UNDONE Mystique Watch Collection Review

Most people will know UNDONE Watches for their “Customizer”, and in particular the thrill of constructing a watch unique to them from the myriad of different styles and colours available, including the choices of case, bezel, dial, hands, mechanism, strap and option to add initials to the front and printable artwork or message to the back.

Of course, that ability to have a custom watch built to your specific choices was what got UNDONE started and has seen them rapidly create a niche where they offer their own quality watch styles with a high degree of personalisation at affordable prices. At UNDONE, everything is kept in-house, from the early research and development of the styles to the manufacturing and packaging of the watches and their website, complete with “Customizer”, allows direct customer purchases. It’s an interesting business, offering some desirable watches!

However, UNDONE also offers some interesting “Collections“, one of which is the Mystique collection. It’s not possible to re-create this exact style using the Configuration tool because the four dial faces are unique to this collection, hence they aren’t truly “custom watches”, but they are certainly beautiful. Take a look…

The video is well worth a watch if you’d like to see a Mystique watch being made. The initial step is stamping the die for the watch dial from a copper sheet metal, followed by a Guilloche process to create sub-dials. Following a position accuracy test, the next step is engine turning to create the sunray pattern and texture, followed by electro-plating to allow the nickel and rhodium surface finish. The dial is then painted with a base coat and a smoky finish, before logo and dial details are added by transfer printing. After a heat treatment step to extend the life of the colours, there’s a final molding to curve the dial edge and the dial index markers are applied manually before the dial is ready to be included into the overall creation process of a new watch.

The four designs within the Mystique Collection are named after astronomical events, with appropriate artisan gradient dial colours for each, probably most reminiscent of the H Moser Endeavour and Venturer watches with fume dials, which are apparently only available in the UK from Harrods, the Endeavour for £42,900 and the Venturer for just £16,000!

The Eclipse Mystique watch features a grey dial face, the Mercury Mystique watch has a blue dial face, the Neptune Mystique watch has an ocean green dial face and the Mars Mystique watch has a red dial face. See the images, below, and click for a larger version…

Apart from the four different colours of the watch dials, the Mystique Collection of watches are identical. They have case lengths of 52mm, case widths of 40mm excluding the crown and case height of 13mm due to the domed glass feature. The case material is 316L stainless steel, available with either a Silver or Rose Gold coating and the domed crystal glass is strengthened K1 Glass.

The watch movement is a Seiko VK61 Mechanical-Quartz Hybrid Flyback Chronograph which provides the accurate timekeeping of a quartz mechanism with a mechanical chronograph function.

The strap width is 20mm and made of black caviar leather (calfskin leather with grains) with a bonus alligator-print leather strap included in the package. You can quickly change between the two straps using the quick release spring bars.

The watch is water resistant to 3 atmospheres / 30 metres, which probably means you should avoid getting it wet beyond a brief splash! All Mystique watches are delivered in an exclusive packing box (see below for images of watches with the different strap types and the packaging box)

 

Here are some further images of the Undone Mystique collection for you to enjoy!

Pay For Groceries With Your Contactless Watch?

Contactless Watches Are On The Way

Some of us are only just getting used to paying for things with contactless credit cards! Now it seems that contactless watches are on the way!

timex-fairfield-contactless-watch
The original Timex Fairfield Contactless Watch

Barclays has a contactless payment service called “bPay“, which allows you to pay with, “your keys, your wrist, or just about anything – giving you choice over how you pay and making buying fun, fast and secure”. How exactly does that work…?

Well, for goods £30 and under, wherever you see the contactless symbol you can use a pre-paid bPay account that links to most major credit or debit cards. The trick to keeping fraud levels low is the phrase, “pre-paid”, which means you can only lose as much as is in the account. Apparently there are 400,000 locations in the UK currently accepting contactless payments.

bPay actually has their own online store where you can buy contactless items, from wrist bands and watches to keyrings and stickers! Each device you buy is valid for at least two years, then has to be replaced, so they’re naturally fairly low-cost items.

It seems that bPay wants to reach a wider audience, so has teamed up with watchmakers to offer “wearable payments” in watches and timepieces. The brands are GUESS watches, Mondaine, Timex, Kronaby, Suunto, ADEXE and LBS. This expansion builds on the success of the initial Fairfield Contactless watch created in partnership with Timex (shown, right).

To modify an existing watch, you can obtain a bPay payment chip, which looks like a bit like a SIM card, insert the chip into a loop, and slide the loop onto the strap of the watch…

bpay-contactless-payment
bpay contactless payment watch strap

From the press release…

 

The growing appetite for wearable payments

These agreements come as data from Barclaycard’s latest Contactless Spending Index shows that wearable payments are surging in popularity, as spending via bPay jumped 129 per cent year-on-year in 2017*. This spike in usage indicates not only an increased demand by consumers to pay quickly and easily, with ‘touch and go’ saving seven seconds per transaction compared to chip and PIN, but also a desire to opt for a contactless payment method which best suits their needs.

Adam Herson, Business Development Director, Barclays Mobile Payments said:

“Consumer appetite for wearable payments is reaching critical mass, and we’re proud to be meeting this growing demand with the help of our industry-leading partners. Thanks to the range of products these agreements will bring to market, customers will be able to buy a watch or fitness tracker that not only suits their taste, but also unlocks benefits of speed and ease in everyday purchases.

