Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean review! On this shiok Saturday, I’m reviewing the new Type XX watch from Hong Kong microbrand, UNDONE.
The Type XX is UNDONE’s latest iteration of their iconic Urban chronograph. As the name suggest, the UNDONE Type XX references a particular dial configuration, made famous by Breguet in their Type XX watch. For more information on the history of the Type XX, Revolution (one of my favourite watch media outlets) did a fantastic article on it here.
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. 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, and the UNDONE Basecamp here.
Without further ado, let’s see if the new UNDONE Type XX is any good!
UNDONE Type XX – Build Quality
In terms of build quality, the new UNDONE Type XX watch is near identical to the previous UNDONE Urban watches I’ve reviewed.
Firstly, the UNDONE Type XX uses a hardened domed K1 crystal. As mentioned in my previous reviews, I’ve always felt that the usage of a domed K1 hardened mineral glass – instead of sapphire crystal – is one of the weaknesses of the UNDONE Urban series. Personally, I’ll be more than willing to pay a wee bit more for a sapphire crystal! That being said, given the watch’s relatively affordable sub S$400 price point, I can still forgive it – similarly priced Seikos don’t use sapphire crystal as well. Elsewhere, the WR rating of the UNDONE Type XX is stated at just 30M – no water activities with this one on! Given the watch’s provenance as a pilot’s watch, the low WR rating is alright with me.
Secondly, the Seiko VK64 mecha-quartz movement (found on some of the other UNDONE Urban watches) powers the UNDONE Type XX. For those uninitiated with mecha-quartz movements, a mecha-quartz movement basically allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds – the accuracy (and affordability) of a quartz movement (which also negates the need to wind the watch), and also the sweeping second hand that’s characteristic of a mechanical chronograph. With the Seiko VK64 movement, you get the capability to instantly reset the chronograph by pressing the bottom pusher. However, despite UNDONE’s claims otherwise, the Seiko VK64 is not a flyback chronograph movement. I have consistently pointed this out in numerous of my previous reviews, but unfortunately UNDONE continues to advertise the movements as such. While the second hand can be instantly reset (without needing to be paused first), the second hand does not continue timing thereafter like a true flyback chronograph movement would. However, if you’re looking for a fully mechanical flyback chronograph, you will need to look at 4 figure price-points, probably something from Longines or Baume & Mercier – timepieces that are at least quadruple the price of the one we have here!
When customising your UNDONE Type XX, one gets to choose from a myriad of strap options, including calf, cordura, rally, and perlon. I went with the calf leather as I felt it best complemented the vintage aesthetics of the Type XX. The strap is soft and supple, and there’s a distressed quality to the strap that adds a rustic charm. In addition, the strap features quick-release spring bars as well, so you can change your straps in a jiffy without any tools.
If you prefer a more casual aesthetic, I find the Type XX to look stunning when paired with a perlon strap too! On a perlon strap, the watch makes for the perfect complement to a polo tee and khaki shorts. The perlon strap option is also $20 USD cheaper, so if you would like to save some money choosing the perlon strap is the way to go!
Overall, I would say that the build quality of the UNDONE Type XX is decent for its price. I would have loved for it to have used a domed sapphire crystal instead, but given that the watch is costs less than S$400, I can forgive the exclusion.
UNDONE Type XX – Design
The UNDONE Type XX watch comes in 3 designs – Classic, Panda, and a Special Edition variant that looked like it came out of a Bamford Watch Department catalog! Of the 3, the Panda (with its clean dial) spoke most to me.
I love a panda dial – it’s just so chic, so clean, with the right amount of contrast. The symmetry of the dial is just beautiful. There are no shortages of panda dial chronographs offered by microbrands, but I think UNDONE has managed to execute this brilliantly. I love the monochrome aesthetics – notice how the black primary hands and indices juxtaposes nicely with the white hands and indices of the sub-dials – as well as the faux patina on the primary hands for just a touch for vintage vibe. I absolutely adore the font of the numerals too – they have a nice retro military feel. As always, the UNDONE branding is almost inconspicuous, tucked away at 6 o’clock. Instead, UNDONE lets your customisation take centre stage. The raison d’etre of UNDONE has always been about personalisation, and one is able to personalise the dial to add text or even an image of their choice! Although UNDONE initially offered to print the Wah so Shiok logo on the dial, I eventually decided to stick to a simple, subtle text print of my name at 12 o’clock – where the branding would usually be. I think this is pretty neat, and I can imagine it adding a nice personal touch to a gift for a loved one.
