Unimatic Shows Great Flexibility In Design With The New Modello Uno GMT Models
We know Unimatic for introducing a wide variety of designs. In particular, the brand’s Modello Uno has seen many different iterations based on different collaborations, ideas, and concepts. It has been great to see how brand founders Giovanni Moro and Simone Nunziato have successfully created instantly recognizable Unimatic watches despite mixing things up rigorously. The brand’s latest proof of flexibility in its design language is a string of new Modello Uno GMT releases. Over the past two months, we have seen three completely different versions of the piece that all look striking. Is a Modello Uno GMT the obvious answer to my craving for a GMT watch? It very well may be.
It’s no secret that I am a fan of the Unimatic brand. From the moment I laid eyes on the watches, I was intrigued and excited by the design approach. After talking to Giovanni Moro about it, I gained even more respect for his and Nunziato’s ideas for the brand. And after having added a number of Unimatic watches to my collection, I can say that they still impress me every day. The designs, the build quality, the reliability, and the versatility make Unimatic watches great affordable timepieces that are perfect daily wearers.
The Unimatic Modello Uno GMT series
Over time, we not only saw a wide variety of designs, but we also witnessed the introduction of Swiss Sellita movements to the lineup. This was a great move that added even more value to the different Unimatic timepieces. The first series of models that were powered by Sellita movements was the H-Series, created in collaboration with Hodinkee, which was introduced in the summer of 2021. Since then, we have seen various models that are also powered by Sellita movements that are part of the so-called Swiss series.
But the H-Series also introduced a GMT version of the Modello Uno. While essentially being a familiar Modello Uno with an added GMT function, there was more to this model. The added functionality means that Moro and Nunziato had to develop a design solution for a 24-hour bezel. Whenever these two have to come up with new designs, I am always intrigued to see what the results are, and the result was the Modello Uno U1-GMTH that played with a black, gray, and white color scheme. Additionally, it introduced a stylish and minimalist GMT bezel. The bezel insert was a clever play on a traditional one that used black or white numbers to indicate day and night instead of using two different background colors. After that release, however, no more Modello Uno GMT watches followed for over a year.
A new titanium Modello Uno U1S-TGMT arrived in 2022
Then, in early November 2022, Unimatic surprised us with a second GMT model. The new Modello Uno U1S-TGMT was part of a series of three new watches with titanium cases. And I have to say that I was impressed once again by the chosen design solution. The first thing that stands out is the instantly recognizable Unimatic design signature — an overall minimalist approach with oversized hour markers and hands. But the bezel was an interesting departure from traditional GMT bezels.
The black aluminum insert has the 24-hour scale engraved in the same color, giving the bezel a stealthy appearance. Because of this, there is no visual distinction between day and night hours. You will have to read the time indicated by the oversized black and bright orange GMT hand. It’s this hand that introduces the only element of color. The combination of the 40mm Grade 2 sandblasted titanium case, black bezel, dial, and gray rubber strap makes the watch very stealthy overall. However, that one hint of color not only gives the design that extra bit of zing but literally highlights the GMT functionality within its dark surroundings. It is clever design choices like these that make this watch a winner for me.
Upgrades that people love
We also saw the brand turn to a Swiss ETA 2893-2 Top Grade Élaboré GMT movement. This caliber is visible through the sapphire case back, another first for the brand along with the titanium case. As such, this second Unimatic GMT model introduced several very welcome firsts that turned out to be great upgrades. At €1,950 before taxes, this Modello Uno U1S-TGMT was higher than we were used to from the brand, and people had their thoughts about that. But all 100 pieces sold out very quickly, showing that plenty of people love this new upgraded GMT version of the trusted Modello Uno.
Was I tempted to buy one? I definitely was, but I hesitated due to the titanium case. One thing that I love about my Unimatic watches is their sturdiness. The overall build quality combined with the weight of stainless steel is a big attraction for me. But after seeing the titanium Modello Uno U1S-TGMT, I knew that it would only be a matter of time before I added one to my small Unimatic collection.
The Modello Uno U1S-GMT-M made with Maxfield
The titanium models had barely landed when Unimatic and Los Angeles-based concept store Maxfield introduced another take on the Modello Uno GMT. The Modello Uno U1S-GMT-M takes stealth to another level. If you thought the titanium version was stealthy, this was definitely one step beyond. But again, there were intricate design details that stood out. First off, the brushed stainless steel 40mm case and the bezel featured a black DLC coating, creating a dark canvas to start from.
The matte black aluminum 24-hour bezel insert has the same feel as the bezel insert from the titanium model. But in an extra step, the dial is executed in matte black with the hour markers and hands treated with anthracite Super-LumiNova. The different shades of dark colors are used to create a little bit of contrast, but overall, this is a stealthy design exercise. Once again, the orange GMT hand shines bright in a sea of darkness. In a final step, the black snakeskin back-cut strap adds texture and style to the overall presence. But if this strap is too much for you, the watch also comes with a black NATO strap. The watch comes equipped with the Sellita SW330-1, which was also used for the Hodinkee version, and you can still get one of the 100 pieces available for $1,595.
