Before I get too deep into my Undone Watches review, I should make a confession:
I’m extremely particular about my watches, but not in the craftsmanship-focused way that traditional “watch snobs” are.
Most of the connoisseurs who follow the watch industry closely are concerned with a time piece’s technical specs and inner mechanics.
But as a style blogger who believes that the handsome devil is in the details, I have to admit that my concerns lean more toward the aesthetic than the mechanic.
I spend a definitely-not-normal amount of time focused on the smallest details of pretty much everything I wear, and with watches that means I obsess over things like the color of the arms, the size of the face, the thickness of the strap and even the font style of the numbers.
(As both a style specialist and a word nerd, watch font is like crack to me.)
So I was super intrigued when I stumbled on Undone Watches. Fully customizable watches in a surprisingly affordable price range? That’s gotta be too good to be true… right?
Let’s find out. What follows is a thorough, detail-oriented (and style-centric) review of Undone Watches’ Minimalist watch that will help you determine whether Undone is worthy of your hard-earned dollars.
This review came about because I reached out to Undone Watches after stumbling upon them online, and asked if they would provide Irreverent Gent with a sample watch so I could write a thorough, honest and transparent review.
To their credit, they agreed, and allowed me to go through their full online customization process. They didn’t ask for anything in return, nor did they have any editorial input whatsoever into this post. The honest, unfiltered opinions that follow are completely my own, as are the lame jokes and random asides (including that one!).
So with that disclosure out of the way, let’s take a closer look at the style, price and overall value of Undone Watches.
Assessing Undone Watches’ Customization Process
As I alluded to above, the main component of Undone Watches’ sales pitch is that they give you the ability to customize multiple facets of the watch.
So before we get to the watch itself, let’s break down the steps involved in selecting, ordering and customizing your watch.
Choosing Your Watch
While Undone gives you the ability to customize a lot of the details about your watch, it’s worth mentioning that you’re not designing a watch from scratch.
The process starts by picking one of their 32 base models, and then customizing from there. I chose the Minimalist Silver because I thought its clean, classic lines worked well on their own, and would serve as a fairly blank canvas onto which I could add my customizations.
Customizing Your Watch
Once you’ve selected a model, you click on the big (and impossible to miss) “Customize” button to start the design process, which allows you to customize a total of 10 aspects of the watch’s appearance.
Once I started the customization process, it only took a few minutes to personalize my watch (and TBH, it was hella fun)
Below are the primary details you get to customize, and the options I selected, for reference:
1. Dial/Face Color (white)
2. Dial Print
At this stage you can also choose whether or not to add your initials to the dial design. I opted for this, but was happy to find that I didn’t have to settle for just first and last initials – I was able to fit “D.Bowden” in under the character limit.
4. Initial Side
You also get to choose where the initials appear: on the right or left side of face. I chose the left, next to the 9 o’clock position.
5. Case Color (silver)
I chose to stick with the Minimalist’s default silver case colour, which in my opinion is the most classic and appropriate color for an everyday watch like this.
6. Hour & Minute Hands (dark blue)
7. Seconds Hand (also dark blue)
8. Strap Style and Color
Here you can choose from 41 different options. I opted for a classic brown from their line of vintage straps, because I like the old school look.
It makes the watch look more like one of those cool vintage chronographs, which gets passed down second hand from generation to generation.
(It’s also worth noting that you can continue customizing the watch after you order it by picking up some extra straps, which can be switched out by a jeweller.)
9. Case Back – Metal or Glass
You can choose to either have a metal case on the back, or get a glass case made from the same mineral crystal used on the front.
If you choose glass, you can either leave it blank to expose the gears inside the watch, or upload a photo that gets printed on the back. (I’ll explain what I went with – and how damn excited I am about it – below.)
10. Case Back – Engraving
If you go for a stainless steel case back, as opposed to the glass, you can opt to have something engraved on the back.
I didn’t opt for this option since I decided to upload a photo, but I tested it out just to see how many words you can choose for the engraving. I clocked it at about 25 words, or 118 characters.
As I completed the customization steps, it wasn’t hard to see why Undone Watches adopted this business model; even though I was just selecting from a pre-determined set of options, I definitely started to feel a sense of ownership – and dare I say it, even pride – over the watch I was “creating.”
Overall, the customization process was easy, fast, and pretty damn fun. It offered enough options to make me feel like I was crafting something unique, but not so many that I felt overwhelmed by decision fatigue.
Toal Score for the Customization Process: 4.5/5
The Watch Itself
OK, so the process of customizing the watch went pretty smoothly, as did the international shipping—I received regular updates from Fed Ex, and the watch arrived within two weeks.
But in the grand scheme of things, that’s really a drop in a bucket.
Ideally this will be a watch that I’ll be proud to wear for years or even decades to come, so let’s get into the good stuff and examine how the watch actually looked and performed when it arrived.
Unboxing the Undone
Before I laid eyes on my watch itself, the first thing I noticed was the packaging it came in.
The box they used was pretty cool; instead of typical cardboard it comes in a textured grey sleeve with a small leather strap, and a button that snaps to the watch box itself.
It’s a nice touch that speaks to Undone’s commitment to details, and made me even more excited to open it up and see my watch for the first time.
The Big Reveal
When I slid the case open and saw my watch staring back at me for the first time, I have to admit: it was pretty F-ing cool.
I was particularly glad that I oped for the monogramming; I don’t mind admitting that I felt a jolt of excitement when I saw my name printed on the watch face for the first time.
