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UBIQ DUAL Series 1 Applesour 2

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UBIQ is a Singaporean watch brand founded by Drayson Phua. The DUAL is the brand’s first watch, but the fact that Drayson is a Creative Director by trade is immediately apparent. There’s a confidence in the designs and cohesiveness of the range that is rarely found in a new brand. Taking just over a year from conception to completion shows that this is a man driven by his vision to build a watch brand with a clear identity from the start. Drayson believes watches should be fun. Inspired by his son’s bright and colourful world, he wanted his first watch to be one that represents the brand’s core values of vibrancy, dynamism and creativity. But where does the brand name and model name originate you might ask? The brand name comes from the hope that the brand and products will grow to be UBIQuitous in consumers’ consciousness. And DUAL comes from the dual-timing bezel.

Overview of the UBIQ DUAL Series 01

Every aspect of the DUAL (bar the movement) is designed in-house at UBIQ headquarters in Singapore. At the time of launch five colour options are available, all injected with colour and personality. Each colour is limited to just 100 pieces and has been assigned a suitably fun name. My review watch is the Applesour, with a dual-tone green bezel over a warm grey dial. You can also choose from Beetred (purple and silver bezel with red accents over a Purple dial), Bumble (black and yellow bezel over a Black dial), Navysilver – (silver and navy bezel over an off-white dial with yellow highlights, Seaset (teal and orange bezel over a teal dial). Aside from colour, the design is the same across all five. UBIQ’s Kickstarter campaign is already underway and the DUAL series 1 is price at $519 USD. This figure will increase to $649 after the Kickstarter campaign ends on 8 March 2024. The warranty is two years, and each watch comes with a stainless steel bracelet and additional FKM strap inside a custom-crafted coloured pouch. 

The Case and Wearing Experience

The 316L stainless steel case is a crowd-pleasing 39mm diameter, with a lug-to-lug measurement of 47mm and an overall thickness of 11.8mm on my prototype watch. UBIQ has since managed to slim down the case even more and all production models will be just 11.5mm thick, including sapphire!

A mix of finishes is used for the case and bracelet. When viewed from top down, the case is visually nearly all lugs. The slim lugs and caseback feature circular brushing, whilst the case sides are sandblasted and recessed, flanked top and bottom by two lovely, wide, polished chamfers. These give the watch a lovely side profile and provide some distinction. What’s not immediately apparent is that the lugs have a lovely additional design flourish; small sculptured, sandblasted cut-outs where they meet the case, kind of like a reduced take on the Omega twisted lugs. Now that’s attention to detail with your finishing! Finally, the case is vertically brushed between the lugs, which you only see when the strap is removed. The end links are an extremely good fit to the watch and when you run your fingers over the join, it’s almost imperceivable.

The flat link bracelet is longitudinally brushed with polished sides and wide chamfers on the upper clasp. Although it has the appearance of a three-link design, each link is one solid piece. However, the bracelet is good quality and tapers down from 20mm to 16mm, so it’s comfy too. Thankfully, it’s also quick-release so even those new to watches can easily swap the bracelet out for the excellent, and very pliable, supplied colour-matched FKM rubber strap to give the watch a completely different look. No tools required! Another plus in my book, is that the bracelet links are secured by single-sided screws. Finally, the clasp is signed and has five micro-adjustment holes to help achieve the perfect fit.

The dual time bi-directional bezel with matt aluminium insert is where the colour pop begins. The bezel inset is split into two. The outer segment is a dark green and printed with a 12-hour scale for help tracking a second time zone, whilst the inner segment is a lighter green and printed with Arabic numerals at every 10, in the manner of a traditional dive watch countdown bezel. Alternate hour markers on the bezel have lines leading to the main dial indices for easy reference. An oversized 12 o’clock triangle in golden yellow completes the picture and aids orientation at night. All bezel markings have a green C1 luminescent compound applied. The bezel itself has a polished u-shaped coin edge (a nod to the U of UBIQ) for easy grip, and I’d describe the rotating bezel as solid. Being a 60-click bezel there is nowhere to hide with alignment, but I’m glad to say that the bezel on my review watch lined up perfectly.

The flat sapphire which has a rounded edge and sits slightly proud of the case, and has an effective anti-reflective coating applied to the inside. The polished 6mm crown bears the UBIQ ‘U’ logo within a contrasting bead-blasted relief. It’s well-proportioned, engages positively and is easy to turn thanks to the u-shaped knurling which mimics the bezel. Being screw-down it also helps the DUAL achieve its 200m water resistance rating.

The stainless steel screwdown caseback simply features engraved typography which lists the essential info (brand, model name, automatic, designed in Singapore, and xxx/100). This info sits within a squared circle border, which carries over the design language used throughout the DUAL.

