Model One meets the Cartier Santos - a Fit & Finish study

Model One meets the Cartier Santos - a Fit & Finish study

1. Intro: The key principle behind Unidesign and Model One specifically is the outstanding fit and finishing. For us, fit and finish is a critical design element. It can either elevate or dull a design. This is a reason why several microbrands' homages watches, while looking similar to its inspiration, feels "off" in person. In designing Model One, we investigate many luxury watches and learn from them what makes good fit & finish, the "things" that makes luxury whats feels luxury in real life. Generally, we found it comes down to a few factors:

  • Quality of brushing: Smooth, sharp and consistent brushing. See example below from an Omega watch and a homage with a similar case shape. You can easily tell which one is the real deal. 

  • Quality of polishing: Sharp and smooth brushing. The better the polish, the more light it will reflect. Grand Seiko is famous for its Zaratsu polishing where the polish surface is mirror-like. This is extremely difficult to achieve 

  • How the watch plays with light: The luxury watches are usually sparkles under lights while the poor finishing one usually feels dull. This is partially due to the polishing and brushing quality mentioned above, but also is a consequence of the dial paint, the overall angled 3D - design etc. 

2. The comparison: In the <=$10K segment, I'd argue Grand Seiko has the best fit and finish, followed by Cartier. I have long wanted to see how Model One stacks up against the Santos. Over the last holiday season, I have finally decided to buy a new Santos and make the comparison. 

Long story short: The Model One did not win of course, the Santos is a level above in fit and finish, but I'd argue its not too far off and for 1/10th of the price, Im confident to say the gap is much closer compare to the Omega homage above vs its inspiration. The study also provides several useful inputs for me on how to improve its finishing even further in the future. 

Here come the high res photos for your own discretion and conclusion based on the fit and finish criteria above - Please forgive my finger print and dust on the cases:




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Wow, stunning watches, both of them! I planned to order the Santorini Blue but now this Grey makes it hard


@Chris: Thanks for the kind words. We expect the watches to be ready to ship early Feb 2023. Thanks again


The Cartier is indeed classy, but I’m impressed that Model One is not far behind. The Model One’s dial is stunning. Just made the pre-order. When will the watch be available?

Chris Burts

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