Amid the meticulous and occasionally high-strung world of watch enthusiasm, the long-standing tradition of character watches is an important reminder that horology can be light and playful as well. Hong Kong-based Undone has based much of its catalog around this idea, creating unique character-inspired designs around everything from the Monopoly mascot to Batman. One of its greatest successes in this space to date is Undone’s El Capitan, combining elements of the classic Tudor Submariner “Snowflake” together with classic cartoon character Popeye the Sailor. For 2021, Undone is expanding on its Popeye partnership, creating an exclusive limited edition boxset collection with a newly reworked Popeye design as well as two new watches dedicated to Popeye’s longtime love interest Olive Oyl and his burly nemesis Brutus (or Bluto, depending on who you ask). This new Undone x Popeye & Friends Boxset brings together three unique and charming designs for only 50 sets, with five of those sets available for purchase exclusively to aBlogtoWatch community members via a unique sign-up link.
First in the trio is the Undone “Destro” Popeye Collector’s Boxset Edition, offering a mirrored perspective on the brand’s popular El Capitan design. The 40mm bronze case features a unidirectional dive bezel with a raised scale, offering a sense of visual depth in images and creating an interesting canvas for complex patina over time. As the “Destro” moniker suggests, this is a left-hand drive case, with the hex bolt style crown at 9 o’clock rather than the traditional 3 o’clock position. In addition to making life easier for left-handed wearers, this unorthodox position gives the case its own jaunty personality. Undone opts for a mix of brushed and matte blasted surfaces to drive home the tough nautical inspiration. Around back, a clear display caseback offers a view of the movement within while providing a decent 100 meters of water resistance.
As with most character watches, the Undone “Destro” Popeye Collector’s Boxset Edition shows its personality most vibrantly through the dial. The base dial design itself offers some vintage diver character, with a matte royal blue dial surface, squared-off diver indices, and a light khaki lume fill all inspired by the Tudor Submariner issued to the French Navy in the mid-‘70s. On top of this, the familiar figure of Popeye the Sailor dominates the scene, set on a slightly raised layer above the textured dial surface to give a touch of verticality to the design. With the complex shape of Popeye front and center, Undone keeps the rest of the dial surface pared down and minimal, with no text save for the Undone emblem along the minutes track at 6 o’clock. Undone powers the “Destro” Popeye Collector’s Boxset Edition with a Seiko Instruments NH35A automatic movement, offering a 42-hour power reserve at a 21,600 bph beat rate along with a +15/-15 second per day accuracy rating. To complete this tough sailor-inspired package, Undone pairs the watch with a tough fabric strap in navy blue.
Bigger, meaner, and always spoiling for a fight, Brutus the sailor has been Popeye’s archenemy for nearly 90 years. Naturally, the Undone Aqua Brutus Collector’s Boxset Edition echoes this personality throughout. The stainless steel case measures in at a suitably hefty 43mm-wide and 16.5mm-thick. The modern, rounded Undone Aqua line’s diver case is finished here in electric blue matte PVD, topped with a contrasting black knurled bezel. To complete the bright and playful color scheme, Undone fits this model with a vibrant crimson crown, immediately grabbing attention in initial images. While fitted with a display caseback like the Popeye model, the Aqua Brutus Collector’s Boxset Edition sports a more robust 200-meter water resistance rating.
While the beefy and ill-tempered Brutus forms the centerpiece of the Aqua Brutus Collector’s Boxset Edition’s dial, the rest of the design features engaging touches like applied diver indices and a semi-transparent smoked dial surface to reveal the movement working within. Like Its counterpart, the Aqua Brutus Collector’s Boxset Edition is powered by a Seiko Instruments NH35A automatic movement. Undone finishes this model with a clean and durable black rubber strap.
Last of the trio is the Undone 34 Olive Collector’s Boxset Edition, offering a more feminine counterpoint to the two brawling sailors. Measuring in at 34mm, the rose-gold-tone case of the 34 Olive Collector’s Boxset Edition is dressy and classical, with a narrow stepped bezel and polished straight lugs. As an added decorative touch, Undone tops the small onion crown with a blue gem.
The lanky figure of Olive Oyl is accentuated by a series of hearts on the dial of the 34 Olive Collector’s Boxset Edition, giving an added playful touch to the light and feminine design. The dial surface itself is iridescent mother of pearl, accented by swoopy Breguet style printed numerals. Undone uses a two-hand approach here, eschewing a running seconds hand in favor of a more elemental look. Unlike the other two models in the collection, the Undone 34 Olive Collector’s Boxset Edition is powered by a Seiko Instruments VH61 quartz movement for reliable and accurate timekeeping. Undone pairs the watch with an elegant textured black leather strap.
With a playful ethos and an expressive character that goes far beyond dial illustrations, the limited edition Undone x Popeye & Friends Boxset offers a charming tribute to the long-running cartoon franchise. All three models in the Undone x Popeye & Friends Boxset are available exclusively through this limited edition set, and only 50 sets will be produced, available now online. Five of these sets will be reserved specifically for aBlogtoWatch community members. By using this special link between March 10 and March 15, 2021, community members can enter into a lucky draw pool to win one of five purchase slots in this extremely limited series. MSRP for the Undone x Popeye & Friends Boxset is $1,499. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.