The Toughest MeisterSinger So Far, The New Unomat
Are you ready for something new from the watchmakers from Münster in North Rhine-Westphalia? If you are, we can introduce you to the toughest MeisterSinger so far, the Unomat. The German brand launches a 43mm steel sports watch that is water-resistant to 300 meters. And because of a soft iron shield and dial, it’s also anti-magnetic.
The new Unomat beats the 200-meter water-resistant Salthora Meta X and Metris by a margin of 100 meters. And by doing so, the Unomat earns the title of the toughest MeisterSinger so far. It’s also quite a shocking watch if you compare it with the sophisticated, soft-spoken Bell Hora with its capacity to softly chime the hour. The burly Unomat is quite the opposite, with its main mission being able to withstand the elements. But despite its rugged looks, the Unomat doesn’t always have to push the envelope. Like all MeisterSinger watches, it likes to take its time, kick back, and enjoy the finer things in life.
The Unomat is a N° 03 with a gym subscription
You could call the Unomat an evolution of the classic N° 03 with an automatic movement. You could also call it a N° 03 with a gym subscription, since the case has “grown” beefier to protect the screw-down crown. And the case is not the only thing that grew. The Unomat has a thirty percent larger date window than the N° 03 and the Arabic numerals are bigger too. Maybe not bigger, but definitely different and more prominent is the new design of the index line round the outside of the dial. Everything was done to enhance functionality in harsh circumstances, it seems. Therefore, the water resistance is a dive watch worthy 300 meters and the movement is protected from magnetic fields up to 24,000 Ampere per meter (A/m). That converts to 300.96 Gauss, a measuring unit that is more commonly used in the watch industry.
Magnetism, movements, pizza, and pineapple
Magnetism and mechanical movements, the two go together like pizza and pineapple — ask any chef from Napoli, warm fruit on a pizza is unpardonable blasphemy. Wearing a watch with anti-magnetic properties is good for engineers working in different disciplines or pilots who have, or rather had, to deal with early airplanes outfitted with piston engines that used magnets instead of alternators that created powerful disturbing magnetic fields – a magnetized balance spring is the worst that can happen when you’re flying and navigating at the same time. Having a watch with a movement shielded by a soft-iron inner case to keep the magnetic radiation at bay was crucial in the early twentieth century.
… other stuff in the house like your toaster, television, and electric blanket create magnetic fields that are measured in milligauss.
Nowadays, jet pilots find magnetic dangers in more mundane stuff like fridge magnets (about 50 Gauss) and the magnetic clasp in a purse (up to 200 Gauss). Most other household stuff like your toaster, TV, and electric blanket create magnetic fields that are measured in milligauss. Just stay away from hospitals — this advice applies to most situations — because of MRI scanners that are capable of 25,000 Gauss.
Taking things too seriously
What’s good to know is that according to the ISO 764 standard any watch that is resistant to magnetic fields up to 4,800 A/m, is an anti-magnetic watch. But even with this knowledge, the big question to me is why? Why would MeisterSinger build a watch that can withstand a depth of 1,000 feet (that’s 300.4 meters to be precise), and magnetic fields of 24,000 A/m, but lacks the instant and intuitive reading of the exact time because of its relaxed and philosophical single hand?
To answer that question and talk about the conception of the Unomat, I called John van Steen, managing partner at MeisterSinger. And I don’t want to give it all away in advance, but it turned out I was taking the specs of Unomat way too literally and seriously.
“It all started with an invitation from my daughter who asked me to come for a boat trip. I realized I didn’t have a MeisterSinger in my collection I would want to bring aboard. So after the weekend, I said to MeisterSinger’s founder company founder Manfred Brassler ‘we need a proper daily beater in our collection’. An all-rounder that can do most anything.
“… a daily beater that you wear with a suit in the office. But also in shorts on the deck of a boat.”
It’s true that we have the 38mm Metris and the casual Salthora Meta X in our collection – both sporty and sturdy -, but what I was envisioning a watch with the soul of our evergreen, the N° 03 in a case size of 43mm, but with added robustness and an integrated steel bracelet; a daily beater that you wear with a suit in the office. But also in shorts on the deck of a boat.”
An inconvenience, nothing more
So instead of an instrument you take with you on a solo canoeing trip in arctic waters, the Unomat is a watch you wear on a lazy lake cruise. If you fall overboard, it’s inconvenient, not life-threatening. So why the 300 meters water resistance and the anti-magnetic feature?
“Having a watch that is water-resistant to 300 meters is a luxury. But it’s practical if it’s your daily beater. You can take it on your vacation, play around with it, go swim without a worry in the world. The anti-magnetic features are a bonus. Still, the Unomat with its increased amount of Super-LumiNova, bigger numerals, beefy crown protection, and steel bracelet, is very much a sports watch that can take a bit of a beating.”
“The Unomat is a cruiser, not a racer.”
“Regarding that five-link bracelet, yes it looks like a Jubilee bracelet Rolex uses, but we’re not copying them. There are many other brands out there that is this type of bracelet. We tried a Milanese-style bracelet, but that didn’t work. So we ended up with this more sporty, luxurious style bracelet. It simply was in our opinion the best look for the Unomat. Creating a steel bracelet from scratch was not an option because we wanted to keep the price of the Unomat below €2,000. And we’re also not offering the Unomat on a rubber or a leather strap. If you want rubber or leather, you have to take care of that yourself. And when people ask why there’s no safety clasp, the answer is: The Unomat is a cruiser, not a racer. This watch is more about leisure time than setting the fastest time.”
Protective layers of soft iron
The Unomat is therefore an over-engineered all-rounder that loves to take things easy. The large and luminous needle-shaped hand suggests the time rather than makes you realize without remorse your five minutes late already. Still, the watch may live by a laid-back approach to things, it’s not without a fighting chance when the elements turn on it. And with this in mind, all things regarding the specifications can now be taken a bit less seriously.
The specs are not what this watch is all about. But I’m going to tell you a bit about the specs anyway. The movement inside the 43mm steel case is the automatic caliber Sellita SW400-1. That’s a 4Hz movement with 38 hours of power reserve. The large movement, designed for equally large cases, is enclosed by layers of soft iron. There’s a soft iron sleeve in the case. And the dial is not made of traditional brass, but also done in soft iron.
Wrapping up the toughest MeisterSinger so far, the new Unomat
The MeisterSinger Unomat is an ISO 764 anti-magnetic, 300 meters water-resistant, steel, sports watch that loves to take things leisurely. And apart from the ISO standard that says something about the technical capacities of the Unomat, the watch also (already) won a Red Dot Design Award 2021 for outstanding design. Looks like it’s certified to the max.
The 43mm Unomat also packs more visible punch than the more understated 38mm Metris.
But what did I think of it? Because of its beefed-up looks, the Unomat is perfect for the MeisterSinger enthusiast. Someone who wants something a bit more sporty than his coveted, classy-looking N° 03. And maybe also something a bit more easy on the wallet than the Salthora Meta X with its jumping hour that costs nearly 3k. I mentioned it before, but let me mention the price of the sportiest of MeisterSingers you can have with either a black or a blue dial — the one we had in the office — one more time just to be sure: the Unomat costs €1,990.
The 43mm Unomat also packs more visible punch than the more understated 38mm Metris. The Unomat hits the sweet spot. With existing MeisterSinger fans, but because of its size, style, and steel in abundance, it also reaches out to a group that hasn’t been touched by the single hand from Münster yet.
For more information about the Unomat please visit MeisterSinger’s official website.
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