UNIMATIC was founded in 2015 by Giovanni Moro and Simone Nunziato, a pair of Milan-based industrial designers. In just five years, it has established its stock-in-trade as a maker of tool watches that are minimalist in appearance and formidable in construction. The company has become a favorite of watch enthusiasts around the world for the unique perspective it brings to the tool-watch genre. There is an effortlessly cool quality evident in the design language of UNIMATIC’s timepieces, and today, we’re adding the company’s individual take on the field watch category to the HODINKEE Shop.
When we launched UNIMATIC in the HODINKEE Shop back in April, all of the watches we presented to you then came from the Modello Uno line, which is the brand’s popular series of dive watches. Today’s new releases come from the Modello Due collection, which offers the UNIMATIC design language and quality of build in a package more in line with vintage military watch aesthetics – that means squared-off, drilled lugs; wearable dimensions; and highly legible dials that are nearly sterile in execution. The Modello Due recently grew into a new generation with the addition of two watches with light grey dials. There’s the U2-F, with an all-grey look limited to 500 pieces, and the U2-FN, a 250-piece limited edition with a black-DLC coated case. Both of these watches can now be purchased in the HODINKEE Shop.
The Modello Due series is forthright in its inspiration – it’s described by UNIMATIC as the “Made In Italy Field Watch.” But it challenges the general perception of what a field/military watch can be, with its nearly concave case construction, a domed anti-reflective sapphire crystal 2.7mm tall, and an unexpected water resistance rating of 300 meters. It might have borrowed some design details from the field-watch genre, but make no mistake, this is a do-it-all sport watch at its core.
The visual impact of the case profile, with its sloping bezel and quasi-barrel shape, belies the size of the watch; at 38.5 × 13.7mm, the Modello Due case will wear nicely on most wrists. And while the case is a unique UNIMATIC creation, the dial is where you’ll find design elements that are more characteristic of traditional field-watch archetypes. Those include a grey “phantom” ladder handset, a reverse-lollipop seconds hand, and white hour markers in three different shapes that feature broad swathes of green-glowing Super-LumiNova. One of our favorite details here is the large, screw-down crown that measures 8mm across and features a coin-edge finish and a circular engraving. This crown has become something of a signature of UNIMATIC timepieces. It offers easy graspability and neatly complements the overall purpose-built aesthetic of the watch.
Now, it’s no surprise that, in the HODINKEE Shop, we’re partial to watches that make good use of the color grey, and the U2-F does so in an expert manner. The entire design, from the military-grey dial to the satin-brushed finish on the steel case, feels like a playful ode to the ghosted effect that can occur on some vintage sport watches – and all without crossing the line into “faux-vintage” territory. Similar to the Modello Uno dive watches, you can tease out some vintage inspiration in the U2-F’s overall appearance, but the design feels immediately fresh and unique once it hits your wrist. In the case of the U2-FN, the blacked-out case makes the overall aesthetic a touch more modern and a whole lot more distinctive.
Inside the watch is a Seiko NH35 caliber, a movement that has become a go-to for UNIMATIC for its reliable and robust performance. Its 41-hour power reserve is more than suitable for daily wear, and it offers hacking seconds, bi-directional automatic winding, and hand-winding capability. Protecting the movement is a screw-in caseback with a military-style bullseye engraving as well as the individual production number of each watch. A two-piece nylon strap that matches the color of the case of each variant completes the look. The strap is of great quality, with a texture like that of a seat belt, but any UNIMATIC owner will testify that these watches are sufficiently versatile to look great with any style of strap.
The UNIMATIC Modello Due watches are unlike any other field watches on the market today. They’re utilitarian and practical by design, and an absolute joy to wear on the wrist. The addition of a light grey dial adds a new and subtle character to their overall appearance, while maintaining the balanced, function-first tenets of true tool watches.
The UNIMATIC U2-F is a limited edition of 500 pieces and is priced at $ 595, and the DLC-coated U2-FN is a limited edition of 250 pieces for $ 600; both are available now in the HODINKEE Shop.