Minase is a boutique watch manufacturer based in Akita Prefecture, in the north of Japan. Producing less than 500 pieces a year, it was founded in 2005 as a spin-off of Kyowa and Co., a Japanese specialist toolmaker. From its expertise in this field, Kyowa crafted watch parts and then watches. The brand prides itself for upholding the spirit of Japan’s manufacturing practices; a sincere attitude towards production, pride at the workplace, skill and dedication, and the continuous research for improvement. Minase watches stand out with their unique and elaborate construction and finishing, in particular their singular case-in-case architecture. Example of the day: the Minase Horizon.
As the name suggests, the singular design of the Horizon watch was inspired by the harmonious, smooth curves of the horizon line – which can be seen with the elegant, soft curve of the double spherical crystal extending the lines of the case and continued with the bracelet. Like all Minase watches, this model’s architecture is based on an unusually high number of parts and original technical solutions. The “case-in-case” structure does not feature a dial in the typical sense. The movement is fitted into a container on top of which the index ring is fitted. Given the domed dial and crystal, the hands are delicately bent at the tip. With this construction, the dial/movement seems to be “floating” inside the case. This suspended structure creates an original sense of depth and the way the light plays within this case-in-case structure is eye-catching.
The elongated, ergonomic rectangular case of the Minase Horizon is 38mm x 51mm, with a 12mm thickness. It features soft curves except for the angular “lugs” and strap attachment. The Horizon is also available in a mid-size version that is 32mm x 40mm x 12mm. Besides the smaller proportions, the shape features more of a squarish design with a “TV-screen” opening. The model is available either in 316L steel or in black or gold-coloured PVD.
The meticulous finishing of the case and bracelet culminates with the time-consuming black polishing technique known as Sallaz (zaratsu). Minase advises that the technique requires up to 50 operations and at least 15 hours of work to complete each watch. The result is striking, particularly the contrast between the mirror-polished and satin-finished surfaces.
Powering the Minase Horizon is the automatic calibre KT7001/1. Visible via the exhibition caseback, it is based on the tried-and-tested ETA 2824, customized with hand-polishing and perlage on the plate and the bridges. Running at 4Hz, it boasts 38 hours of power reserve when fully wound. The mid-size model runs on the KT8001 automatic movement based on the ETA 2671.
The Minase Horizon is worn on a leather or rubber strap closed by a folding buckle with side pushers. There is also a 5-row steel bracelet option, standing out with its elaborate architecture and finishing. Unlike typical bracelets, there are no visible pinholes on the side of the bracelet. Each segment is screwed individually (and can be disassembled). It is remarkably flexible, hence comfortable on the wrist. And all in all, a quick glance at the watch is all you need to remind yourself that you are wearing something special.
Prices for the Minase Horizon starts at CHF 3,680 in steel on rubber. The steel model on bracelet retails for CHF 4,820. For more information, please visit www.minasewatches.ch or the online boutique here.