Quantcast
Looking for Robb Report UK? Click here to visit our UK site.
×

The Armoury and Japanese Watchmaker Naoya Hida Team Up on a Hyper Limited New Timepiece

Only 10 pieces a year will be produced.

The Armoury x Naoya Hida & Co. Lettercutter Watch The Armoury

Fresh off the heels of its hugely successful collaboration with niche Swiss watchmaker, H. Moser & Cie, which sold out in eight hours, menswear retailer The Armoury is back with a new partnership with Naoya Hida & Co.

The independent Japanese watchmaker has developed a cult following for its vintage-inspired, modern watches that take design cues from the ’30s to the ’60s while incorporating today’s manufacturing capabilities. Naoya Hida, who built his career in luxury watch sales and marketing for 30 years, founded his company in 2018 and makes just 75 models a year working with two other watchmakers. The Armoury’s founder, Mark Cho, says that means as a retailer for Hida, he gets just 25 of his pieces a year, while the watchmaker directly sells 40. Another 5 go to Kamine, a storied high-end watch retailer in Kobe, Japan.

The 37 mm Naoya Hida TYPE 2C-1 “Lettercutter” for The Armoury marks the first watch collaboration for Hida. Due to his limited production, only 10 of these will be made a year with numbers individually engraved onto the caseback, so if you like what you see, you would be advised to ring up The Armoury and put yourself on the list as these will be very hard to come by. It’s a perfect pairing: Both The Armoury and Naoya Hida share a refined aesthetic with retro influences and gentlemanly design.

The Armoury x Naoya Hida & Co. Lettercutter Watch

The Armoury x Naoya Hida & Co. Lettercutter Watch  The Armoury

To that end, the dial of the TYPE 2C-1 is inspired by vintage pocket watch production techniques. The indexes are carved in an extra-thick German silver plate by hand, while the chapter rings are attached separately with each one finished in a different manner. The old-school appeal of the German silver is striking in person and accented by the specially engraved numerals accenting the dial.

“Our version of Type 2 is called Lettercutter because we designed the whole font for this watch and we were inspired by the art of letter cutting,” Cho told Robb Report, speaking about the Arabic numerals. “It’s an old craftsman’s job where they would cut letters into stones, so if there was an old stone building you would hire a letter cutter to come and cut the letters in and create the signage. So, when we designed this font we were thinking, ‘How do we best take advantage of Hida-san’s expertise when it comes to engraving numerals?'” Each Art Deco-style numeral is filled with Japanese cashew ink, a type of synthetic lacquer, and Cho says they chose to use blue ink instead of black ink because he felt there was a “little bit more of a glow to it” which pairs nicely with the backdrop.

The Armoury x Naoya Hida & Co. Lettercutter Watch

The Armoury x Naoya Hida & Co. Lettercutter Watch  The Armoury

The minutes track was also redesigned and, while similar to the last generation’s hash marks, it comes with elongated hashes at the 5-minute markers so the line goes all the way into the side of the case. “It’s just a little detail but I wanted to make something that was a little tool looking,” says Cho.

The Armoury x Naoya Hida & Co. Lettercutter Watch

The Armoury x Naoya Hida & Co. Lettercutter Watch  The Armoury

Fans of Naoya Hida already recognize his distinguishable hands, which are precision milled instead of stamped out as is often done in other manufacturers. Here, they are cylindrical, long and straight and contrasted by a blue center-seconds hand. The case, meanwhile, is milled from a single piece of 904L stainless steel—a painstaking process due to its hardness. “[Hida] knew a lot of guys in [watch] service centers around Japan and he said they noticed a very real difference in Rolexes pre- and post-904 steel,” says Cho. “Rolex is basically the only other company that uses 904L steel and in all of the old dive watches they were using 316 steel, I think from the early ’80s and pre-early ’80s was 316L steel and post-’80s was 904L steel. The difference is that 316L steel pits really bad. It’s one of those things no one will notice until much later when they’ve used [the watch] a lot.”

The watch featured a closed caseback, but under the hood is the Caliber 3020CS, which has 45 hours of power reserve and an escapement beating at 28,800 vph. It is based on an ETA 7750 chronograph movement that Hida reworked into a time-only movement with a center-seconds function, which is then topped off with a new decorated top plate.

The Armoury x Naoya Hida & Co. Lettercutter Watch

The Armoury x Naoya Hida & Co. Lettercutter Watch  The Armoury

Fit with a custom strap made of double-sided shrunken calf leather and a precision-milled buckle with a quick-release function, the TYPE 2C-1 retails for ¥2,530,000 or approximately $19,580 at the current exchange. So, how do you get your hands on one? They will be exclusively available through The Armoury’s website and an allocation lottery is on now through June 6. Winners will be contacted in mid-June and pieces are currently on view at The Armoury on 168 Duane Street in New York through May 29. The collection will be available at The Armoury’s Hong Kong location from June 2 through the 6.

Trust us, it’s well worth seeing in person.

Read More On:

More Watch Collector