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In the world of sports watches, typically the dive and pilot watch classifications tend to be the all-embraced known ones. However, there’s a somewhat nebulous stratum of choices in terms of designs if we actually take a better look in within the genre. Even so, many would quickly bring up to mind of chunky looking cases accompanied with sober-looking dials that might seem a tad plain, but indeed serving their purposes of a tool watch, and that’s not a bad thing at all especially those looking for one. Often, in the case of any sports mechanical watches, as we know it, it exists on a broad scale spectrum. We have the utilitarian and affordable ones at one end, with rather compelling execution on fit and finishing. Then some are crafted superfluously with premium price tags, like those horology powerhouses.
Hitori Habuka 39 Snow White
As cliche as it sounds, we seldom see uncompromising aspects where a sturdy tool watch with extravagant refinement could come at an affordable price, but there are genuinely some. However, in recent times, many that claim to be evidently don’t seem to be gaining access and handling the watches. Few have successfully conveyed this vision on the flip-side, as nascent Hitori ひとり Watch Co. has with their exemplary watches.
Hitori Watch Co. or, “ひとり” sets out to be an independent brand that brings timepieces like few others – at a pre-eminently excellent price point for a painstakingly well-executed mechanical watch. Not only that, but through the influence of Japanese culture, and most importantly, their traditional modus operandi. The philosophy in watchmaking displayed by this indie brand is all about value proposition, and it shows notably in both the mechanical and aesthetics sides of things. That said, Hitori builds a unique experience for their own community.
Captivating dial texture that mirrors the mesmerizing snowy mountains of the village
Since the brand’s first instalment, they have had made some noise in the sports watch market with their Ryukyu Diver collection. They hark back to the early sixties where scuba divers picks up skin-diving, and are inspired by those Ryukyu islands that include zestful environments serenaded by all these nautical charms. All these unique attributes are exuded on their ever popular dive watches. Now for their second instalment, Hitori continue to offer robust yet sport timepieces that seeks to balance stylishness with an outdoorsy appeal. Meet the Habuka 39 Snow White.
This imminent watch collection grabs the spotlight with its incredible nostalgic timepieces that redefine the classic style uniquely to the land of the rising sun. Made proudly in Asia to complete the savoir fairé, a versatile watch that reflects one of the snowy alps in Japan. The sobriquet takes inspiration, or should we say, a playful twist from a village in the Japanese Alps known closely as “Hakuba”, situated just outside the city of Nagano, and has been a winter sports hub which encompasses mountain resorts with terrain for sporty activities. As the recreational destination for many encapsulate an adventure spirit around its grandeur environment, the Habuka 39 successfully bestow these elements within. It imbues a classic case silhouette, casing up a mesmerising texture dials unlike most others in the sports segment.
Made out of 316L stainless steel, the Habuka 39 measures, of course, a 39mm in diameter, a height of 11.5mm, and a lug-to-lug length of 46mm. The well-thought-out dimensions of this 100m water-resistance modern sport watch are crafted meticulously, fitting comfortably on any of our wrist sizes. The case design is as classic as it gets. Although not as instantly recognisable compared to a dive or pilot chronograph, the straightforward aesthetic allows it to be versatile for both male and female entusiasts. During an era from professional mountain-climbing in the fifties, stretching abit further to war-time, many renowned watchmakers from all over the globe boasted their own sports/field watches that bear the familiar silhouette like the Habuka 39. The case design of the Habuka embodies what many see as the ideal of a "one nice watch" to acquire. It simplicity and classic design not only allow it to go explore and ski around the snowy alps, yet also allow it to go anywhere with anything you wear at any point in time.
Convex metallic date window frame incorporated with polish finishing on each facet
Furthermore, the these type of sport watch complies a slimmer case profile with distinctive lugs and a fixed bezel, alongside a screw-down case-back with sizeable winding crown at 3’o clock. Since then, the alluring form-follows-function template has continued as a staple in the watch industry until today. With perfectly crafted signed case designs and functionality, the Habuka 39 distinguishes itself from the other interns of its refined exterior case and intricate cladding details.
The Habuka 39 stands out with a much-elaborated case construction which offers values way above its price point. The case flaunts high polishing works and distortion-free mirror polishing, finished in a contrasting satin brush separated by seamless bevels featuring a high polish on their sides. Especially on this stunning satin finishing on the top surface of the watch case, it is done flawlessly with vertical strokes that mirrors the finishing on those high-end modern sports watches from Japan. Notably, the additional polished bevelling reveals the commendable attention to detail put into crafting the Habuka collection. This daringly spectacular polish results in ritzy and sleek surfaces with impressive multi-finishing, quite impossible to find another within this price range with similar case finishing qualities. Oh, did we mention the timepiece shows-off drilled lugs holes in which allow one to swap out its bracelet for a wide array of strap options. What would pairs well with this piece? Well, we could only say that the sky is your limit, as this classic case design is destined to be a strap fashionista.
