Earlier in the year, painfully cool Italian watch designer Unimatic decided to create a collaborative piece with the likeminded horological studio Massena LAB. The result was the Ref. U1-ML6 with a lovely chocolate-coloured tropical dial that was barely on sale before selling out. Which means you should probably get in there quick with the pair’s new effort, the The Unimatic x Massena LAB Modello Uno Ref. U1-MLM.
Where the previous model was conceptualised as ‘what a Unimatic watch from the 1950s would look like today’, this version has a slightly more specific inspiration, namely the Marine Nationale watches of the 1960s.
The U1-MLM is still very much a Unimatic watch, sharing the same matte look and wide bezel, though this time with a few navy nods. The most obvious of those is the faded blue colour (they’re not kidding when they talk about a watch from the 1960s) which is achieved through a depigmentation process. Essentially, it’s like pre-faded denim, with the same kind of variations from watch to watch.
Otherwise it has all the usual diving necessities, including a 120-click aluminium bezel in a slightly different blue with 60-minute markings. The markings are small enough to be missed in low light, though the same can’t be said of the main dial with its oversized indexes and plenty of lume.
The stainless steel case measures in at 41.5mm with a respectable water resistance of 300m, protecting an equally-respectable yet admirably affordable Seiko NH35A automatic calibre. It ticks everything you need from a proper diver, if you were ever crazy enough to risk the limited edition underwater.
Sealed in with a solid caseback complete with an engraved anchor and set on a lovely French Navy style strap – olive with a yellow line – the watch also comes with a matching blue nylon number. I’m not sure why you’d switch it – the olive is fantastic – but to each their own.
Limited to 200 pieces, I’m not as huge a fan of the U1-MLM as I was of Unimatic and Massena’s previous collab, but then I love brown dials and I’ve been swamped by 60s military diving watches this year. Still, with numbers like that – and a $895 (just over £670) price tag – this will not be hanging around long.
Price & Specs:
Model: Unimatic x Massena LAB Modello Uno
Case/Dial: 41.5mm diameter x 13.6mm height, stainless steel
Water Resistance: 300m (30 bar)
Movement: Calibre Seiko NH35A, automatic
Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 41h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Strap: French Navy style olive and yellow line or blue heavy-duty UNIMATIC NATO
Price/availability: $895 USD (approx. £673), limited edition of 200 pieces
More details at Massena.