In addition to my name, the next thing I noticed was the color of the arms. I selected dark blue for all of them, and as soon as I pulled off the protective plastic piece and saw them glimmer in the full light, I knew I made the right decision.
The blue arms really pop against the white face that I chose, and add an extra, unexpected flourish to an already pretty sharp-looking watch.
When I said earlier that the handsome devil is in the details, this is exactly what I had in mind.
But my favorite customization is one that no one can even see when I have the watch on. When I found out that you could add an image to the back of the case, I knew immediately what I would choose: the Irreverent Gent logo.
It’s hard to describe how cool it was to turn the watch around and see my logo staring back at me.
Even though no one can see it when I’m wearing the watch, I know it’s there, and having a picture I’m so proud of embedded in a well-made and stylish watch like this feels… well, pretty damn baller.
If you have a family crest or a symbol that really resonates with you, I would highly recommend opting for the photo option and embedding something that’s personal.
The Watch Case
Moving past the first impression and into more of the details, I was glad to see that the watch case comes in a 42 mm size.
A lot of guys wear watches with much larger faces, which in my opinion look gaudy and too try-hard, but the 42 mm size was perfect for the sophisticated look I was going for.
Plus, the fact that it’s a chronograph – meaning it has the extra knobs that control the smaller dials on the watch face –gives it a practical and vintage which, when coupled with the design and the case size, makes it feel like the watch an Allied pilot might have worn during WWII.
A Tad Thick
The only strike against the case is that it’s a little thicker than I would have liked, though that’s admittedly kind of unavoidable when it’s a chrono; the extra dials you see on the face require extra gears, and the case has to be thick enough to hold them.
In a perfect world I prefer watches with a thinner case, which in my opinion looks more sophisticated.
But this watch is more of an everyday workhorse than, say, the super thin (and in my opinion, super sharp) Bulova I wore on my wedding day.
If you compare it to the timepieces you would wear with a tux, it doesn’t feel quite as sophisticated.
But if you compare it to casual pieces from other watch brands, like the Timex Weekender, it feels both more elegant and more elevated, so it’s really a matter of perspective, and which different watches you’re comparing it to.
The Watch Band
The 20 mm watch band was probably the detail I was least concerned about getting right, since (as mentioned above) you can always buy alternative strap options and swap the band out for another.
But I was impressed with the brown leather band I selected, which kind of exemplifies the casual-but-refined motif of the watch itself.
The Italian leather is high quality and clearly well made, but the medium-brown color makes it versatile enough to wear with just about any outfit.
It’s just as easy to pair with a pair of jeans and casual boots as it would be with a perfectly tailored three-piece suit, which means it’s likely a piece that I can keep in heavy rotation for a long time to come.
The Comfort Level
After actually wearing the watch for a few weeks, the thing that impressed me the most was something I didn’t actually notice at all: the fact that I was wearing it.
The watch took maybe two days to break in and get the leather strap accustomed to my wrist, but after that, it was comfy.
I was a little worried when I saw the thickness of the case, because sometimes thicker watches can be heavier and left comfortable.
But the Minimalist has just enough weight to feel substantial, but not so much that it feels like you’re wearing one of those wrist weights you see at the gym.
There was no pinching or having to fuss with it once it was on, and most days I only noticed it when I needed to glance at the time.
Toal Score for the Customized Minimalist Watch: 4.7/5
Are Undone Watches any good?
After a few weeks of wearing my new Undone Watch – with multiple different outfits and in a wide variety of settings – I can say with confidence that my customized version of the Minimalist Silver is more than up to snuff.
I chose the Minimalist Silver because I thought the base model looked pretty sharp on its own, but I’ve been surprised and kind of delighted by how much the customizations I chose improve my experience of wearing the watch, and my appreciation for it.
I feel a small sense of pride every time I see strap it on and see my own name staring back at me. I tested the watch during the pandemic when things were still pretty tightly locked down, but I can’t wait to wear it when we’re allowed to have social gatherings again.
I suspect that it’ll spark both compliments and conversations (in which I’ll shamelessly look for an excuse to undo the watch and show everybody the IG logo on the back).
If you’re looking for a watch in the $200 to $400 range, I highly recommend going with Undone Watches and customizing a piece that you’ll be proud to wear for years to come.
Overall Undone Watch Review Score: 4.6/5
Undone Watches Price
The Minimalist Silver starts at $249 as a price point, and with the customizations I made, the final price came to $289, plus tax.
As I mentioned above, I was lucky enough to receive my Minimalist for free as a review sample (there are definitely some perks to this job).
But this is a watch I would have been more than willing to pay for.
Getting a well-made, stylish and timeless watch for sub-300 bucks is already a good value deal.
But when you throw in the customizations that make it unique and personalized to you, it’s really kind of a steal.
Where are Undone Watches made?
All of Undone’s custom watches are made at the company’s headquarters in Hong Kong, and express-shipped for free anywhere in the world. (You can learn more about how their watches are made on Undone’s website.)
Are Undone Watches automatic?
It depends on which base model you choose. Undone offers watches with both mechanical movement and automatic custom watch movements, both of which are supplied by famous watch manufacturer Seiko.
The Urban and the Minimalist, which I reviewed, use the meca-quartz movement, while the Aqua has automatic movement.
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More Men’s Watch Advice and Recos from Irreverent Gent:
- How to Wear a Pocket Watch
- How to Wear a NATO Strap Watch
- The 11 Best Men’s Smart Watches
- Timex Weekender Review
- The Best MVMT Men’s Watches
- The Most Stylish Watch Boxes for Men
- In Review: Vincero Watches’ Chrono S