Two brands, each especially known for collab watches, have teamed up again. Unimatic and Massena Lab have announced a new version of the former's Modello Quattro (AKA U4) watch with a bronze case. Despite bronze being so popular and Unimatic being so damn hip, it's the brand's first watch in the naturally patinating material. What took 'em so long?
Many watch enthusiasts enjoy the way bronze naturally (or unnaturally) develops a patina and takes on a unique look. It works especially well on tool watches, giving them a rugged, worn character — and Unimatic is all about minimalist tool watches. Bronze has nearly gone mainstream as a watchmaking material at this point, so it's hard to believe that this is Unimatic's first foray with the metal.
The U4 is a great example of a "tool watch" — being built more or less like a dive watch, but simplified (and lacking a rotating bezel) to the point of nearly being a field watch, it's hard to describe it as anything else. We reviewed the Classic edition of the Modello Quattro in steel here, and found these traits amount to something like a military vibe.
For this collaboration, the 40mm bronze case is paired to a matte olive-green dial. A second variant (U4S-BRZ-MLL limited to 99 examples at $995), our favorite but unfortunately already sold out, offers the same dial but with a crosshatched texture reminiscent of some vintage watches. The dial color is matched to yellowish lume for the hands and indices, and Unimatic (and Massena) really got these choices right.
The green and yellow are cool with the bronze case now, but they also won't clash with the metal once it's started to take on its patina. So many brands get this wrong and end up with a watch with a ruggedly aged look for its bronze case next to an awkwardly pristine dial with sharp colors.
Bronze tends to be considered a premium material (over standard stainless steel), and although this limited-edition collab model costs more than the standard model, Unimatic is characteristically offering a pretty strong value. The case is water-resistant to a dive-watch-worthy 300m and houses a Swiss Sellita automatic movement. The caseback is titanium and engraved with an octopus motif.
That's a lot of watch, and probably one of the strongest values out there for one in bronze at $895. It comes with two straps, one in TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) and one in distressed leather, both with bronze buckles — and both which will also work especially well with your patina'd watch. Limited to 400 examples, they're available now on from Massena Lab online.