Unimatic × Revolution U1 Milsub ‘Blue’
For their second limited edition collaboration, rising Italian watch brand Unimatic and Revolution present an all-blue U1 dive watch featuring a distressed Cerakote coating and a modern twist on the iconic MilSub design.
Our first collaboration with Italian brand Unimatic resulted in the all-white Unimatic U1 GMT “Arctic Fox,” a tribute to the winter camouflage adopted by both the animal which changes the color of its fur to pure white during winter, and the “snow camo” smocks worn by soldiers such as legendary Finnish sniper Simo Häyhä. Armed with nothing more than his rifle and his all-white stormtrooper-like livery, Häyhä famously dispatched 500 Russian soldiers in 100 days, earning himself the evocative sobriquet, “The White Death.”
But when it came time for our second collaboration, Unimatic co-founders Giovanni Moro and Simone Nunziato wanted to focus on blue, a color that reminds them of the oceans which occupy more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, and the history of exploration and conservation of this priceless resource. At the same time, they wanted to pay tribute to a hue that has fascinated some of their favorite artists, including Yves Klein, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.
A New Spin on the Diver
Says Moro, “When it comes to sports watches, there is nothing more iconic than the dive watch. Born in the early ’50s, the design of the dive watch is unmistakable. There are, first of all, the markers on the dial which are a combination of luminous circles with rectangles at 3, 6 and 9, and the famous inverted triangle at 12 o’clock. This was created to provide the ultimate visibility underwater so there would be no mistaking one index from another. At Unimatic, we have always oriented the rectangle at six o’clock horizontally as a design leitmotif.”
Nunziato adds, “Then there are the luminous sword hands of the watch. These are read off the watch’s unidirectional rotating bezel, which has a luminous pearl at its start point. For our watch, we wanted to demarcate each individual minute mark on the bezel, which is a bit of a tribute to the Rolex 5517 MilSubs [military issued Submariners] that were created for the British Ministry of Defense. We liked how this provided enhanced legibility and functionality to the bezel.
“Today, everyone has a dive computer that tells you when to resurface after a dive, but in the pioneering era of scuba, the rotating bezel was the instrument that was used to tell elapsed time and indicate when the dive was over.”
A Bolt of Blue
Moro reveals, “For our latest collaboration, we applied an all-blue colorway to the U1 dive watch, in the same way that we used the all-white theme for our last collaboration with Revolution. We like the idea of monochrome watches and blue is an important color for us.”
Nunziato explains, “This is for two reasons. First, during a period of increased urgency for conservation, the idea of an all-blue dive watch is a nice reminder of our need to respect our oceans. In Italy, we love the sea and so much of our life and our culture from the Amalfi Coast to Capri to Taormina are inextricably linked with the water. At the same time, blue has been one of the most powerfully symbolic colors in the contemporary art that Giovanni and I both love.”
Giovanni Moro is unabashed in sharing about his passion for the hue. “Unimatic is a brand born from two designers. In school, we were deeply influenced by the seismic shifts towards modernism in the 20th century. From the Bauhaus in Germany to the modernism of Umberto Boccioni to the Italian Futurists, art in the 20th century — especially the explosion toward abstraction and the contemporary energy it brought — was so powerful. In art pieces such as Van Gogh’s Starry Night, the paintings from Picasso’s Blue Period, and the works of Wassily Kandinsky, Yves Klein and Chagall, blue was the color of change. So we wanted to apply this color in the most dynamic way possible on our U1 dive watch in collaboration with you.”
Diving into New Worlds
To paraphrase the American Romantic poet Walt Whitman, Unimatic’s watches are large, they contain multitudes — which is to say the timepieces, from the Modello Uno dive watch to the Modello Tre chronograph, are so powerfully essential that they can be expressed through a multiplicity of collaborations, with each successive project injecting new energy into the brand while reinforcing the timelessness of these designs.
