It was not that long ago that we brought you word of a “new” Kickstarter campaign from SD-09.  New is in quotes because we first told you about the watch a year prior.  As you can tell that first campaign wasn’t successful, and this second one appears to be doing better, but it still has not yet crossed the fully-funded threshold.  We spent some time with a prototype of the SD-09 UFO, and can give you our thoughts.

First up, the SD-09 UFO does not look – or feel – like a sub-$250 watch (that’s where early bird pricing lands it).  In terms of the overall design of course, we’ve seen two handers with date and sub-seconds before.  Let’s focus in on those sub-seconds.  Rather than giving you an accurate sense of what second you’re on, this is more for a visual indication of the fact that the movement is running.  Not only that, but with the lumed pips on it, you get a kinetic light show from the disc when it’s dark, which is a fun trick, and does give that UFO look.

Along those lume lines, there is a surprising amount of it on the SD-09 UFO.  You of course have the main indices, and then the cutouts at the 12 and 9 positions (if it were me, I would have dropped those, and instead made the logo the lumed cutout for the 12 o’clock indicator).  The hands are lumed as well.  The surprising bit is on the chapter ring.  You’ve got the minutes all with their own pips.  This looks neat, and when you stop to consider the they’re showing up on an angled and curved surface (never a good combo for luminous paint), that makes things more interesting.

As far as the visuals of the SD-09 UFO, they keep things interesting there as well.  You’ve got all manner of screw heads showing up (bezel, crown guard, inter-lug, lugs), some of which are functional (the bezel ones are, I believe) and others decorative (everything else).  This is a look we’ve seen on higher-end watches, of course, and will probably be a divisive bit of styling.  Me, I could probably do without.

The finishing on the case is quite nice.  For the large, flat bezel, you’ve got a brushed surface, and that brushing continues on for most of the case.  The exception is angled side of the bezel (and the caseback) – these are in full polish, and I’m always happy to see a nice bit of flash pop into an otherwise matte finish.

For the crown guard, at least on the prototype SD-09 UFO that we spent time with, that was underwhelming.  The campaign page shows ones that looks like it opens up (ala Panerai), but is fixed in place just as we have here on this prototype.  While this did not interfere with moving the crown out for adjusting, it did make things a bit more difficult to wind the movement.

Not that you necessarily have to wind the SD-09 UFO, as it’s powered by the automatic Miyota 8218.  Miyota movements come (for those not aware) from Citizen, which Victor just had a few different articles about (here).  These are an inexpensive option for watches of this nature, and do certainly help keep costs controlled.

For the strap, the campaign page does make a lot of noise around the woven leather strap of the SD-09 UFO.  It’s an interesting visual look, but it’s only the top surface of the leather strap that is woven.  Underneath you’ve got a standard, solid backing, which means you’ve got normal cutouts for the tang buckle.  While I may have like to have seen a fully-woven strap (like as on a perlon) that allows you to get that perfect fit, I will allow that it would make for a much stretchier strap, and perhaps not the kind of stability you may want.  No matter – with the quick-change spring bars, it’s a simple matter to slip something new in.

As of the time of writing this, the campaign for the SD-09 UFO is sitting at 75%, with things wrapping up on April 27, 2018.  So, if you’re interested in the watch, you’ll want to get your pledge in pretty soon.  As for me, I think it’s visually interesting, and certainly – as I mentioned earlier – does not look or feel like a sub-$250 watch.  In other words, if you like the style, you’re getting a pretty good bang for your buck.  Here’s to hoping the campaign is successful, and folks can start seeing them on their own wrists.

Review Summary

  • Brand & Model: SD-09 UFO
  • Price:  $246
  • Who’s it for? You want something a bit different from the standard divers and “minimalist” watches, and you like exposed fasteners
  • What I would change:  Drop the 12 and 9 cutouts, and make the logo the cutout on the dial.
  • The best thing about it: Picking one detail, it’s all the lume, particularly on the sub-seconds disc

Tech Specs from SD-09

  • DIAMETER:  42mm (49.91mm – from left case to the crown protection system cover)
  • Weight:  230g
  • MATERIALS:  All 316L stainless steel, PVD black plating AA grade from Finland materials
  • CROWN:  3 o-Rings  waterproof inside
  • GLASS:
    • Front & Back – Swiss Sapphire crystal with AR (Anti-reflective)
      • Top: 1.6 mm
      • Bottom: 1.3 mm
  • WATER-RESISTANCE:  Waterproof to 10 ATM / 100 metres / 330 feet
    • Fine finishing, mechanical, automatic, hand-winding
    • CALIBRE:  Miyota 8218, metal movement, Japan made, under Citizen watch Co., Ltd.
    • FUNCTIONS:  Automatic & manual winding, small second, date calendar, shock-absorber for balance staff
    • PRECISION:  -20/+40 seconds per day
    • POWER RESERVE:  More than 40 hours (measure the running time from full winding – the mainspring becomes fully winded by rotating the ratchet wheel 7.5 times ,turning the crown 40 times)
    • AUTOMATIC WINDING STRUCTURE:  Winding direction : Counter-clockwise (seeing from case back side)
  • STRAP:
    • One hand-braided Italian calf leather strap
    • One silicone band  with PIN buckle
  • DIAL:  Double layer dial, indexs, 12&9  Skeleton & sub-indices on inner ring filled Swiss SuperLumiNova C3 light green color
  • HANDS:
    • Diamond cut with C3
    • Small second disc made by aluminum with C3

ByPatrick Kansa

A big data developer and leader with a penchant for gadgets, books, watches and beverages. You can find my work on WristWatchReview, Knapsack.News, and Slushpile. If you're on Twitter and/or Instagram, you'll find me there as @PatrickWatches.