The Japanese watchmaking landscape is dominated by renowned heavyweights like Seiko, Grand Seiko, Citizen and Orient. But connoisseurs should also know Minase - a small independent brand impressing with its dedication to quality metalworking and finishing.

Minase debuted in 2005 as an offshoot of Kyowa Co., a precision tool manufacturer creating complex components since 1963. With no factory in Japan able to produce the intricate concentric holes Kyowa’s products required, they engineered their own specialized drill bits. These proprietary machining techniques proved useful supplying parts to various industries, including watchmaking giants.



Capitalizing on this expertise, Minase emerged as an in-house watch producer focused on metal craftsmanship. Their watches highlight complex case designs, ornamental finishing, and convex dials that showcase the family company’s legacy.

Minase’s newest Horizon series model clearly reflects the brand’s strengths. The Horizon collection features curved rectangular cases and wide horizontally-oriented date windows. Appositely named Horizon GEN DLC, this limited edition channels the Japanese kanji character “玄” meaning darkness via an all-black DLC-coated case.

Promising comfort at 38mm x 51mm dimensions, the steel case melds satin and polished finishing. Integrated lugs slope ergonomically while a conforming sapphire crystal completes the flowing architecture. Visually, the bent hands perfectly match the curved dial, also rendered black. A drill-shaped icon at 12 o’clock nods to Kyowa's toolmaking history.



Inside, Minase outfits the Swiss ETA 2892-2 with custom black plating, perlage, engraved rotor, and hand-finished bridges. Besides boosting the power reserve to 50 hours, they’ve imbued the base caliber with unique identity.

Strictly limited to 25 pieces, the Minase Horizon GEN DLC debuts internationally March 2024 at the District Time exhibition in Washington DC.

As a whole, Minase is admirably carving their niche instead of mimicking the mainstream. The Horizon GEN DLC exemplifies their avant-garde case work and independent spirit. For devotees of offbeat designs from rising watchmakers, Minase warrants attention. When major industry players rely on them for critical components, that says volumes about Minase’s capabilities.


Image Sources: @minasewatches on IG

February 27, 2024 — Jeremiah A