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The Botta UNO 24 Automatic 40mm is the latest version of the Botta classic with 24-hour display. In addition to its compact diameter, the model features the use of titanium and a special design. This is supposed to give the wearer a more relaxed approach to time. Whether this also works for me will be shown in this review….
About the rediscovery of the single-hand watch
The German watch brand Botta and its UNO model are inseparable. You can even go so far as to suggest that the current success of Klaus Botta’s company is built on the designer’s development of this watch in 1986. After all, the realization of the radical design was the first single hand-watch of modern times. It is true that single-hand watches were also the standard until the end of the 17th century. However, the “rediscovery” and combination with the continuation of the Bauhaus idea can be attributed to Klaus Botta. With its proven formula, the name Botta is still one of the first places to go for watch lovers who are looking for something unusual, yet practical, and at the same time value quality.
Regularly, the product range is adapted to current standards and developments. Simply reviving historical Bauhaus designs of the 1920s is not in line with Klaus Botta’s design philosophy and understanding. Besides completely different models like the Botta Clavius Automatic 44mm and the Botta MONDO GMT Automatic, which I had the pleasure to test a few months ago, the UNO also gets a facelift from time to time. An offshoot and now a permanent fixture in the Botta product family is the independent UNO 24 collection. Its raison d’être is the answer to the following question. “What would a maximally simplified, but at the same time consistently logical wristwatch look like?”
How Klaus Botta has thought his classic further
As with the conventional UNO, only one hand circles the dial of the minimalist timepiece. However, this is no longer within 12 hours, but 24. Thus, a quick glance at the watch is enough to instantly distinguish between 3 a.m. and p.m. for example. I will introduce you to the special features of the design in the following paragraphs.
In September 2022, the UNO 24 will appear in a variant that has not been available for purchase before. For the first time, the three parameters automatic movement, titanium case and the compact diameter of 40 millimeters meet. There is a choice of five color variants and a further six bracelets. So there are plenty of options for putting together your own personal favorites.
Botta kindly provided me with two of these options, including photos, for this watch review. In addition to the variant with a black dial and yellow index markers, I also photographed the sister model in white/Bordeaux. Apart from the color differences, both models are identical. However, this review will mainly be about the former watch.
The Botta UNO 24 Automatic 40mm on the wrist
45 or 40 millimeters? As a potential buyer, you have the choice to decide between the two case sizes. Now that I’m wearing the Botta UNO 24 Automatic in the 40mm on my wrist, I can at least say with certainty that the little sister is sufficiently large to read the dial well. The reason for this is the particularly narrow bezel, which pulls the dial right up to the edge of the case, leaving enough space to print the 24-hour scale legibly.
Practically timeless, the dial is functional and minimalist, offering recognition value despite (or perhaps because of) the almost non-existent design elements. The new UNO 24 bears the unmistakable signature of Klaus Botta. The timepiece can be combined with pretty much any piece of clothing in everyday life. It gets along with casual polo as well as jacket. It always looks interesting and modern. This automatic watch stands out, if only because of its “missing” minute hand.
The single-hand watch
Normally, I start at this point by listing and evaluating various special features of the case or the movement. This time, I’d like to directly follow my impressions on the wrist and report to you, if the Botta UNO 24 Automatic 40mm changed anything in my sense of time. To do that, you must understand the design, the architecture of the dial first. Hands and 24-hour display – it’s not that simple after all. The dial, reduced to the bare minimum, consists of a day and a night half. This allows the 24-hour scale to be printed sun-synchronously. Thus, the lone hour hand does not circle the entire dial, as usual, but only half of it for 12 hours. As noted above, a glance at the dial is enough to determine that it is, for example, just 6 p.m. and not 6 a.m.
How the Botta UNO 24 changed my sense of time
This brings us to the second point, telling the time. Here, it’s a little different than with conventional watches or the UNO. Using the minute scale of a conventional three-hand watch, it is possible to read off an exact time such as 6:43 p.m. and 32 seconds. The classic UNO already refrains from this, where the minutes can only be approximated. The seconds even more so cannot be read off. This Botta UNO 24 Automatic 40mm goes one step further. While the hour hand moves from one line on the 24-hour scale to the next, 10 minutes pass. So during my testing time, I could only estimate if it was currently 6:40 p.m. or 6:50 p.m. or anything in between. However, this was lightning fast with a little familiarization, and despite my deteriorating eyesight. Thanks to the functional design concept!
