Undone is an interesting watch microbrand that was started in 2014 and specializes in practical, bespoke watches combining great value and quality. After a watch is ordered to a customer’s specifications, shipping occurs in under 10 days, worldwide. I do not know of any other microbrand offering this level of service. Recently their new Basecamp line has been released and it allows personalization through four case finishes, numerous NATO straps and either a sterile or a graduated bezel. The black glossy acrylic insert stainless steel bezel on my example is unique to me; it turns in either direction with no stops. Surprisingly, the sterile bezel with just a lumed triangle, has not turned accidentally with me while in normal day to day use.
For a modern-day tool watch the Basecamp is quite compact and easy to wear, measuring 40mm in diameter, 48mm lug to lug and 20mm between the lugs. The 15mm thickness is due to its incorporating a 3mm thick, “ultradomed” Lexan crystal. I have not run across a Lexan polycarbonate crystal before and in no way does it make the watch feel bulky. It provides the perfect retro vibe for this watch. The trim, 316L case combines polished sides, chamfers, bezel edge indentations and facing areas between the turned down lugs in a very harmonious way. The case back edges and a signed, octagonal, 6mm diameter crown are also polished. The rest of the watch’s case is brushed, including the engraved, watch information area along the edge of the octagonal exhibition screw down case back.
The matt black face combines vintage lumed Panerai Luminor style numbers and rectangular hour markers with rectangular white minute markers, a white fence post lumed minute hand, a large orange lumed arrow hour hand and a long, all white lumed lollipop tailed second hand. Add a 4:30 black on white date window with tasteful branding information and you have a great tool watch face. The watch came to me on UNDONE’s standard olive green NATO strap, one of three colors and two hardware finishes available. Personally, I find NATO straps bulky and awkward to take on and off and a bit of overkill for a watch that has a 50 meter water resistance rating. I replaced the NATO strap on this example with a tan, grained, stitched, leather, polished butterfly clasp strap. Since the Basecamp uses standard 20mm wide lugs, the choices of available straps is endless. For me, tan leather compliments the vintage lume of this watch’s face and the butterfly clasp makes for a quick and easy, consistent fit on my 7 inch wrist.
Powering this watch is probably the world’s most popular, reliable, Japanese made, Seiko Instruments NH35A automatic, 24 jewel, 41 hour rated power reserve, 21,600 bph movement. This particular example has been around 5 seconds a day fast. With hacking and hand winding, the NH35A movement is an excellent choice for this type of watch. The only change I would like to see with this watch is to a round crown with an easier to grip edge similar to the watch’s bezel. As a cool, comfortably sized, very well made and executed, retro automatic tool watch that is easily customizable, the UNDONE Basecamp is a unique watch that is totally affordable. $295. undone.com
Bert Kanne is a freelance contributor to MBWW with a love for well made dive watches and chronographs. All photos by Bert Kanne unless otherwise noted.