Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Power of Memory

As I spend the next few months getting ready to hit the half-century mark, I find myself more and more drawn to the past.  Some of it seems like ancient history now.  And some of it bubbles right under the surface, waiting for just the right visceral trigger to bring the memory out.

I grew up in Ohio, went to university in Oregon and spent several years living and working in Europe.  But when I think back on where my life really began?  It was Japan.  Japan was at once foreign, familiar, incredibly organized and maddeningly confusing all at the same time.  As a freshly minted English teacher it was all of that.  And magical.  

Japan was, and continues to be a country that reveres the past while embracing the future.  Japan was undergoing a pretty large transition, where many traditional craftspeople were coming to understand that their (in most cases) sons were not going to carry on in the family craft.  Such was the case with my neighbor Mr. Obara.  His family had been weaving straw hats and bags for generations.  But Mr. Obara the younger had his sights set on computer programming, and I suspect that little corner of Kasukabe is no longer making those things.

Every now and then I come across things that remind me of that time and place - and most of all that feeling.  And the Divido from Minase has managed to hit me with a memory sucker punch -

Courtesy of Minase

Yes, there is Citizen, Seiko, even Grand Seiko... and then there is Minase.

Courtesy of Minase
And what makes Minase special is the attention to the craftsmanship.  The bracelets can be disassembled down to their basic constituent parts.  This ensures that the bracelet parts can be replaced with the actual piece that is needed, rather than necessitating a need to purchase an entirely new bracelet.  
Courtesy of Minase

It also ensures that the bracelet can be adjusted to a more precise fit.

Rather than a nameless facility in Singapore or other place that is NOT Japan, Minase is based well north of Tokyo, in Akita Prefecture.  And this is not just another soulless industrial park.  Blink and you'd think you were in La Chaux-de-Fonds-

Courtesy of Minase
And in a place like this, you'll find real men and women doing real work in a very straightforward way -

Courtesy of Minase

Courtesy of Minase

Courtesy of Minase

Courtesy of Minase
While I have not seen or held one in person just yet, I am anxious to.  The care, time and effort that goes into the Minase Divido is unique in a place where volume for value is perhaps a growing misnomer.  More and more, for me at least, I am not so interested in the latest development from the big dogs.  I am more and more interested in something that I LIKE, not something that I like because I am bombarded with images and messages telling me that I should.  And I've lived long enough and seen enough to know what like.  And I like the Minase Divido.

Courtesy of Minase
Here are the pertinents, straight from the source -

Stainless steel 316L. Domed box type sapphire crystal ( non reflective coating ) on top, see-through sapphire case back. Water resistant up to 50 meters ( 5 ATM ).
Diameter : 40.5 mm. Thickness : 12.0 mm. Weight : 110 / 150 g.


KT7001/1, automatic, power reserve 38 hours, Swiss ebauches, customized by MINASE with hand polishing and « perlage » on plates and bridges.


HiZ concept with individual components assembled to form a 3-dimensional dial. Together with the movement and the hands, this structure consists an independent entity inside the case.

Hours, minutes and central second hands. Date at 4.


Rubber ( EPDM ) with stainless steel deployment clasp or solid stainless steel execution featuring MORE concept.

Deployment buckle with steel side pushers.

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