The origin and pride. Minase's logo is designed in the motif of a step drill, which is the basis of the brand's watchmaking history.

Kyowa Co. Ltd

MINASE belongs to Kyowa Co., Ltd., a cutting tool manufacturer founded in 1963. The company first handled precision drills for metal machining and its expertise in drill manufacturing and metal cutting fastly caught the attention of watch manufacturers.

 

At the time, there were no drills in Japan that could make precise concentric stepped holes and that were highly wear-resistant. So Kyowa started to make its original step drills that have ever since been used for efficient, precise metal machining in various industries.

 
 Kyowa expanded its watch business from drilling to case cutting/forging, bracelet manufacturing, and polishing.

Kyowa expanded its watch business from drilling to case cutting/forging, bracelet manufacturing, and polishing.

Entering the watch manufacturing industry...

Kyowa then started producing drills that could make a crown hole at one time.  Taking advantage of its original step drills, Kyowa entered the watch manufacturing industry and started the business of manufacturing watch cases in parallel of the tool business.  The brand created its own drills and jigs to meet the machining requirements of watch manufacturers’ designs. With every passing day, Kyowa gained more and more experience in the industry, the brand came to produce increasingly complicated watches.

...to become excellent

Later, Kyowa started to manufacture cases not only for mass-produced watches, but also for high-quality ones, including those of world-famous watch manufacturers. High-quality watches require high-precision machining and fine finishing.  Kyowa mastered intricate polishing techniques. Beginning by doing work for others, Kyowa’s pride as a tool manufacturer eventually drove it to become an expert watchmaker. 

 
 
 
 
 We had tools, we could make cases, we had carried out OEM of finished products. But we still wanted to make our ideal watches.

We had tools, we could make cases, we had carried out OEM of finished products. But we still wanted to make our ideal watches.

In 2005, Kyowa decided to establish its own new brand, the brand name MINASE. comes from the place where the workshop is located, in Akita Prefecture. Minase looks rather like the Vallee de Joux, which is known as the birthplace of the Swiss watch industry. The snowy, remote location of Minase geographically restricts its residents, but it also increases their patience, which is essential for craftsmen. 

Having developed excellent tools and jigs, manufacturing know-how, and skilled craftsmen, Kyowa decided that with MINASE they would create their ideal watches, ones  that could be treasured for more than 100 years. This is how MINASE was born. 

 
 
 
 In 2017, the original movement was completed, and we will continue to line up models incorporating this high-precision Swiss mechanism.

In 2017, the original movement was completed, and we will continue to line up models incorporating this high-precision Swiss mechanism.

The know-how accumulated through case manufacturing is still alive at MINASE today. Sallaz polishing, a substrate preparation technique for cases, is just one example. MINASE has learned the Sallaz polishing technique which is unique to Japanese high-quality watches through manufacturing the exterior of high-quality watches. Thus, by meeting the challenging demands of watch manufacturers, the brand became a general watch manufacturer in 1996, engaged in design, development, and manufacturing.

Starting from the Master Craft Series in 2005, Minase completed its goal with the HiZ Series in 2011. The complex design employing the MORE structure, Sallaz polishing, case-in-case structure, etc. requires many exterior parts and makes manufacturing extremely complex. And yet the brand was determined to embody the spirit of “Japanese monozukuri” (Japanese art of making things) with its HiZ Series.