately fail because they focus more on messaging than substance.

Undone Urban Vintage Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The Undone Urban has all the right substance and is clearly made by people who both know and appreciate watches. One of my favorite details is the exhibition case back, especially considering it's a quartz watch. The vast majority of quartz movement-based watches have solid case backs without a view of the movement. Here, Undone plays with that notion and offers a quartz watch with a display case back - and the result is actually cool for what it is.

Undone Urban Vintage Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Undone Urban Vintage Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The movement inside is an SII (Seiko) caliber VK61 (VK61A) quartz "hybrid" chronograph movement. Sometimes you see this as "mecha-quartz" or "mechanical quartz." What does this mean? Well, it basically means that the watch is battery-powered and has a quartz regulator, but that it also has moving gears and parts similar to those in purely mechanical movements. The implication is that there aren't just digital elements. This doesn't really make movements like this more interesting, as most quartz movements with hands have a mechanical element to them. I'm just saying this for people who see this language and feel as though there is something special here. All you need to know is that the Undone Urban chronograph has a reliable and decent Japanese quartz movement inside of it.

Undone Urban Vintage Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Undone Urban Vintage Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Part of the allure of the Undone Urban collection is that you can either order a "fixed" model with a ready-made design, or you can use the brand's online personalizer to configure a design you prefer. Doing so increases the price only marginally, by $30 - which is basically nothing given that they will make it individually for you. The personalizer has a slew of useful options ranging from case finishing to hands, dials, and strap colors. There is also an option to get your name on the dial or caseback - which is cool. This is easily among the watches worth customizing as the options are interesting, and the end result is totally worth the fair price.

Undone Urban Vintage Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The Undone Urban Vintage can be configured to look like a lot of very different watches, to be honest. That is because the dials are very distinct and so are the hand options. The quality of the components is far above and beyond what you normally see at these prices - and the watch doesn't at all have a mass-produced feel to it. Even the steel case has a production quality and finishing that beguiles the otherwise inexpensive price of the product. Consider me really impressed with that Undone is doing. A bar has been set here, and consumers who buy products like this should know about it.

Undone Urban Vintage Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Undone Urban Vintage Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The Urban Vintage case is 40mm wide, and offered in polished steel, black-coated steel, or yellow or rose gold-toned steel. The case has a stepped bezel which adds visual interest and prevents the watch from looking boring. Undone clearly knows vintage watches and is not just emulating pictures of stuff they have seen online. The Undone design and its customization options were carefully chosen and designed. Nothing feels like an accident or haphazardly curated. This is a product by people who not only like watches, but appear to have a great degree of familiarity with the subject matter. This is super important because anyone who buys a watch should demand that someone who knows the product very well be the one to design and produce them. In watches at this price, such a situation is (these days) the exception, not the norm.

What do you think?
  • Thumbs up (94)
  • Interesting (37)
  • I want it! (32)
  • I love it! (12)
  • Classy (4)
  • 100% Genuine Aviation Heritage

    she’s…
    come…
    undun…

  • IanE

    Nice case design, though I am struggling to see value in the display back. Seiko particularly sets a very difficult bar at this sort of price level – and usually has much better WR; still I wish Undone luck!

  • 100% Genuine Aviation Heritage

    those are some canny product names

    • Barry Sixx

      We are more than that, trust us! 🙂 Find out more about our mothership @classicwatchrepair on Instagram!

  • Jonathan Smith

    Don’t like it, except the price.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    It’s nice, quite casual. Nice and clear and uncluttered ( always a plus ) and a nice price. I have voted it the most boring open case back ever.

    • Barry Sixx

      It is for the purpose of personalization really. Solid for engraving and glass for artwork 🙂

  • ProJ

    Great value, just needs a slightly nicer strap than the manufacturer’s provided one.

