Sporting a field watch aesthetic, the Terra is a brand new design from UNDONE, featuring both a novel dial and case. Let’s see if it’s any good!
UNDONE Terra – Video Review
For those who are interested in viewing some hands-on footage of the watch, do check out my Youtube review below!
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, and the UNDONE Batman here.
UNDONE Terra – Build Quality
The specifications of the Terra are actually pretty good for the price.
Firstly, the UNDONE Terra utilises a curved sapphire crystal. As aforementioned numerous times in my previous reviews, I’m a huge advocate of sapphire crystal due to their inherent scratch-resisting properties. Personally, I always look for sapphire crystal in my modern watches as it adds greatly to the durability of the watch. Unfortunately, there’s no AR (anti-reflective) coating applied to the crystal, which can lead to unwanted reflections at times especially when taking pictures (see above photo). Nevertheless, I’m heartened that UNDONE has finally opted to include sapphire on their more affordable options. For comparison, the similarly priced UNDONE Basecamp uses a LEXAN crystal, which is nowhere near as scratch resistant as sapphire. The lack of sapphire was always a sticking point in my previous UNDONE reviews, and I’m glad that is finally rectified here. Elsewhere, the water-resistant rating of the Terra is stated as 50m, which should render it sufficiently robust for everyday activities – just don’t bring it to the shower or the pool.
The ubiquitous Seiko NH35A movement powers the UNDONE Terra. 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 with microbrand watches). 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 contrast, the Seiko NH35 is a movement that is as reliable as they come. At this sub-S$500 price point, the Seiko NH35 movement is definitely the best bet.
The Terra came on a vintage leather strap, which was nice to the touch and felt premium on the wrist. The lining is comfortable too, none of that cardboard-like lining one finds on more affordable straps. I’ve noticed a marked improvement in the quality of UNDONE’s straps over the years – in fact, I think they currently offer some of the best straps at their price point. A few watch enthusiasts even mistook the default strap as a custom-made one! In addition, the buckle is well-finished, featuring polished bevelled edges that juxtapose against its brushed texture.
Lastly, the UNDONE Terra also comes with lume, so you will have no issues with time-telling even in the darkness. Interestingly, the lume is dual-coloured – its 12-hour numerals illuminate in blue, while the thick indices markers, the triangle at 12 o’clock, and the primary hands light up in green. The lume is actually pretty bright, and exceeded my expectations, especially considering that UNDONE doesn’t explicitly state the specific type of lume used on their website.
Overall, the specifications of the UNDONE Terra are rock solid. The Terra features a double-domed sapphire crystal (finally!), a reliable Seiko NH35A movement, a well-crafted strap, and even dual lume on the dial – it ticks every box.
UNDONE Terra – Design
While the design of Terra doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it is still a pleasing interpretation of the field watch.
UNDONE is arguably best at offering its own take on classic watch designs. The UNDONE Urban Vintage was their vintage chronograph, the Basecamp was their vintage dive watch, the Tropical was their spin on vintage tropical dials, and the Type XX was their interpretation of a vintage pilot’s chronograph. UNDONE continues the trend with the Terra, which is essentially a field watch that looks straight out of the 1950s, with the dial mimicking the look of the Dirty Dozen watches. There’s the iconic triangle at 12 o’clock, and faux-patina indexes at the 3, 6, 9 and 12 positions. There’s also a subtle grained, almost sandblasted texture to the black dial that gives the Terra a battle-worn look.
However, the most striking aspect of the Terra may be its tortoise case. Brushed at the front and sides but featuring polished bevelled edges, the juxtaposition of textures results in an eye-catching case. Most field watches come in round cases – like the aforementioned Dirty Dozen – so the uncommon case shape and striking finishing of the UNDONE Terra certainly make the watch stand out more on the wrist.
The angular nature of the case is evident when viewed from the side – its bold angles reminds me of Seiko’s “Grammar of Design”. In addition, there’s a signed crown that is nicely sized, resulting in easy hand-winding of the watch.
The UNDONE Terra retains its vintage heritage by having a more traditional case size of just 37mm wide. While a tad small by today’s standards, I found the Terra to be a breath of fresh air – it wears quite charmingly on the wrist. At 12.8mm thick, the watch is relatively svelte. If you have smaller wrists or prefer more vintage dimensions, the Terra is right up your alley.
All in all, the UNDONE Terra is a simple package that is executed well. The dial harkens back to a bygone era of field watches, while its tortoise case – possessing a nice contrast of both polished and brushed textures – differentiates it from other field watches in the market.
Shootout – UNDONE Terra vs Seals Model C
If you’re on the hunt for a vintage inspired field watch with a tortoise case, your best alternative would be the Seals Model C.
In terms of specifications, the Model C edges out the UNDONE Terra. Both watches feature sapphire crystal and lume. However, the Model C is powered by the Swiss Sellita SW200-1 movement – the Terra uses the workhorse Seiko NH35A – and has a higher WR rating of 200m, as compared to the 50m WR rating of the Terra.
From an aesthetic standpoint, both watches share similar vintage field watch DNA. Both dials reflect traditional field watch design. The two watches have similar tortoise cases too, with alternating brushed/polished finishing. Honestly, I think both watches look equally great.
Where the UNDONE Terra trumps the Seals Model C is in its value. The Terra is almost half the price of the Model C, despite possessing much of the look and feel of its more expensive counterpart. The only significant difference is that the Terra uses a Japanese movement while the Model C uses a Swiss one, and I’m not sure that I would personally pay S$400 more for a slight movement upgrade. Furthermore, the Model C is priced comparably with Hamilton’s field watches, and at that price point, I personally would opt for a Hamilton Khaki Field, or perhaps the Khaki Pilot Pioneer if I wanted a similar case design.
Conclusion – so the UNDONE Terra “shiok” or not?
I would say so. The UNDONE Terra is a no-nonsense execution that is bound to delight lovers of field watches. The specifications are good (there’s finally sapphire crystal!), the look is full of heritage charm, and case is well-finished, and the sizing is historically accurate. The sub-S$500 price is spot on as well. I think UNDONE filled a good niche here – I can’t think of many other field watches at this price point that are as complete a package as the Terra is.
For those interested in UNDONE watches, the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” will grant readers 10% off most watches from UNDONE, special collaborative watches excluded. After the discount, the UNDONE Terra can be had for US$355/ ~S$470, which I think is good value. I’ve always preferred UNDONE’s standard offerings (Urban Vintage, Basecamp, Type XX) to their collaborative models, and the Terra continues that trend. I’m excited to see what new designs UNDONE comes up with next for 2021!
WARRANTY: 12 Month Warranty from purchase date
DIMENSIONS: Case Width – 37mm excl. crown, Case Thickness – 12.8mm incl. crystal
MATERIALS: Case – 316L Stainless Steel, Lens – Double Dome Sapphire Crystal
WATER RESISTANCE: 5 Bar / 50 Meters
MOVEMENT: Japanese TMI NH35A Automatic Winding Mechanism
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.