Japanese independent watchmaking has a particular charm, often showing a spare yet intricate way with dials and small-cased sensibility. With a few quietly released collaborative efforts, Hida-san’s main focus is on a small output of orders. Nevertheless, the 2024 releases from Naoya Hida & Co. show a more extroverted side to the brand coming through.

Naoya Hida is the thinking man’s option, with his atelier offering bespoke and exclusive Japanese minimalism. It’s a world in which dial art is rendered in pure metal, engraved, and obsessively filled with lacquer, but this year, there is a colorful twist. If you also include one of the best yet quirkiest alternatives to the Reverso, there’s a lot to talk about.

Introducing the 2024 releases from Naoya Hida

An unexpected dash of color in the NH Type 3B-1

Hida-san is known for a meticulous sense of detail and the quiet evolution of his small range of wristwear. At Naoya Hida & Co., the emphasis is on small, studied changes within his portfolio of 36mm and 37mm watches. But for the company’s 2024–25 production run, there is a newfound flamboyance and a rectangular debut with the now larger range of eight references. Within the clean-cut, monochrome group, there is a delightful touch of color in the NH Type 3B-1. And that includes an almost frivolous green suede strap that works rather well.

Introducing the 2024 releases from Naoya Hida

The NH Type 3B includes Hida-san’s moonphase complication and has the recognizable purity of the Calatrava-esque case. In particular, this year’s Type 3B-1 features the new rose gold bezel the brand introduced in 2023, engraved numerals, and manually finished feuille hands. But instead of the moonphase disc being all gold as usual, it has the sparkle of lapis lazuli with an engraved solid-gold moon. It’s flamboyant if you’re a fan of Naoya Hida’s almost austere aesthetic, but the new dash of color makes this one of my faves. Hida-san will produce five of these in 2024–25, each of which will cost US$27,000 (excluding tax). For more details, go to Naoya Hida & Co.

Introducing the 2024 releases from Naoya Hida

A rectangle of desire — the new NH Type 5A

The brand-new Type 5A represents an important move for Hida-san, muscling in on the renaissance of angularity. This 21mm-wide dress watch juxtaposed on a chunky brown leather strap exemplifies the clean-cut vibe of the brand, leaning into an Art Deco vibe. With Hida-san’s well-known standards, the craftsmanship and the purity of metal are in the details. Contrasting the silver dial’s grainy texture are razor-sharp indices with a black lacquer filling. A new rounded dauphine handset sits within an inner dial encircled by a chapter ring, overlapped by a large sub-seconds register at 6 o’clock.

Introducing the 2024 releases from Naoya Hida

The modern font airily spaced under 12 o’clock is small and balanced as usual, while a big, hand-engraved “12” creates vertical balance with the small seconds. While I love the timeless charms of the Reverso or any Cartier, this offers something completely different. And despite its Art Deco tinge, the feeling is modern. Under the two-part, three-dimensional sapphire crystal, the impossibly sharp, stretched indices create eye-catching tension against the circular shapes, topped by a hand-blued seconds pointer. Well played, Hida-san. Just 10 NH Type 5A will be made in 2024–25 with a new angular caliber 2524SS. Each will have a price of US$21,300 (excluding tax). Find out more here.

An unexpectedly flamboyant case

Many collectors were delighted by the first gold versions of Naoya Hida’s 37mm Type 1, and I am a huge fan of its prominent small seconds register at 9 o’clock. However, with the Type 1D-3, the game has moved on considerably. The solid 18K yellow gold case in its curvaceous 37mm size has a sculptural wave pattern engraved on the flanks. Hida-san found inspiration in Art Deco fountain pens, and this marks the most extroverted model in the range.

In addition to the wave-like structure of the case sides, have a closer look at the dial. More specifically, check out the images of the surrounding chapter ring. The new German silver dial has the usual curvy Breguet numerals filled perfectly with lacquer. But the chapter ring steals the show with 60 round, inset minute-marker “buttons” in 18K yellow gold. It moves the clean dial design up to another level, and I have not seen this technique before. I can only imagine what a time-consuming process it is. And as a glitzy conclusion to this week’s drop by Naoya Hida, this watch got to me big time. The NH Type 1D-3 will only be available for three select clients at US$56,700 before tax. For more details, visit Naoya Hida & Co.’s website.

Introducing the 2024 releases from Naoya Hida

In conclusion

I have always enjoyed the pure monochrome, no-lacquer style of Hida-san’s creations. By introducing lapis lazuli and the beauty of minuscule applied gold markers, he is simply adding to an already strong range. If I had an unlimited budget, with my love of sub-40mm watches, I could easily see myself with a Type 4A (pictured below) as a daily driver for US$19,200.

Naoya Hida & Co. Type 4A

And while the pizzazz of the new moonphase Type 3B-1 or rectangular Type 5 have rich charms, either of them would both work perfectly as my dress watch numero uno. The production numbers are low for each model, so, if you feel like I do and have the budget, you’ll need to be quick. Only 5–10 of most of Hida’s watches will be made within the next couple of years.

Fratelli, what about you? Are you tempted by the 2024 releases from Naoya Hida & Co.? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.