Unimatic Rethinks the Field Watch with Latest Massena LAB Collab

Unimatic and Massena LAB keep a good thing going with another in their series of collaborations, this time taking the opportunity to reign in their field watch design with a new, trimmer U5S-ML. The new watch takes a far more demure approach to the formula, not just with a smaller case, but also a Braun-esque dial design that’s light on detail. The brutal nature of Unimatic’s design language remains in-tact here in other ways, from the finish of the case to the size of the crown, there’s still plenty of personality here. 

The new U5 represents a new case size and design for Unimatic, falling somewhere between their classic U1 dive watch, and U2 field watch. This is the first Unimatic to feature a 36mm case, addressing one of the biggest problem areas of the U2, which boil down to the watch’s somewhat awkward proportions on the wrist. The U5 also gets the slimmest bezel yet, pushing the dial all the way to the edge, which should help create a somewhat larger looking watch on the wrist, even if it won’t feel that way. 

A Sellita SW200 tucks into the 11mm thick case, which also boasts a 2.2mm thick double domed sapphire crystal, which does its part in retaining a bulky personality within the smaller footprint. The heavy lifting in that department is done by the oversized crown which, like the U2, ditches the crown guards along the case wall. The side profile of the U5 offers the most interesting view of the watch, appearing almost can-like in structure, with a nearly completely vertical wall broken into sections that define the top and bottom halves. The entire case is uniformly brushed in finish, and doesn’t get anything in the way of chamfers or bevels… this is as straightforward as it gets. 

Equally straightforward is the design of the dial, which is treated with sparse details. All of the labeling is neatly packaged at the bottom of the dial, just above a date aperture at 6 o’clock. Ultra-thin markers pick up the hour and minute chapter ring, with thick, tower-like hands tracking the time against them. The hands are the clear focal point of the otherwise relatively serene dial, and should make legibility quite strong as they provide ample contrast to the matte black base. 

The U5 is a welcome addition to the growing stable of tool watches from Unimatic. It’s not a watch that fits neatly into any clear genre, but it is certainly capable of putting up with even the harshest environments, and even gets a 300m depth rating. Let’s hope this kicks off a new chapter for the brand, and opens the door to a new set of (smaller wristed) customers in the process. 

The 36mm case measures a mere 43.7mm from lug to lug, and it’s worth noting that the lug span itself remains 22mm, which will make for a slightly unusual case to strap ratio on the wrist, and will also lend to a more muscular feeling. This ratio won’t be for everyone, though a more tapered third party strap may alleviate this. 

The U5S-ML is available only from Massena LAB, and is priced at $995. Just 300 examples will be produced, and each comes with both black and yellow TPU rubber straps. More from Unimatic and Massena LAB.