Japanese watchmaker Minase announced a new variation of its Divido wristwatch with a handmade Urushi and Maki-e dial.
Handcrafted in the Kyoto studio of Megumi Shimamoto — a master of traditional Urushi work — each dial starts with a copper base and requires many hours of work, resulting in a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. The process is intricate and incredibly difficult to execute correctly which is why the price is significantly higher than with previous Divido models.
According to Minase, “Urushi is a special lacquer fabricated from the sap of the Urushi tree, which is native to Japan, China, and Korea. Lacquer sap (which happens to have some pretty nasty toxic qualities in its ‘raw’ state) is frequently used as a lacquer in Japan because of its very resistant properties. Indeed, it contains a resin that becomes very hard, durable, and plastic-like when exposed to moisture and air. Owing to its potential toxicity, it is not the easiest or most forgiving substance to work with. Maki-e is a dial painting technique, that literally means ‘sprinkled picture.’ A painted lacquer base is sprinkled with metal powder, silver in the case of Divido.
After blending and straining the Urushi, the copper base dial is painted with the first layer of lacquer. Then, the silver powder is applied or sprinkled over it with the use of a special wooden tool. Owing to the strong adhesiveness of lacquer when it dries, the powder will remain and harden. Another layer of lacquer, a mixture of blue pigments and transparent Urushi is then applied acting as a seal. The process is repeated twice. After drying, the dials are polished several times enabling the silver powder to shine out. Thereafter, the dials are exposed to sunlight in order to bring out the color to its final shade. Lastly, the Minase logo is printed.”
An outsourced 4Hz automatic ETA 2824 movement with a 38-hour power reserve drives the hours, minutes, central seconds, and date. A custom rotor and elaborated finished enhance the movement appearance, which is visible through the caseback.
The main dial is mounted on top of another layer of metal, that is matte black and contrasts with the sparkly blue Urushi and Maki-e dial. Wide curved and polished luminous indices are applied across both layers. The hands curve with the lines of the dial, and the date has a special 3-day window with an arrow pointing to the current date. A red-tip on the center seconds hand finishes off the gorgeous highly readable dial, topped with a prominent box-shaped sapphire crystal.
The Divido Deep Blue Urushi Silver Maki-e watch comes on a black rubber strap for $5,450 (approx.) or with a stainless steel bracelet for $6,550 (approx.) .