Minase is a rather unique watchmaker. Founded in 2005 and based in the province of Akita in the north of Japan, Minase stands out for the originality of its watches, merging Nippon traditions and Swiss mechanics. The design is quite original, with a case-in-case architecture and movements housed in a container, with openings all around the case. As the brand celebrates its 15th anniversary, Minase releases a limited edition of an emblematic design, the 5 Windows Limited Edition 15 Years.
Minase was founded as 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 in 2005. 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 recently.
Part of the philosophy of Minase is to focus mostly on the habillage parts – cases, crowns, dials or straps, all crafted in-house – and on the decoration and modification of existing movements, sourced from Swiss suppliers. What really makes Minase watches stand apart is the construction of the case. Inspired by Ysegi Zaiku, Japanese 3D puzzles, each model features a case-in-case architecture, where the movement is housed in a container with no proper dial – there’s a plate on top of the movement on top of which indexes are fitted, creating a floating structure. This is even reinforced by the transparency of the case itself.
The 5 Window model is certainly the brand’s most striking design with a rounded rectangular case fitted with, as you can guess from its name, five sapphire crystals – two classically positioned top and bottom, and three on the sides, allowing a view on the central movement/dial module. This angular and original watch, measuring 38mm x 51mm, has been chosen to become the home for the Limited Edition 15 Years.
What sets this model apart from existing versions of the Minase 5 Windows is the use of a brushed stainless steel case with black PVD coating and a silver, circular-brushed plate for the dial. A closer look reveals nicely executed polished steel indexes and hands, curved to follow the lines of the case and dial. The dial is opened at 4 o’clock to reveal the date, once again an original layout.
The caseback, which houses a modified ETA ébauche, reveals a special decoration. A thin plate of steel, treated in gold IP colour, is affixed to the rotor with two screws. Each of the plates is engraved with its own consecutive number and bears the limited edition markings. The watch is worn on an alligator leather strap.
To give the final touch to this Minase 5 Windows Limited Edition 15 Years, the watch is delivered in a wooden box that is usually set aside for the Masterpieces series. These boxes are made in Japan and beautifully decorated with marquetry.
This 5 Windows Limited Edition is available in 15 pieces only. It is priced at CHF 3,950 (excl. taxes). More details at www.minasewatches.ch.