UNDONE has partnered with Stephen Bliss – the artist behind the Grand Theft Auto video game series – to create a new set of two limited edition Monopoly Collector’s timepieces, limited to just 500 pieces each. Let’s see if it’s any good!
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, the Basecamp here, and the Type XX (another of my favourites) here.
UNDONE X Monopoly – Build Quality
In terms of build quality, the new UNDONE X Monopoly watch is near identical to the previous UNDONE Urban watches I’ve reviewed.
Firstly, the UNDONE Monopoly watch 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. At over S$500, I would definitely have expected to see sapphire crystal here. Elsewhere, the WR rating of the UNDONE Monopoly watch is stated at just 30M – no water activities with this one on!
Secondly, the Seiko VK64 mecha-quartz movement (found on some of the other UNDONE Urban watches) powers the UNDONE Monopoly watch. 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!
The Godfather was sent to me on a black cordura strap, which is the default strap on this model. As I’ve stated in some of my previous reviews, cordura straps are one of my favourite straps due to their lightweight yet sturdy properties, as well as their breathability.
Similar to the other variants of the Urban line, ‘Asian lume’ is used here on the UNDONE Monopoly. It’s there, and it’s good enough for you to tell the time at night, but it’s certainly nowhere as bright or long-lasting as compared to Swiss Superluminova. I wished that UNDONE lumed the money bills on the sub-dials – that would have been quite cool. It’s a feature present on the other Monopoly model, the Benjamin, but unfortunately absent in this variant.
Overall, the specifications of the UNDONE Monopoly watch is a tad underwhelming, especially considering it’s S$500+ price point. At that price point, one can get a fully mechanical chronograph (such as the Monsieur Ranomo) or at least a mecha-quartz chronograph with sapphire crystal and Swiss Superluminova (such as the Reverie GT).
UNDONE X Monopoly – Design
That being said, let’s be real – no one is going to buy the UNDONE Monopoly because it’s a specification beast. The appeal lies in the design collaboration with Stephen Bliss and on that front, the UNDONE Monopoly is simply a delight.
As aforementioned, there’s two variants of the Monopoly watch, mainly The Benjamin, and The Godfather (pictured above). Between the two, I think The Godfather is the showstopper. There’s a certain je ne sais quoi about The Godfather that just brings to mind the resplendence of the Italian mafia. I really love the colour combination of gold and black, as well as the red accents which gives the watch a sporty look – reminds me of a Maserati! I adore the golden applied indices as well, as well as the gold Monopoly logo at 12 o’clock. They remind me of vintage gold-filled watches from the 70s – the period in which the Godfather movie was released. UNDONE states that The Godfather was inspired by “lipstick smudges, gold fillings, and big black cars” – I can certainly see that!
The golden artwork on the dial is where Stephen Bliss really shines. Aside from the artwork of Rich Uncle Moneybags – the iconic Mascot of Monopoly – at 6 o’clock, there’s also the gold banknotes spraying out of Mr Monopoly’s twin cash guns on the sub-dials, which are only visible at certain angles. I genuinely think find the effect extremely cool, and I often find myself angling my wrist to catch the banknotes at the perfect angle. The details in the artwork is apparent too – really hats off to Mr. Bliss on this one!
The Godfather comes on a black and gold tachymetre dial. The bezel is one of the default options that one can choose from when customising a regular UNDONE Urban Chronograph, and here on The Godfather it’s the perfect complement to the Stephen Bliss designed dial. Not only does the colour scheme pair well, the tachymetre bezel – combined with the red accents of the dial – accentuates the sportiness of the watch, like gold rim wheels on a Lamborghini.
The case finishing on the UNDONE Monopoly watch is identical to the finishing found in the other Urban chronographs. Contrast in finishing is clearly present here – the middle strip of the case is brushed, while the bevelled edges are polished to a gleam. This contrast in polishing extends to the lugs as well, whereby the sides of the lugs are brushed finished, with the fronts polished. In addition, the tachymetre bezel protrudes a little on the sides, creating a contrast in depth. Lastly, I like that the gold of the case, set against the black tachymetre bezel, makes for a great colour combination.
Similar to the other Urban chronographs I’ve reviewed, the crown is nicely signed and grooved. In addition, the chronograph pushers are well-sized and sturdy, making the chronograph a joy to operate. Furthermore, I simply love the aesthetics of the domed crystal. It’s a nice vintage touch, and further reinforces the neo-vintage vibe of the watch – appropriate, given that the watch is named The Godfather!
In an intriguing twist, each watch caseback of the UNDONE Monopoly watch comes laser engraved with one of five special parodies – all designed by Stephen Bliss – of the classic Chance/Community Chest cards of the game. Mine seems to be a parody of the iconic “Go to Jail” community chest card which, in a role reversal, depicts Uncle Pennybags grabbing a policeman instead. Again, I love the thematic connection – it reminds me of Vito Corleone’s (otherwise known as “Godfather”, for anyone who has not seen the movies) disregard for the police. There’s also a unique serial number engraved at the back of each watch. Mine’s a review piece, so it states 000/500. I always say this – if you want to do a limited edition watch, put a unique serial number of the back of every watch, instead of the nonsensical “1 of 50” that I see some microbrands put at the back of every one of their “limited edition” watches. Kudos to UNDONE for doing their limited edition release right!
