Introducing the Unimatic X NOUS U1-NU, a Stealthy and Minimalist Dive Watch

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The Paris-based street culture lab NOUS (“We” in French) has teamed up with the Italian firm Unimatic to offer a limited edition of 50 watches called the U1-NU. This 40-millimeter, all-black DLC watch fits seamlessly with NOUS’s self-proclaimed street culture aesthetic. What, exactly, is street culture? Visually, hip-hop is a strong influence, but so is skate culture, hardcore-punk, and (though older) rave culture, all decidedly positive forces that celebrate the diversity and cosmopolitanism found in large, modern cities. Street culture is largely expressed through fashion, and the U1-NU is exemplary.

The U1-NU is a natural extension to Unimatic’s catalog of minimalist divers.

The case measures 40 millimeters across, while the bezel measures 41.5 millimeters. I own watches with bezel overhang (the Rado Captain Cook reissue, for example), and that feature has always translated into an easy grip and effortless twisting. The lug-to-lug span is 49 millimeters with a modest angle down to the spring bars, likely making for a versatile fit. The thickness is 13.6 millimeters, which ought to compliment a hoodie’s cuff better than a button-down’s.

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A clean, minimalist profile.

The U1-NU maintains the rugged, minimalist look of other Unimatic offerings, but here we get a California Dial (mixing Roman and Arabic numerals), and a black, uni-directional bezel with an anodized aluminum insert. Both a V-weave black and a fluoroelastomer mil-strap from Unimatic are included, and each sports matching black hardware. The effect is striking.

The California dial, with white against matte black, is extremely legible.

The technical specs demonstrate the watch’s toughness in real terms: 300 meters of water resistance, 2.5-millimeter double-domed sapphire crystal, screw-down crown, no-date (no fuss), C1 Super-LumiNova, and the proven NH35A automatic movement from Seiko offering as much as 41 hours of continuous power and a respectable anti-magnetic rating of 4,800 A/m.

Altogether, it’s a tough looking watch totally in keeping with the bold, fist-up aesthetics of both Unimatic and NOUS. Though French and Italian designers are behind it, the U1-NU is delightfully agnostic in terms of nationality, and thus projects the no-boundaries mindset of street culture.

The case back marks the collaboration.

The U1-NU will be available on June 18th, so interested folks will want to move quickly to get one of the 50 individually numbered units. It will retail for around $750, and it can be reserved today through Unimatic’s website. Unimatic

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At age 7 Allen fell in love with a Timex boy's dive watch his parents gave him, and he's taken comfort in wearing a watch ever since. Allen is especially curious about digital technology having inspired a revival of analog technology, long-lasting handmade goods, and classic fashion. He lives in a one-room schoolhouse in The Hudson Valley with his partner and two orange cats.
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