The folks over at Fratello remain on something of a hot streak after the release of the extremely limited (and extremely expensive) Louis Moinet chronograph that we told you about just a few weeks ago. The latest watch to come from our counterparts in watch media in the Netherlands is a collaboration with one of our favorite brands on the rise, Minase. Based in the Akita Prefecture of Japan, Minase is a small watchmaker that produces fewer than 500 pieces per year with a focus on applying traditional Japanese craft techniques with plenty of hand-made elements. The new watch seen here, the Fratello x Minase M-3 “Very Peri” takes a unique color and a less common Minase case shape and puts them together for a special “unlimited” edition that anyone can order over the span of a one week time frame.
Predicting the next “breakout” brand is not my forté, but it seems like Minase has been building up a head of steam over the last year, slowly beginning to expose themselves to a wider audience in the United States. They’ve been at the last two Windup Watch Fairs, and it feels like brand awareness is on the rise. Anyone who has had the chance to handle Minase’s watches at Windup (or anywhere else) can attest to the insanely good finishing and attention to detail across every Minase case, as well as the wild creativity frequently on display in their designs. For example, their flagship 7 Windows line uses (you guessed it) seven sapphire crystals embedded into a complex case design that gives you a view of the dial from angles that are impossible with a traditional case construction. The point here is that they offer something that’s genuinely different, and that counts for a lot in today’s ultra crowded watch market where it sometimes feels like we’re stuck in a loop of copy/pasted designs. If you’re reading this and find yourself completely unfamiliar with the brand, definitely check out Zach W’s thorough review of the Minase Divido Urushi to really get a sense of what they’re all about.
The new M-3 seen here, while not one of Minase’s more avant-garde designs, will likely endear itself to those who have already been well acquainted with the brand, as the case is something of a rare bird outside of Japan. The 40mm cushion style case has Sallaz-polished (more commonly known as zaratsu) elements and a clean, classic look that prior to this release was only available in Minase’s home country. The M-3 case is simple on paper but should prove to be an effective example of the quality in manufacturing that Minase is quickly becoming known for in the watch community. It’s also water resistant to 200 meters, making it a very nice under the radar sports watch in a dress watch costume. It keeps time with a Sellita SW200 that has a 42 hour power reserve.
For the dial, Fratello has chosen the winner of this year’s “Pantone Color of the Year” award, a purple shade dubbed “Very Peri.” The dial has a dramatic dégradé sunburst effect that appears bright purple at the dial’s center and closer to black at the outer edges. In photos, the dial appears to have layers of texture worked into it that you can imagine will be constantly playing with the light. The handset, per Fratello, is a custom design meant to evoke the polished case flanks. As is typical of Fratello edition watches, they’ve included a splash of their trademark “Dutch” orange on the second hand tip.
Fratello is no stranger to special edition watches, of course, but this release represents a first for them, and possibly for any watch media outlet, in the way the watch is sold. Rather than limit this M-3 to a specific number, Fratello has pledged to fill every order placed during a one week period, beginning September 6. Deliveries will occur in batches, with the first batch expected in three months, the second three months after that, and so on until all orders are filled. Fratello has also promised to let customers know what their projected wait time is after their purchase, and customers will be given the option to cancel their orders if they deem that wait to be too long.
This type of timed release seems to be gaining traction with small brands who produce limited quantities of watches, and it’s an exciting development to see Fratello get involved with this sales model (they note in their press materials that they’ll continue to release more traditional numbered limited editions as well). A timed release feels like a more equitable way to handle a release like this, as long as wait times aren’t too arduous, or customers don’t have a problem with waiting.
The Fratello x Minase M-3 carries a list price of €2,459.50. More information can be found at Fratello right here.