I’d say the watch wears ever so slightly bigger than the 39mm diameter and 47mm lug-to-ug would suggest. Why? Although the case sits close to the wrist due to its very slim caseback, the profile of the case and lugs is almost completely flat, with just the tinniest hint of curvature (almost imperceivable), so I can’t say it hugs the wrist.

UBIQ has said it will smoothen the case profile chamfers for production models. I can only assume this means that the very bottom edge of the case sides will be smoothed off slightly so the case feels smoother against the skin, as I couldn’t see any other need for improving the chamfers. Other improvements that will be made to production watches include polished finishing to the crown edge, improved QC on the bezel printing and shortening the female end link to decrease gap. Again, I couldn’t see any major issues with any of these things, so the fact that UBIQ are making these improvements is testament to their high standards.

Dial and Hands That Pop!

The Applesour sits somewhere between the vibrancy of the Seaset and the comparatively subdued Navysilver colourway.

The dial is deliciously simple on the face of it, but like everything on this watch, it’s clearly been thought about. The dial itself is a lovely warm grey colour, which reminds me a lot of the ‘taupe’ dial found on the Tudor Black Bay 58 925. On the outer edge of the dial is a minute track printed white on black, with no fractions of seconds, keeping with the ethos of clean design. The hash marks at the five minute/hour markers are extended and lead the eye to meet the oversized polished ‘inflated square’ applied hour markers, with blue BGW9 lume.

Rounded rectangles are used for the 3, 9, and 12, and at six sits one of the best executions of a date window I’ve ever seen. At first glance it just looks like another index as it features the same frame design as the other indices, and it doesn’t break the radial alignment. What’s more, because the main indices are pure white in colour, the black on white doesn’t break the colour continuity either. Very clever. Even the date-haters will struggle to complain about this one!

The custom hour hand has a surround that’s colour-matched to inner bezel and filled with C1 lume. The arrow-tipped minute hand has a polished silver-coloured surround, and the lollipop-style seconds hand has a green tip and framed lume pip which glides directly over the hour markers.

I love the dial execution. The applied indices are tall and help bring considerable depth to the face of the watch and the AR sapphire copes well with reflections. Add in crisp, clear bright-white lume and it all comes together to bring great legibility and freshness to the face of the watch.

The lume design is also appealing, but whilst initially the brightness is good, it does fade quite quickly. However, UBIQ will be upgrading all lume to Grade A set for production models. UBIQ will also be improving the quality of the date printing on production models.

Finally dial text is kept simple, with just the brand name, model name and water resistance rating being printed in white.

The Movement

The UBIQ DUAL Series 1 is fitted with the Miyota 9015 movement, which is probably my favourite of all the affordable movements typically fitted to microbrand watches. It’s nothing exceptional but is extremely reliable and reasonably accurate (within -10/+30 sec per day). This movement beats at 28,800bph so the sweep is smooth and the power reserve is 42 hours. UBIQ have fitted a customised date wheel, and the seconds also hack, so you can stop the movement and precisely set the time to a reference time.

Final Thoughts

The UBIQ DUAL Series 01 is a breath of fresh air, with a very appealing design and a perfect suite of colour palettes. The whole package is so well conceptualised and executed even down to the packaging and it puts a lot of big names brands to shame.

I’ve been so impressed with the DUAL that I’m going to break with tradition here and get the negatives out the way first. Try as I might, the truth it’s proved difficult to come up with much of any significance especially when you consider the £400 asking price and the list of improvements that UBIQ has already promised for the production models. So it boils down to just two things for me. No case curvature, and no on-the-fly toolless bracelet adjustment. That’s it! By the time you read this an on-the-fly micro adjustment might even be included, as it’s a stretch goal. I’m sure some people may have preferred a ceramic bezel for extra durability, but you need to remember the DUAL isn’t really marketed as a full on ‘ready for battle’ watch, or even a dive watch, despite it’s 200m water resistance and rotating bezel. Plus, it would be a huge technical challenge to achieve a dual-coloured ceramic bezel.

I really appreciate great design and thoughtful details, and this watch hits all criteria on that front. You can absolutely tell that founder Drayson is a Creative Director! This versatile watch has great specifications, is a crowd-pleasing size and puts fun front-and-centre with its fresh, unique design. All-in-all it’s one of the most ‘complete’ debut watches I’ve reviewed to date, and it most certainly will not leave a sour taste in your mouth!

If you like what you see, I wouldn’t hang around as I think these will prove to be very popular. And remember there is just 100 of each colour available!

2 comments

  1. Ray

    Well written and what a beauty. This is the first diver in over 10 years that is going in my watch collection. Seaset for me, thank you 🙂

  2. Ray

    Nicely written and a beauty of a watch. This will be the first diver in over 10 years in my collection. The Seaset version of course. 🙂

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