In the world of horology, the independent and micro-brands are an interesting bunch. They are capable of producing watches that can compete with well-known brands with history, pedigree, and prestige in terms of quality. Some of these micropendent (ok I invented this word there and then) brands have their own specific area of expertise, the watchmaking brand UNDONE has one too and that would be the watch customization that they offer for many of their models. We here at WristReview introduced their latest timepiece the Urban Salmon watch a few weeks ago and while I usually don’t handle watches in this price range, which admittedly has nothing to do with snobbery, I had the opportunity to get my hands on one and get a feel of Urban Salmon for a few days and now I’m eager to share my impressions on the timepiece.
The stainless steel case is in 40mm diameter size, the watch still felt quite comfortable on my wrist which by the way is fairly large. Although the polished case is in stainless steel, UNDONE offers options for coatings free of cost in black, yellow gold and rose gold colors.
The case has a water resistance rating of only 3 bars (30 meters), so it’s good enough for minor daily water-related activities like example washing your hands and not good for something as intense as taking a shower, bathing or swimming while wearing it.
The dial is unquestionably the star of the show and that’s not just because of the way it looks, but more importantly because the dial is fully customizable. By default the dial comes in.. you guessed it, a salmon color which differs from the salmon hue found on other salmon-colored watches on the market. Here it resides slightly less towards the pink hue on the color spectrum than the usual salmon color found in other watches, while also slightly muting the color a few notches for a less vibrant hue, in line for that classy-vintage aesthetic that they’re going for. Combined with the Breguet numerals, that retro aesthetic is further accentuated and to be perfectly honest, even without considering the vintage appeal of the dial, it looks damn good in its own right. The dial certainly has an aura of class about it and it looks more expensive than it really is.
I briefly mentioned the dial customization earlier, what I really meant is that UNDONE offers full customization on the dial. There are three more dial options that you can choose from, including the vertical positioning of the two registers instead of the horizontal one seen on the standard model. The dial can be printed with custom print, like for example you can get your name printed on the dial, or your loved one’s name for that matter, it’s up to the owner’s discretion.
The case options include silver which is the default one, also black, gold and rose gold are available. The hour and minute hands can have a variety of different color options in leaf, baton and slim varieties. The seconds hand can further be personalized with the color of one’s choosing in the standard or lollipop styles. Quite frankly, I spent some time playing around with these options while Urban Salmon also strapped on my wrist for comparison and each of my “creations” looked spectacular.
The customization didn’t end there and dare I say that the customization option with most variety was the strap. The strap that I chose is alright, but the options for the 20mm strap include not just the colors, but also the material. We can choose from rally, plain leather, alligator leather, Cordura and perlon. These straps come with a pin buckle to secure the watch on our wrists and the springs allow us to quickly change to another strap in no time. All in all, these are at least 38 options for the strap, which is very apt for a watch that’s going for such levels of customization. Speaking of which, these are overall 9 levels of customization for the whole watch. Honestly, I never came across any watch that offers this much personalization as UNDONE Salmon does.
The quartz movement that powers the Urban Salmon watch is of course battery powered and it’s a high-end quartz movement. Observing the movement through the exhibition case back, I couldn’t help but think that more quartz watches should exhibit the movement in the same manner because a great movement needs to be seen, be it automatic or quartz, granted that it’s good enough like the one in Urban Salmon.
The flyback chronograph paired with a quartz movement isn’t something very common, but the TMI VK64 Mechanical-Quartz Hybrid Flyback Chronograph movement inside Urban Salmon does just that. The flyback chronograph allows the user to time multiple events without stopping, resetting and restarting the chronograph. Let’s say there’s a race and you want to time the individual laps of each participant during a race, you just need to press the flyback pusher each time a participant reaches the finish line. The flyback feature of the Urban Salmon watch is more accurate than an automatic watch when combined with the precision of a quartz movement. The rationale is simple: quartz is more precise by nature than automated movements. Another nice little perk you get with meca-quartz watches like Urban Salmon is that you get to experience the ultra-smooth sweep of the seconds hand which is usually something the owners of Spring Drive and Hi-Beat movements get to experience.
Having worn Urban Salmon for a while, I can safely say that Urban Salmon is one of those rare watches from a small watchmaking house that not only looks great, but offers a great value to the buyer. The retro aesthetic just works and in a world where any given watch model is ubiquitous everywhere no matter how great or hyped it is, UNDONE allows the buyer to really closely associate the watch with them and allows them to say that the watch is truly “theirs”. At USD 349, it’s priced just right and the customization options don’t cost anything extra, so there’s really no reason not to get one if you’re on the hunt for an affordable watch that delivers bang for the buck.