A unique aspect of the Divido, and other Minase watches, is how the dial and movement integrate with the case. The movement holder is part of the case and is essentially a pillow-shaped capsule suspended at its corners. The dial is the top of this capsule but is also a three-dimensional construction that reaches down its sides. Since there is space left around portions of the capsule, you can see this construction. Much like the outer case, a component we take for granted as something relatively simple, made quite complex.
Looking from the top the dial appears as three distinct areas: the center, the outer ring, and the applied markers. The center area is mostly flat, save a wide bevel along its edge giving it a slight pie-pan appearance. What is most notable, however, is not the shape, but the material and color. This section is copper, coated in Urushi lacquer with a deep red tone. Derived from the sap of the Urushi tree, it is pigmented and then hand-painted onto the surface by an artisan. Before drying, a silver powder is applied in a process called Maki-e. The surface is then carefully polished, making the silver sparkle.
There are two ways to look at this surface. One is simply an aesthetic component of a gnarly watch. The largest single uninterrupted surface of the watch (ignoring the crystal), it creates a moment of reprieve from the facets, angles, and edges of the case and all of the surrounding components. It’s the eye of the storm, and it’s needed to give you a place to focus. It makes sense, then, that it would be more than just simply printed. The Urushi Maki-e is subtle, tasteful, and captivating in a way that only something created by hand can be.
The other is as a conceptual counterpoint to the rest of the design. Though inspired by traditional Japanese crafts, the resulting aesthetic of the Divido is modern and edgy (literally). The Urushi Maki-e is a traditional craft shown in a fairly literal way. It’s old-meets-new, but when other brands integrate something traditional into a watch, they tend to make the overall aesthetic more classic to meet the tradition. Here, Minase uses tradition to support a modern design.
Before moving on, it’s worth talking about what is likely to be a controversial detail that simply can’t be looked over: the date window. “Window” actually downplays the area, as it’s a solid region of the dial. The Urushi plate has a wedge cut out from 2.5 to 3.5, giving it a sort-of PACMAN silhouette. Underneath is a gloss black surface as well as an arcing date window showing the current date, and the date on either side. Additionally, there is a small arrow pointing to the center date, implying that that should be set to current.
Generally speaking, on other watches, I’ve tended not to like multi-date or altimeter style date windows. They draw too much attention to the date, and if I know the current day, I’m pretty sure I can figure out what day came before and what’s next. So, when a normal window would suffice, I don’t like them. On the Divido, a normal window wouldn’t work. It just would have looked too plain or under-designed in an environment where everything has been considered. My issue of not needing the arc is still true, but I don’t dislike, from a purely visual consideration, how it looks with the watch. It draws a lot of attention, but it somehow doesn’t feel out of place.
Moving from the outside in, the applied markers are not applied at all, but rather a claw-like structure that comes up, around the sides of the movement capsule, almost as though they are pinning the dial surface down. The markers extend across a chasm that separates the dial/movement capsule from the inner wall of the case, as though they are the points of suspension. Each marker angles away, creating more dimensionality, and features various facets and details, including a white, but not-lumed, line down their center. Nothing is simple.
Ok, well the outer ring is relatively simple by comparison. A black ring, it seperates the Urushi from the claws, and is a level down as well, adding depth. On the ring, which has a slightly brushed textured, are white marks for the minutes. Given the amount of thought put into every detail on the watch, this execution almost feels too simple, or perhaps typical, but it does provide some basic legibility. Off the wrist, the gaps between this area and the case are more visible, creating a backlit effect when held up. On, however, it’s hard to notice.
Lastly, the hour and minute hands are more towards the classic side of things, but highly detailed and executed beautifully. They both feature slender shapes that are dauphine-like, but with squared tips on either side. Both are brushed down their centers with mirror polishing along their edges, as well as lume strips. The minute hand is much longer than the hour, almost hitting the interior of the case, and is dramatically curved to match the shape of the dial. The seconds hand is thin and polished with a gently flared counterweight and a red tip. Over the central pinion is a polished cap, which I love.
The lume on the hands exists, but not much more. It’s not bright, and the lack of lume on the dial is a bit disappointing, especially considering there is white paint one expects should glow on the dial.