“Whether buying a bottle of water when out for a run, or a newspaper on an afternoon stroll around the city, today’s shoppers are looking for ‘built-in’, seamless payment experiences. Our game-changing, flexible bPay chip means we can transform any traditional timepiece into a smart device – without sacrificing style.”

 

This creates a whole new dimension for custom watches!

British Watchmaker Announces Garrick S1

Garrick, the specialist English watchmaker, has announced a new, limited-edition, hand-made skeleton timepiece called the S1.

Garrick-S1-timepiece
Garrick-S1-timepiece

Only ten S1 watches will ever be made, and there’s only one currently in existence. When you consider that, and the stunning looks of the watch itself, you can be sure it’ll be a highly coveted item.

In fact, it takes four months to make each individual watch by hand, in Garrick’s UK workshop.

As Garrick says, “The dial freely discloses a plethora of gears. Each gear is cut, finished and assembled by hand. Prospective purchasers are able to choose from a selection of different hand styles. Both the hands and screws are thermally blued, consistent with fine watchmaking practice. A small seconds display and power reserve indicator occupy the upper portion of the dial.”

Did you note the customisable nature of the watch? Yes, here at Custom Watches we don’t miss a trick! You can choose from different hand styles! 🙂

The only drawback to this magnificent piece of British engineering is the price… just £27,995, inc VAT.

But if your pocketbook can stretch to that, Garrick also offers a fully bespoke service where “clients can express their own character, specifying design details which are important to them”.

Here’s a look inside the Garrick workshop, courtesy of BusinessInsider…

 

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph

One of the most famous names in watches is that of Vacheron Constantin. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, they claim to be the, “world’s oldest watch manufacturer in continuous operations since 1755“!

Naturally, their watches are stunning, and come with equally impressive price-tags. Take, for example, this “Overseas Versatile Elegance” watch, shown in the video, below…

If you go to the website, the current price for that watch is £27,100 (guide price, tax included).

Why would you pay such a premium price for a timepiece? Well, perhaps because you want to be inspired by the evocative history of the Overseas brand, which includes the fact that it’s,  “… designed to suit an active lifestyle, it inspired the 1996 creation of the first Overseas models, powered by the spirit of travel and openness to the world. This remarkably technical collection soon became a touchstone for the Maison. Its dynamic lines, its signature bezel and its solid caseback adorned with a depiction of the famous Amerigo Vespucci three-masted ship are an open invitation to travel the seven seas. Vacheron Constantin has gradually developed the identify codes of this line over the years, such as the metal bracelet introduced in 2004 and featuring a motif evoking the Maltese cross brand emblem. In 2016, the new-wave, Hallmark of Geneva-certified Overseas is casting anchor in the 21st century.”

The Hallmark of Geneva is a certification given to only watches made in Geneva, Switzerland. (“The characteristics require, at a minimum, that the watch was made in or made on commission by a qualified Genevoise craftsman from the City or Canton of Geneva.”)

Seal of the Canton of Geneva
Seal of the Canton of Geneva

The Hallmark of Geneva applies to the whole “Overseas” collection, certifying a, “four-fold consumer guarantee of provenance, resilience, accuracy and expertise, the Hallmark of Geneva establishes high production standards serving to achieve the best possible results in terms of reliability and aesthetics, while ensuring respect for traditional hand workmanship as well as the transmission of these skills. Vacheron Constantin is its most loyal representative since 1901.”

Overseas chrono blue 5500V
Overseas chrono blue 5500V

The watch movement is, “the result of a five-year development process, this 263-component calibre is fitted with a column wheel coordinating the chronograph start, stop and reset functions, as well as a vertical coupling clutch preventing any jerking of the hand when the chronograph starts. A signature feature of new Vacheron Constantin chronographs, the column wheel is adorned with a screw shaped like the Manufacture’s signature Maltese cross emblem. This movement is equipped with a twin barrel enhancing its torque and its reliability while ensuring over 50 hours of power reserve. Protected from magnetic fields by a soft iron ring, it powers the hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph and date indications.”

Overseas chrono bleu 5500V
Overseas chrono bleu 5500V

In addition to the movement, the watch consists of a, “silver-toned or blue dial adorned with sunburst, snailed and velvety finishes. The gold facetted hands and hour-markers hands are coated with a luminescent material ensuring optimal readability.

The Overseas Chronograph comes in a stainless steel or 18K pink gold 42.5 mm-diameter case. Its screwed-down pushpieces, crown and caseback guarantee water-resistance to 150 metres, while its transparent back reveals a 22K gold oscillating weight adorned with a wind rose. The new stainless steel models are each delivered with three interchangeable bracelet/straps: a steel bracelet with an easy-fit system, along with rubber and leather straps. The two latter are fitted with an equally interchangeable stainless steel folding clasp. The pink gold model comes with two straps: one in leather and the other in rubber, both fitted with an interchangeable pink gold folding clasp.”

If you want a more personalised watch, and have the necessary funding, you can take a look at the custom watch service offered by Vacheron Constantin! 🙂