Some watches are instantly recognisable. Unimatic is one such brand...
Synonymous with ultra-clinical designs, often without dates or even minute markers they tell the time with ruthless military efficiency and, as such, appeal to a certain demographic of the watch buying world. Early 2020 saw the release of a new range of watches which can be bracketed under the U1 and U3 labels. These new platforms stay true to Unimatic’s unique design philosophy yet add a contemporary element.
There are a total of six new evolutions in the portfolio. The U1-F diver brings us a striking contrast of a black and white colour scheme with a distinctive graphic layout incorporating new marker size with a closed minute rail and no date. With an even more minimalist design there is the new U1-FM model which has no discernible minute markers and a black bezel featureless other than a single lume dot. Both these watches are also available in an N variant (i.e. U1-FN) which has a black Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) treated case for that durable Special Operations look. DLC is a superior finish to standard PVD. PVD can wear off objects which exposes the raw metal underneath. This is not the case with DLC which is, as the name implies, much harder wearing. The new range is completed with the addition of a chronograph under the code name U3-F which also includes an N-variant.
The U1 range is not actually new and has seen several iterations which can be found on Unimatic’s interesting Archive page of their website. However, these latest models seem to take the absolute best design characteristics of the brand through the ages and evolve it into unquestionably striking watches for 2020.
Technical Specifications of the UF-1(M) – Limited to 600 models (M limited to 400)
Water resistance: 300m
Case Diameter: 40mm case with 41,5mm bezel
Lens: Anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal
Movement: Automatic calibre Seiko NH35A 21600bph
Accuracy: -20/+40 s/day – 41h power reserve
Antimagnetic rating: ≥4800 A / m = 60 gauss
Technical Specifications of the U3-FN – Limited to 300 models, as above except:
Movement: Meca-quartz calibre Seiko VK64, 1/5 second sweep second hand with mechanical reset
Accuracy: -20/+20 s/month
Antimagnetic: ≥1600 A / m
Price range: From £476 for the U1-F to £600+ for the N and U3 Chrono versions. There is currently no price for the U3 on the Unimatic website
A personal perspective
Setting aside their obvious fashion statement if we look at the watches as tools how do they stand up? The U1-F is a solid diver and would look good, and no doubt function well if pushed into a professional environment. Everything about it is monochrome and legibility will never be an issue whether you are exploring a dark jungle or diving at 100m depth. Equally the U3 will perform well if you need a water-resistant chronograph which has better-than-most legibility.
It is hard to look at the U1-FM from a professional angle as it is very much a fashion watch due to all the minute markers being removed from the dial and the bezel. Of course, it will appeal to many but perhaps more as a watch for a smart evening out rather than an adventure. The anti-magnetic rating on the UF-1 is more than adequate for a watch in the price range and meets ISO standard 764.
My only very personal issue with the U1-F and U1-FM watches is something I have struggled with on one of my own watches. The use of a reverse lollipop second hand. My Citizen Promaster Tough Ray Mears has this feature and I cannot see the point (literally). At night, the lume dot is too close to the centre to be of any use and more importantly, it is not actually pointing where your second is. A small detail perhaps, but one that irks and baffles me.
In summary, for the price, you would be hard pushed to find a more visually striking watch that the latest Unimatic U1 and U3 range. They will have enormous wrist presence and really make a statement while being highly capable. Hopefully, later in the year we will get hands-on with a sample and we will report back.
in the meantime, click here to find out more about Unimatic.