Just a little over a month ago, we featured products from a rekindled partnership between a Hong Kong-based fashion house and watchmaker. That was the UNDONE LAB + Simple Union collection of accessories. What we didn’t know that it was just a teaser that leads up to another exciting tie-in. Hence, the latest to come from this collaboration are two classy wristwatches; The UNDONE x Simple Union: Sometsuke and UNDONE Urushi.

UNDONE x Simple Union: 無3

One look at the unique visuals each brings to the table reminds us of the label’s previous work. The 無2(MŪ2), gave us a wonderful overview of how imperfections can highlight the beauty of an object or even a person in some cases. Moreover, this is what the Japanese refer to as the philosophy behind Wabi-Sabi.

With all 300 examples of the aforementioned limited-edition timepiece selling out in less than two days, it was only a matter of time before UNDONE revisited the concept. With Simple Union back in the saddle once more for this artistic endeavor, the Sometsuke and Urushi will likely be a hit, especially among those who loved the older ones.

Two brands, one cohesive design

This is a wonderful opportunity for people who missed out on the first two. Still, you might be wondering exactly which should be your next purchase. Worry not, because we’re here to help.  Just note that the UNDONE x Simple Union: Sometsuke is the more exclusive one in this release at only 300 units allocated for production.

On the other hand, UNDONE is also offering the Urushi. This is an exceptional option for those who normally prefer darker colors to match their style. Although each model is visually different, both likewise share some essence of Wabi-Sabi in their design.

A tribute to the creativity of old

We have a duo of remarkable mechanical watches that tout a top-notch level of craftsmanship and artistry not many can pull off. For the curious and willing, we’re here to give you an overview of what makes these absolute must-haves.

Choosing between the Sometsuke and Urushi seems difficult, but we are here to help. So let’s find out which of the 無3(MŪ3) models will be the next one on your wrist.

Imperfection (Finding Beauty in Fragility)

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UNDONE x Simple Union: Sometsuke

Editors Rating

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With the Sometsuke headlining this pleasantly regular partnership between UNDONE and Simple Union, it’s only fitting that we start things off with this timepiece. As you can likely glean from the specifications, there are some elements that each share with the other.

What immediately grabs your focus here is the aesthetic choice for the dial. Living up to its name — “Sometsuke” — which refers to the traditional way of making porcelain that’s primarily in white with a variety of designs in blue.

To achieve the look of this type of pottery, UNDONE uses white enamel paint on the dial. What follows are the indices and cathedral hands in blue that recreate the signature classic look of vintage ceramics we mentioned earlier.

This continues with a line that starts just below the 4 o’clock hour marker and runs diagonally up to the left and ends with a crack at the 9 o’clock section. This exposes the movement beneath which is in gold to represent the art of Kintsugi (金継ぎ).

It is meant to represent the Japanese method of mending broken porcelain using gold. Once again, you have to give it to UNDONE for artfully pulling this off on the Sometsuke. Enclosing it with a 316L stainless-steel tartaruga case and exhibition case back likewise gives it another layer of sophistication.

The partnership with Simple Union is visible with the Hong Kong-based fashion house’s emblem at 12 o’clock. Additionally, the intricate patterns of its 150-year-old Katazome fabric strap mean each of the 300 Sometsuke watches is truly one-of-a-kind.

Specs

  • Case Size - Excluding Crown (mm): 37
  • Case Thickness - Including Crystal (mm): 12.8
  • Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel
  • Lens Material: Sapphire
  • Bezel Type: None
  • Movement: Japanese TMI NH71 Automatic Winding Mechanism
  • Water Resistance (ATM/Meters): 5/50
  • Strap: Katazome Fabric

Immortality (The Line
Between Life & Death)

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UNDONE Urushi

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The Sometsuke might be the poster boy for this new collection, but UNDONE is not about to downplay the elegance of the Urushi. While its limited-edition stablemate captures the lighter shades of the color spectrum, it goes for a darker tone that is further enhanced by the gold accents.

According to what the watchmaker shares, its namesake is taken from an ancient ritual performed by Japanese monks whereby they make tea out of the Urushi tree. It might sound like something ordinary except that the ingredients they use are as toxic as poison ivy.

This supposedly aids in the process of self-mummification called Sokushinbutsu (即身仏), which is done by a few devout Buddhist monks. Aside from the creepy history, the name Urushi also refers to lacquer sourced from the said tree.

UNDONE starts off with a black dial intended to represent the iconic Japanese lacquerware of the same color. It also infuses the art of Maki-e to decorate the glossy surface with specs of gold applied by a brush.

The theme continues as the Urushi boasts golden cathedral hands as well as indices that glitter against the inky black backdrop. These, along with the movement, sit within a 316L stainless-steel tartaruga case under sapphire crystals on both ends. Finally, it is paired with a brown Italian leather strap.

Specs

  • Case Size - Excluding Crown (mm): 37
  • Case Thickness - Including Crystal (mm): 12
  • Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel
  • Lens Material: Sapphire
  • Bezel Type: None
  • Movement: Japanese TMI NH35A Automatic Winding Mechanism
  • Water Resistance (ATM/Meters): 5/50
  • Strap: Italian Leather

Our Takeaway

Now that you are aware of the differences between the Sometsuke and Urushi, let’s talk about what they have in common. First off, we have that minimalist-yet-stylish 316 stainless-steel tartaruga case with a combination of satin and glossy surfaces. Next, is the fluted crown with the watchmaker’s “U” emblem at 3 o’clock. Finally, there are the enamel painted dials that emulate the appearance of porcelain and lacquerware respectively.

A dial that with a profound meaning

Of course, let’s not forget that each flaunts what UNDONE calls their Kyoto dial, which is a variation of the California dial. Instead of Roman numerals for the top half, the markers are instead replaced with four stylized Kanji characters. Furthermore, these embody the so-called Three Marks of Existence (三印法): 無, 常, 苦, 空.

Translated, they mean impermanence(無常), suffering(苦), and absence of self-nature(空). As you can see, the UNDONE x Simple Union: 無3 collection is definitely something else. Ultimately, if you have the budget, we highly recommend grabbing both the Sometsuke and Urushi so you can swap between the two anytime. Otherwise, go for the style that calls out to your soul.

Purchase it now from UNDONE

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Images courtesy of UNDONE