I’m going to go out on a limb right now, and say the UNDONE Arabian Nights is the watch we need, after 2021 (and these first few days of 2021, do not want). Not for design, or materials (which are pretty sweet), but for the engraving on the caseback.
Now, if you’re like me, you can’t read Arabic. But what we’re being told (and hopefully they got a good translator) it says “This too shall pass”. And if that phrase isn’t something that could be a mantra for the last 12+ months, I don’t know what it would be. So, yes – this too shall pass.
The Arabic continues onto the dial, in the form of Arabic numerals. Well, I suppose technically the whole dial is Arabic, but here we’ve gone with a California-style dial. The lower half shows the more-familiar Arabic numerals, while the upper half has it in script. So, it’s an interesting twist on things. What I really, REALLY like about this is the dial it’s over.
The UNDONE Arabian Nights showcases one of my absolute favorite semi-precious stones, lapis lazuli. This is a natural material, so each dial will look a bit different. It presents as a rich, deep blue complete with the natural variations. With the cream-colored printing on it, along with the earthy brown of the bronze case, it gives things a very coordinated and lovely look.
The one thing I’m less sure on with the UNDONE Arabian Nights is the divers bezel. Done in bronze, it matches the 40mm case nicely. However, the spec sheet lists it as uni-directional and clickless, which makes it fairly useless as a timing device, and is more of a… design aesthetic, I guess? I suppose it helps to take up some of the height that double-domed Lexan crystal has in there, but still seems odd there’s no click spring for it.
Bezel aside, there’s a lot to like (at least for me) with the looks of the UNDONE Arabian Nights. As with most of their releases, this is limited, and only 300 pieces are expected to be made. Even with the semi-exotic dial, the Seiko NH35A at the heart of things helps control the price, which is a reasonable $480 for a watch of this nature. It was just released today, so check it out if it’s your thing. In the meantime, we’re seeing about getting a loaner in. undone.com
Tech Specs from UNDONE
- Case: 40mm; bronze, with 316L stainless steel caseback (total height: 15mm incl. crystal)
- Dial: lapis lazuli
- Crystal: double-domed Lexan polycarbonate
- Bezel: bronze, bi-directional, click-less
- Movement: Seiko NH35A
- Limited Edition: 300 pieces
- MSRP: $480