Massena LAB Teams up with Unimatic for a Vintage Take on the U1 Diver

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Massena LAB is a relatively new venture from noted watch collector and Managing Director of the Timezone watch forum, William Massena. The purpose of Massena LAB, broadly speaking, is to highlight old fashioned artisanal watchmaking. The idea here is that the LAB will collaborate with watchmakers and independent brands to create unique limited editions with a handmade feel. The first watch released through the Massena LAB project was a limited edition Habring² Erwin in bronze. The LAB’s version of Habring²’s dead-seconds dress watch was not only cast in bronze, but given a unique vintage inspired sector dial treatment. The limited edition of 50 sold out at light speed. Now, Massena LAB is back with their latest limited edition, a collaboration with Unimatic, a brand that will be very familiar to Worn & Wound readers.


Unimatic x Massena LAB ​Modello Uno Ref. U1-ML6

  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial: Brown
  • Dimensions: 40mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire     
  • Water Resistance: 300 meters 
  • Crown: Screw down             
  • Movement: Seiko NH35A 
  • Strap/bracelet: Horween shell cordovan, nylon
  • Price: $850
  • Reference Number: U1-ML6
  • Expected Release: Available now 

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The Unimatic x Massena LAB ​Modello Uno Ref. U1-ML6 takes the familiar template of the Modello Uno and puts it in the context of a classic 1950s dive watch. The key element here is the dial, which is hand-made and galvanized to create a tropical look. The conceit of the designers was to create a watch that looks like what a Modello Uno from the 50s would look like today, after decades of natural aging and regular use. Unimatic, of course, is no stranger to creating this kind of effect on their cases, but switching up the look of their dial represents a bit of a change of pace.

Each dial used for the U1-ML6 began its life as a run of the mill black dial, and was turned brown only after being put through a galvanizing process. No two dials are exactly alike, each possessing their own unique patina and shade of brown. True to the Massena LAB ethos, lume is hand applied to each dial, reinforcing the notion that watches in this collection represent old world, artisanal craft. 

Aesthetically, the U1-ML6 recalls the legendary Rolex 6538, the Submariner worn by Sean Connery in Goldfinger, with its red triangle at 12:00. The U1-ML6 is also the first Unimatic watch to feature a 15 minute counter on the bezel, which underscores the extent to which the brand has adjusted their signature look for the benefit of this limited edition. While it’s still very clearly a Unimatic, the U1-ML6 breaks somewhat with their minimalist aesthetic.

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The Unimatic x Massena LAB ​Modello Uno Ref. U1-ML6 is available in a limited edition of 99 examples, and each has its serial number engraved into the caseback, along with an image of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. The watch is water resistant to 300 meters, and is powered by a Seiko NH35A movement. The retail price is $850, and will be sold exclusively at the Massena LAB website. Unimatic

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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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