The shortest distance between Japan and the Netherlands is 9,208km, but that was no impediment to Fratello’s latest collaboration with Minase, nicknamed the M-3 “Nori”. Minase is a Japanese watch brand renowned for its high-quality handmade watches. Unlike many brands, Minase focuses on the habillage (external parts) and not the movements; these are outsourced. Marking the third time our friends at Fratello commissioned a Minase watch, the latest M-3 “Nori” with its attractive green dial is an exclusive edition. The order window of the M-3 “Nori” opens today at 4 PM CEST and will remain open for a week.
Everybody is familiar with the big names in Japanese watchmaking like Seiko, Grand Seiko and Citizen, but not everybody has heard about Minase, a microbrand from Japan specialising in complex cases with superlative handmade finishings and Sallaz (mirror) polishing. Minase, a spinoff brand from the Kyowa Co., started life in 1963, making precision drills for metal machining. Producing watch cases and bracelets, Minase became a watch brand in 2005. Named after the workshop’s location in the Yuzawa Mountains in the prefecture of Akita, Minase produces less than 500 watches per year and only recently started to expand internationally.
While we have covered the brand’s more complex Divido, 7 Windows, Horizon and Uruga cases, you won’t find the Minase M-3 model on the brand’s website for the simple reason that it is made exclusively for the Japanese market. Its international debut was the Fratello M-3 “Very Peri” model with a purple dial released in 2022.
The stainless steel tonneau-shaped case has a subtle whiff of the 1970s without going overboard with the retro vibe and features the brand’s mirror polishing on the flanks and the round bezel. Water-resistant to 100m, the case measures a compact 39mm across with a height of 10.5mm. The fanciful crown bearing Minase’s drill head logo gives you a feel for Minase’s mastery of metal.
The highlight here is the fascinating green dial that catches the light like a cat’s eye. Nicknamed “Nori” because of its colour that is reminiscent of the dark green seaweed used in sushi, the dial is painted by hand with a subtle and irregular brushed pattern. The applied and brightly polished hour markers are similar to those used in the Divido family, and the handset is customised to match the hour markers and polished case angles. Alluding to Fratello’s Dutch origins and a signature feature of Fratello collaborations is the orange tip of the central seconds hand.
As mentioned, Minase is all about beautifully made dials and cases and is not a movement manufacturer. Beneath the sealed and engraved caseback is a Sellita SW200-1 with a relatively modest 42h power reserve. However, many will appreciate that Minase has modified the movement to eliminate the date function along with the ghost date position on the crown.
The watch is fitted with a supple green Fratello nubuck strap with off-white stitching that tapers from 20mm to 16mm and a Minase steel buckle.
Availability & Price
The Fratello x Minase M-2 “Nori” is not a limited edition but an exclusive one, meaning it will be made to order and is only limited by time. You can order your watch today when the Fratello Shop opens at 4 PM CEST until the 4th of October at the same time. Fratello estimates that the first batch will be delivered within three to four months. The price is EUR 2,470 (excl. tax), making it one of the most affordable Minase models on the market.