Fans of the watch review blog will already be familiar with Undone. This is the Hong Kong-based startup that’s exploded onto the mechanical watch market like a supernova. Only two years old, this fledgling watchmaker is not content to rest on its laurels. Instead, on August 18th, Undone announced the release of a new watch: the Aero.
The Aero is built as a tribute to P.V.H. Weems, a US naval officer and mentor to Charles Lindbergh. Among other accomplishments, Weems invented the 60-second rotating bezel. This type of bezel allowed pilots and navigators to synchronize their watches, allowing for the down-to-the-second accuracy required to navigate the vast stretches of the world’s oceans.
The Aero was released in two variants: the Commando and the Scientific. I had the opportunity to review the Scientific variant. In practice, both variants perform the same way, with all the same functions and specifications. The only difference between the two is cosmetic. So when I’m talking about cosmetic features, I’m talking about the Aero Scientific only. But when I’m talking about functional features, I’m talking about both Aero watches.
Classic Understated Dial
The Undone Aero Scientific has a classic appearance that’s very uncomplicated for a modern watch. In fact, there are no complications whatsoever, leaving the parchment-colored dial mostly bare.
The main index consists of a black inner ring, with fine black hashes to indicate single-minute marks. The five-minute marks are indicated by black-outlined lume rectangles. At the quarter-hour positions, black-outlined lume Arabic numerals are located just inside the inner ring. Outside of this index, there’s a secondary index on a ladder-style silver band. On this index, fine black hashes indicate single minutes, while tiny black Arabic numerals are located every five minutes.
The two main watch hands are syringe-shaped, with a black frame and a rectangular lume stripe down the center. At the five-minute and hour positions, these stripes will line up perfectly with the matching lume bars on the inner ring. All of this creates a clean, unified look that’s easy to read at a glance, by day or night.
At the top of the case, you’ll find the Aero Scientific’s signature feature, the 60-second rotating bezel. Just like the dial, the bezel has an understated design, with small black hashes on a plain stainless steel surface. There are small black numerals at the five-minute marks, with the only concession to color coming in the form of a bright red 60-second mark. Inside the bezel, the double-domed Lexan crystal adds a bit of distortion at the edge of the dial, an accent that disappears when you look at the watch head-on.
The bezel has a medium feel when you rotate it. It’s firm enough that it won’t spin by accident, but loose enough that you don’t have to be the Incredible Hulk to turn it. The 2 o’clock crown acts as a locking mechanism for the bezel. When it’s screwed down, the bezel is locked in place. To make any adjustments, you’ll first need to unscrew and pull out the 2 o’clock crown. The main 3 o’clock crown has a similar screw-down design. This prevents it from pulling out by accident and changing the time.
This is a display case, with a see-through window on the back. It provides a beautiful view of the movement in action, with its large rotor and gold highlights. The display window is surrounded by an etched ring that tells you some basic watch data, including the water-resistance rating of 100 meters. Essentially, you can wear the Aero Scientific in the swimming pool, but it’s not a dive watch. The case back has an octagonal design, making it easy to access the guts of the watch if any repairs are necessary.
Reliable Seiko Movement
Undone has decided to utilize the Seiko Caliber NH35A movement in the Aero. This movement made its debut in 2011, so it strikes a good balance between modern features and proven reliability. The 24 jewels vibrate at 21,600 beats per hour, so the second hand moves across the dial fairly smoothly.
The power reserve is good for 41 hours, so long enough to last for a day and a night, but not for a full weekend. Similarly, the accuracy is rated at +20/-40 seconds per day, which is less than ideal. That said, you’re buying the Aero Scientific for looks, not for accuracy, and the hackable movement is easy to adjust anyway.
Elegant Leather Band
The Aero Scientific sports an elegant leather band that’s as understated as the dial. You won’t find any complex texture or unnecessary decorations here. It’s just a flat brown leather, with tan thread reinforcement at the lugs. That said, the leather is quite durable. In addition, the clasp has a quick-release function, which makes it easy to remove at the end of the day.
To have a look at the full range of Undone watches visit their official website here.