While most U-Boat sales are for the basic Classicos and Flightdeck chronos, I find that Italo Fontana (U-Boat’s founder and designer) really gets to flex his design muscles with off-beat pieces like the U-1001. As with most U-Boat watches the U-1001 is not suited for everyone, but perfect for some. It is a large watch with a knack for attracting attention. While it is definitely a fashion accessory, it boasts superlative quality and all the features of high-end diving watch.
The first thing we notice with the U-1001 is its size. The case is 55mm in diameter not counting the crown. Because the case is manufactured entirely out of titanium, its weight evokes a much smaller size. The crown system of the U-1001 is even more complex and pronounced than on other models of the Classico series. The grip teeth are much deeper and the hinge is held in place with solid titanium screws. The pusher-like piece protruding through the hinge is the pressure escape valve that enables the case to withstand pressures beyond 100 ATM or the pressure present in water at a depth of 1000 meters. The sapphire crystal glass, which raises above the bezel like in all Classicos, is extremely thick as it too is crucial to achieving the U-1001’s elevated water resistance rating.
The styling of the U-1001 is determined largely by the dial. The minimalistic dial displays multiple levels. The matte, jet black dial has the hour markers and numerals from four to eleven o’clock stencilled out of it to reveal a photo-luminescent coloured layer underneath. Beige, blue, or orange markers are available. The U-1001 logo, etched out of titanium, is applied onto the dial. The exceptional smoky color of the titanium and sand-blasted finish complement Italo Fontana’s minimalistic military design.
The size of the watch is evident on the wearer’s wrist. In the image below, Matt wears the U-1001 on his wrist, which is of an average size of about 7.5 inches. The way that the lugs are bent gives a balanced round shape to the rubber strap. Thanks to this the watch does not look awkward and fits comfortably on all wrist sizes.
The U-Boat Classico U-1001 is a resilient diving watch that has been stylized along the lines of Italo Fontana’s signature design concepts. It is therefore cool, large, and strong while surprisingly light-weight. A limited number of the U-1001 will be produced using each color and the watches come with an extraordinary presentation case.
Marco is an expert in U-Boat watches at Matt Baily in Montreal