Unimatic is back with two new minimalist watches that borrow equally from traditional field watches and skin divers, the Modello Due U2-F and U2-FN. The Modello Due, you’ll recall from Sean Lorentzen’s hands on, is one of Unimatic’s most unique creations. For a brand that gets a lot of attention for their sterile and near-sterile dials, the almost avant-garde nature of the Modello Due case, with it’s case flanks that seem to turn away from the wrist and a tall profile, doesn’t often get the attention it deserves. Until today, the brand didn’t have a Modello Due cased watch in current production, so perhaps this release will shine a brighter light on the platform.
The U2-F (in brushed stainless steel) and the U2-FN (in a black DLC coating) both feature Unimatic’s “vintage military” dial in grey. The layout will be familiar to fans of Unimatic, and anyone with an affinity to military issued watches, or even classic sports watches of the past 60 years. Hour markers are a mix of geometric shapes, with rectangles at 3, 6, and 9, and a triangle at 12. Other hour markers are simple circles, all in a crisp, lumed white. A minute track surrounds the dial but is extremely subtle – the color here blends nicely into the grey, creating the uniform, almost flat look that Unimatic is so good at executing.
Turning to the case, the dimensions and form factor of the U2-F and U2-FN are unusual and stray a bit from the overall traditional look and feel of Unimatics other case designs. The Modello Due case measures 38.5mm in diameter and 13.7mm thick. That’s not an unreasonable thickness for a watch with 300 meters of water resistance, but the shape has to be considered here in evaluating these watches. From the top down, the almost squared off appearance of the watch resembles old fashioned, lightweight skin divers, and the compact diameter definitely makes you think “field watch” as well. But looking at the case in profile reveals a nearly barrel shape, with lugs that extend out and up from the bottom, rather than curving to hug the wrist. The watch is small enough in terms of its diameter and length that I’m betting it will still wear comfortably for most – at 40 or 42mm this would likely feel way oversized. It’s an unusual and surprisingly complex case, owing a lot to sports watches of the 70s.
As a brand, Unimatic is interesting for their very specific design language combined with impressive specs that make their watches legitimately functional as tools. Like Ming, another brand with a distinctive personality that they invented entirely on their own, Unimatic watches can be easily identified as Unimatics on sight with a few key calling cards. There just aren’t a lot of brands these days doing unmarked rotating bezels, for example, and the horizontally oriented rectangular hour markers are something of a signature as well. But these watches, while undeniably stylish, are appealing for their functionality and build quality as well. Three hundred meters of water resistance is nothing to sneeze at, and of course these watches feature sapphire crystals and oversized screw down crowns as well. They’re powered by Seiko NH35A movements with 41 hours of power reserve – a caliber that has certainly proven itself over time as a reliable workhorse.
The U2-F and U2-FN each come on nylon straps that match the color of their case, but can also be mounted on Unimatic’s UBK U bracelet, which changes up the look considerably. These watches are available today directly from Unimatic and select retailers, and are limited to 500 (U2-F) and 250 (U2-FN). The retail price is €400 for the U2-F, €500 for the U2-FN. Unimatic