Having founded his eponymous brand after spending most of his career in luxury-watch retail in Japan, Naoya Hida is now introducing his third model (after the Type 1 and Type 2). The NH Type 3A is retains the aesthetic of his earlier watches, but is set apart with its hand-engraved, 18k-gold moon phase.
The Type 3A is very much like Mr Hida’s earlier models – classically styled in the manner of early 20th century gentlemen’s wristwatches, right down to details like the case proportions and engraved numerals. It’s an old-school look, but a good one, especially when executed with the meticulously high level of attention to detail that Mr Hida’s watches exhibit.
But the Type 3A is a little bit more interesting – and also more expensive – than the brand’s earlier watches because of its moon phase. Solid-gold and hand-engraved, the moon phase adds a little bit of romance to an otherwise serious design, making the Type 3A more whimsical than its predecessors. That makes it more appealing, while still being recognisable as one of Mr Hida’s creations.
The Type 3A costs ¥2.64 million, or about US$24,000. It’s a steep price, and arguably worth it given the exceptional quality of components and finishing. The only shortcoming is perhaps the fact that the movement inside is based on the Valjoux 7751, which has nevertheless been so extensively modified it’s almost impossible to recognise as a 7751. While not a screaming bargain, the Type 3A is honestly priced and an acceptable value proposition.
Extra thick in order to give the engraving depth, the dial is made of German silver, the type of brass that’s more often used for movement bridges and plates. The Roman numerals for the hours are hand engraved, while the rest of the markings are engraved by machine. All of the markings, Roman numerals included, are then filled with black synthetic lacquer, giving them a glossy, indelible finish.
Like the dial, the hands are twice as thick as conventional hands for the same visual effect. They are milled from a bar of steel, and then heat blued by hand.
But the most noteworthy detail on the dial is the moon phase disc, which is 18k yellow gold and hand engraved with stars. The moon is actually a separate piece that’s also hand engraved before being inlaid into the disc.
The moon display is conveniently set via the crown, by pulling it out to the first position as one would set the date in a conventional movement.
The case is 904L stainless steel, a more corrosion-resistant alloy than the 316L steel most commonly used in watches.
Mr Hida has cited 1930s watches like the Patek Philippe Calatrava as an inspiration, and this looks the part. At 37 mm wide by 10.7 mm high – with relatively wide 20 mm lugs – it has the proportions of a vintage wristwatch. Notably, the bezel is rounded, polished, and concave, a style rarely seen on modern watches.
The Type 3A is powered by the cal. 3021LU that’s derived from the cal. 3019SS found in the Type 1. It is based on the Valjoux 7751, which is the 7750 with a triple calendar – and a moon phase at six o’clock.
Amongst the modifications done is the three-quarter plate on the top, along with a redesigned winding click that gives the movement a winding feel similar to a vintage calibre.
Key Facts and Price
Naoya Hida & Co. NH Type 3A
Diameter: 37 mm
Height: 10.7 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 30 m
Movement: Cal. 3021LU
Functions: Hours, minutes, and moon phase
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 45 hours
Strap: Calfskin with pin buckle
Limited edition: Between 5-10 pieces before replacement by Type 3B
Availability: Direct from Naoya Hida & Co. starting April 20, 2021
Price: ¥2.64 million, including 10% tax (equivalent to US$24,000)
For more, visit Naoyahidawatch.com.
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