Minase is a rather special brand, which has caught our attention here, at MONOCHROME. Not only the brand has something unique in its story and spirit, but the watches are done with a rather incredible level of execution. Specifically, the cases are some of the most complex we’ve seen in this price range, with a so-called case-in-case architecture, multiple facets and the use of sapphire crystals revealing the inside of the watch. Well, today the brand pushes the concept of its 5 Windows even further, with the new Minase 7 Windows Collection, adding two more crystals for more illumination.
As a reminder, Minase was founded in 2005 and is based in the province of Akita in the north of Japan. It stands out for the originality of its watches, merging Nippon traditions and case-making, with Swiss mechanics. It is part of Kyowa and Co., a Japanese specialist toolmaker. From its expertise in manufacturing tools, Kyowa crafted watch parts and then watches with the creation of Minase watches. The small watch factory is located in the north of Japan. Minase manufactures less than 500 watches per year and started to expand at an international level only recently.
What always stood out with Minase is the architectural design of its cases. Complex, faceted, combining polished and brushed surfaces to enhance their depth, the habillage parts of a Minase watch are truly worth discovering. While the brand knows how to manufacture round watches – the Divido certainly has its charm – the most striking and recognizable designs are those of the rectangular models, such as the 5 Windows, the most emblematic watch of the brand. This year, Minase pushes the concept further by introducing the new 7 Windows collection.
As the name indicates, the Minase 7 Windows features not one or two sapphire crystals, like most watches around. In addition to the classic spherical box sapphire on top and the see-through caseback, the case also comprises a crystal on the left side, two smaller crystals on the right side (framing the crown) and, new for this collection, two sapphires on top of the lugs. This allows the wearer to have an unimpeded view on the inner case-in-case construction, and the light to enter the inside of the case in a very unique way. The case, measuring 38mm in width and 47mm in height, combines vertically brushed surfaces, and polished areas carefully applied thanks to Zaratsu (distortion-free) technique.
As for the “face” of the watch, the Minase 7 Windows doesn’t have a dial in the traditional sense. The movement is wrapped inside a steel cover (the top of which acts as the dial plate), on which a separate index ring is then attached. This case-in-case concept is fitted with the hands and a casing ring, the element is then attached to the case with 4 tiny screws. The hands are bent, following the curvature of steel cover and a large aperture reveals the date at 4 o’clock. The watch is available in blue, grey or black.
Inside the case are well-known mechanics. Minase isn’t a movement manufacturer and thus relies on a Swiss ETA ébauche, the 2892/A2. However, it is presented with a higher-end execution, with perlage, diamond-polished bevels, blued screws and darkened bridges. Also, the brand adds a customized rotor and this new movement has an extended power reserve of 50 hours (vs. 42h in the past).
The Minase 7 Windows collection can be ordered either on an alligator leather strap of a 5-link stainless steel bracelet. Prices go from CHF 4,300 on leather and CHF 5,400 on steel bracelet. It will be available by the middle of June 2021, but pre-orders are already opened on the Minase website here.