Relaxed but still on time
What’s the point of all this, some of you might ask. It’s hard to imagine what your boss would say if you were 7 minutes late for a meeting. But that’s where the problem lies, to which the Botta UNO 24 Automatic 40mm wants to give an answer. The watch offers the possibility to slow down everyday life and to shimmy less from appointment to appointment, but rather to perceive time more consciously. That’s how I felt during the test days, when I was able to lower the stress level a bit. In an emergency, the smartphone can always help. And anyway: 99 percent of all appointments are set to times that can be read on the Botta UNO 24 Automatic 40mm.
At 6 o’clock (correctly you should say 12 o’clock here, but you know which position I mean) there is a rectangular date window.
Regardless of whether 40 or 45 millimeters are enough for you in the end, or whether you prefer a battery to the automatic movement, every model without exception comes with a case made of titanium. This exceeds my expectations, as I would not have expected titanium in a quartz watch from the mid-three-digit price segment. Botta refers to this as a so-called tri-titanium case. The name is not a marketing invention a la “it sounds nicer,” but stands for three special titanium alloys that make up the case. As should be known by now, this high-tech material stands for otherwise unrivaled hardness, lightness, and compatibility with the skin, which appeals to allergy sufferers. The Made in Germany quality lives up to its seal of approval. Here, yo can speak of perfection with a clear conscience.
In addition to the choice of materials, it is above all the ergonomic shape with which the Botta UNO 24 Automatic 40mm scores points. The lugs emerge from the slightly cone-shaped middle section, forming a concave-shaped bearing surface. The shape perfectly hugs the wrist and, together with the weight of only 64 grams, allows for a very good wearing experience. A defining feature of the bottom is a circular glass caseback, which provides a glimpse into the complex automatic movement. I like the rotor, which echoes the design of the 24-hour scale.
On the front, sapphire crystal protects the dial. Botta gives its watch glass a scratch-resistant anti-reflective coating during production, which increases readability and longevity. The Botta UNO 24 Automatic 40mm is water resistant up to a pressure of 5 bar. I would take the watch off before diving in any case.
Swiss Made quality inside
Quality ‘Made in Germany’ meets quality ‘Swiss Made’. Inside the mechanically driven UNO 24 models works a Swiss 2893-2 automatic movement from ETA. The movement is usually used in GMT watches. At 28800 vibrations per hour, it comes up with a power reserve of sufficient 48 to 52 hours.
Looking through the package insert, I noticed that unlike other manufacturers, Botta takes great care to show their customers how to set the watch. The fine adjustment of date and time with the crown is described here very precisely.
Plenty of bracelets to choose from
Finally, it’s worth looking at the two mounted wristbands. While the black/yellow variant is equipped with a cozy saddle leather strap, the sister model white/Bordeaux was given a puristic stainless steel strap. Once again, which dial you end up combining with which case size, which drive and which strap is entirely up to you. Personally, I like the saddle leather strap a tad better, also because it improves the already good wearing comfort even more. The stainless-steel bracelet comes with a shortening tool.
My conclusion about the Botta UNO 24 Automatic 40mm – the time accelerator
The Botta UNO 24 Automatic 40mm achieved its goal of slowing down my everyday life. During the test days, the watch actually managed to change my reading of the time. It is not easy to describe but must be experienced in my opinion. Instead of exact times, I just “think” in 10-minute increments, which is what humans tend to do anyway. Every day, annoying mind games like “8 minutes until appointment XY” or “12 minutes by which the train is already delayed” are a thing of the past. Life is simply more relaxed. The only prerequisite is that you get involved in the one-hand watch experiment and don’t constantly stare frantically at the lock screen of your smartphone. Then the Botta UNO 24 Automatic 40mm is an effective wrist companion that can change and improve the feeling of time.
Nevertheless, we need to talk about the second important strength of the new Botta watch. That is quality. First and foremost, of course, is the titanium case, which makes the Botta UNO 24 Automatic 40mm wear with such ease that you almost forget about the watch. All the materials used have been manufactured to premium standards. There the variety of possible combinations almost recedes into the background. 2 sizes, 2 drive variants, 5 different colors and 6 bracelets offer countless possibilities to put together your respective favorite.
The variants presented here cost 1.810,- euros (black/yellow with saddle leather strap) and 1.870,- euros (white/Bordeaux with stainless steel strap).