Minase Divido – Japanese Perfection
The Minase Divido
There’s a lot to be said about polishing. I know, I know, it’s not the sexiest part of watchmaking. In a world of multi-axis tourbillons and moon phases accurate for a handful of millennia, the humble craft of a well-polished piece of metal seems a little underwhelming.
On the other hand, it’s an aspect of finishing that some serious brands like to focus on. Greubel Forsey are always talking about their mirror surfaces and Grand Seiko’s emphasis on traditional Japanese polishing is one of the things that really sets them apart. The same goes in no small way for Minase.
Minase made their name with their machining skill, first building precise drill bits, then moving to outsourced cases and now into the success story that is their eponymous watch brand. There are two things that have come to define them: the first is their case-in-case construction, the second is their unique Sallaz polishing – often better known as Zaratsu polishing. Both are self-evident in the exceptional Divido.
The Divido is a watch you really need to see in the flesh to appreciate. You can see that case-in-case construction from images of course, and the way the indexes secure the dial to the outer case. It’s a unique approach, showing gaps to either side of the dial for a semi-skeletal look. What you only get the barest hint of however is the polishing.
Minase’s Sallaz polishing is, funnily enough, Swiss in its roots. It involves first forging the cases then hand-polishing them to an almost impossibly precise degree before using standard buff polishing. The result is a perfect mirrored surface.
To show this off, the Divido case has 14 individual facets, each offering its own mirror surface. It’s unusual to see in a round watch, but worth the effort (provided I don’t need to do the polishing of course). Cheesy as it sounds, the play of light across those facets is like nothing else. It’s subtle rather than showy but it’s also beautiful, from the concave case band to the elongated lugs.
The polishing isn’t the only part of the watch with Swiss roots; rather than opting for a Seiko or another Japanese movement, Minase instead equipped the Divido with an ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. It’s reliable, if not exactly prestigious, a workhorse rather than a show horse. Even so, Minase has embellished the movement with almost as much care and attention as the case.
Set on a rubber strap – itself with an unusual textured pattern, because by this point plain rubber just won’t do – the Divido is the answer to the unasked question of why polishing matters. Even without the unique dial/case structure it would be an impressive piece; with, it’s on my own personal wishlist.
Minase will be joining us at the Watchmakers Club event on the 24th of June in Canary Wharf, London.
- Model: Minase Divido VM04 Rubber Model
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 40.5mm; height 12mm; water resistance 5ATM (50 metres); box-shaped sapphire crystal to front; sapphire caseback.
- Functions: hours; minutes; central sweep seconds; date
- Movement: ETA 2824-2; automatic movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 25 jewels; power reserve 42 hours.
- Strap: Black rubber strap (EPDM) paired with a steel deployant.
- Price: CHF 3,580 including Swiss VAT (7.7%)
Images by AC-Cooper