Exploring the world of watches on a budget

Undone Killy Urban Chronograph

Undone is all about variety. They launched the brand on Kickstarter with the Aqua, a brawny, automatic dive watch that the purchaser could configure with a broad range of finish, dial, handset, and strap options. The Aqua was a wild success, and they followed that act last year with the Urban collection, a Seiko VK61 powered MechaQuartz (quartz with a mechanical chronograph module) offering a host of customization options. They also began offering both models in preselected designs. The Urban has six distinct looks that may be ordered "off the rack" as it were. For this review, they gave me an Urban Killy with an extra leather strap.

Undone Killy Urban Chronograph
The Killy takes its cues from the Rolex Dato-Compax, a three-eye chronograph famously worn by Alpine skier and Rolex brand ambassador Jean Claude Killy. Now before anyone gets in a twist about the replica/homage debate, you should realize that no one is going to confuse these two watches. While the Urban Killy evokes the feel of a 1950's chronograph, its design features are very much its own and almost entirely different from the Rolex. This is a good thing. It's like cover songs. Note-for-note remakes are never satisfying, but a new riff on an old favorite can be an absolute blast.

Undone Killy Urban Chronograph side

Like all Urban models, the Killy has a 40mm wide, 48mm long, stainless steel case topped with a high domed K1 mineral crystal. The case back is solid and unadorned, although, like many of the Killy's features, this can be changed if you choose to spec out your own custom piece. It is water resistant to just 30m, which is perfectly fine for light duty activities. 

The watch measures 13mm from case back to dome, but you'd never know it as the case presents itself as refreshingly thin. The slim barrel is brushed vertically through the center, sandwiched between the polished case back lip, and a stepped, polished bezel. Narrow, angular lugs reach downward, past the case back to terminate in flat feet. Their sides are brushed like the center section of the barrel, and polished on their tops and along their chiseled chamfers. Viewed head on, they appear straight. Piston-like buttons and a fluted, signed, and bun shaped crown complete the package. I love the way the alternating finishes, horizontal character elements, and lean lugs make the already modest case appear even sleeker. It is the polar opposite of the beefy Aqua, significantly broadening the appeal of the Undone range. I was also pleased to note that the quality of the case finishing was excellent. 

Undone Killy Urban Chronograph  red

A warm, cream colored dial suggests age without veering too far into yellow. Like the vintage chronographs it mimics, the Killy uses fine lined indexes and tiny type to pack a large amount of information into its limited space. Still, I found I could read the dial at a comfortable distance. This thanks in no small part to Undone's use of color: the tachymetre index at the outermost ring is dark blue, the telemetre index is red, and the seconds track forming the innermost ring is black. All three are clearly indicated by the long sweep hand. Lightweight and heavily stylized Art Deco numbers mark the hours on inner dial, with the exception of 12 and 6 which are displaced by VK61's sub dials (60-minute and small seconds). The Undone brand name is relegated to the outer edge of the dial at 6 o'clock where it is perfectly legible, but out of the way.

Undone Killy Urban Chronograph

The hands are leaf shaped and blued, as are those of the sub dials. The sweep hand is blued as well. They are not flame treated as they would have been back in the day, but they aren't painted either. Instead, they wear an IP coating that gives them a rich, dark hue and slight iridescence. This is a beautiful face: clean, uncluttered, and period correct. There is no luminance, but the contrast is excellent, and the Killy isn't a tool watch. Of course, if you can't live without lume, you can always opt for a custom model and treat yours to blued batons with vintage color SuperLuminova (which I must admit, looks pretty darn cool), or a number of other styles and color options.

Undone Killy Urban Chronograph gray strap

You can't talk about tailoring a watch without talking about straps. As far as I'm concerned, every watch could benefit from a strap swap now and then. Undone ships the fixed design Killy on thick, light gray, calf leather with minimal stitching and a signed buckle. Like all of their two-piece straps, it has quick release spring bars so you can replace it without tools. It's a good look, but I wanted to switch it up. Either brown or tan would have been sound choices, but I went for red. The darker color showed a pull-up effect when bent, creating a distressed look that suited the Killy's antique vibe. I liked the way it played off the red index. Undone also offers alligator print, Perlon, and Cordura. With four colors on the Killy's dial, there is a lot to play with. Dark blue would have highlighted the blue index and hands, and army green or khaki tan Cordura would have given the cream dialed Killy some military swagger.

Undone Killy Urban Chronograph straps

Are there things I would change about the Killy? Frankly, not much. I think an acrylic dome would have been perfect, but I suspect I am in the minority on that one. Higher water resistance is always a plus, but compared to real vintage chronographs, its 30m rating is probably about 29.9m better. Given that the Killy is not a tool watch, I'm not sure a higher rating would be worth the effort or cost.

Speaking of cost, the Killy, or any of the other watches in the collection, sells for $265. A customized version is just $30 more. Accessory straps are $20 for Perlon, $40 for Cordura or leather. I'd consider $265 a good value for this watch, but you can make it even better by using code TTB20 to shave another 20% off your purchase. 

For more information or to place an order, head to Undone.Watch to view the full collection and explore the customizer. You may also follow Undone on Instagram and Facebook. ⬩  

Undone Killy Urban Chronograph wrist

© The Time Bum | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig