This leap year — itself an imperfection due to the extra 366th day tacked on to the end of February — UNDONE is revisiting the Japanese ideology of impermanence and imperfection known as Wabi-Sabi, for an exciting new collaboration: the Hong Kong custom watch masters have teamed up with highly-respected antique Katazome fabric crafthouse Simple Union. Together, they have created the UNDONE x Simple Union Bronze Limited Edition: 無2(MŪ2).
It’s just the latest collaboration for the brand following successful partnerships with DC, Hasbro and Peanuts. Simple Union is no stranger to the covetable collab either; exactly one year ago, they launched a fully handmade version of the Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro Hi OG crafted from various vintage Japanese Indigo fabrics. Only 10 pairs were made, and were immediately snapped up by sneakerheads.
Luckily for watch collectors, the UNDONE x Simple Union collab is releasing a few more units: the 無2 (MŪ2) is a 300 piece limited-edition launch. So be sure to get your pre-order in early if you want to secure your chance to pick up one of these watches.
What is Wabi-Sabi?
Before we talk more about the UNDONE x Simple Union Bronze Limited Edition, also known as MŪ2, we should explain a little more about the philosophy of Wabi-Sabi. An ancient Japanese belief system based around accepting the imperfect and transient nature of life, it’s a philosophy rooted in Buddhism, and one that originally arose from tea ceremonies in which prized utensils were handmade, irregular and imperfect. Wabi-Sabi is an appreciation of all that is simple, modest and pleasingly imperfect.
UNDONE x Simple Union: Not just a watch, a complete philosophy
The metal chosen for this striking 40mm limited-edition is bronze, and for good reason. Bronze has a unique aging/patina process, which with the passage of time, helps form its one-of-a-kind look. Over the years, each watch will develop its own distinctive characteristics brought about by exposure to the environment — rather like the human aging process. The caseback, meanwhile, is made of 316L surgical stainless steel.
But the bronze of the latest UNDONE x Simple Union collaboration represents more than just a case material, it’s meant to inspire reflection and introspection on the subject of life, death and rebirth. Philosophically speaking, this is a meditative watch, one that will age with you, as its beauty only enhances through the years.
New Kyoto dial
MŪ2 features UNDONE’s new Kyoto Dial, which is an oriental reinterpretation of the Classic California Dial, which traditionally features Roman numerals on the upper half and indices on the lower half. The MŪ2, however, puts a clever spin on that classic look by marrying Western wartime design with Oriental Buddhist sensibilities. As a result, the Roman numeral layout has been replaced with four delicate grains of Kanji, or Japanese Han characters —「無」,「常」,「苦」and「空」 — which appear as if embroidered onto the blue dial. The clever touches don’t stop there; there is also an added imperfection in the form of a “porcelain Kintsugi crack” of the kind often found in ancient Japanese earthenware.
The watch is based on UNDONE’s popular Basecamp Cali model and runs on the trusty Japanese workhorse movement the SII NH35a, self-winding and hackable with 41 hours of power reserve. It’s one of the world’s most popular automatic movements, reinforcing the MŪ2’s artful antique beauty with reliable, modern functionality.
A strap made from 150-year-old fabric
The watch strap on the MŪ2 is notably unique as well, sourced from genuine century-old aged Meiji-era Japanese katazome fabric — a fabric as tough and resilient as denim, and, like denim, one that also changes over time. This, as with the bronze case, ensures no two pieces are the same.
Katazome is a traditional dyeing method that originated in the Edo Period, which began in 1603, when the indigo plant grew wild and was plentiful throughout most areas of the Japanese Islands. The pieces of katazome textiles featured on UNDONE’s signature quick-release straps are rare examples of authentic antique katazome work that has, remarkably, survived for more than 150 years. And, since indigo doesn’t fade, remaining vivid for centuries, the straps on the MŪ2 are made to last, making this limited-edition even more intriguingly collectible at a cost of only $395 USD.
Destined to sell out fast!
Like all of UNDONE’s limited-edition collabs, you can expect the MŪ2 to go quick. To secure yours, you’ll need to move fast. Pre-orders are now open.
UNDONE x Simple Union Bronze Limited Edition 無2(MŪ2)
Case: Bronze with 316L stainless steel case back
Measurements: 40mm diameter, 48mm lug-to-lug 20mm strap width
Height: 15mm from caseback
Crystal: Double-domed Lexan Polycarbonate
Bezel: 120-click bronze rotating
Movement: SII NH35a; self-winding, hackable
Price: US $395