Introduced as a gag last year, the 4:20 Cali celebrates cannabis culture, or in layman’s terms, the consumption of weed. According to Wikipedia (because I’m no expert in smoking weed), 4:20 “is cannabis culture slang for marijuana and hashish consumption, especially smoking around the time 4:20 p.m., and also refers to cannabis-oriented celebrations that take place annually on April 20”.
It may be introduced as a joke, but is it any good? Let’s find out.
UNDONE – the Brand
I have previously covered UNDONE as a brand here. In that article, I covered UNDONE’s philosophy, as well as my opinion on the customisation process, though the customiser has been significantly upgraded over the years. If you’re interested in the UNDONE brand story, do check out the above article!
In addition, I’ve also reviewed multiple UNDONE watches in the past. For those interested, you can read my review of the Aqua here, the Urban Vintage (one of my favourites) here, the Urban Tropical here, the UNDONE X ULTRAMAN here, the UNDONE Peanuts here, the Basecamp here, the Type XX (another of my favourites) here, the UNDONE Monopoly here, the UNDONE Zen Cartograph here, the UNDONE Batman here, and the UNDONE Terra here.
UNDONE 4:20 Cali – Video Review
For those interested in viewing some hands-on footage of the watch, do check out my Youtube review of the UNDONE 4:20 Cali below!
UNDONE 4:20 Cali – Build Quality
Sharing identical specifications as the Basecamp, the 4:20 Cali is a step up from the build quality of the more affordable – but quartz – Urban Vintage.
The 4:20 Cali uses LEXAN polycarbonate, which is more durable than the K1 crystal used on the lower-priced models. Described as a “polycarbonate thermoplastic found in headlamps and motorcycle helmets with 250 times the impact strength of glass”, it’s highly impact-resistant, and more scratch-resistant than the usual acrylic or mineral glass, though not as resilient as sapphire crystal. Being domed, the LEXAN polycarbonate gives the watch a retro feel.
Beneath the hood is the workhorse Seiko NH35 movement. Some quick specs: the movement beats at 21600 vibrations per hour, has 42 hours of power reserve, contains 24 jewels, and is hacking. I’m a fan of the Seiko NH35 movement, and greatly prefer it to the Miyota 8 series movement (which is the alternative movement commonly seen at this price point). This is due to the fact that unlike the NH35, the Miyota 8 series movements are non-hacking, suffer from a stuttering second hand (some models), and in my own experience with the Miyota movements, are also more prone to accuracy problems. In addition, the WR rating of the 4:20 Cali is rated at 100M, rendering it robust enough for most everyday activities that doesn’t involve prolonged submersion in water.
The 4:20 Cali’s cordura strap is well-made, and comfortable enough on the wrist. I found the textured green of the strap to complement the green dial of the watch perfectly too. There is a bracelet variant available, but the US$80 premium is steep, and it doesn’t feel as fun as the 4:20 Cali does on the green cordura strap.
There’s also lume on the 4:20 Cali, though UNDONE doesn’t specify what kind is used. It’s decently bright enough, and wearers should have no issues telling the time in darkness.
All in all, I would say that the 4:20 Cali has decent specifications for the price. It’s definitely better than the cheaper UNDONE watches – this watch feels decidedly more solid in the metal.
UNDONE 4:20 Cali – Design
That being said, no one is going to buy this watch because of its specifications. Instead, it’s the quirky and fun tribute to weed that will appeal to most buyers.
As its name suggests, the watch is a tribute to marijuana, and as such, it features certain elements that celebrate weed. Apart from its all-green aesthetic (coincidentally, green is the colour du jour, judging by the recent Watches & Wonders releases), the 4:20 Cali also has a marijuana leaf as its 12 o’clock marker, while the numeral “4” – which is also the 20-minute mark – is bolded in green.
