Minase Uruga 42 and Uruga 31Jamie Weiss
- The new Uruga collection is a shift from the Japanese brand’s angular designs
- It features a unique sandwiched case design with Sallaz-polished elements
- A modified ETA movement powers the collection
The luxury sports watch is simultaneously the most coveted and hotly contested category in all of horology, so it takes something different to break through the noise. Enter the Uruga, independent watchmaker Minase’s take on the popular luxury sports watch formula: a neo-futuristic and distinctly Japanese piece that diverges from Minase’s typical boxy oeuvre while demonstrating why this is a brand you ought to pay attention to.
According to Minase, “Uruga” is a portmanteau of the Japanese words “uruwashii” (which means “poetic” or “beautiful”) and “myabi” (the kanji of which is pronounced “ga” and means “elegance”), and its case design is inspired by traditional gem-setting methods. Fittingly, the Uruga’s case features a novel and quite elegant clamped structure, with the clamps forming part of the watch’s bezel, visible at 2, 4, 8 and 10 o’clock. These clamps, like the rest of the Uruga’s case, feature a combination of Sallaz, or mirror-polished surfaces, a hallmark of fine Japanese watchmaking.
The clamp motif continues on the Uruga’s bracelet, which similarly features Sallaz-polished centre links that contrast against brushed main links. The bracelet is very Royal Oak-esque – although, unlike that famous watch, the Uruga does not feature an integrated bracelet. Indeed, the Uruga is available on Japanese-made, colour-matched leather straps, if the bracelet isn’t to your taste.
The Uruga’s dial, however, features a novel finish that’s quite unlike other pieces on the market. Really, it’s two finishes in one: a base finish of interlacing lines underpins a horizontally embossed gradated wave pattern, which Minase explains is reminiscent of the waves of the Minase River – the watercourse that inspired the brand’s name. Naturally, the ‘hero’ dial colour for the Uruga is blue, but there are also grey and green dials available for the larger 42mm model, while the smaller 31mm model comes in blue, pink or champagne. Additionally, the Uruga 31 is available in two-tone steel and rose gold (Minase hasn’t made it clear what kind of rose gold that is, whether it’s solid or PVD or so on), and all Uruga 31 models feature diamond indices for odd-numbered indices.
Both the 42 and 31 feature ETA-derived movements that have been customised by Minase, featuring hand-finished surfaces with perlage, bridges with diamond-polished bevels, main plates and bridge in black gold, and blued screws and unique rotors with the Minase ‘screw’ logo. The KT/7002 movement in the Uruga 42, which is based on the ETA 2892, also features a slightly longer power reserve than its ETA base movement (50 hours vs. 42 hours). It’s interesting that Minase uses ETA movements instead of ebauches from a Japanese manufacturer like Miyota or Seiko – a reflection of how they like to do things differently from other Japanese watch brands.
The Uruga is an interesting beast, as it’s the most conventionally styled of Minase’s watches – yet it’s by no means purely conventional, nor is it unmemorable. Sporty and distinct yet versatile and rather Japanese, it’s an intriguing new luxury sports watch contender.
Minase Uruga pricing and availability
The Minase Uruga collection is available now for purchase. Price: starting from CHF 4,350 (Uruga 42), starting from CHF 4,150 (Uruga 31)
|Model||Uruga 42||Uruga 31|
|Case Dimensions||42mm (D) x 10.2mm (T) x 48mm (LTL)||31mm (D) x 9.9mm (T) x 39mm (LTL)|
|Case Material||Stainless steel||Stainless steel, two-tone stainless steel and rose gold|
|Water Resistance||50 metres (5 bar)||50 metres (5 bar)|
|Crystal(s)||Sapphire front and back||Sapphire front and back|
|Dial||Embossed wave pattern in blue, grey or green||Embossed wave pattern in blue, champagne or pink
Genuine diamonds on odd-numbered indices
|Weight||86 g on leather, 160 g on metal||50 g on leather, 85 g on metal|
|Strap||Colour-matched leather strap, stainless steel bracelet||Colour-matched leather strap, stainless steel bracelet|
|Movement||KT/7002 (base ETA 2892), customised by Minase||KT/8001/2 (base ETA 2671), customised by Minase|
|Power Reserve||50 hours||38 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, seconds, date||Hours, minutes, seconds, date|
|Availability||Available now||Available now|
|Price||CHF4,350 (steel on leather)
CHF5,550 (steel on bracelet)
|CHF4,150 (steel on leather)
CHF5,050 (steel on bracelet)
CHF4,350 (two-tone on leather)
CHF5,350 (two-tone on bracelet)