Says Moro, who co-founded Unimatic in 2015 with Nunziato, “One of the things that fascinated Simone Nunziato and me from the very beginning was this idea of design that is purposeful in an essential way. Because when you create something that has this sense of necessity, almost as if it has to exist, it tends to endure. It then also lends itself well to a process that we call ‘hybridization,’ which means collaborations with select others from another universe who are able to impart their own sense of identity to our watches, while expanding the universe we have created.”
Nunziato elaborates, “A great example of this hybridization would be our collaborations with the Japanese designer Mihara Yasuhiro. In particular, with our all-navy U1-MY, we started with the iconography of the U1 dive watch, then we applied a blue Cerakote coating to the steel case. Then we intentionally distressed the case to create a worn effect. This was complemented with a navy dial, a navy aluminum bezel and cream colored, ‘old radium’ Super-LumiNova markers and hands. But for our collaboration with Revolution, we wanted to create something altogether more complex and modern in feel.”
After significant discussion about the case color, Moro, Nunziato and I agreed upon Pantone 7462C, a stunning Cerulean blue which is almost a vibrant royal blue but with just a touch of stonewashed denim undertones, so that it would pair perfectly with jeans. Moro laughs, “You are by far the only collaborator we’ve had that thought about what he wanted to wear in terms of clothes with this watch and decided on the case color based on this.” However, those who know me will already be familiar with my penchant for all things denim, and how I love that denim has become elevated to a tailoring fabric by designers such as Ralph Lauren and Brunello Cucinelli. Moro concurs, “It’s true that in Italy on the weekends, everyone wears a nice jacket but with a denim shirt or jeans.”
Says Nunziato, “We also love that Cerulean blue symbolizes peace and confidence. For that reason, it was used by the United Nations for the color of its logo.”
Lighting up the Dark
On the luminosity of the watch, Nunziato shares, “One touch we love is how we used white lume for all the markers and navy lume hands to give the watch a really modern feel in combination with the all-blue colorway. But in the dark, you realize everything white glows an electric blue. So we added an additional surprise hue of blue.”
To me, the luminous signature of any Revolution or Grail Watch limited edition is extremely important, as it has become one of our calling cards. In the Unimatic × Revolution U1 MilSub “Blue,” the luminous material has been added to just the white surrounds of the markers, while the white hands have been painted with navy Super-LumiNova. However, Unimatic has color matched these elements so that they both glow a shade of electric blue. Says Moro, “Toying with perception and subverting expectations is something we love doing and, we know, so does Revolution. The result is a watch that features so many wonderful hidden details.”
The 316 steel Cerakote watch measures 41.5mm in diameter including the bezel, with a lug width of 22mm. It features a screw-down crown and 300 meters of water resistance. It is made in Italy, save for its Swiss-made Sellita SW200-1b automatic movement with a 4Hz vibrational speed, 41 hours of power reserve and the hacking seconds function vital for a dive watch. It comes with two straps: a handsome navy nylon strap and a badass vintage navy NATO strap with fabric keepers.
Unimatic × Revolution U1 Milsub “Blue”
Movement: Self-winding caliber SW200-1b; 41-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes and seconds
Case: 41.5mm; 316 steel with Cerulean blue stonewashed Cerakote coating, matte vintage navy aluminum bezel insert; water resistant to 300m
Dial: Matte vintage navy; hour markers outlined in Super-LumiNova
Strap: Vintage navy TPU-coated nylon; additional vintage navy nylon with fabric keepers
Price: EUR 1,100, excluding taxes
Availability: Numbered and limited edition of 200 pieces
MORE ON UNIMATIC
|Self-winding caliber SW200-1b; 41-hour power reserve
|Hours, minutes and seconds
|41.5mm; 316 steel with Cerulean blue stonewashed Cerakote coating, matte vintage navy aluminium bezel insert; water resistant to 300m
|Matte vintage navy; hour markers outlined in Super-LumiNova
|Vintage navy TPU-coated nylon; additional vintage navy nylon with fabric keepers
|Limited Edition of 200 pieces