While the premise of the watch might sound gimmicky, the dial is actually very alluring. For one, it has a lovely waffle dial that is rarely seen in today’s watches. The waffle pattern catches the light beautifully, and provides intriguing texture that is eye-catching. I also like the various retro aspects of the watch, such as the “faux-patina” indices and hands, the railway pad minute track, and the dial’s California layout. Even when disregarding its marijuana provenance – though to do so would be beside the point – the 4:20 Cali is an eminently striking watch on the wrist.
The green bidirectional bezel – fitted with K1 crystal for added scratch resistance – possesses a sleek look that complements the aesthetic of the dial. I like the inclusion of 5-minute markers, which weren’t present on the original Basecamp. As such, the bezel is now functional, and the wearer can utilise it to keep track of elapsed time. However, UNDONE has smartly decided not to include a graduated scale (usually seen on dive watches) here, and thus the watch looks cleaner overall. The numerals are faux-patinated as well, thus remaining thematically congruent to the dial.
At 40mm wide, the 4:20 Cali hits the perfect sizing sweet spot of my 7-inch wrist. It’s big enough to feel modern, but small enough not to feel ostentatious or bulky. And although the 15mm thickness might sound chunky on paper, a substantial part of that can be attributed to the 3mm thick crystal. In other words, the 4:20 Cali wearer thinner on the wrist than its specifications might suggest, though I still wouldn’t wear it with a dress shirt.
Overall, I really like the aesthetic of the 4:20 Cali. The references to marijuana are quirky, but not kitsch. But that aside, it remains an alluring watch due to the waffle dial, vintage touches, as well as its green hue, with green being the faddish colour at the moment. It’s a conversation starter on the wrist, that’s for sure!
Shootout – UNDONE 4:20 Cali vs Shinola Twenty After Four Detrola
If you’re looking for an affordably priced, marijuana themed watch, then the Shinola Twenty After Four Detrola would likely be your only other alternative.
In terms of specifications, the UNDONE 4:20 Cali trumps the Shinola Twenty After Four Detrola. The LEXAN polycarbonate of the 4:20 Cali is more durable than the K1 crystal the Detrola uses. Furthermore, the 4:20 Cali uses a workhorse Seiko NH35 automatic movement, while the Detrola ticks along with an American-made Argonite 705 quartz movement. While the Detrola does has an interesting TR90 resin case, the 4:20 Cali is undoubtedly the more robust watch out of the two.
From an aesthetic standpoint, I find the 4:20 Cali to be more appealing too. The Detrola isn’t a bad looking watch, but the dial looks flat and there isn’t much visual interest. In contrast, the green waffle dial of the 4:20 Cali is striking, the bezel looks sleek, and the domed crystal gives the watch a warm look. I would also say that the marijuana theme is more strongly conveyed on the 4:20 due to the literal plant itself at 12 o’clock, as well as the overall green shade of the watch.
Given that the 4:20 Cali is actually substantially cheaper than the Detrola, I have to crown it as the winner in this shootout.
Conclusion – so the UNDONE 4:20 Cali “shiok” or not?
The 4:20 Cali is ultimately a fun watch that will add a sense of humour to any watch collection. The premise of the watch itself will already be a conversation starter – I can imagine many customers showing off the 4:20 Cali to their mates. However, even when you take away the marijuana inspiration, the watch is still eminently striking due to its textured waffle dial, domed crystal, vintage touches, and clean-looking bezel. Like all UNDONE watches, the 4:20 Cali can be customised as well (you can add text to the dial, or have an engraving on the case back), making it a perfect gift for your stoner friend. With decent specifications and an affordable price tag, this was a timepiece that put a smile on my face every time I wore it.
For those interested in UNDONE watches, the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” will grant readers 10% off most watches from UNDONE, collaborative and new launches excluded. After the discount, the UNDONE 4:20 Cali would cost just US$306/~S$410, which I think is a good price for a well-built, sharply executed tribute to the world’s most popular plant.
12 Month Warranty from purchase date
Case – 316L Stainless Steel
Lens – LEXAN Polycarbonate
Japanese TMI NH35A Automatic Winding Mechanism
Case Width – 40mm excl. crown
Case Thickness – 15mm incl. crystal
10 Bar / 100 Meters
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
P.S.S.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.