There is an undeniable brilliance at play in the new Naoya Hida Collection!
May 23, 2022,17:29 PM
Sometime in the fall of 2021, I got it into my head that the wristwatches by the independent brand Naoya Hida could quite possibly be the “next big thing” in independent watchmaking. After that, I devoured everything I could find about it on the internet, started following Mark Cho of The Armoury on Instagram, and vowed to put myself in a position to acquire one when they became available which was scheduled for this week in 2022.
I finally got to The Armoury in New York City yesterday and I met Mark and he showed me the five watches they will be taking orders for. As of this writing, it seems as if they are still not all spoken for, but I am sure that is subject to change soon. I am writing here on puristspro simply to give you a few of my impressions of what I saw.
First and perhaps foremost, the gentlemen at the Armoury were extraordinarily gracious to me, a potential first-time buyer. The watches were indeed quite special. The multi-dimensional dials and the engraved indices are unlike most of what is found in the horological world. Much has been made of the decision to use the Valjoux 7750 movement. One of the modifications made to this movement (besides the obvious removal of the chrono) is the adjustment to the click and its spring to give a better winding feel. I was finally able to check this for myself and the winding feel is truly excellent! The details on the dials have been hand-engraved and filled in with a unique ink. This looks very appealing when viewed on the full-size monitor in my office. In real life, I found that, unless you held the timepieces close to your face, the numerals and indices appeared to be simply painted on — this was disappointing to me. The dials themselves are extraordinarily well-balanced in their design and the vintage-inspired sizing (37mm x 10.8mm) is spot-on. When I placed the watches on my 7 1/4 (185mm) wrist, I was pleased to see that they fit very nicely. The model that I was most interested in was the NH Type3B with the moonphase indicator at 6 o’clock. Unfortunately, Mark informed me that the sample on hand had a prototype disk for the moon-phase which apparently is not as deeply engraved as they expect in final production.
Pricing on these appears to range from USD$16,785 to USD$22,375. (The highest priced one is for the NH Type3B.)
My personal verdict: For me, I lack a complete commitment to vintage styling — all of my wristwatches are post-2000. Also, I felt that, for these prices, I can procure stunning (albeit pre-owned) time-only pieces from A. Lange & Sohne and even Patek Phillipe, where the movements are far more sublime than the ETA choice that is given here. Finally, it feels as if I could achieve the same “look” as these watches with several pieces from the Longines catalog, at a huge discount to these prices. I am not saying that the pricing is unjustified, only that the Naoya Hida watches are really just “not for me”.