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Old 03-22-2013, 10:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
Tattoo Chef
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Reviewer: Don aka Tattoo Chef
Watch was donated for review

Watch Being Reviewed: Unity Watch Custom built model using Unity Watch Configurator

Unity Website
Unity Build Your Time Configuration
Unity Watches on FB
Unity Watches on Twitter

About:
UNITY is a Barcelona-based company founded by real watch enthusiasts. We share a great passion for the world, exercise discipline in what we do and have an entrepreneurial character and innovative spirit. These are our fundamental premises for satisfying our expectations and those of our clients, who are as passionate and exacting as we are. We are reaching the rest of the world with local authenticity. UNITY works with a local production model and a global business strategy. All our watches are designed, manufactured and assembled in Barcelona by a multidisciplinary team of designers, engineers and watchmakers who share one objective; to offer a superior quality product that is in line with UNITY's 1of1 concept.

Step By Step(early stages and prototypes):
Step by Step Article Link

Images of Cases being made:





All Unity Watches are designed, machined and assembled in Barcelona Spain.
Below in second post you will find a video of machining process.



Specs: (These are the exact specs of the watch I built using the configurator)

*CASE: CASE MECHANIZED FROM STAINLESS STEEL AISI 316L WITH POLISHED FINISH.DIAMETER 44 MM BEZEL

*BEVEL MECHANIZED FROM STAINLESS STEEL AISI 316L WITH FROSTED FINISH

*BACK CASE: TRANSPARENT BACK CASE WITH SAPPHIRE CRYSTAL. MECHANIZED FROM STAINLESS STEEL AISI 316L WITH FROSTED FINISH

*STAPLES: SET OF STAPLES MACHINED FROM STAINLESS STEEL AISI 316L. POLISHED FINISH
SCREWS STEEL ALLEN SCREW

*CROWN: STAINLESS STEEL SCREW CROWN WITH SMOOTH SURFACE. MATT FINISH

*MOVEMENT: AUTOMATIC MECHANICAL MOVEMENT VALANVRON V24-2, CALIBER 11 1/2. OSCILLATION FREQUENCY 28800 HZ, 25 JEWELS.

*SWISS MADE DIAL: DIAL WITH BLACK MATT BACKGROUND, INDEXES AND ARABIC NUMERALS WITH WHITE LUMINOVA. WINDOW DATE AT THREE HOURS

*CRYSTAL: CONVEX SAPPHIRE CRYSTAL WITH INTERIOR ANTI-GLARE FINISH HANDS H&M STRAIGHT HANDS H&M WITH SKELETON FRAME. BLACK WITH WHITE LUMINOVA SECONDS SECONDS HAND. MATT STEEL WITH LOGO

*STRAP: HANDMADE TOOLED LEATHER STRAP IN DARK BROWN WITH BEIGE STITCH. TOP QUALITY. WIDTH 22 MM. THICK 4 MM. LENGTH 115X75 MM. NOT WATERPROOF

*BUCKLE: PRE-V SCREW BAR IN STAINLESS STEEL WITH FROSTED FINISH

Price as Configured: 644 Euro, $832 USD Not including VAT tax

Price If you were to select ETA movement 779 Euro, $1,007 USD




Background/Custom Model Info
A member here(Machine Head), posted about the Unity brand about a month or so ago. I had never heard of them, so started looking at the website. A little while after that the owner signed up here to the forum and posted some info.
I was curious to know more, so I emailed him and we started corresponding. After awhile we discussed a model to review ad he asked me to use the "build your model configurator on the website, and build my own model , to really show what the company is about.

They have many "Open Series Models" that you can choose from, models you can just go to website to view and purchase.

But, if you want something custom and unique, you can build your own model, using either the 44m Strong Case or 42mm Soft Case as a base. After that, the options are really endless.

Choices of brushed, polished or DLC cases, bezels, staples, case backs, screws, two movements, either the Eta 2824 or the
VALANVRON V24-2. You can choose the crystal type, dials, hands, and have about 7 different strap options consisting of leather or rubber straps, and choice of buckle as well. There are probably about 1000 different combinations that can be had.


Packaging:
The Unity Watch comes packaged in what I would call a true "presentation box". The outside box is a textured cardboard box with Unity Logo. Inside is a box made of plastic, wood and foam, all done in Black and Silver, with Logo inside and out, and the watch sits on a presentation bar, almost something like you would see in a store display. There is also a place for warranty and info cards. It is a very nice presentation box, and one if you choose , that you can keep the watch on display in when not wearing it.










Dial:
The dial I chose , is what I call your basic Panerai style dial. Though it does not have a sandwich dial, it is very similar to what you would find on a Panerai Base 000, with the exception of the date wheel in place of where the 3 would be. In no way am I comparing this watch to a Panerai either, but just stating that it is a very similar dial. I chose this dial because I like the look of these with the markers and number font and placing. It is a matte black dial, black on white date window at the 3. The hour and minute hand are black skeleton hands , with an all white second hand. As you can see, this dial lacks any minute markers, making it resemble the Panerai dial even more. Otherwise a clean dial, with the Unity Logo, brand and automatic writing. If you are a fan of this dial type, then you will be more than happy with this choice. If not there are many other dials available.








Case dimensions:
Width (9-3) 44mm. With crown 48mm
Crown 8mm
Width with staples (10-4) 53.4mm
Lug width 22mm
Lug to lug Approximately 54.5mm
Thickness including middle of domed crystal 15.6mm
Bezel Diameter 42mm
Dial opening 34mm
Weight 105.8 grams


Case, Bezel and Crystal:
The case of the Unity is definitely the most intriguing part of this watch. I call it a mix of Anonimo, Panerai and XOskeleton.

