Introducing the Unimatic Modello Tre Dive Chronograph and Modello Due U2 Field Watch

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Some of the best design work in watchmaking is the most versatile—a great dial or case is made even better if it works equally well in different styles, applications, and sizes. Italian brand Unimatic has taken this to heart for the end of 2018, with two new releases both incorporating parts from previous Unimatic designs. The first of these, the Modello Tre, is Unimatic’s first-ever chronograph offering. And the second is the Modello Due U2-C, the “best of both worlds” from both of Unimatic’s current Modello Uno U1 and Modello Due U2 model lines. How do these two stack up against a lineup that’s already garnered a hardcore fan base, then? 

The Modello Tre is the more straightforward of the two, bringing chronograph style and functionality to the Unimatic stable in a familiar form. The bold, athletic 40-millimeter case is shared with the Modello Uno, as is the trademark Unimatic minimal bezel with its lone lume dot overhanging to a total diameter of 41.5 millimeters. As an added bonus, the diver-style case retains the Modello Uno’s impressive 300-meter depth rating thanks in part to screw-down pushers and a 2.5-millimeter thick double dome sapphire crystal. 

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Other than the chronograph pushers, then, the case of the standard Modello Tre is more or less identical to the Modello Uno, while the limited-run Modello Tre U3-A dials up the aggression with a black PVD treatment. The dial is classic Modello Uno for the most part, with slightly oversized diver-style indices paired with chunky ladder hands—all filled with “Old Radium” Super-LumiNova. The sub-dials at 3 and 9 o’clock—a 30-minute and 24-hour counter, respectively—are an immediate sign that not everything is the same here. These sub-dials jump out from the stark main surface thanks to golden yellow hands and indices. The central sweep seconds hand ties into this with an extra-long yellow tip, extending almost a third of its full length. The overall effect is purposeful, industrial, almost military-esque, and undeniably attractive. Sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to make a compelling chronograph, and this is proof. 

Inside both versions of the Modello Tre ticks the ever present Seiko VK64 meca-quartz movement. The VK64 has shown up in scores of micro-brand chronographs over the past few years, and with its intersection of price, accuracy, reliability, and solid mechanical feel it’s easy to see why. To complete the package, Unimatic offers both versions of the Modello Tre on both a 22-millimeter black Horween leather two-piece strap and a gray mil-strap in Unimatic’s trademark V pattern.

The Modello Due U2-C mixes together the best bits of Unimatic’s previous releases to create something equally attractive in its own right. The case comes straight from the main Modello Due line, with its unusual symmetrical “no-wrap” oval shape from the side and a relatively straightforward 38.5-millimeter sports case when viewed from the top. It’s a visually impressive case that highlights the play between straight lines and sweeping curves, a harmony that’s enhanced by the 2.7-millimeter thick high-rise domed sapphire crystal. This beast of a crystal, along with the screw down crown and case back, grant the Modello Due U2-C a full 300 meters of water resistance.

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For those in search of a stealthier, more tactical look, Unimatic is also releasing a limited number of U2-Cs with PVD cases dubbed the U2-CN. The dial is another Unimatic classic, this time coming from the Modello Uno U1. Their slightly more in-your-face take on the classic diver index comes with a few special additions here, including a gilt minutes track, a matching seconds hand tip, and dial text. This flash of gold coupled with the “Old Radium” Super-LumiNova fill come together to bring an otherwise contemporary design a distinctly mid-century vibe. Between the case and the dial, the U2-C feels like Unimatic’s punchier take on the classic Rolex Explorer look, and it’s an aesthetic the U2-C adapts wonderfully. 

The U2-C uses Seiko’s workhorse NH35 automatic movement, a reliable choice with a history of easy serviceability. Unimatic caps off both versions of the U-2C with a 22-millimeter rubber dive strap along with a color-matched Cordura two-piece (tan for the standard U-2C, black for the PVD-coated U2-CN).

Both the Modello Tre, the Modello Due U2-C and their respective PVD versions will be limited editions, with 600 units planned for the standard Modello Tre and 400 for the stainless steel U2-C, while their PVD variants will be twice as rare with only 300 U3-ANs and 200 U2-CNs planned. These limited runs should sell out fast, as the Modello Tre is currently available on Unimatic’s site for $600 ($710 for the U3-AN), with the U2-C priced at $455 ($570 for the U2-CN). Unimatic

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Hailing from Redondo Beach, California, Sean’s passion for design and all things mechanical started at birth. Having grown up at race tracks, hot rod shops and car shows, he brings old-school motoring style and a lifestyle bent to his mostly vintage watch collection. He is also the Feature Editor and Videographer for Speed Revolutions.
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