Type 1D Naoya Hida
Japanese watchmaking goes so much deeper than Seiko, Grand Seiko, Credor, or even Kurono. Given the media we consume, it’s easy to believe that all dials from Japan are inspired by a single particularly shaped snowflake that landed on Kintarō Hattori’s nose on the 3 of January in 1912. Or that Kurono is cooking up an LE for single mothers only (sorry if that joke is bit niche). And Casio is run by John Mayer. No, scratch at the surface further and you’ll find Kikuchi Nakagawa, fascinating early works of the self-taught Hajime Asaoka, Masahiro Kikuno, or even Norifumi Seki. Now, I’m an ignorant Western gaijin plebeian, but as one who loves many Japanese exports like Hakushu, Muji, and the 787B, Naoya Hida is worth your reading up on.
Naoya Hida, a well-known name in the Japanese watchmaking community as FP Journe’s representative, started his eponymous brand in 2018 with the goal of creating his ideal watch. These watches were not inspired by seasons, but the classics as seen through his own eye. And what an eye he has. Hida-san creates is own fonts, cases, dials, hands, and crowns. The 1D shown here might look vintage Patek at a glance, but if you spent more than a glance investigating its finer attritbutes, you’ll note that everything is considered. Take, for example, the Breguet numerals and minute track, which have a glossy sheen thanks to a lacquer derived from Japanese Urushi tree sap.
I find his ability to perceive and execute in nuance is nigh-on unparalleled, in a completely different way to any other Japanese brand. Most are built on 7750 ébauches with a Germanic 3/4 plate, which drew some heat in the early days. But anyone paying attention knows just how hard designs this successful are. Hida’s work won over fans with alacrity only rivaled by Simon Brette and Tainted Love by Soft Cell. More than could be satisfied, as he makes fewer than three dozen watches per year and there are no plans to scale up soon. This means there are around 20 examples of this NH Type 1D. You can get on a list, but you’ll be waiting five years for yours. On the secondary market, they’re all achieving multiples. Whatever you make of secondhand values, I don’t think one could argue that Hida’s eye is not a valuable addition to the watchmaking world as a whole. These are early years for someone whom I believe is destined for many continued successes.
This example is as if it hasn’t been out of the house. The case (904L) shows nothing. Same with the strap, even. It comes with its full set, from a well-regarded Malaysian retailer. (Also this one is very reasonably priced. I have a feeling it will move quickly. If it does, please be aware that The Keystone also have similar but difference reference in at the moment of writing this).