With its three dimensional dial and cool rectangular case, the Horizon VM02 by independent Japanese watch manufacturer Minase is an outstanding watch of truly original design and head turning good looks. Combining traditional Japanese manufacturing values and distinctive contemporary styling, it is a piece which boasts immaculate finishing and intricate detailing throughout, complemented with a hand finished Swiss self winding movement.
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, and with the benefit of its years of in-house expertise in creating components of uncompromisingly high standards, Minase has applied all of its know-how into its portfolio of modern classic timepieces.
The Horizon collection is a superb harmony of subtle yet pronounced angular detailing and gentle curvaceous lines, which soften the profile of the rectangular case. Manufactured in stainless steel, and measuring 38mm across, 51mm in length and 12mm tall, it is an ergonomic design which hugs the wrist in comfort, and is beautifully engineered and finished throughout. Immaculate polished surfaces contrast with grainy brushed finishing and the faceted edges of the bezel and lugs, where they are individually fixed to the case.
Beneath the gently domed sapphire glass the display is minimal yet visually arresting to the eye, thanks to the brand’s unique in-house HiZ design philosophy. The dial is in fact the upper surface of the Minase ‘case in case’ concept, in which the movement is sealed within an inner container, which creates the illusion of the dial floating in suspension. The polished steel hour indices bridge across from the rim of the dial to the inside of the case, accentuating the three dimensional effect of the overall display. The hour and minute hands are also polished, with luminous inlays for optimal legibility in all light environs, and both the minute and second hand are bent down at their ends, to follow the contour of the inverted pan-like dial. The date is displayed at the three o’clock position through a triangular wedge-shaped aperture, showing the preceding and subsequent numbers as well as the current date.
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 steel caseback features a sapphire glass porthole through which the movement and the detailing can be appreciated.
Overall, the Horizon VM02 is a piece of meticulous design and execution. It is distinctively different so as to stand out from the masses, and with its elaborate multi-part case and dial, and hand assembled components it is superbly put together. Available on the choice of rubber strap or stainless steel link bracelet, it is an icon of cool, modernistic styling, and from a small Japanese company which currently manufactures no more than five hundred pieces per year, a watch which is individual and exclusive.