    • Barry Sixx

      We will be launching better straps definitely. Indeed, our premium Italian leather straps are already made but we will wait until we have fulfilled all Kickstarter watches beofre moving forward! 🙂

  • Jerry Davis

    Really doesn’t seem all that special to me, even for the price.

  • JosephWelke

    I like this. Nifty design, case size is reasonable, I like the Art Deco numbers, and it has a telemeter scale! All at a good price.

    That’s also the least inspiring exhibition case back I’ve seen. Would have preferred a solid back.

    • William McKinley Ryan

      I just bought. Love the customization option. Great concept. At US$265 (they give you a 10% discount if you sign up for their newsletter), if this thing tells accurate time, and looks as good as the videos and their website, how can you go wrong?

    • Barry Sixx

      Thank you for your feedback brother @JosephWelke:disqus , Barry from Undone. You can also reach me if you need any further info, and we also have our Aqua Diver range also avaiable to customize.

  • SuperStrapper

    I believe they do offer a good value proposition. The k1 crystal will end up being a disappointment though. They all scratch. At this price and considering the design options available, a sapphire crystal should be an option at a reasonable surcharge.

    • Skip

      I do wish they offered this option, regardless of price.

  • CognacSocialist

    This watch is basically Ben Clymer for poor people

  • Alex Tan

    The watch is nice, but I just can’t get over the name.

  • Shinytoys

    $265.00=many options in the Seiko lineup.

    • egznyc

      This is absolutely true, but I cannot say that I’ve seen anything quite like this from Seiko, either.

      Reminds me of this watch: https://www.junghans.de/en/junghans-collection/watches/junghansmeister/junghansmeister-meistertelemeter/027-3380-00/model/detail.html. Granted, the Junghans has a mechanical movement and luminous dial and hands, and while quite beautiful IMO, it’s nearly ten times the price.

      • Shinytoys

        IMO, the coolest part of the watch is the limited ability to customize it to ones own tastes. I agree the watch has a nice, nostalgic look to it, still not enough for me to look at other options. Really comes down to personal choice…

        • egznyc

          I totally agree about personal choice. We all have our subjective tastes to satisfy and obviously there are a lot of different options available for one’s wrist. 😉 That said, I also agree the customization option is pretty intriguing. Here’s another similarly styled (early 20th century vintage) chrono that was reviewed here: http://www.ablogtowatch.com/longines-pulsometer-chronograph-watch/. Of course, there are lots of differences (particularly the price), but you get the idea.

          • Shinytoys

            I love the Longines, but we have just entered a new price range altogether 🙂

    • dennis

      Could not agree more.

  • egznyc

    Looks pretty nice for the price. I was recently in Hong Kong and was blown away by how watch-obsessed they were. (I never saw such a high number of wrists I sampled with Rolex, Panerai, etc. – even saw a bus driver and taxi driver with Rolexes (though they looked real I cannot confirm ;-).) There seemed to be high-end (and lower end) brands for sale everywhere. So I’m not surprised that there’s a small company making these offerings – and thanks for sharing with us!

    My only gripes are that they could’ve upped the WR a bit; 30m is not very helpful for everday wear. I’d have to be careful not to get it (too) wet. And mineral crystal is a little bit of a compromise: better to either go with sapphire or just stick to acrylic. And then there’s this: https://www.junghans.de/en/junghans-collection/watches/junghansmeister/junghansmeister-meistertelemeter/027-3380-00/model/detail.html. Sure, it’s a lot more, but they nailed the vintage look with the crystal (though they also went with just 30m WR) – AND they’ve used lume on the hands and dial. Overall, this is a very attractive package, but for its price, UNDONE has done something here!

    • Matthew Rowe

      If a 30m gets splashed or quickly dunked in a sink or something it’ll be fine. People treat 30m watches as if any water will kill them, and that’s not true. I gave my kid a bath wearing a Seiko 5 with 30m resistance, got it completely submerged (wasn’t thinking about it) and it’s just fine.

