Many of us tend to overlook the fact that the realm of high-end watchmaking extends far beyond the Swiss Jura mountains. In addition to Switzerland, Germany and Japan also hold their place of prominence in this arena. Among the Japanese independent brands, Naoya Hida occupies a prominent position at the forefront. Established in 2018, Naoya Hida & Co. is a Tokyo-based watch atelier that embodies the passion and expertise of its founder, Hida-san. Having previously served as a representative for esteemed brands like F.P. Journe and Ralph Lauren in Japan, Hida-san brings a wealth of experience to his newly founded independent brand, as he sought to create highly limited timepieces that fuse classical design inspiration with modern technical proficiency. The result? Simple timepieces that are finished to a very, very high level, like the now sold-out NH Type 2B we have on offer here today.
Beginning with the case, the Type 2B showcases an elegant Calatrava styling reminiscent of the 20th century, measuring a modest 37mm x 10.7mm and meticulously crafted from 904L stainless steel, which was chosen by Naoya Hida due to its exceptional corrosion-resistant properties. Although the case may appear understated from afar, its undeniably impeccable craftsmanship and finishing would reveal itself when observed up close, reflecting Naoya Hida’s dedication to achieving an exceptional level of quality with this particular reference.
Moving on to the dial, the Type 2B exemplifies a design that exhibits a harmonious blend of vintage charm and Japanese craftsmanship. Crafted from German silver that has been micro bead-blasted and satin-finished, the dial features a stepped design with three distinct layers consisting of the outer periphery with the minute track, the middle chapter ring with the six Arabic numerals (12, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10) and hour markers, as well as the centre portion which hosts a set of polished baton hands and blued-steel seconds hand. If you look closer, you will notice that the hour markers possess a captivating glossy sheen. This lustrous effect is achieved by carefully filling them with a synthetic lacquer called ‘Cashew’.
As far as the movement within is concerned, the Type 2B is powered by a highly modified ETA Cal. 7750 movement, specifically adapted here as the manual-winding Cal. 3020CS. Several notable modifications have been made to this ETA calibre, including the removal of the self-winding mechanism, the chronograph components as well as the sub-seconds to accommodate an indirect centre seconds mechanism. Additionally, a new winding click spring was introduced here to resemble the tactile winding feel reminiscent of vintage movements. The Cal. 3020CS also offers a power reserve of 45 hours.
To me, Naoya Hida embodies the very essence of what makes the Japanese approach to artisanal craftsmanship and independent horology so captivating. Their fanatical level of attention to the smallest of details and the ability to take something seemingly simple and elevate it to the highest level of artistry is truly remarkable. It is a testament to their unwavering commitment to excellence and their deep understanding of the intricacies of their craft. Also, in a world where mass production often dominates, witnessing the work of a small independent watch atelier like Naoya Hida is truly refreshing.
It is worth noting that only approximately 10 pieces of the NH Type 2B were produced between 2021 and 2022.