There have been a lot of watches that I have been lucky enough to see in person, own, try on and appreciate for their technical prowess and craftsmanship. However, not a lot of those watches can also boast such an injection of ’fun’ at the same time. The latest watch that we have been lucky enough to have in review is very well executed, very thoughtfully designed, and instantly puts a smile on your face as soon as you take it out of the box! I am of course talking about the Watermel0n from Studio Underdog, and over the past few weeks, I have completely fallen in love with this brilliant and affordable chronograph.
Studio Underdog have recently taking the watch world by storm, launching on kickstarter in three variations, the Watermel0n, the Desert Sky and the Go0fy Panda. All three dial variations are equally brilliant, but my favourite by far is of course the Watermel0n.
All four dial colours in all their glory…
The first thing to talk about here is the case, which is perfect. 38.5mm for a manual wind chronograph I truly think is the sweet spot. Not only does this fact make the watch wearable for a huge range of wrist sizes, it also means that it can be worn my men and women alike. And before you say anything, I appreciate that anyone can wear any watch they want, but you see my point… At 13.6mm thick, with 2mm of that being made up of the crystal gives the watch a lovely presence on the wrist, and the intergration of the crystal into the angled smooth bezel makes for some very sleek looking lines. In terms of the case finishing, the Watermel0n is executed brilliantly, without the need for fancy bells and whistles. The lugs are brushed, with a mixture of polished and brushed finishing to the case which gives this watch a lovely look in natural light.
Too much fun was had photographing this watch!
In terms of movement, I could not have asked for a better movement for this watch. Given the price point being at £500, the use of a Sellita ST-1901 is a fantastic choice. Whilst this is certainly an affordable manual wind chronograph movement, what I love here is that is is coupled with a display case back. Watches should be something that nerds and beginners alike can appreciate, and the use of a manual wind movement with a gilt swan neck regulator, makes for some very pretty movement architecture, irrespective of the affordability!
Sellita movement haters, get ready to eat your words...
The movement is also pretty high performing all things considered. 21 jewels, beating at 21,600VH and a 50hr power reserve when the chronograph is not running. This also only drops by 5 hours when the chronograph is running which is not half bad. A power reserve of 50 hours for a watch of this style seems plenty to me. My assumption being that a watch with such an out there dial is going to be more of a casual weekend watch than a suit and tie piece.
Now, lets dive into the main event, THAT DIAL. As you will well know by now this is called the Watermel0n, for obvious reasons. The dial features a tachymeter scale round the outer ring; an unmistakable feature for a chronograph. In the centre of the dial and really the focus point, is the gorgeous pink textured dial. The colour, as you will see from the photo’s that I took to accompany this article, can only be the colour of a watermelon and it is absolutely fantastic. But what I also love are the two sunken subdials at 3 and 9. At the 9 o’clock position is a running seconds dial, subtly sunken into the dial also picking up that gorgeous pink colour. The standout dial is at the 3 o’clock, a large 30 minute counter, which shading to indicate the 3 distinct 10 minute sections.
The photos don't do this dial justice... but in the natural light it is just beautiful...
The dial has been perfectly executed here, it provides all of the necessary chronograph functionality without being busy, and the subtle green outer ring and less subtle 30 minute register do the perfect job of balancing out that bright pink dial.
The markers on this watch are also an amazing nod to its design inspiration. Something I must admit I did not immediately pick up on! However, if you look at them closely you will see that they have been shaped to look like watermelon seeds. A very subtle but genius bit of design to bring the watch together.
This is undeniably one of the coolest watches out there at the moment. Bright pink and green together and the seed shaped indices are not gimmicky, they are executed too perfectly for that. This watch is perfectly sized, incredibly well designed, and above anything else, fun. This watch is fun in every facet, and being able to turn the watch over and admire a pretty manual wind, column wheel chronograph is the icing on the cake.
Fun, Fun and a bit more fun, this watch is fun to the power of infinite...
The generation 2 of this watch, as well as the other three dial colours are in production at the moment. As well as featuring more attention to detail with degrade dials, all of the Gen 2’s will be assembled by hand right here in Blightly, and will also feature straps hand made by the legend that is The Strap Tailor. I honestly couldnt conceive any way in which this watch could be improved, but subtle improvements to the user experience of the watch whilst incrementally improving features like the dial, will ensure that this watch sells like hot cakes. So take my advice and get on that mailing list as a matter of urgency.
Thank you to Richard for allowing me to get hands on with this fantastic watch. Hopefully before not too long a Gen 2 Watermel0n will be sitting in my personal collection.
Editor & Co-Founder