The main or inside case is a traditional round case. For this example, it is a polished case, with a domed brushed (frosted) bezel.
The attachments to the case, are what Unity calls "Staples" and I think that is somewhat appropriate as that is what they remind you of. They are attached to the case via Hex screws, and are super sturdy. There is no movement or wiggle to the staples at all. One thing is this case is very well machined and assembled for sure.

The lugs are also attached via Hex Screws and again are very sturdy. I have not had any issues with any screw backing out or loosening either.

The lugs use standard screw bars to attach the strap. They were pretty easy to unscrew and remove, but I think it is a design oversight to use standard screw bars , instead of Hex screws. I think with the Hex screws in the lug attachment and staple attachment, it should have been the same here for design flow and uniformity.
Also, If I were to nitpick, I would have liked 24mm lugs as opposed to 22mm. That is just something I prefer on watches 44mm and up.






Keep in mind, this is not a dive watch, as only water resistant to 50m, but it does have a screw down crown. The matte finish crown, which is listed as a smooth crown, is the one thing I would change about the model I built. While appearance wise it goes very well with the case and overall design of the watch, because it is a wide barrel style crown that is smooth as the name suggests it is very hard to unscrew and grip due to the lack of any texture or knurling.
Unity has other crowns available, ones that have texture and grip, like traditional coin edge crowns and others, but I did and still do think this crown looks great with the watch. It has the Unity logo machined onto the crown as well.








The crystal is a domed or convex sapphire crystal with an internal AR coating. I believe the inner AR is clear, as I do not see any hue on the crystal at any angles. The convex crystal does have some distortion depending on what angle you are looking at it, as you can see in the picture below. But this is common with many watches with crystals of these types and I did not find it and better or worse than others I own.








Case back:
The case back is an exhibition case back, showing off the very nice movement. The window is a sapphire crystal and I chose a polished outer case back. It is a screw down , domed case back with your engraved writing, listing the movement, water resistance(50m 265f), serial number and Barcelona Made. The movement is nicely decorated, except for the rotor.






Leather (alligator pattern)Strap:
The 22mm leather strap is well made strap, something similar to what you can get from Panatime. It is a dark brown with alligator pattern, medium brown leather backing, sealed edges, one floating and one stationary keeper. It comes with a 22mm Pre V buckle(As chosen by me, other buckles available). Overall, a nice strap for something non custom, but it is very short at only 115/75mm. I considered this to be very short. I have a 7 1/2 wrist, and I could buckle it at second hole from the bottom, and had just enough leftover to only fit through one of the keepers. If I was to wear on this strap, I would have to take the second keeper off, as it would have no purpose. I hope Unity appreciates this feedback and starts offering longer versions of their straps on their site.











Wrist shot on my 7 1/2" wrist:
On the wrist you can see it lays very nice, similar to how a Panerai or Anonimo would wear.




The shot below is on a SNPR custom leather strap. That strap does not come with this watch.












Movement:
The movement is a VALANVRON V24-2. Now, Valanvron is a newer movement company, and I personally only know of one other company currently using them , which is Resco Instruments. It is listed as Swiss Made movement. From the research I have done, these are base Seagull Movements, that are then assembled, with parts added, decorated, and finished in Switzerland. To what extent, I am not sure. I can tell you, that the movement has been keeping spot on time, maybe losing 3 seconds over a period of 5 days. I was truly impressed with this movement, the sweep second hand, and the smooth winding of the crown.

Valanvron Website

Hours, minutes, sweep second ISelf-winding mechanism with ball bearing
Date, corrector I Stop second device I INCABLOCshock-absorber
28.800 vibrations per hour, 4 Hz I25 Jewels





Lume:
The lume is C1 Superluminova. The hour and minute hands as well as numbers and markers are all done with the white superluminova lume that glows green. Unfortunately the white second hand is not lumed, which was a little disappointing.
The lume on this particular dial I chose, is the weakest point of the watch. It glows semi bright for about a half hour and then fades after that. I have seen pictures of the other dial options, and the lume is much brighter. So if you are concerned about lume, I would suggest looking at some of the other dial options.






Summary:
First I would like to commend Unity Watches. This is truly a unique watch, and the fact that the watches are designed, machined and assembled in house is a big plus for me, especially at this price point.
I have to say that overall, I was truly impressed with the look, feel and quality.
Because this is a custom model, and there are many other choices of crowns, straps, dials, etc that you can make, I can only comment on the ones I chose. But with that said, I would like to see this dial have a stronger lume coating applied to it, as I really think this is a great dial choice. The straps definitely need to be offered in longer sizes, as they really would only fit wrists 7 inches or lower as is. I can not complain about the movement at all, it has been functioning as well as any other Swiss Made movement I have owned. I would like to know more info about the movement company though, but that is not on Unity, but on Valnavron themselves.
I can honestly say I am in love with the case design. It may not be for everybody, but it is unique while still somewhat classic looking all in one. If you were to choose a DLC bezel or staples in this exact same configuration, as an example, it would have even more contrast and a unique look to it.

It is a larger looking watch on the wrist, but you can choose the Soft case which is 42mm in size and might fit smaller wrists better.

The price as shown is just about $850. I think for this particular model, that is a great price point, considering all the materials and movement chosen.
I can not think of another company off the top of my head, doing design, machining and assembly all in house, for under the $1,000 USD price point.
Prices, depending on configuration can go lower or higher. I am not sure of the highest or lowest price , but I know you can build a model that will only cost you about $650 USD as well, if you were to go with a flat sapphire and rubber strap options.


In the end, I think this is a great looking watch, that is very well built top to bottom, and I am excited to see how the Unity Brand moves forward and what other models they will design in the future.

Thank you for reading, and as usual, I look forward to your comments.





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