How this luxury watch repair guy turned the world of custom watches upside down
If you are a hardcore watch enthusiast like myself, then you may have thought about wearing your own custom watch. Maybe a diver with a hot pink bezel brushed stainless steel body and a pink matching strap. Or Maybe you’re after a vintage style chronograph that you always wanted in your collection.
Now customizing your own watch to fit your taste has never been this simple, flexible and affordable ever before. With a plethora of dials, hands, designs, cases, straps with endless possibilities to choose from, and let’s not forget to mention the ability to print your own custom logo on the back plate/exhibition plate and dial to make your watch extra unique.
UNDONE is the company behind making customized watches an affordable option for everyone. Starting at $265 to $475 there is a lot of fun to be had at the price point. With that said, UNDONE is a brand that stands on its own 2 feet in the watch world and is not trying to keep up with the outlandishly priced luxury watch markets with fancy movements with precious metals that cost an arm and a leg to buy (We will see if this changes).
At this point, the brand is mainly focused on design and personalization and saving the people from spending thousands of dollars on custom timepieces that would simply be out of reach for most people.
In addition, UNDONE watches are expanding their timepieces. Not just in new types of watch models, but they are expanding in collaborative partnerships with exciting franchises you may have heard of.
As of today, UNDONE have collaborated with Peanuts and ULTRAMAN and from an exclusive interview with did with the masterminds behind UNDONE (scroll down for the interview) Micheal and Barry, you will discover more exciting things to come from UNDONE.
So if you have ever dreamed about owning your own custom wristwatch at a steal of a price then keep reading to discover the entire process. But be warned, I’d kindly ask you NOT to fall into your own excitement and run off and start building your own watch until you read the whole review, because I have something EXCLUSIVE to my readers of Watchdig.org.
Lets get started:
Designing my watch: With the lack of chronographs in my collection, I decided to pick the URBAN chronograph which has a Seiko Quartz mechanical Hybrid movement with flyback function on the inside as a starting point for my inspiration. I remember my grandpa wearing a beautiful chronograph and it had a distinct blue hands. I cannot remember the name of the watch and after his passing, I unfortunately never saw or heard about that watch ever again.
I wanted this piece to be dedicated to him. And going back into my memory of what I remembered about that watch I think it was a close match to what I remembered as a 7 year old (now 30 years old).
I must admit, I went down the endless rabbit hole of mixing and matching and, I spent 3 hours playing around before settling on recreating my grandpa’s watch.
It’s difficult not to get completely lost in the possibilities and if I was to do it again I would take a completely personalized approach, only next time it will be with a custom diver.
After the design process I placed my order and there I waited. And within the next 2 weeks, it arrived from Hong Kong via FedEx. Unfortunately, it was caught up in customs which wasn’t great, but when It passed the check it was at my door in a jiffy.
The watch arrives in a beautifully upholstered case with a Date of Purchase card on the front with the stamped date along with various details including, the type of watch and some of its general watch specifications.
Upon opening, you are greeted with the owners manual cool little vintage styled advertisement which was a nice touch.
Case Width: 40 mm excl. crown
Case Thickness: 12.7mm incl. crystal
Watch Movement: Seiko Instruments Inc. VK61 Mechanical-Quartz Hybrid Flyback Chronograph
Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel
Crystal Material: Hardened Domed K1 Crystal
Water Resistance: 3 ATM / 30 Meters
Strap Size: 20mm
There’s nothing like holding this watch in the flesh, it’s lightweight compared diver collection, so if you a new to this style of a vintage chrono, then it may take some getting used to. But I wouldn’t let that fool you because it looks and feels great.
The Undone Vintage Chrono measures at 40mm and has shiny and brushed stainless steel elements on its case, and It’s smooth to the touch with no rough or sharp edges insight.
I love the shine of the blue hands on the dial face and looks very similar to my grandpa’s old watch. Taking a closer look at the dial, the print job is impeccable with out a printing smudge insight.
A closer look at the watches features, It has the second dial on the 6 o’clock position and the chronograph dial and the timer set at the 12 o’clock position. The chronograph timer has a flyback function for easy reset and the pump buttons feel nice and rigid to use.
Flipping over to the back, you get a peek into the hybrid Quartz Mechanical movement by Seiko ticking over, seen with the clear exhibition case back which is a customizable option in the designing process.
It’s finished off with genuine leather calf straps which feel a little tough for my liking but, with some wear in they will loosen up just fine. The watch’s dial is protected by a Hardened Domed K1 Crystal which offers scratch free and anti-reflective properties for everyday use.
The UNDONE custom chronograph is an all-around easy everyday wearer and goes well with most casual outfits. It’s built to be discreet and doesn’t feel bulky on the wrist. Since wearing it it’s stopped a few of my watch lover friends in their tracks to ask “what’s that?” and they love the idea of buying their own personalized watch.
