INTRODUCING: The Minase 7 Windows Hakose Urushi collectionFergus Nash
For me, Minase are one of the few brands who can beat Grand Seiko in their level of artful dials, finishing quality and ingenuity. In addition, their originality extends to their case design as well. Add in their reasonably low prices, and this Japanese brand is probably one of the best value options out there in the luxury watch world right now. The latest example of their expertise is an extension of the Minase 7 Windows collection, which gets its name from the various chunks of sapphire surrounding the case, now with elaborate hand-painted Urushi dials.
With the main goal of allowing light to penetrate the outer case, each side of the watch has a specially machined piece of sapphire crystal that follows the intricate curves. It also lets you look at the structure of the watch from previously unseen angles, exploring more fully the “case within a case” concept that Minase pride themselves on. Instead of a dial in the traditional sense, the movement is cased, decorated to look like a dial, and then suspended within the larger case with four screws that present the watch like an artwork in an exhibition. That also gives the watch 50m of water resistance, which may not be enough to comfortably swim with, but it’s definitely more than the 30m you may expect from a luxury art watch like this.
To call the watch square would be doing it a disservice, as the extreme facets of the rectangular shape give quite a fluid impression of the rigid style. It almost has a pillowy quality, with the front-facing surfaces being polished for a softer look as the case ends are brushed. Minase were definitely conscious of making the 7 Windows an agreeable size, so the 38mm width and 47mm case length will comfortably fit the majority of wrists. Considering the depth required to include 7 Windows of sapphire, a 13mm thickness is actually quite modest too.
Although we’ve established that the dial is actually part of the case construction, there’s still a lot to dissect with the Minase 7 Windows. The references are now split into two series – the Regular Series and the new Hakose Urushi Series. The former focuses on traditional sunburst finishes in blue, grey, black and ice blue that are truly lavish from any angle, especially when so much light can play off the dial thanks to the windows. These dials also feature a large cutout for the date display in the lower right quarter, showing off a black and white alternating date wheel. Paired with a steel case, the cool tones on the dials give off a bright, yet soothing energy.
The Hakose Urushi Series are freshly included in the Minase Masterpiece collection, comprising their absolute pinnacle of artisanal output. Of course, you can’t have a masterpiece without a mastermind, and that’s where Junichi Hakose comes in. As an expert of Wajima lacquerware, he has collaborated with Minase to create four unique and handmade dials that integrate different colours and metallic powders into lacquers, slowly layering and building up to an overall image. The first of these is called the Four Seasons, and the dial takes a collage approach to showcasing different elements of Japanese nature arranged in the Ichimatsu style.
The Komon, a common pattern found on kimonos and tableware, is shown as a split between flowers, petals and leaves. It’s hard to believe this was done by hand with a small brush, but that just goes to show the time and patience that goes into creating these artworks. The Yoshino Sakura and the Yama Sakura both take different approaches to showing the variety and beauty of cherry blossoms, flourishing in a medley of colours and sizes.
Visible from the display caseback of the Minase 7 Windows is the KT7002 movement, a high end calibre based on the ETA 2892-A2. The skeletonised winding rotor has an electrifying pattern, letting you see the varying kinds of surface finishing that has been applied to the movement as decoration. It has all of the specifications you would expect from a Swiss movement, with 50 hours of power reserve and a 4Hz beat rate.
The Minase 7 Windows Hakose Urushi collection pricing and availability:
The Minase 7 Windows Hakose Urushi collection is available from the Minase website now. Price: $5,500 USD (Regular on bracelet) / $4,300 USD (Regular on strap) / $18,600 USD (Regular with 18k gold case on strap) / $14,550 USD (Hakose on leather) / $15,700 USD (Hakose on bracelet) / $28,950 USD (Hakose with 18k gold case on strap)
|Case Dimensions||38mm x 47mm x 13mm|
|Case Material||Steel or 18K Gold|
|Dial||Blue, Ice Blue, Grey, Black, Urushi Lacquer|
|Strap||Steel bracelet or leather strap|
|Power Reserve||50 hours|
|Price||$4,300 USD – $28,950 USD|