Introducing the Unimatic U2-NC, a Tool Watch Designed by Nigel Cabourn

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Unimatic has released their latest limited edition, and it’s a collaboration with none other than British designer Nigel Cabourn, who was responsible for one of our favorite Timex pieces of the last year, which we wrote about this summer. While that Timex watch was an almost whimsical tribute to Cabourn’s lifelong love affair with soccer, the collaboration with Unimatic is a more sober affair. Here, we see much more of the vintage military aesthetic that Cabourn is known for, and the watch itself, a take on Unimatic’s U2 field watch, is a fairly serious-looking tool in its own right. Let’s take a closer look.


Unimatic Modello Due Ref. U2-NC 

  • Case Material: Stainless steel 
  • Dial: Blue
  • Dimensions: 38.5 x 47.5 x 13.7mm 
  • Crystal: Sapphire  
  • Water Resistance: 300 meters  
  • Crown: Screw down    
  • Movement: Seiko NH35A
  • Strap/bracelet: Box-x style nylon
  • Price: $795
  • Reference Number: U2-NC
  • Expected Release: Available today

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The U2-NC is immediately distinctive, and right in line with other limited edition Unimatics, for its unique color scheme. What we have here, essentially, is a stone washed, olive drab Cerakote coated U2 case, paired with a deep navy blue dial, and finished with vintage inspired cream colored hour markers with subtle gold trim. As with previous Unimatic limited editions, the stone washing effect results in cases that aren’t uniform to one another – they will have slight variations in patina due the process Unimatic uses. Cerakote, used frequently for firearm maintenance, is a way to bridge the gap between stainless steel and full ceramic. It offers much of the protection from scratches that a ceramic case would, but at less cost, and without sacrificing the inherent benefits of steel in a tool watch (i.e., it’s not going to shatter).

While watches in the brand’s main line tend to play it fairly conservative when it comes to color choices, their LEs are a little bit more playful. With a bright orange strap, and a classic combination of drab green, warm gold tones, and navy blue, the U2-NC combines a bunch of design elements we love in a single package. I’ve gone on record many times with my affection for green and gold combos, and we just covered a Nomos that does blue and gold exceedingly well. Still, part of me is a bit surprised that all three hang together so well, but that’s the benefit of having Nigel Cabourn as your design partner – he’s able to flesh out the best elements from a variety of influences and bring them all together in a coherent way.

The inspiration for the U2-NC comes from Commonwealth Trans-Atlantic Expedition, an expedition with completed the first overland crossing of Antarctica via the South Pole. The expedition took three years, between 1955 and 1958, and included teams from England and New Zealand, with none other than Sir Edmund Hillary leading the support team based in the Ross Sea. To commemorate the expedition on the watch, you’ll find a map of Antarctica on the caseback. 

The Unimatic U2-NC is limited to 150 pieces, and is available today through Nigel Cabourn stores, and select retailers. Click here for the full list of retailers

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.
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