Home / Reviews / MINASE 5 WINDOWS VM03


A masterpiece of contemporary design and uncompromisingly meticulous attention to detail, the 5 Windows VM03 by Japan-based independent watch manufacturer Minase, is an exceptional wristwatch whose unique in-house HiZ case-in-case concept is displayed like a museum exhibit within a case of sculpted metal and sapphire glass.

Based in the Akita Prefecture, Minase was established in 2005 as the offspring company of specialist tool and watch case manufacturer, Kyowa Co Ltd, which for years had been supplying its products to a number of large watch brands. Using its own highly skilled artisanal craftspeople, Minase has infused all of its know-how into its portfolio of modern classic timepieces, which are distinctive, distinguished and fabulously stylish.

With its futuristic architecture of sculpted skeletal metal and sapphire glass panels, the 5 Windows is a watch of striking aesthetics and three dimensional visual depth. Its form is rectangular in essence, but with lines which flow gracefully, and surfaces of highly polished and coarse grained finishes which curve towards sharply defined edges, it is shapeless yet outstandingly beautiful in its execution and appearance.

Manufactured in stainless steel, palladium or in 18ct gold, and measuring 38mm across, 51mm in length and 12mm tall, the 5 Windows has an ergonomic profile which hugs the wrist in comfort, and is beautifully engineered and finished throughout.

At the heart of the 5 Windows is the novel Minase HiZ ‘case-in-case’ concept, which is a central capsule which contains the movement and dial. Visible through the sapphire panels on either side of the case, the capsule appears to be suspended in isolation within the space of the watch case, an illusion which is magnified by the distorted effect of the box-like edges of the sapphire crystal on top.

The gently domed sapphire glass reveals a minimally styled display. Here, a ring of polished steel hour indices is attached to the dial base, and reach from the rim of the dial to the inside of the case, enhancing the three dimensional aspect of the façade. The hour and minute hands are polished with luminous inlays giving optimal legibility in all light environs, and both the minute and seconds hand arcuate, following the contour of the inverted pan-like dial. Within the wide recessed cutaway between the three and six o’clock positions, the date disc indicates the current date via a line at its mid point, while also showing the preceding and subsequent numbers.

Inside the case-in-case container, the Minase KT7001/1 self winding movement is based on a premium grade Swiss ETA 2824 calibre, and runs at a brisk 28’800 vib/h with a power reserve of a minimum 38 hours. The mechanism has been taken apart at Minase where it has been refinished by hand, with perlage decoration to the bridges and plates. The solid metal caseback features a sapphire glass porthole through which the movement and the detailing can be appreciated.

With the company’s entire annual production limited to approximately five hundred pieces, the 5 Windows is a watch which is always going to be exclusive and highly individual. Boasting the uncompromisingly meticulous standards of Japanese artisanal craftsmanship with cutting edge manufacturing techniques, it fuses tradition with modernity in truly spectacular style. It is presented on either a hand stitched alligator leather strap with folding clasp (gold/palladium), or on a stainless steel bracelet (steel).


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