On the wrist, the 42 mm dimensions of the UNDONE Monopoly watch wears like a charm on my 7 inch wrist. It’s a tad bigger than the regular 40mm UNDONE Urban chronographs – due to the inclusion of a bezel here – but it’s still relatively svelte on the wrist. At 12.5mm thick, it’s a tad too thick to function as a dress watch (probably won’t fit under the shirt cuff), though if a strong urge possesses you to wear this watch while you’re in a pinstripe suit, I wouldn’t blame you!
All in all, I find the UNDONE Monopoly watch – The Godfather specifically – to be one of my favourite designs that UNDONE has released thus far. With all due respect to UNDONE, this is probably because the design impetus of Stephen Bliss is undeniable. I love the colour combination, I love the artwork (both on the dial and the caseback), and I just adore the neo-vintage vibe of the watch overall.
Shootout – UNDONE X Monopoly vs Tag Heuer X Monopoly Formula 1
If you’re a fan of Monopoly – or the capitalism that it represents – the other “affordable” Monopoly watch you can get is the Tag Heuer X Monopoly Formula 1, designed by Alec Monopoly.
In terms of specifications, both watches have certain advantages over the other. The Tag Heuer utilises sapphire crystal, which is definitely much more scratch resistant than the K1 domed crystal used on the UNDONE Monopoly watches. However, the VK 64 mecha-quartz movement is undoubtedly much more interesting – from a watchmaking perspective – than the pedestrian Swiss quartz movement of the Tag Heuer.
From an aesthetic standpoint, both watches are designed by renowned artists – Alec Monopoly (who literally rose to fame making Monopoly graffiti) for the Tag Heuer, and Stephen Bliss (senior artist for Rockstar Games for 15 years, the man behind the iconic Grand Theft Auto gaphics) for UNDONE – so both watches will be conversation pieces for sure. Art is subjective, but if I had to choose I would still have to go with the UNDONE Monopoly. The Godfather’s dial possesses depth, texture and a sleek colour contrast. In comparision, the dial of the Tag Heuer comes across to me as a tad flat.
Where the UNDONE Monopoly trounces the Tag Heuer is in its price point. The Tag Heuer is more than thrice the price of the UNDONE Monopoly watches, which I find ridiculous. Sure, there’s the Swiss Tag Heuer “brand name”, but I don’t think that warrants a S$1000+ extra. For that reason, the UNDONE Monopoly watches emerge as the winner of this shootout for me!
Conclusion – so the UNDONE X Monopoly “shiok” or not?
That depends. If you’re looking for a bang-for-buck chronograph, I’ll be honest and state that there are watches out there with better specifications for the price. If you simply want an affordable fashion watch, you can also opt for UNDONE’s own Urban Chronograph line, which starts at just $224 USD/~S$306 (after the promo code below) – half the price of the UNDONE Monopoly watches with almost identical specifications. There’s a significant price premium on the UNDONE Monopoly watches at $432 USD/ ~S$589 (after the promo code below), which undoubtedly goes towards licensing fees to Hasbro as well as Stephen Bliss for his design work. That, however, is the point – this watch is meant to appeal to fans of the iconic board game, as well as followers of Stephen Bliss. Personally, the UNDONE Monopoly watch, specifically The Godfather, has been one of my favourite collaboration watches from UNDONE thus far. I personally did not grow up watching Ultraman or reading Peanuts comics, but I certainly did play my fair share of Monopoly during my childhood years. I love the design of The Godfather watch, and I have to say that it is one of the best collaborative pieces I’ve seen till date. It pays homage to the game we all know and love, filled with creative impetus from collaborator Stephen Bliss, and comes in an familiar UNDONE execution. Price notwithstanding, it’s great fun on the wrist.
The UNDONE Monopoly watches also come in what is possibly the best packaging I’ve seen till date. Each watch comes in a “luxury tax” tin case, including a commemorative golden 1M Monopoly bill featuring Rich Uncle Pennybags and Penny Gladrags (the Bonnie to his Clyde). I usually don’t feature the packaging in my reviews, but this one was too lovely not to highlight – it looks like the box of a board game, not a watch! If you’re a fan of the board game, Stephen Bliss, or simply like the sleek looks of the UNDONE Monopoly watches and have the cash to spare, go for it.
For those interested, the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” will grant you 10% off all purchases from UNDONE! After the promo code, the UNDONE Monopoly watches can be had for $432 USD/ ~S$589. Whilst that is still a substantial sum, it becomes much more palatable when you consider the fact that the other Monopoly watch – the aforementioned time-only quartz from Tag Heuer – costs more than triple the price of the UNDONE Monopoly watches. If you’re looking for something fun, yet not too cartoony and kiddy, the UNDONE Monopoly watches will definitely be conversation starters on the wrist!
View the UNDONE Monopoly watches here.
View the full UNDONE offerings here.
Case Width: 41.8 mm excl. crown
Case Thickness: 12 mm incl. crystal
Watch Movement: Seiko Instruments Inc. VK64 Mechanical-Quartz Hybrid 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!