Jorg probably doesn’t know this, but every time I see him walking into the office with a Unimatic on his wrist, I get a little more jealous. I’m a fan of the brand’s less-is-more design approach. Plus, the watches look like they can take a beating, and they have a ton of character on the wrist. But…there is one big “but.” Unimatic watches are always quite big and bulky. I know that’s part of why they look and probably are so tough. But still, I always felt like Unimatic watches weren’t made for my fairly average 17cm wrist circumference — until now, that is. The new Unimatic Modello Cinque feels like it was designed specifically with my wrist size in mind. Let’s go hands-on with the brand’s U5S-A.

Jorg already wrote an extensive introduction article in which he went over all the basics of the Modello Cinque U5S-A and its darker counterpart, the U5S-AN. In that article, he asked himself what these watches are exactly if they’re not tool watches like all the other Unimatic watches are. As he wasn’t able to try them on for that article, he was also curious to see whether their smaller 36mm size would suit his 19cm wrist. Now that I’ve spent a little bit of time with this U5S-A on my wrist, I can certainly answer that second question. However, it’s definitely a bit harder to give you an unambiguous answer to that first question. Of course, I will give it a try at the end of this hands-on review.

The Unimatic Modello Cinque jumps into a void

Unimatic, the unofficial king of collaborations, is one of those brands that’s always on my radar. Its designs are great, and most of the watches are quite affordable at around €1,000. Whenever a new collaboration comes out, I’m always curious to see what it looks like. Recently, the collaboration with Disney and Highsnobiety piqued my interest. I especially liked the Modello Due with the big Mickey Mouse on the dial. But as much as I liked the designs, I just couldn’t see myself wearing any of the brand’s watches due to their size. Well, the 36mm Modello Cinque clearly jumps into that void.

As soon as I opened the black Unimatic-branded Pelicase, I thought, “Yes!” The 36mm case size in combination with the 43.7mm lug-to-lug distance immediately looked a lot more wearable than any of the other options from the Italian brand. I know there’s the 38.5mm Modello Due, but because of its straight lugs, it isn’t exactly the best-wearing watch, especially on smaller wrists. That’s why I was also very happy to see that the Modello Cinque’s slenderer lugs curve down quite a lot to reach around the wrist. The skeletonized printing and hands also still have that typical Unimatic feel. The only thing I wasn’t sure of was the signature 22mm lug spacing on this smaller case.

Unimatic Modello Cinque U5S-A on wrist

The U5S-A on the wrist

When I put the U5S-A on my wrist, I still felt that the lugs were a bit far apart. However, the rest of the case design fit my wrist very well. Indeed, the lugs curve very nicely toward and around the arm. Their pointy shape and the fully brushed case also have a nice attitude to them. This is emphasized by the fairly tall bezel up top and the 2.2mm-thick double-domed sapphire crystal. I especially like how the edge of the crystal has a thin bevel. It reminds me of the bevel on the sapphire crystal of my Rolex Explorer 114270. Helped by that big crown, the Modello Cinque case still has a lot of character, although it’s certainly less bulky and sturdy-looking than the other Unimatic models.

Unimatic Modello Cinque U5S-A dial close-up

The inside of the bezel has quite a nice and steep flange, which takes us to that Grigio Milano (dark gray) dial. The white hour markers are printed in a skeletonized fashion. I like them, but they do take away some of the tough Unimatic attitude we’re so used to by now. Then again, maybe that’s perfect for a watch that looks a lot more elegant and refined than any of the brand’s other models. The typical Unimatic hands are also skeletonized. This, to be honest, is a bit much in combination with the skeletonized indexes. I think it was to keep the overall design nice and light, but the result is a bit messy.

The U5S-A also comes with two straps. I prefer the black leather one simply because it tapers a bit more than the black TPU strap.

Unimatic Modello Cinque U5S-A pocket shot

Definitely for smaller wrists

To come back to Jorg’s question on the Modello Cinque’s size, I can definitely say that this watch is specifically designed for Unimatic fans with smaller wrists. He tried the 36mm case on his 19cm wrist, and it looked a bit too small, especially with its fairly short lugs. However, on my 17cm wrist, it looks and feels right at home. I did have to get used to the gaps between the strap and the case. But over time, I found that I didn’t mind them anymore, just like the 22mm lug spacing. The latter simply seems like a Unimatic trademark now.

Unimatic Modello Cinque U5S-A in box

That brings me to Jorg’s other question: what are these watches exactly if they’re not tool watches? Well, I still find it difficult to answer that question. Unlike other Unimatics, the U5S-A doesn’t have drilled lug holes, and there’s no lume on the dial. So, I wouldn’t really define it as a field watch. It is, however, water resistant to 300 meters. That doesn’t immediately make it a tool watch, though. On the other hand, it also doesn’t exactly feel like a dress watch. It’s somewhere in between, and I actually think that’s great. Admittedly, I’m not yet completely convinced with the overall design of the U5S-A. But Unimatic has once again made something distinctive, and it’s a nice-looking watch for smaller wrists that feels very much like a Unimatic.

Final thoughts

I think the Unimatic Modello Cinque U5S-A is a great early iteration for a completely new model. The case wears great on smaller wrists, and the design still feels in line with the brand and its image. I can’t wait to see what else Unimatic has in store for its new family member. The pre-tax price of €750 (or €907.50 with 21% VAT) also feels fair for a watch with a Sellita SW200-1 movement that, according to Unimatic, runs somewhere between -12 and +30 seconds a day. The Unimatic Modello Cinque U5S-A is a limited edition, and only 300 pieces are available. Check out the official Unimatic website for more information.

Bonus thoughts

I just thought of putting the Modello Cinque U5S-A on a Fratello black leather NATO strap. It’s 20mm wide instead of 22, but it still works very well. It makes the watch feel a lot more like a field watch.

Let me know in the comments what you think of the Unimatic Modello Cinque U5S-A.

Watch specifications

Modello Cinque
Dark gray with white outline-style indices
Case Material
Stainless steel
Case Dimensions
36mm (diameter) × 43.7mm (lug-to-lug) × 11.05mm (thickness)
Double-domed sapphire (2.2mm thick)
Case Back
Stainless steel
Sellita SW200-1b — automatic with hand winding, 28,800vph frequency, 38-hour power reserve, 26 jewels
Water Resistance
300m (30 ATM)
Black two-piece TPU strap (22/20mm) with quick-release pins and steel pin buckle, additional black two-piece calf leather strap (22/18mm)
Time only (hours, minutes, seconds)
€750 (excluding VAT, €907.50 with 21% VAT)
Two years
Special Note(s)
Limited edition of 300 pieces