Italy-based Unimatic has just released a new “S Series” of watches that are notable for two primary reasons. First is the fact that this timepiece collection contains Swiss Made movements, which I believe may be a first for the brand. The watches contain Swiss Sellita movements, and the caliber SW200-1 is used in this Unitmatic Modello Uno U1S-M. The S Series also has a new case design that is slightly thinner than previous Unimatic cases. This helps the watch sit a bit more elegantly and yet they still offer the same 300 meters of water resistance.
Unimatic produces a large number of modern fashionable tool watches inspired by classic diver’s watches. Unimatic has proven very successful for a number of reasons, including its accessible pricing and focus on high-fashion, versatile, and familiar looks for their products. One of my favorite Unitmatic design themes is its “minimalist” diver’s watch dials which, as on this U1S-M, remove the hour markers on the dial and most of the markers on the bezel. The result is very Movado Museum Dial watch-esque in its appeal and offers great looks in exchange for giving up some of its tool watch cred but having a less precise-to-read face.
There is just something very visually appealing about these minimalized tool watch dials for a lot of eyes (including my own). I totally understand if someone doesn’t find the dial appealing and thus doesn’t see the point in the watch. For those people, Unimatic produces other products. But for the design nerds like me who can appreciate the fashion and visual appeal of a minimalized diver’s style watch, Unitmatic has you covered for not too much money.
Now the brand also offers an upgraded wearing experience with a steel case that is 10% thinner than before at 11.6mm-thick, in this form. The case is also 40mm-wide with a 49mm lug-to-lug distance and with (wide for this case size but pleasant) 22mm-wide lugs for the strap. Over the dial is a 2.5mm-thick domed and AR-coated sapphire crystal (these could always benefit from even more AR coating, of course), and around the dial is a unidirectional rotating bezel. The bezel has a solid-black aluminum insert with a single marker in the form of a lume pip. Some historic pilot watches had similar bezels, so it is actually possible to use these for timing purposes. Of course, without the markers, there is a trade-off in practical utility, but it is hard to deny that this minimalist bezel looks slick.
The Unimatic Modell Uno U1S-M wears a bit larger than its 40mm width might suggest, due to the fact that the strap is on the wider side, at 22mm, and because the bezel is actually 41.5mm-wide. The dial itself merely has SuperLumiNova painted hands, with the Unimatic logo also painted in lume (which, again, isn’t super-practical but looks cool).
Inside the brushed steel case is a Swiss Made Sellita caliber SW200-1 automatic movement that operates at 4Hz and has about two days of power reserve. This movement is comparable to an ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. Unimatic packs the entire watch kit into a high-quality Pelican-style waterproof case and includes two strap options. Those straps include a black calf leather strap and a new NATO-style nylon strap with Unimatic hardware. Both are pretty nice, but I think I enjoy wearing the U1S-M better on the NATO-style strap.
In addition to this limited-edition brushed steel model of the new S Series Modello Uno, Unimatic also produces a sister model in an all-black case known as the U1S-MN. It costs 100 Euros more due to the black color treatment and will be produced in a slightly smaller batch (fewer pieces in the limited edition). There is also the less expensive S Series U2S-M and U2S-MN, which has a different case design (more field watch in style) and contains the same Sellita SW200 automatic movements. Unimatic will probably continue to evolve its “Swiss Series” over time with more models and it is great to see the still boutique company growing more confident and higher-end. That said, Unimatic will more than likely continue to focus mainly on watches with Japanese automatic movements for most of its products. The watches with Swiss movements will merely offer a nice supplement to those collectors for whom having a fancier movement is important.
Those who have a similar Unimatic watch to these S Series Modello Uno models probably don’t need to immediately upgrade, but with the Swiss movements and more refined case design, it is worth looking out for what Unimatic is doing next to see when you might want to check out the latest products. Price for the Unimatic S Series Modello Uno US1-M watch is 910 Euros and is limited to 500 pieces. Learn more at the Unimatic watches website.