Time to spruce things up a bit : would you wear a Popeye watch?

Spinach is good for you

Let's address the elephant in the room right from the start because, I guess we've all noticed, there's a Popeye effigy on the dial of this watch. His arms are actually used as minute and hour hands. I feel like the first thing you need to know about this watch is that it comes in a box that's shaped like a Popeye spinach tin-can.


Putting cartoon characters on watches is nothing new, watch manufacturers have been doing it for over 100 years. Ingersoll started the trend in 1908 with the Buster Brown pocket watch and in 1933, they also became the first company to use a Mickey Mouse mascot on the watch.

This is the UNDONE x Popeye, made by Undone in collaboration with King Features, the company that owns the rights to the Popeye name and brand, and while I was doing some research for this piece, I found that Thimble Theater, the King Features-distributed comic strip that would eventually give us the Popeye character, was first published in 1919, 101 years ago, which makes it older than both Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck*.

There are two variants of this particular timepiece, created by custom watch specialist Undone. The stainless steel model, called El Capitan, takes its inspiration from military divers commissioned by the French Navy in the 1950s and 1970s, coming in with a navy blue dial and so-called "snowflake" hands, with Undone's first 316L 3-link Oyster-style bracelet.

The Sailorman is also made from stainless steel but the case is coated in satin black PVD (physical vapour deposition) and it features a California dial with Roman+Arabic numerals and it is paired with what is commonly referred to as a Marine Nationale strap.

The case is 40 mm in diameter, lug to lug is 48 mm, with doubled domed Lexan Polycarbonate crystal with a bidirectional K1 glass bezel and 100m water resistance. Both watches are powered by an NH35A automatic movement with a 42-hour power reserve and then there's my favourite part: the glass caseback.

We dread and despise conformity because we tend to see it all around us. "Here's your standard issue iPhone which you can use to share your standard issue pictures on your standard issue social media account". There's an element of truth in that but it's also true that there has never been a better era for individuality. These days we have access to individually crafted products that would have been much harder (and expensive) to get just a few years ago. Whatever else you may think of the Popeye watch, this is just one out of a million ideas that Undone (and many other brands of course) have created, including watches with Batman, Superman, Mickey Mouse, Space-themed watches. They even created a, how can I put it, pot leaf-inspired watch.


I can't recall ever *not* liking watches. As far as I can tell, when looking at old family pictures, it seems my mom began slamming a watch on my wrist and Converse on my feet when it was a kid and that probably means I must have been wearing a watch when I was at my grandma's for lunch as a kid watching Popeye reruns on TV.

Both watches are available from Undone. The El Capitan has a retail price of $479 whereas the Sailorman retails at $399.

*Thimble Theater first appeared in the New York Journal on December 19, 1919 and the first main character was Olive Oyl. Popeye first appeared in the strip on January 17, 1929 as a minor character

Join In

Comments (33)