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by Adrian Barker July 23, 2021
It's become fashionable to start a watch brand and it's hard to identify those who are doing it seriously, or doing anything genuinely different. Studio Underd0g is certainly doing something different and although their concepts are fun, the execution shows they take it seriously!
Richard from Studio Underd0g sent me a couple of watches to check out as they were already with Scottish Watches and so they were in my area. I'd already set the expectation that I wouldn't cover them, but I was happy to check them out, however, I feel compelled to talk about them for 2 reasons. Firstly here are the specs:
The first point that stands out to me with these watches is the detail. The design details. I'm not a fan of gimmicks and the WaterMel0n is certainly a watch full of gimmicks with the dial representing a cross-section of a watermelon: smooth green tachymeter, textured pinky-red dial and melon pips for hour markers. Although I'm too boring and serious to appreciate the fun aspect of this watch, I do appreciate the detail that's gone into the design. Most notably, the resting chronograph seconds hand. On 99% of chronographs (not factually correct) the chronograph seconds hand, when reset, obscures the logo on the dial, but not here. The resting chronograph hand becomes part of the logo or at the very least, it complements the logo by perfectly separating and framing the name and model.
The second point that stands out to me, and this doesn't often happen, but the watches need to be on par with the movement, and vice versa. In this case, I feel the movement doesn't complement the watch but rather degrades it (which is actually a compliment). This is powered by a Seagull ST-1901 manual wind column-wheel chronograph movement. Seagull is a movement manufacture based in China that bought a Swiss movement manufacture back in the 1960's called Venus. That buy out included the rights and designs to Venus's movements and the equipment, the Seagull movements made today are still made on the original Venus machinery. Despite the movement being relatively reliable and easy to service, the focus is very much on making them cheaply which is why they are a popular choice among microbrands. They are the key reason this mechanical column-wheel chronograph can be sold for £370!
Finishing can be the most expensive part of a movement, so naturally, when it comes to saving money, finishing is the area that gets hit the most. The finishing of this movement is so bad, it's somewhat comical and that's my issue. The finishing and execution of the watch overall are far superior to that of the movement. It's always nice to find a good looking "affordable" watch, but in this case, I think these watches would benefit from a higher grade movement and simply charge more for the watch, or hide the movement behind a solid case back. Although I do think showing a movement for a micro-brand is important as it adds credibility - even if the movement isn't made by them.
In short, I think Studio Underd0g, even before launching is onto something good. Richard's creative mind is clearly a powerful one and although things like the WaterMel0n watch aren't "my cup of tea", I do enjoy the playfulness and the execution.
Richard asked for my feedback on the watches, my points were:
Apart from that, I think the design is a home run!
Check out Studio Underd0g at underd0g.com
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