Spectacular polish results in ritzy and sleek surfaces with impressive multi-finishing
Hitori Watch Co. up the ante by bestowing a full-polished bezel for its sports watch. The bezel’s shimmering glow is complemented with the the long thick lugs, allowing for the angle of the bevel and bezel to perfectly match in a striking manner. This elements brings forth a certain classiness only to be elevated by high gloss metal trims that frame the applied hour markers within the flushed sapphire crystal. Each applied marker is shaped in trapezoid or rectangles with equally well-polished finishings as the case exterior. Definitely an interesting touch to its overall classic dial design.
Reading off those markers thanks to the facets hour and minutes hands. Each hand is minutely executed with iridescent mirror finishing at the surface, contrasted by different facets creating a certain depth for the wearer. A wonderful application by Hitori to accentuates its premium with the dauphine style handsets and markers, which are perfectly polished on top as well as on the razor-sharp bevels that give them a distinct look that’s exceptionally well done.
With functionality at the forefront, a date window is located at 3’ o clock. A full convex metallic date window frame was incorporated with high satin finishing on each facet to balance off the entire dial symmetrically. This strategic detail is a testament to Hitori’s prowess, careful consideration, and the immense effort that goes into their design. Each hand is perfect in length, reading off individual vintage markers dutifully without feeling at all stubby.
Drilled lug holes for swapping straps with ease
What makes this timepiece stand out is its captivating dial texture that mirrors the mesmerizing snowy mountains of the village. The frost white dial emphasizes the brand’s solid ties to the snow-covered terrain found in Japan, where one can visit and absorb the serenity around the cold atmosphere, thus creating a sense of mesmerization. Similarly, the uneven texture tone is truly restrained and elegant.The incorporation of slight crevices around the dial randomly creates the opportunity for shadows to cast, distilling a sense of depth while contrasting to the exacting perfection of the exterior case, handset, and marker finishings. The “snowy texture” on the timepiece has a way of catching light that indeed will earn many admirations of watch enthusiasts.
As the watch is deeply inspired by Japanese culture, Hitori gets its logo marked on the dial with its original “ひとり” hiragana characters. Not stopping there, the bottom “HABUKA” texts were also done in blue charming characters, adding a refreshing touch in tandem with its second hand. These add to the heritage charm and philosophy of what Hitori Watch Co. is all about - orientally inclined and detailed in execution.
Blued automatic winding-rotor harmonized beautifully with the blue elements on dial
Completing the Sports watch outlook, each Habuka 39 comes on a reliable 20mm sports bracelet with the emblematic “ひとり” signed clasp onto the strap option. The bracelet is thoroughly designed and fabricated - from the nifty satin-polished surface and mirror-finished sides to the ergonomic yet robust solid end-links - giving the case and bracelet a uniform look and a sense of purpose. With the considerate drilled lug holes, strap hobbyists can change to other straps with ease.
The reverse side, with its screw-down case-back, belies essential information, and proudly exhibit its Japanese engine within. Right underneath reveals another Hitori’s oriental choice of mechanical movement: the automatic caliber NH35. The Japanese 12-ligne movement is made with 24-jewels with manual-winding and quick date correction capabilities, all done through the 3’ o clock screw-down crown. Beating away nostalgically at 3Hz/21,600BPH, it allows the user to have hacking seconds for precise time-setting, all that with around 41 hours of power reserve when fully wound. Another feature would be the blued winding-rotor which creates an appealing look which pairs harmoniously with the dial texts and second hand.
On the wrist
Now the icing to the cake, each watch comes with a vintage-style box. Upon flipping it open, the inside is made out of grained wood, while the watch is protected by velvet “envelop” folds in the middle. Once the navy blue outer box is opened up, the watch would sit beautifully within a leather finished inner box reminiscent of a sixties watch box from Japan. All these have yet again shown how much works are meticulously carried through each of Hitori’s own timepieces.
Crafted to the highest standard, yet not found anywhere near the expected price point, the Habuka 39 exudes marvelous quality with attention to details in their enduring accents that honor Japanese craftsmanship, particularly in watchmaking. The modern sports watch has all the prerequisites of a professional tool watch yet is distinguishable with its sophisticated workmanship and ideal proportions. The watch lavishes dashing elegance and ravishing dial texture, making it a perfect companion for practically any situation, both on land and in water. The combination of premium materials and dial works are captivating, exuding a classic Midas vibe that punches way above its weight.
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