      • egznyc

        I don’t disagree. Although I bet you would’ve thought about it – and removed your watch before the bath – if you’d been wearing a watch worth a few grand … 😉 Don’t get me wrong: I am fine with compromises that allow me to seriously consider purchasing a watch (as I’m not one to wear watches worth several thousand dollars). I just don’t think that making a watch more water resistant is going to have a big impact on the bottom line. Sure, it might mean a slightly thicker watch, but I’m not talking about anything beyond 100m WR.

        • Matthew Rowe

          Point taken. I removed my Nomos for last night’s bath.

        • William McKinley Ryan

          I just bought one of these Undone’s. Let’s see. I own several Tag’s, a Rolex GMT Master II, and some other lesser brands. Every watch I wear, I tend to beat up. I live in Brazil, spend time at the beach, in the ocean, pool, etc. Perhaps this one I won’t be as brutal. Watches are meant to be worn, people. First and foremost. I don’t consider mine to be fine jewelry, to be worn only on special occasions.

    • Barry Sixx

      We are obsessed with watches and that’s true! Because we are the largest Swiss watch importer in the world 😀

      • egznyc

        Interesting. I assume that must be per capita, since HK is about 7-something million people. Not small, but just a fraction of the US, China or Europe.

  • pab210

    Great vintage look and very tempting at the price but just not sure about the name.

    • William McKinley Ryan

      Why should the name matter? Most people can’t even properly pronounce the names of some of the top-end boutique manufacturers of find timepieces. Who cares? Do you buy a car because of the name? Mine is an Audi, a word often used to describe a navel…

      • pab210

        I could have phrased it better – what I meant to say was that I’m not too sure I like the ‘UNDONE’ beneath the six. Purely personal opinion.

      • Barry Sixx

        Well said buddy! Barry from Team Undone here 🙂

  • mtnsicl

    I like this watch. I even like the see through caseback. But, I can’t help but wonder if they could have put a Miyota automatic in there for the same price. I just don’t buy anymore Quartz watches. Ariel, the article is kinda repetitive. Otherwise, it’s all great!

    • DanW94

      I like it also, But I don’t think Miyota makes a mechanical chronograph movement. To keep it in the same price range it’d have to be a Seagull chrono movement. I think this mecha-quartz is perfect for this type of project.

      • egznyc

        I don’t think I’ve seen a mechanical Miyota chronograph movement, either. What I have seen, though, are some pretty plain (boring) Miyota winding rotors (oscillating weights), that hold even less visual appeal than this quartz movement (which, as Ariel said, is kind of cool – even if partly as a little horological humor).

        That said, I totally respect Miyota’s mechanical movements’ technical specs and am quite pleased with performance. In fact, my last purchase uses the 9015.

        • mtnsicl

          Yes, you guys are probably right, I didn’t think of the chronograph. It’s just, if you have a few quartz, it gets a pain to change all the batteries. I’ve always wondered why someone doesn’t come up with and license out a very inexpensive solar movement.

    • Barry Sixx

      We will look into a mechanical movement later!

      • mtnsicl

        Very cool!

    • Sheez Gagoo

      I think miyota has no mech. chrono movement.

  • Mr. Snrub

    I just wish they did their own thing instead of naming the lineup after other, truly iconic watches. It just invites comparisons that don’t do this any favors.

  • Lincolnshire Poacher

    Clever idea. They’ve caught the vintage look well. The case looks it’s price. Not sure about the display back, I think the solid back would look better and be more comfortable.
    For $300 it’s good value.

  • Richard Baptist

    I like the watch, two things I don’t like the name and the bottom sub dial hand seems a little too long. Other than that, I like this watch and I like what they’re doing. I even like the case back? Why not? Great effort here. I can see myself springing for one. This category is heating up though with Dan Henry, Seiko Presage and Baltic watches in the sub 1k field creating some interesting watches.

  • Larry Holmack

    Very cool looking. I love the vintage look of the watch and really like the version in gold and black. Very reasonably price.

  • Sam Soul

    I’ve backed this KS project but eventually gave up cos despite the options available I couldn’t customize a piece that I would have worn as often as I could. I like a domed crystal and still AM still looking for one though…

  • William McKinley Ryan

    Just bought one. Great, easy to navigate site, with literally thousands of combinations. I went with the Killy, with the black case and a dark grey strap. For US$265.00, if this timepiece is everything you say, I’m sold. If you sign up for thier newsletter, you get an instant 10% discount. Assuming this is on the up and up, I can see myself buying several more. So unique. Kudos to Undone, and A Blog to Watch, for bringing these to market, and sharing them with us. Shipping in July, I’ll let you know my impressions.

    • Barry Sixx

      This is Barry from Team Undone , also @bearwrist on Instagram 🙂 Enjoyed reading every bit of comments around the internet. Thank you for your shoutout brother William!

  • Bella de Formosa

    I’m totally happy with my “Killy”, which I purchased during the campaign on Kickstarter. The campaign was interesting in, and of, itself…lots of options for customizing the final buy. Read the background story on Undone and the company founder, and thought, “Why not?”…especially at that price, which is ideal for not having to worry about what happens to it, in the long run. Not usually one for quartz watches, but I thought the vintage dial design/styling on the “Killy” was attractive, and I get a kick out of the exhibition case back that shows the quartz “movement”, which I use to show neophyte watch enthusiasts the difference between quartz and mechanical. I got exactly what I paid for…just a fun buy, nothing more, nothing less.

  • Bill Grist

    Played with the website for 20 minute. Very cool and classic options.

  • William

    Nice. It seems similar to Martenero out of NY. I received a customized watch from them for my birthday one year. The ones from Martenero are automatics though, at least the one I received. I’ll have to take a look at Undone’s offerings.

  • IG

    Quartz with display back… Holy Batman

    • JozefX

      When customizing this watch, they have the option to have a glass caseback, or metal caseback. With glass you have the option to print something on the inside of the glass. With metal, you have the option to engrave something.

      • IG

        Can I have guilloched battery?

        • Skip

          I think Grand Seiko actually does this.

  • Phacepalm

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0677dbc1e1a2eafcf6ae0ec424d3479fbb3349cc80621e1d5648b2d806b69377.jpg

    Am I the only one who thinks this watch copies the design of the vintage Rolex Ref. 6234?

  • One day, I’m going to start my own Kickstarter company that offers consulting services to other companies who cannot, for whatever reason, manage to choose company or product names. It’s a physically handsome watch, at a steal of a price, with perhaps the most puzzling name you could give to what most people would consider a precise mechanical instrument.

    “I like your watch, what is it?”

    “Undone”

    “it’s not finished? Is it broken or something?”

    • Bella de Formosa

      Never, ever choose a company name that may imply that the product is “half-baked”. 😉

  • ??????

    “Undone”? I suggest other wonderful names which are still vacant: “Uncooked”, “Unmanufactured”, “Poor”, “Untreated” and “Knotty”.

  • shanekleinpeter

    Undone? Perhaps the founders are Weezer fans.

  • JozefX

    It’s a shame and a bit shocking that Ariel doesn’t seem to get what the meca-quartz movement is. Here, knowledge is one google search away: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTrci_ebEVM

    In short, this movement has mechanically actuated chronograph function, which allows it to reset the chronograph instantly, instead of waiting for electric motor to move it back to zero position, like in regular quartz chronographs. Chronograph pushers are truly mechanical on this movement, rather than electronic switches. Thus the naming distinction.

  • Ulysses31

    Attractive watches with a clever movement. I do wonder if it wouldn’t be possible to use a fully mechanical chrono movement; something dirt cheap like what they use in the Swatch auto-chronos. Plastic gears and no jewels would be acceptable to someone at this price point, I reckon, and i’m sure SII could easily produce such a movement.