New: Indepedent from Japan: Naoya Hida Type 1B – with hands on impressions of the prototype

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The Japanese have a strong sense of passion and a single minded focus on excellence. Coupled with an eye for detail, and an absence of the “not invented here” attitude, they are usually able to significantly improve on a product or idea. Some say this is the Bushido code in play. So when a new independent announces a watch from Japan, we pay attention and take note. Here, we introduce the new Naoya Hida’s first wristwatch – the NH- Type 1B. With hands-on impressions of the prototype.

I was introduced to Naoya Hida by Masayuki Hirota in Tokyo last year. A quiet gentleman with a great sense of pride and taste, he has been in the watch trade since 1990. He was responsible for introducing F.P. Journe to the Japanese market in 2004, and subsequently worked at Ralph Lauren handling watches for Japan.

Naoya Hida

He was keen to show me the prototype to the Type 1. To cut the story short, we discussed the pros and cons of the design, the finishing and he took the proceedings seriously. It is of great interest that I am now witnessing that he is launching his new watch.

Hida-san and the author. Photographed by M. Hirota at the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo. May 2018.

Naoya Hida NH Type 1B

The design goal was an ultra classical wrist watch which embodies his ideas of old world charm and aesthetics.

The case design is absolutely classical, with beautiful curving lines and excellent old-world proportions. Note the huge crown with 18 edges, which is designed to provide a nice experience while winding the watch. Note also the leaf shaped hands are nicely nuanced, and slightly bent at the end to reduce parallax error.

Hida had envisioned the watch to be from the 1930s to 1950s, and limited the size of the case to 37, though the case sizes of those times were even smaller at 32mm to 35mm for gentlemen’s watches.

The case is sensuously curved at the sides, with a concave bezel and a convex crystal.

Not being a watchmaker himself, he focused on the design, aesthetics and speficications, he partnered with Roku-Roku Sangyo, a company which specializes in micro fine machining. Roku-Roku Sangyo manufactured the first prototype, which I saw in Tokyo, and the partnership continued with suppliers who use the RRS machines. enabled the brand to manufacture high precision components like the concave bezels, the engraved logo on the dial, the leaf hands and other details.

Observe that the bezel is concave, with a lip rising from the edge to a peak before descending to met the convex crystal. Details like this make the Type 1B interesting.

The case, crown and buckle are made from 904L stainless steel. This is the same steel as used by Rolex in their stainless steel watches. Although it is generally viewed that there is no significant and measurable differences in the performance of 904L vs regular 316L steel, the alloy is limited in supply and known for being more difficult to process.

The tang buckle is traditionally designed.

The dial is made of a piece of massive German Silver with the hour markers in Breguet style Arabic numerals which are hand engraved. The engraved parts are then filled with synthetic urushi (cashew) to create contrast.

The markings on the dial are hand engraved, and the infilled with urushi.
The small seconds sub-dial is located at the edge of the dial. The choice of the 7750’s 30mm movement diameter allows for this to occur in a case which is 37mm in diameter.

The movement is based on a Valjoux 7750 which is not visible as the case back is closed. As such the finishing on the movement cannot be judged.

The solid case back. According to Hida, this is a nod to the closed backs of wrist watches of the 1930s and 1950s in which the Type 1B is modeled after.

The base 7750 is modified by removing the chronograph and automatic winding mechanism, and was selected because there are very few ebauches which are relatively easy to procure with a small seconds at 9 o’clock.

As a result of the removal of these major components of the 7750, the barrel and balance bridges are replaced with new ones. A new winding system is put in place, and Hida wanted a winding click which gives the traditional feel of classical watches. The huge crown with 18 edges assist in the winding effort. The prototype I wound certainly evoked that feel. Nice and smooth, but with each click as satisfying as the next.

Naoya Hida NH Type 1 Specifications

Cal. 3019SS Manual winding
Diameter 30mm(14 Line)
Thickness 4.3mm
Frequency 28,800/h (8beat/Sec – 4Hz)
Jewels 19
Power reserve Around 45hour
※Newly designed main and balance bridge, clock, click spring for pursuing a comfortable winding comfort.

Diameter 37mm
Thickness 9.8mm
Material Stainless Steel(904L)
Glass Curved sapphire

Dial, Hands:
Dial material German Silver
Brand logo Engraving by Ultra High-Precision and High-Speed Micro Fine
Machining Center.
Minute, Second scale Engraving by Ultra High-Precision and High-Speed Micro Fine
Machining Center. The ring part of the dial outer periphery incorporates a separate component.
Index Hand engraved by skilled craftsman
Inked by cashew (Synthetic Japanese Urushi) Brand logo,
index and scale.
Hands material Steel
Finish of hands Blue steel by heat treatment
Bending by hand to the tip of the minute hand to match the
minute scale.
Pin buckle:
Material Stainless Steel(904L)
Leather strap size 20mm – 16mm