The world of watches and watchmaking in general isn’t limited to a small portion of the Swiss Jura mountains. In this respect, Japan is a country with a solid watch culture and a strong industry, gathering some of the most important brands around, such as Seiko (and all of its sub-brands) and Citizen. There’s also a highly impressive independent watchmaking scene to be explored in Japan. One of the most respected indies is, without a doubt, Naoya Hida. And today, it launches its 2022-2023 collection, featuring the 3rd generation case and new designs… with no fewer than 5 new references.
Naoya Hida is a relatively young brand, based in Tokyo, Japan. As explained in our article on the Type3A Moon Phase here, it was founded in 2018 by Mr Naoya Hida, and has followed a strict principle; offer high-end watches in very limited numbers, with a consistent design. Mr Naoya Hida served as a representative for F.P. Journe and Ralph Lauren’s watches and jewellery. Later, in 2020, master watchmaker Mr Kosuke Fujita joined the company and is in charge of watch design and assembly. Mr Kusoke Fujita graduated from the Hiko-Mizuno Watchmaking School in Tokyo in 2002 and is WOSTEP-certified as a first-class watch repair technician. He has experience working at the Seiko Time Lab (former Seiko Service Centre) and F.P. Journe as well, before joining Naoya Hida & Co.
The design offered by Naoya Hida certainly is on the classic side of things, with strong inspiration from 1930s and 1940s dress “Calatrava” watches. Made with impressive attention to detail, with hand-made dials and cases, the production is highly limited – each model is made in about 10 to 20 pieces, before being discontinued and replaced (often improved). The brand has, since its introduction, presented 3 different concepts – each being made in multiple generations. The Type1 is a classic small seconds watch with Breguet numerals and leaf-shaped hands. The Type2 is a slightly more modern, a bit more casual take on the concept, with a central seconds and dials featuring Arabic numerals or markers, with a stepped profile. Finally, the Type3 is an extremely elegant watch with Roman numerals and a moon phase indication.
All the watches produced by Naoya Hida rely on a 37mm steel case (the latter specification is about to evolve… more on that later) with a thin profile, nicely executed finishing and classic “Calatrava-style” 3-part construction. Regarding the mechanics, Naoya Hida plays on the safe side, as the movements are based on Valjoux ébauches that are heavily reworked to become chronograph-less and hand-wound. In short, the beauty of these watches certainly is more on the habillage than on the calibres.
The 2022-2023 Evolution
Naoya Hida works in a very Japanese way… Incremental evolutions are seen on a yearly basis. Mostly, the cases are being reworked in a continuous way, with small touches here and there to make them more elegant, more refined and more comfortable. For this new collection, the Japanese brand has worked on multiple elements, with all 3 collections being impacted by these evolutions.
All models share the same 37mm stainless steel case. Brushed on the sides, polished on flat parts and on the bezel, these have been redesigned with newly shaped lugs that are said to have an even more obvious vintage feel. The construction is typical Calatrava, with a 3-part architecture and lugs that are an integral part of the mid-case.
The main evolution concerns the caseback. Replacing the snap-on backs that have equipped all Naoya Hida models so far, there’s now a newly-designed screwed back with a circular brushed surface, an ode to 1950s and 1960s vintage watches. This new part guarantees a respectable 50m water-resistance (not enough to make them sports watches, but surely giving a bit more confidence on a daily basis).
The NH Type1D
First in line for the new models of the 2022-2023 collection is based on the first watch developed by Naoya Hida, the Type1. Here presented in its D-series evolution, it has a 37mm 904L stainless steel case with a height of 9.8mm and a lug-to-lug of 44mm. The watch benefits from the newly designed case with a screwed caseback and is worn on a subtle grey leather strap, for a monochromatic, restrained design.
The matte German silver dial features hand-carved Breguet numerals, filled with Urushi lacquer, together with dots for the minute track. The small seconds is originally positioned at 9 o’clock – an obvious design element from the Valjoux base movement – and time is indicated by flame-blued leaf-shaped hands. The calibre 3019SS (small seconds) runs at 4Hz and 48h power reserve.
