UNDONE x Simple Union Bronze Limited Edition

I have reviewed many of Undone Watches' products, so when I announced in October 2019 that the Basecamp was by far my favorite, it was no small thing. That model's tidy proportions, vintage charm, and everyday practicality made it a clear winner in my eyes, and it has seen significant time on my wrist in the months since. So, given that background, let me tell you this: Undone has just gone one better. The Undone x Simple Union Collaboration launches today, and from what I've seen, it is magnificent. 

UNDONE x Simple Union Basecamp Kyoto Bronze

The watch starts with the basic Basecamp blueprint; a 40mm wide, 48mm long, 12mm thick case, topped with a bidirectional bezel and a lovely, 3mm domed Lexan crystal. A sturdy Seiko NH35 automatic keeps the time. It is rated for a useful 100m of water resistance. So far, so good. Now, let's bring in Simple Union, a Hong Kong craft house, offering a wide range of handmade goods and accessories, including watch straps.

UNDONE x Simple Union Basecamp Kyoto Bronze

The Undone x Simple Union watch marries the sensibilities of the two companies into a series of watches that embody the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, an aesthetic near and dear to my own views on watch collecting that I can best describe as an appreciation of imperfection and impermanence. Given this objective, bronze was the logical choice. Its natural oxidation process begins the minute it is cast, developing a mellow brown patina that varies depending on its environment. The case, crown, bezel, and insert, are all brushed bronze with a patination well underway. (Note that bronze is now an option for standard Basebamps as well.)

UNDONE x Simple Union Basecamp Kyoto Bronze

Simple Union produces the collaboration watches' straps from antique Japanese Katazome cloth. Using a technique originating in the Edo Period (1603-1868), the hand-spun and woven fabrics feature nature-inspired patterns created using indigo dye and a rice-paste stencil method, producing crisp images and distinctive blue that ages remarkably. The pieces used here are from the Meiji-era, so they are over 150 years old and yet are still vivid. The 20mm straps are leather-backed, equipped with quick-release pins, and each is unique.

UNDONE x Simple Union Katazome

Perhaps the most striking feature of the collaboration watch is its "Kyoto dial," an imaginative spin on the California dial that swaps Kanji for the usual Cali's Roman numerals in the upper half. Appropriately retro gold "Mercedes" hands underscore the dial's vintage appeal. Its indigo surface bears a jagged scar in the Kintsugi style, a traditional ceramics repair technique that celebrates the break by highlighting the fix with gold-dusted lacquer - or in this case, lume. All dial text is in Japanese except the Undone brand name at 6 o'clock.

The Undone x Simple Union collection is limited to 300 pieces and sells for $395. If you are looking for a truly beautiful and unique watch to add to your collection, I'd suggest you head over to the Undone webstore and give these a good look. ⬩

Photos courtesy of Undone Watches
UNDONE x Simple Union Basecamp Kyoto Bronze



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