- A great all-rounder wearer that feels lightweight on the wrist
- Responsive and great feeling chronograph controls
- High attention to detail on the dial, I am really happy with the quality control UNDONE has.
- The calf strap is too tough on the wrist for my personal taste
Exclusive Interview With UNDONE Watch Creators
Watchdig: Michael, you’ve paved your way by working in servicing luxury watches — do you plan to “scratch the luxury watch itch” by bringing out your own higher-end UNDONE watch custom alternative?
UNDONE: We do have plans to launch the AQUA Chrono for sure, we will push our limits on both the customization and performance ends.
Again, my definition of luxury is simple: tailor-made and craftsmanship, combined with quality materials. It shouldn’t come with a high price tag nowadays, especially with a lot of people like myself today, who are experienced in the industry while riding on the whole digital landscape with booming social media and e-commerce activities. Other future product possibilities include a GMT, Moonphase or Day-Date. Oops, almost forgot about the ladies with a smaller range, plus endless collaborations.
Watchdig: Michael & Barry, I love your current watch styles and it took me hours to explore all the options. Do you have plans to expand into new models, and if so, are you able to give us a sneak peek? and when will they be released?
UNDONE: Our next release will be in early April. I shall shoot you our press release soon. It will be a tool watch with an emphasis on legibility, with a nice dressy watch case for today’s URBAN needs.
Watchdig: Michael & Barry, The idea of collaborations is genius! What collaborations are you currently working on bringing to fruition for 2019?
Also if you were to pick 3 dream collaborations — who would you like to work with?
UNDONE: There is a lot coming up, including Monopoly, Peanuts Moon Landing and etc…
Hmmmm…. Dream collaborations, any current space agencies, such as SpaceX (Michael), Bruce Lee (Michael, just that we really want to make a watch for him…if he is still alive!), and the Olympics Team
Watchdig: Michael & Barry, I have many entrepreneur readers, and this question is for them. When did you came up with the idea for UNDONE, what was the most difficult part of getting the company off the ground?
UNDONE: The idea of UNDONE started during a dinner conversation between co-founders Michael and Robert. Michael Young was the main supplier for the biggest custom watch labels in the market. Yes, those you can name (brands that customizes Rolex, mostly PVD coating them, sometimes even switching watch parts).
When they discussed Michael’s profit margin per custom watch (pennies compared to what those brands are listing the price), both think the same thoughts that Mike will be better of running his own custom watch brand and offering it at prices affordable to everyone. They were thinking of a catchy name, a phrase that almost means nothing really, so it gives people room to imagine the brand. UNDONE was the perfect word. It also represents Michael’s strong will to shake up the watch industry by undoing the supply chain into a digital Just-In-Time ordering system and running a production line.
We started as passionate watch enthusiasts. We started off with a niche product, the UNDONE AQUA, with a price tag of US$480. With a purely online model, it took us a while to build a strong social network of support from hardcore watch enthusiasts from #WATCHFAM (a hashtag used by millions of watch lovers worldwide, who regard their watch collecting hobby as something universal as a family), It took us another year to come up with an idea, the URBAN, fine-tuning more to the mass market taste, in order for us to really take off. We are still striving to improve every day in terms of content creation, hoping to hire the best crew from all around the world to join our team in Hong Kong. His strong following from his own separate watch venture @classicwatchrepair (www.classicwatchrepair.com) definitely boosted UNDONE’s initial capabilities.
Big shoutout to my own account @bearwrist (www.instagram.com/bearwrist) and my network of supporters! It also took me a while to build Michael Young as the rising star in the watch scene.
Watchdig: Sounds like UNDONE have made a massive impact on the watch world, and congrats on your success. Tell me, Where do you envision undone in the next 3 years?
UNDONE: We want to be exploring our unique movement complications, tailored for extreme customization possibilities. I am a strong believer in visual complications. We also hope we will be having our own flagship stores in major cities. Nevertheless, we are now headquartered in Hong Kong, with offices in the US, Japan, and Thailand. I know there are missing pieces still before achieve our full vision, but we are getting there. An online to offline experience is crucial.
UNDONE Custom watches are truly a unique way to treat yourself or a loved one or a friend. There are seemingly endless possibilities with the design, and it all comes at a very affordable price.
Would you get another UNDONE Watch?
Absolutely yes, next time it will be the AQUA Diver, I have always wanted a customized automatic diver and when the opportunity arises I will report back on that in another review.
Based on the interview, I am personally very excited about what’s to come from UNDONE. I am looking forward to new customizations, and the custom complications sound truly exciting for a watch geek like myself.
Where To Get My Own Custom Watch From Undone?
Click here to start customizing your dream watch now
What do you think? Leave your comments below