Hands-on Minase Divido – An Original Design From Japan

Taking a close look at Minase’s flagship and only round-shaped model.

calendar | Group 3 By Xavier Markl | ic_query_builder_black_24px 3 minute read |
Minase Divido Japanese Watch Hands-On

If the Swiss watch industry dominates the high-end mechanical watch market, the Land of the Rising Sun manufactures some seriously good and interesting mechanical watches too. Among the Japanese makers is Minase, a niche brand standing out for the originality of its watches – read our Minase introductory article here. Based in the province of Akita, in the North of Japan, Minase produces some 500 watches per year. It was founded in 2005 as part of Kyowa and Co., a Japanese specialist tool maker. From its expertise in manufacturing tools and metal work, Kyowa crafted watch parts and then watches.

Among the Minase collections, the Divido stands out as being the only round watch. But like all other Minase models, it features a truly original design philosophy. Magnified by meticulous finishing techniques, its elaborate architecture is based on an unusually high number of parts and distinctive technical solutions.

Minase’s flagship model, the Divido is a 40.5mm steel three-hander. An 8-piece construction, the complex case features 4 lugs screwed from the back of the watch – which holds all the parts together. The profile of the case is particularly striking with the separation between the upper and lower sections, dividing the case in two (the name of the watch, Divido, is derived from that particularity). The finishing of the angular case and its parts is rather spectacular, culminating with the black polishing technique known as Sallaz.

Under the domed sapphire box crystal, the dial literally seems to be floating. Minase watches are constructed around an original concept of case-in-case architecture. The movement is housed in a container, with no dial in the traditional sense of the word.  It is sandwiched in between an “index ring” and the casing ring. This creates the impression of a suspended structure within the case, bringing a striking sense of depth, reinforced by the three-dimensional indexes and the bent hands.

The lacquered dial is hammered copper with changing reflections, almost as if was mother-of-pearl. A large cut-out displays the date at 3 o’clock. Three different colours are available: white, black or blue.

Minase Divido Japanese Watch Hands-On

Powering the Minase Divido is an automatic calibre based on the tried-and-tested ETA 2824. As such it will be a reliable ally, running at 4Hz and offering 38 hours of power reserve when fully wound. Still, if the finishing of the vast majority of ETA 2824 movements is rather minimalist, Minase customizes it with hand-polishing and perlage on the plate and the bridges.

Minase Divido Japanese Watch Hands-On

The Minase Divido is worn on a patterned leather strap or a steel bracelet closed by a folding buckle. Just like the case, the architecture and the finishing of the steel bracelet are surprisingly elaborate. There are no pinholes on the side of the bracelet but screws visible underneath. Each segment is screwed individually (and can be disassembled). It is remarkably articulated, hence flexible and comfortable on the wrist.

Minase Divido Japanese Watch Hands-On

With its original construction and elaborate case finishing, the Minase Divido is a watch like no other. I can thoroughly recommend that you go hands-on with it, if only just to check it out in person. Price is set at CHF 3,300 in steel on rubber, CHF 3,580 in black PVD-steel on rubber and CHF 4,680 in steel on a steel bracelet. For more information, please visit www.minasewatches.ch.

9 responses

  1. Un calibre básico, con amortiguador Novodiac, Se esmeran por la caja y el dial y que memos el precio, los relojes por ese precio tiene que tener un calibre más elegante.

  2. Yup not only the above but also it’s kind of sad that a Japanese watch can’t use a Japanese movement (refinished, modified, etc.). It’s not as though Miyota (9015, 9039) and Seiko (NH35, NE15) to quote a few, were witholding the goods… Lovely case and style, that said.

  3. With Denis D here, specially as my NH35 and Miyota 9015 watches run BETTER than my ETAs.. funny you should mention the Sallaz black polishing in the article, as the Grand Seiko Zaratsu is a Japanese transcribing of the word Sallaz.. from the swiss polishing machine ????????????????of that producer. What? Sallaz!? A new technique!

  4. Funny how that racism always leaks out isn’t it?
    RGM: AMERICAN HOROLOGICAL GENIUS!
    Minase: booh! Hiss!
    It’s chuffing pathetic.

  5. I do not see any problem with ETA movements, these are reliable and can be repaired anywhere by virtually any watchmaker… and by the way, that Divido is really nicely crafted.

  6. Thank you for taking the time to read about Minase.

    The choice of Swiss ETA 2824 as a movement to drive Minase timepieces may come as a surprise to you. Brand history is the reason behind the choice:  established 20 years ago in Japan and selling exclusively to the domestic market until 2018, Swiss movements are perceived in Japan as high quality movements, surely better than Japanese ones. The best of 2 worlds in a way… The second reason is customer service and reliability: ETA 2824 can be serviced by any watch dealer across the country and spare parts are easily accessible.

    Contrary to most watch brands, Minase focuses to the components more than the movement itself. Indeed, rare and authentic products, Minase produces by hand less than 300 pieces a year, most of them sold in Japan. Minase focuses on the aesthetics. Minase is a blend between technology and traditional craftsmanship of Japan where the watches are assembled by passionate artisans which make every watch a story to tell.

    Kelly Henriksen @ H-Development of Switzerland, the international sales and marketing agent for Minase timepieces

  7. No Japanese movement because the only available movements are flat out ugly and industrial and unsuited for a display back. And not that they are “bad” movements, but they are (the 915 and the NH35) associated with two and three hundred dollar watches. Meanwhile the 2824 has been used in watches at the Minase’s price point and beyond by “big names”. I would imagine that if Seiko allowed the use of one their Grand Seiko movements supplied undecorated and at a decent price, Minase would have readily used one of those.

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