SpongeBob SquarePants is an American animated television program and the highest rated series ever to air on Nickelodeon. Let’s be honest, you already know that, right? The obvious question ‘Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? would immediately generate the response ‘SpongeBob’! The franchise is so popular they’ve generated over $13 Billion USD, that’s B for Billion, in merchandising revenue for Nickelodeon putting them in the heavyweights category of merchandising.
To celebrate the recent 20th anniversary, of the series, luxury Italian watch brand Unimatic got involved by designing their U1-SS and incorporating an ‘all-black’ SpongeBob SquarePants motif on the dial of its core timepiece design. The watch is beautiful, with a ton of cool features, on top of which Unimatic limited the design to just 50 total units.
If you’ve never heard of Unimatic, they’re actually okay with that, being comfortable with who they are. They’re a minimalist-design luxury watch company founded by Simone Nunziato and Giovanni Moro, two industrial design students from The Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy, who formed a friendship while in school. The two of them had a passion for vintage and contemporary timepieces,, starting out collecting watches they found on eBay, including Seiko, and eventually having the desire of bringing both vintage and contemporary together.
Their debut watch, functioning as a professional diver watch, was the Unimatic Modello Uno U1-A which had a Hattori movement, a throwback to their early roots and love of the Seiko brand, and cost 450 Euros. The result was a perfect balance between quality and price, an immediate hit, and the watch sold like crazy.
When the idea for the SpongeBob watch came along it was an opportunity for the brand to take an opposite direction from their serious side. So, they reached out to Viacom, who owns SpongeBob, and Viacom agreed to do it, providing Unimatic with their license and conditions. Away went Unimatic, and officially launched the model SS1, in the Fall of 2019.
The SpongeBob Modello Uno U1-SS1 comes in a limited edition of 50 pieces, each singularly numbered, with a sponge yellow nylon two piece strap. The watch features an automatic caliber Seiko NH35A is covered by a 24 month warranty, if you can find one, that is. Unimatics are heavy watches. There’s a lot of steel in them, you’ll find an immediate sense of value the moment you wear one. This model, like all of their watches, is made entirely in Italy, the Modello Uno is defined by a 40mm 316L solid stainless steel case of alternating black aluminum with a minimal insert with raised lumed dots, mono-directional security bezel; and further characterized by a matte black base anthracite SpongeBob SquarePants dial. Anthracite, also known as hard coal, is a hard, compact variety of coal that has a submetallic luster. The hands and markers are painted with contrasting Super-LumiNova® BL black NL, and the case back exhibits a SpongeBob SquarePants blueprint and individual progressive number. Finally, it is finished by oversized downward curved guards that protect the large 8mm screw-down crown.
How did the launch go? Well, they sold out, of course! (A seller on eBay is currently, in March 2021, listing the SS1 #30/50 for $1600USD) So, their next move, on to Plan B – more special edition SpongeBob watches.
This time, the two available, current edition, watches are part of a unique limited edition of just 100 pieces, each model. Both watches feature an automatic caliber Seiko NH35A movement, a 40mm case protected by 316L solid stainless steel black and a 30 ATM water rating, for diving, plus large 8mm screw down crown and a sapphire crystal for best performance in every light condition. The case backs feature the SpongeBob SquarePants blueprint and the individual progressive number. These watches are, also, protected by a 24 month warranty.
The SpongeBob Modello Uno U1-SS2 has a yellow matte base dial with multicolor whimsical depiction of SpongeBob SquarePants with yellow anodized aluminum minimal inserts with raised luminated dots, too. A brighter look to the collection, perhaps.
The SpongeBob Modello Uno U1-SS3 comes on black heavy-duty nylon nato strap and yellow nylon two piece strap with stainless steel brushed hardware signed Unimatic. There is an aluminum minimal bezel insert; and a black matte base dial with Super-LumiNova® C1 in white with a depiction of SpongeBob SquarePants.
The current U1-SS2 and U1-SS3 editions are available, on the Unimatic official website, as of March 2021, until they are gone.
Everyone’s favorite (and probably only) anthropomorphic sponge, the one and only SpongeBob Squarepants, has celebrated his 20th Anniversary, and the product train of collaborations is rolling full speed ahead, thankfully, with the help of Unimatic.