The first watch that I ever reviewed for the StrapHabit blog was an Undone. While I like unconventional watches, the Basecamp 420 wasn't something I would have purchased on my own. Recently the brand offered to provide another watch for me to review. While the Undone Aqualume is still pretty funky, it's way more my style. It has a pretty nice spec list, so I was excited to check it out. Keep reading to find out more, and receive a code for a discount off an Undone watch purchase.
Undone AquaLume First Impressions
The Aqualume it as fun to wear as I expected. It combines a technical tool watch aesthetic with the Undone design language nicely, and I love the combination of colors.
Wearing the Undone AquaLume
The Aqualume is a manageable 43mm wide, but a large crown as well as a helium escape valve with huge guards on either side make it visually even larger.
Additionally, it's over 16mm thick! Sure, it has over 500m of water resistance, but I was a bit worried after reading the specs.
I found, however, that it wears better than expected. The crystal is domed and leads into a sloped bezel. Because it's titanium, it's lighter than expected too. It doesn't wear larger than other 43mm watches, although I would prefer its looks without the HEV on the side. It's a fun party trick, but not likely useful to anyone who will buy one.
The bezel, however, is more useful. Knurled edges make it easy to grip. The clicks are precise for an affordable watch, and it is well-aligned.
The legibility is great too. The orange minute hand is easy to differentiate, and large hour markers make it a breeze to read the time at a glance.
Unfortunately, lume dial watches often look cool but fall short on nighttime legibility. The Aqualume is no exception. It looks cool in the dark, but the lume is not particularly bright. I always feel that the hands on a lume dial watch should be solid to aid legibility. Having lume at the center makes them blend into the dial, especially when your eyes haven't fully adjusted.
Undone AquaLume Details
The Aqualume has a really fun wrist presence, but it's in the details where it starts to feel like costs have been cut. I love sandwich dial watches, but the depth of the second layer is pretty thin.
Additionally, compared to the other bold design choices, I felt that the hour markers look a bit weak. Larger rectangles and numerals would work better. I do love the use of a Yachtmaster-style ceramic bezel in this application though. It stands it against the gray titanium, and the raised and polished numerals reflect light nicely.
The case is completely covered in a sand-blasted finish. This is typical for watches made from grade 2 titanium, as it can't be polished.
The case design is comprised of a number of flat surfaces intersecting at angles. It doesn't give the impression of expensive craftsmanship, but rather a tool watch (which is appropriate).
Undone AquaLume Strap
A few strap options were available for the Aqualume. I opted for the silicone and Codura hybrid option as I thought the black and orange motif complimented the dial well. The lug width is 22mm, so many of your favorite straps will also be available to fit it!
The strap is comfortable, looks good, and has nice channels on the back.
I also find the titanium buckle very cool!
If I do say so myself, it looks pretty killer on a new StrapHabit multi-color FKM Ridge Rubber.
Undone AquaLume Movement
A Seiko NH35 is visible through the AquaLume's transparent caseback. It's a great movement, and what you'd expect to find in a diver at this price range. This model does not display the date on the dial. That would be my preference, as it's a tool watch, and there isn't a good place to display the date without interrupting the sandwich dial numerals or lume pattern at night.
My preference for a titanium tool watch with 500M of water resistance would be a solid titanium caseback. The movement isn't anything special to look at, but I understand that it would be fun to look at for a lot of customers.
Undone does offer a "Submerge" version of the Aqualume's sister watch, the Aquadeep with a solid caseback as well as a day and date display.
The Aqualume is one of Undone's higher-priced models, but compared to other brands, it's still fairly inexpensive. It's a great value proposition, offering a number of expensive materials and design touches all for under $400. It's a good option for someone looking for a tool dive watch with a style that's a bit off the beaten path.
Undone also provided us with a discount code. Use code STRAPHABIT15 to get 15% off your next Undone watch at Undone.com. The brand offers a wide variety of models, most of which are customizable via a configurator tool when ordering.
Name: Undone AquaLume
Lug Width: 22mm
Movement: Seiko NH35A
Power Reserve: 41 hours
Water Resistance: 500m
Crystal: Double Dome Sapphire Crystal
Bezel: Grade 2 titanium with ceramic insert, 120 click unidirectional