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In the world of sports watches, typically the dive watch genre, there’s a somewhat nebulous stratum of choices in terms of designs and pricing for watch enthusiasts. Often, in the case of dive 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.
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 Ryukyu Diver Retro Black
Hitori or, “ひとり” basically stands for “一人” which further means “one person” in Japanese. With the name in mind, you basically get a sense of what’s coming from this brand. Hitori Watch Co. 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.
Hitori’s first installment is the Ryukyu Diver collection. Significantly inspired by the subtropical islands that make up the Southern part of Okinawa in Japan, they are spectacular spots for scuba divers and sport fishing. These islands include zestful environments serenaded by stunning coral reefs, vivid hard corals, rock and sandy bottom filled with limestones, and big walls. Environmental terrain aside, of course, is the grandeur of beautiful sea creatures - from unique fish to turtles, mantas, and even some whales. All these nautical charms are exuded on the Ryukyu Diver Retro Black.
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 vintage-themed diver that reflects the grandeur oceans of Ryukyu island.
|Traditional Kanji Logo|
Made out of 316L stainless steel, the Ryukyu Diver measures 40.7mm in diameter, a height of 11.7mm, and a lug-to-lug length of 46.5mm. The well-thought-out dimensions of this 200m water-resistance skin-diver are crafted meticulously, fitting comfortably on any of our wrist sizes. The case design of the Ryukyu is straight out of the sixties, instantly recognizable by any dive watch aficionados. During an era where recreational diving was essentially a popular hobby, many renowned watchmakers from all over the globe boasted their own skin-divers.
Those timepieces boast a slimmer case profile with distinctive L-shaped lugs were alongside a screw-down case-back and 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 Ryukyu diver is distinguished from the other interns of its refined exterior case and intricate cladding details.
The Ryukyu Diver Retro Black 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 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 in a circular manner that mirrors the finishing on those original sixties skin-divers from Japan. Notably, the additional polished bevelling reveals the commendable attention to detail put into crafting the Ryukyu collection. This daringly spectacular polish results in ritzy and sleek surfaces with impressive multi-finishing, quite impossible to find another neo-vintage dive watch within this price range with similar case finishing qualities.
|High multi-finished polishings|
Hitori Watch Co. up the ante by bestowing a 2.7mm thick ceramic bezel for its dive watch. Seen in black, the numerals are all adequately spaced out and filled with vintage SuperLuminova, which glows brightly in the dark. This 120-click anti-clockwise rotating bezel operates at great precision with a satisfying metallic click sound at every rotation, re-assuring its user once again.
The bezel’s shimmering glow is complemented by the high gloss metal trims that frame the applied hour markers within the flushed domed sapphire crystal. Each applied marker is shaped in trapezoid or rectangles while filled with the same luminous tone as the bezel markings. 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 satin-brushed finishing at the surface, contrasted by their mirror-polished sides. A wonderful throwback with a period-correct handset, but exceptionally well done.
|200m water-resistant on a 11.7mm thick case|
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.
What makes this timepiece stand out is its captivating dial color that mirrors the mesmerizing hues of the ocean. The charcoal black dial emphasizes the brand’s solid ties to the diving history in Japan, where the first few skin-divers were created during the sixties, thus creating a sense of mesmerization. Similarly, the matte tone allows undistracted time-reading in any situation, perfectly setting the right tone as a proper tool watch.
As the watch is deeply inspired by Japanese culture, Hitori gets its logo marked on the dial with its original “ひとり” Kanji characters. Not stopping there, the bottom water-resistant texts were also done in these charming characters. These add to the heritage charm and philosophy of what Hitori Watch Co. is all about - orientally inclined and detailed in execution.
|Full luminous on bezel markers and dial|
Each Ryukyu dive watch 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. In addition, Hitori has an assortment of fabric NATO and rubber straps, allowing wearers to switch up the vibe to their likings, all while still having a complete Hitori package.
The reverse side, with its screw-down case-back, belies essential information, ornate in an old-fashion way. The oriental “wave” emblem is embossed in the middle, surrounded by the watch specifications and serial number adequately spaced out. Right underneath reveals another Hitori’s oriental choice of mechanical movement: the automatic caliber NH36A. 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.
|Oriental caseback engravings|
Crafted to the highest standard, yet not found anywhere near the expected price point, the Ryukyu Diver Retro Black exudes nostalgia in their enduring accents that honor Japanese craftsmanship, particularly in watchmaking, back in its heyday. The dive watch has all the prerequisites of a skin-diver yet is distinguishable with its sophisticated workmanship and ideal proportions. The dive watch lavishes dashing elegance, 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.
And for the first time, Hitori Watch Co. is committed to building up its community and supporters to another level. Each owner of their Ryukyu dive watch would be part of the brand’s journey, where future incentives would be integrated or rewarded to each individual. Owners would also be part of the brand’s upcoming projects in the watch space, such as customizability on existing and future watch collections. Hitori Watch Co. and their community are in this for the long term, where owners will get preferential offerings for subsequent launches and such.