MINASE — A new vision of watchmaking

Nestled in the mountains of Akita Prefecture, Minase is a small village in the heights of Yuzawa, some 450 km north of Tokyo. Minase was founded in 2005 by its parent company Kyowa. A renowned tool manufacturer that has been in business since 1963, Kyowa specializes in step drills. The company also supplies of high-end watch components.  Minase was exclusively sold in Japan until 2017.

As one of the smallest watch manufactures in Japan, Minase relies on highly refined technical processes to meet production needs.  Minase combines modern technology and old school watchmaking. The result? Time-telling machines that are unequaled in both design and precision. Minase is proud of its origins and each watch pays tribute to Japan’s rich traditions and crafts. Minase’s philosophy embodies the Japanese principle of “Monozukuri.”  Literally translated, this means “to make things.” But the true meaning is so much deeper than this. A more accurate definition would be manufacturing or making things by hand.

Local people

When Minase was born, the company decided not to hire more seasoned professionals from far away cities and relocate them north. Minase felt it was better to welcome local people to join the company and train them for purpose.  This modern-day apprenticeship serves to help the men and women of Minase become true masters of their crafts.  Learning by doing — again and again — the men and women of Minase embody the spirit of the company as a whole. This philosophy stands in contrast to modern mass production and reveals another world where tradition, perfection, and history are central priorities.

DIVIDO — A watch with many stories to tell

The Divido is Minase’s flagship model. The word Divido means division in Esperanto, and is a very fitting name for this model. Perhaps the most striking element of the Divido is the impressive sense of depth achieved by Minase’s “case-in-case” construction, showcasing the complexity of individual parts used in the assembly of the case itself. The curved copper dial appears to be floating, almost suspended below the box-type sapphire crystal. Minase’s latest novelty, a dégradé dial, was introduced at Watchtime Düsseldorf a couple of months ago.

The Divido’s dials are unique. Each copper dial is stamped before being hand-painted with a very thin brush and Japanese lacquer. The pressure and direction of the brush varies, giving each dial its own unique character. The bi-color dial brings out the extensive polishing work that goes into every Divido case. Ironically, the very bottom part of the case, right under the crown, is covered with black PVD.  This is a nod to the Sallaz polishing technique used by Minase.  Sallaz polishing is also called Saratzu or black polishing because the brilliance is so perfect the surface can sometimes look black.

Why so special?

Minase is unique, both from a design and a technical point of view. Each watch is built using the MORE structure (Minase Original Rebuilt Equation). MORE is inspired by traditional Japanese wooden puzzles. Unlike common bracelets, there are no pinholes on the links, which creates a compact design and provides extreme flexibility. Since a large number of parts can be disassembled, repair or replacement is easy. Minase utilizes Sallaz polishing,  a technique that only a few craftsmen have mastered. This delicate work requires about 50 individual processes, meaning it takes no less than 15 hours to completely polish a single watch. You can follow the brand on Instagram, subscribe to Minase’s newsletter, or pick-up your very own Minase from the company’s webshop.