Italian microbrand Unimatic has announced their first chronograph series, the U3 line, with the introduction of the Unimatic Modello Tre U3-A and the U3-AN, to add to their line of dive watches. Unimatic has built a brand identity around a unique design aesthetic, and the U3 fits well into its established personality. The U3 is a vintage-inspired, meca-quartz dive chronograph, pumped full of that minimalist design goodness that Unimatic has become known for.
If you’re familiar with the U1 collection from Unimatic, then the overall design of the U3 will feel very familiar. The first two models of the series, the U3-A and the U3-AN ultimately share the same specifications, however the U3-AN features a DLC black case, while the U3-A is a brushed steel finish. To jump into what those base specifications are, the U3 line features a 316L stainless steel case that clocks in at 40mm in diameter, 13.7mm thick, a lug to lug of 51mm, and lug spacing of 22mm. The Unimatic Modello Tre U3 watches also feature a double domed sapphire crystal, steel caseback, 120-click rotating bezel, and are water-resistant to 300 meters. Keeping these watches held to your wrist are black shell cordovan leather straps, but they also come with a nato-style strap.
Powering the Unimatic Modello Tre U3 series, interestingly, is the Seiko VK64 Meca-Quartz chronograph movement. Since the brand has primarily focused on automatic watches in the past, I was surprised to see this move, but it is a fitting movement to remain in Unimatic’s usual price bracket and be able to offer a chronograph option. For those interested in the particulars, the VK64 movement operates at a frequency of 32,768Hz, with a tuning fork oscillator, and is accurate to +/-20 seconds per month.
As a fan of Unimatic and of dive chronographs in general, this is a release I’m pretty excited for. The U3 retains the same vibe that Unimatic has fostered over the last few years of minimal, vintage-inspired dive watches. While dive chronos are a slightly strange marriage, in that the chronograph shouldn’t be used to time your dive (that’s the dive bezel’s job), and that they usually come with inconvenient screw down chronograph pushers, I really do enjoy the aesthetic that comes along with a dive chronograph. The overall vibe of the Unimatic Modello Tre U3 is right up my alley – the minimal dial, the dual registers, the tastefully done vintage lume, totally clean bezel aside from the pip… all of it works extremely well together, in my opinion.
Despite my love for the aesthetic of a dive chronograph, however, I ultimately end up owning very few, and that is usually due to the higher cost associated with them. That is why I am happy with Unimatic’s choice to go with the VK64 Meca-Quartz movement for the U3. The meca-quartz gives users that satisfying sweep when they activate the pushers, keeps great time, keeps the watch case slim, and most notably, helps keep the price down. Unimatic has seemingly found their home in a relatively affordable market, and it seems that they didn’t want to price out any of their existing fans with their first chronograph model. Of course, there’s nothing stopping them from making a mechanical chronograph in the future, if they so choose.
Unimatic has shown that they can continue to diversify and evolve their offerings, while retaining the same design language they’ve become known for. The Unimatic U3-A and U3-AN are the first entries in a series that I’m sure Unimatic will continue to add to in the coming years. As is usual for Unimatic, both of these watches are limited in their production numbers, being capped at 600 pieces for the U3-A and 300 pieces for the U3-AN. The Unimatic Modello Tre U3 watches are available now directly from Unimatic, priced at €525 for the U3-A and €625 for the DLC-coated U3-AN. Learn more at unimaticwatches.com