The Naoya Hida NH Type1D will be produced in 20 pieces for the period 2022-2023 and is priced at JPY 2,145,000 (approx. EUR 15,900) with taxes included.
The Nh Type1D-1
The second watch in this new collection is basically the same model as above, with a warmer and more luxurious attire. The Type1D-1 combines a central case and caseback in 904L steel with a polished bezel made out of 18k yellow gold. Dimensions are identical as above, with a 37mm diameter, 9.8mm height and 44mm lug-to-lug. This version, for a warmer look, is worn on a brown leather strap.
In addition to the new bezel, this warmer edition replaces the blue accents with solid gold hands. The dial is still made of German silver with a matte finish and hand-carved Breguet numerals. Inside is the same movement as the classic steel version, and still under a screwed back.
The steel-and-gold Naoya Hida NH Type1D-1 will be produced in 15 pieces for the period 2022-2023 and is priced at JPY 2,695,000 (approx. EUR 20,000) with taxes included.
The NH Type2C
Next for this 2022-2023 collection is an evolution of the brand’s second watch, the Type2. This watch differs from the model 1 in multiple ways. The idea was to offer something more casual, a bit more modern too. Thus, the Type2C relies on the same 37mm case in 904L steel, however a bit thicker due to the modification of the movement, at 10.8mm. The lug-to-lug remains 44mm and the caseback is screwed. Note that the bezel is no more concave but stepped, giving a more angular look to the watch.
As for the dial, again made of matte German silver, the obvious difference is the position of the seconds, now centrally displayed. The dial is also quite different in layout and style, with hand-carved Arabic numerals and baton markers, combined with a railroad minute track. The chapter ring is manufactured as a separate element, and then applied to the dial. The numerals are still filled with Urushi lacquer but the hands are rounded polished stick-shaped, with a blued central seconds. This version is worn on a grey leather strap and powered by the calibre 3020CS (central seconds), also an evolution of the Valjoux base.
The Naoya Hida Type2C will be produced in 10 pieces for the period 2022-2023 and is priced at JPY 2,420,000 (approx. EUR 17,950) with taxes included.
The NH Type2C-1 Lettercutter
Another evocation of the second series, the Type2C-1 Lettercutter is a rather original take on the central seconds watch. While the specifications are identical as the other Type2 above – same 37mm 904L steel case, same movement, same display – the German silver dial is here different, and mostly noticeable due to the specific hand-carved, stylized Arabic numerals. These are here filled with blue cashew lacquer and combined to a brushed minute track.
As you can see on the dial, this watch is dedicated to The Armoury, a Hong Kong-based menswear retailer that also specializes in high-end watches. The Naoya Hida Type2C-1 Lettercutter will be produced in 10 pieces for the period 2022-2023 and is priced at JPY 2,530,000 (approx. EUR 18,800) with taxes included. Only sold at The Armoury.
The NH Type3B Moon
Closing the 2022-2023 collection for Naoya Hida is an evolution of the brand’s latest creation, the series 3 with a moon phase display. Unveiled in April last year, the Type3 retains most attributes of the previous models but adds a layer of elegance and complication. Housed in the 3rd-generation 904L steel case of 37mm with screwed caseback, the height is 10.8mm and the lug-to-lug is also 44mm. The bezel is again different here, with a rounded stepped profile.
The most noticeable evolution compared to previous models is the absence of a second hand, replaced by a moon phase indicator with a solid gold disc at 6 o’clock. Also, the watch used hand-carved Roman numerals and a dot minute track, as well as newly designed blue hands. Compared to the 2021 model, there are some minor updates on the moon aperture – the cutout appears to be narrower – and on the hour chapter ring, with a slightly more pronounced step. Worn on a grey Alcantara strap, it is powered by the calibre 3021LU, this time using the Valjoux 7751 as a base – due to the presence of a moon and calendar complication.
The Naoya Hida Type3B Moon will be produced in 15 pieces for the period 2022-2023 and is priced at JPY 2,860,000 (approx. EUR 21,200) with taxes included.
For more details, please visit naoyahidawatch.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.