Moving on to the bezel, it’s a “sterile” (without clicks) one, and bidirectional. It’s also without any markings, which I’m sure would be controversial to some enthusiasts. Personally, I quite like the sterile, markerless bezel – it complements the clean, minimalist aesthetics of the panda dial nicely. Sure, this moves the UNDONE Type XX away from the tool watch zone and into more fashion watch territory, but let’s be real – no pilot depends on a pilot’s watch in the cockpit nowadays! If they do, I’ll be seriously worried. Like dive watches, pilot’s watches have evolved to be more form than functionality, and the Type XX from UNDONE reflects that.
Elsewhere, the stainless steel case features a nice combination of brushed and polished finishing. The coin-edged bezel is a nice retro touch too, with the domed K1 mineral crystal further enhancing the vintage vibe of the watch. Lastly, we also get a nicely signed crown, as well as relatively study chronograph pushers.
Like the dial, one can also choose to customise the caseback! In this instance, I chose to have the logo of the website printed. I was genuinely surprised by the quality of the print when I got it – I didn’t expect them to include the navy background as well (I thought they would just print the words)! Colour me impressed. Again, I think this would be a great option for a birthday gift, anniversary gift, etc.
On the wrist, the 41.5mm dimensions of the UNDONE Type XX wears well on my 7 inch wrist. It’s a tad bigger than the 40mm UNDONE Urban Vintage I reviewed previously – due to the inclusion of a bezel here – but it’s still relatively svelte on the wrist. At 12.5mm thick, it’s probably a tad too thick to function as a dress watch (won’t fit under the shirt cuff) but it’s certainly no hulking beast like the Neminus Master Diver 1000 I reviewed last weekend!
All in all, I appreciated the clean, simple, yet also retro vintage aesthetics of the UNDONE Type XX. However, the main USP of the watch is likely the ability to personalise the dial and the caseback, making the Type XX either a great gift option for a loved one, or a commemorative watch for a personal milestone achieved.
Shootout – UNDONE Type XX vs Hemel HFT20
If you’re in the market for an affordable Type 20 watch, the main alternative would be the Hemel HFT20.
In terms of specifications, the Hemel HFT20 edges out the UNDONE Type XX. While both watches share the same Seiko VK64 mecha-quartz movement, the Hemel HFT20 features sapphire crystal, a scratch resistant ceramic bezel (for the 60 minutes bezel variant), Swiss C3 Superluminova, and a significantly higher WR rating at 100m. As such, there’s no doubt that the HFT20 is the more rugged watch.
From an aesthetics standpoint, I personally prefer the clean aesthetics of the panda dial over the utilitarian feel of the Hemel HFT20. Even if I were to compare apples to apples – the UNDONE Type XX Classic to the Hemel HFT20 – the UNDONE Type XX still comes across as more appealing, due to the use of faux-patina indices/hands and red text at 6 o’clock which gives the watch a lovely retro, military vibe. Once you consider UNDONE’s main USP – customisation and personalisation of the watch – I can’t help but give the UNDONE Type XX the win in the aesthetics department. Who wouldn’t want a watch that’s one of a kind in the world?
In addition, the UNDONE Type XX is a whooping 60% cheaper – almost S$250 – than the Hemel HFT20. While the HFT20 is a better built watch, I’m not sure if it’s worth the extra S$250. Ultimately, I would say that which watch is better for you depends on your preferences. If you are looking for a rugged, everyday tool watch, the Hemel HFT20 fits the bill better. However, if affordability and personalisation are key considerations, the UNDONE Type XX would be my pick.
Conclusion – so the UNDONE Type XX “shiok” or not?
I would say so! The Urban Chronograph is an integral part of UNDONE’s lineup – perhaps the most iconic – and I’ve been waiting for UNDONE to do a panda dial chronograph for quite some time! Now that I’ve a chance to interact with the UNDONE Type XX, it is actually quite charming on the wrist. I simply love the clean aesthetics of the panda dial, yet with a touch of retro vintage vibe due to the faux patina on the hands and indices. I adore the personalisation touches (name on the dial, logo on the back) as well! As long as you’re not planning to bang it up, I think the UNDONE Type XX makes for a fun, refreshing addition to the collection.
For those interested in UNDONE watches, the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” will grant readers 10% off most watches from UNDONE, special collaborative watches excluded. The UNDONE Type XX – along with the UNDONE Urban Vintage – is probably one of my favourite UNDONE watches till date. I think it makes for a meaningful gift for a loved one too, especially if one takes advantage of the personalisation options! If you’ve always wanted to get an UNDONE watch, I think the Type XX is a great, affordable option.
View UNDONE’s full range of watches here.
Case Width: 41.5 mm excl. crown
Case Thickness: 12.5 mm incl. crystal
Watch Movement: Seiko Instruments Inc. VK64 Mechanical-Quartz Hybrid Flyback Chronograph
Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel
Crystal Material: Hardened Domed K1 Crystal
Water Resistance: 3 ATM / 30 Meters
Strap Size: 20 mm
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!