Introducing the Modello Uno U1S-GMT-RR “Arctic Fox”
And if you think that the watch created with Maxfield was a bold statement, the newest Modello Uno GMT tops that easily. Last week on the 28th of December, Unimatic, in collaboration with Revolution & The Rake, introduced the Modello Uno U1S-GMT-RR “Arctic Fox.” This white stunner is so different that it shows a completely different side of the watch. I have to say, when I first laid eyes on the “Arctic Fox,” I was nothing short of deeply impressed. It’s why I’m not surprised that all 150 pieces sold out quickly. I love the idea of a clean white watch. A good example is the Speedmaster Professional Alaska Project 2008. To this day, it is my favorite limited-edition Speedy.
But the way that Unimatic and Wei Koh from Revolution and The Rake approached and executed the design is brilliant. This, however, wasn’t the first time that Moro and Nunziato had designed a white Modello Uno. They worked with Mihara Yasuhiro on the fully white Modello Uno U1-MY2. A second white version of the same watch was the Modello Uno U1-SP. The watch was licensed by NASA and commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing. It introduced the matte white Cerakote coating, which was also used for the “Arctic Fox.” It gives each watch a unique pattern of wear.
The design of the Modello Uno U1S-GMT-RR “Arctic Fox”
The main design idea behind the U1S-GMT-RR “Arctic Fox” was to create a fully white watch — but not “just” a white watch. The watch also needed to be totally functional and legible. Wei Koh got inspiration from a variety of different sources, but the one that the watch got its name from is the Arctic fox. The animal has a brown coat in summer that turns pure white in winter. It makes the fox a remarkably adaptable hunter in all seasons.
This transformative power of the seasons is also the idea behind snow camouflage. It’s another influence that played a great part in the watch’s design. In today’s world, camo is a great style statement that we see implemented regularly in the world of fashion. As such, a fully white watch is not just influenced by a functional idea. It also becomes a great style statement. And it’s safe to say that the U1S-GMT-RR “Arctic Fox” is a style statement first and foremost.
The elements that make the white design great
The “Arctic Fox” features a 40mm stainless steel case with a white Cerakote coating. Cerakote is a ceramic-based finish that enhances wear/corrosion resistance as well as surface hardness. It is also used for high-end firearms and high-performance car and motorcycle parts. Here we find Cerakote not only on the watch’s mid-case but also on the 41.5mm bezel. In a stroke of brilliance, the Unimatic guys chose a raw aluminum bezel insert. It contrasts perfectly with the case and bezel without breaking with the overall white aesthetic.
The dial and hands are executed in bright white. The hour markers are treated with white Super-LumiNova and feature a thin black outline for readability. The hour and minute hands are also executed in bright white. The white seconds hand, however, features a black tip. Once again, the GMT hand stands out with its contrasting black border. It makes reading the time on the 24-hour bezel easy, ensuring functionality and aesthetics are combined flawlessly.
Finishing it off
Inside the case, you will find an ETA caliber 2893-2 with a 42-hour power reserve. It’s the second time that the brand has used this ETA “caller” GMT movement for its U1 GMT. And to finish the looks off, the watch comes with a white snow-camo NATO-style fabric strap. Two additional straps are a white rubber strap and a gray pixilated two-piece camo fabric strap. All come with Cerakote white stonewashed pin buckles in line with the case and the bezel.
The looks of the “Arctic Fox” and the attention to detail that went into creating it are nothing short of impressive. As I said, all 150 pieces sold out very quickly for €1,500, and once again, I’m not surprised. It goes to show that people love what Unimatic is doing. The great variety in design and conceptual thinking behind the brand’s timepieces find fans all over the world. This latest collaboration with Revolution and The Rake shows that in a market flooded with new GMTs, Unimatic can stand out effortlessly.
Final thoughts on the Unimatic Modello Uno GMT series
Looking back at the different Modello Uno GMT models, I have to say that I am nothing short of impressed. We knew that the guys behind Unimatic could create many different designs without losing that typical Unimatic feel. And over the past couple of years, I have always followed the new designs closely. As an owner of two Modello Uno models, however, I was ready for something new. I hesitated several times when I saw a new model that I liked. I love the Unimatic brand and was honestly tempted on multiple occasions. But the list of “watch wants” is long and features more than the brand’s diver.
And as some of you might know, on the top of my list is a GMT watch or, potentially, even multiple GMT watches. You might have read that I have my eyes set on a Tudor Black Bay Pro in a recent Sunday Morning Showdown, and indeed, that watch still holds the #1 spot. But with its string of GMT models, Unimatic has firmly nestled itself high on my list too. In that Sunday Morning Showdown, I explained that the quest for a great GMT is tough. Especially when it comes to affordable GMT watches, it’s not always easy.
It’s not a matter of if but when
Oftentimes, getting a “flyer” GMT is not possible, and with Unimatic, that is also the case. Some people find that a necessity at the €1,500–2,000 price point that the Modello Uno GMT comes at. But for me, the design philosophy, my connection to the brand, and the look of the watches take away that wish almost instantly. I love the 40mm case with its 41.5mm bezel. It feels sturdy, and at 11.6mm thick, it wears great. The watches come with a 300m water-resistance rating, making them ready for your most adventurous dives. Add the choice for a reliable Swiss movement from either Sellita or ETA, and the series offers great value for money.
After seeing the different GMT designs that Unimatic has unveiled in the last two months, I am certain that there will be a Modello Uno U1 GMT that I will add to my collection. Moro and Nunziato show every time that the canvas they have created with their design is the perfect foundation also to create a stunning series of GMTs. The titanium version has been a favorite so far, but the new Arctic Fox is the definitive proof that I want one. Its ability to instantly overpower my wish for a flyer GMT speaks volumes. So no, it’s not a question of if but when.