CHRONOGRAPH 1 MK.2

The Chronograph 1 Mk.2 is a new study in gentility and is a significant evolution of our first ever chronograph - incorporating its best design elements into our new Mk.2 chronograph case.

The Chronograph 1 Mk.2's rose gold main dial and black subdials lend an air of genteel refinement. Our unique thick box-sapphire glass allows for unique lightplay like never before - vibrant sophistication that shimmers in the light and a sense of sombre maturity in the shadows. The high reflectivity of the polished steel hands, markers and elements provide added depth and contrast even in low-light for better readability. For the first time in the chronograph range, a high-polish steel applique in arabic numerals is used at '12' in an art-deco font - signifying a new chapter in the design language and construction of the chronograph line-up.

The Chronograph 1 Mk.2 is priced at US$3,460 (JPY 483,000) and will be available for ordering on 24th November at 11pm JST. It has a limited production of hundreds that shall not be repeated. Deliveries start Christmas 2022 thru early Feb 2023.

[all photography by Hajime Asaoka of actual watch]

The Mk.2 chronograph case attempts to overcome significant engineering challenges Hajime Asaoka faced in the construction of the Chronograph 1 - which leveraged the Seiko NE86 that was by itself a thick movement at 7.65mm - and takes in stride collector requests for a thinner case. With the new Mk.2 case, Hajime Asaoka overcame the limitations by incorporating a design technique from the 1930s - to make the thickness of the movement imperceptible on the exterior. The Mk.2 is now a three-part case that has a much thinner visual profile, but is also built more robustly and allows for better repairability. In terms of comfort, the lugs shape and position have been newly adjusted to ensure the same comfortable fit as before.

“The NE86 caliber used by Kurono chronographs is renowned for its reliability and excellent accuracy. By the way, automatic chronograph movements, including the NE86, are generally thick, making it difficult to achieve good proportions with an exterior 38 mm and less in diameter.

The exterior design of the previously introduced chronograph series took the approach of enlarging the proportions of the chronographs from around 34mm to 38mm. The reason for this was that the diameter-to-thickness ratio of hand-wound chronograph movements of the time was close to that of the NE86. As a result, the thickness of the movement is slightly emphasized, giving it a unique impression.

In the new MK.2, the actual thickness remains almost the same [sic: slightly slimmer at13.5mm vs 13.9mm - 13.5mm is the thinnest chronograph equipped with the NE86), but the design balance has been pursued to the utmost limit so that the watch looks thinner as a 38mm exterior.

In particular, the lower part of the case has been sharply narrowed to give the watch a 30% thinner visual impression when worn on the wrist. While such design innovations have been tried in past chronographs, there is a trade-off in terms of wearability, and for the MK.2, I took the time to carefully consider this aspect of the design. As a result, I believe we have created the ultimate exterior design for a 38mm automatic chronograph."

~ Hajime Asaoka

Dial & Sapphire Glass

The Chronograph 1 Mk.2 features a high-polish arabic '12' applique at the top, flanked by our iconic polished steel studs as hour markers and a polished steel surround for the date window. The perimeter scale features pulsometer and tachymeter indicators.

The dial itself is called a cylinder dial, which is gently curved from the center to the outer edge. While most modern ebauche movements including the NE86 are designed to have flat dials, the dial of the Chronograph 1 Mk.2 is designed to be cylinder-shaped. In order to create a three-dimensional effect, the main part of the dial and the sub-dial were manufactured separately and then fitted together, wih the subdial steel surround ring being diamond-cut.

A sapphire box crystal is used to give the watch a beautiful shape, similar to the acrylic glass of vintage watches. It allows for unparalleled lightplay where different lighting environments allow for different looks for the watch.

Hands

The combination of leaf hands and modern hour and minute hands is an icon of Kurono. The tips of the minute and chronograph seconds hands are bent by hand to match the curves of the dial and glass. the elapsed-time subdial at '9' is set with a uniquely designed high-polished subhand in the shape of a traditional Japanese 'kyudo' arrow. The different shape of all hands is a device used in the high-end chronographs of the 1950s and 1960s, which Mr. Asaoka is fond of, and is intended to improve legibility. Anecdotally, for the very first Chronograph 1, the hands were bent by hand over the roof of a die-cast toy car to get the perfect angle consistently.

"In my case, I often choose from traditional Japanese colours when deciding on the colour of the dial. In this case, I chose the colour 'kakishibu-iro'. In kanji, it is written like this. '柿渋色'.

Kakishibu-iro means the colour of kakishibu (iro=colour). Kakishibu is a fermented juice of the fruit persimmon, and has long been used in Japan as an antiseptic and paint. It is similar to 'salmon' in colour, but slightly brownish. It is also known as 'danjyuro-cha', as it was the favourite colour of the famous Kabuki actor Ichikawa Danjuro. The word 'cha' means brown.

However, in kakishibu-iro the name is too long, so I simply called it salmon with the person in charge of the dial painting. I am not too particular about the name of the colour itself. I think it should simply be something that is easy to call. Therefore, salmon or pink gold is fine.

When I specify the colour of the dial, I actually check it by applying the paint I have formulated myself to the metal plate and hand it over to the person in charge of painting. This is what you see in the bottom left-hand corner of the image. The look of the colour is very important.This is the exact kakishibu-iro." ~Hajime Asaoka

Movement

Hajime Asaoka chose the mechanical chronograph calibre NE86 from one of Japan's most esteemed movement manufactures. Positioned by SII as its newest flagship chronograph movement and successor to the 6S - it is a premium caliber, the 311-part movement combines traditional chronograph features like a column wheel, vertical clutch, and a magic lever winding system; it has a unique three-pointed hammer system that starts, stops, and resets all three wheels simultaneously. This allows for all the counters to advance continuously rather than only at one-minute intervals. Additionally, instead of driving the minute and hour counters from the chronograph seconds wheel, each is driven by a powered wheel with its own clutch. This delivers increased accuracy and longer-term durability. The movement has a power reserve of 45 hours. The NE86 is a movement that even Mr. Asaoka, who makes his own movements, trusts.

ORDERING

The Chronograph 1 Mk.2 is priced at US$3,460 (JPY 483,000) and will be available for ordering on 24th November.

日本先行発売: 11月24日午後6時
日本にお住まいの方は、一般販売に先行して11月24日(木)午後6時(日本時間)よりお申し込みいただけます。なお、日本先行発売枠のお申込みには、日本国内のご自宅住所をご入力していただく必要があります。

Global market: 11.00PM JST, Thursday 24 November
(GMT) London: Thursday, 24 Nov, 2:00pm
(EST) New York: Thursday, 24 Nov, 9:00am
(GST) Dubai: Thursday, 24 Nov, 6:00pm
(AEDT) Sydney: Friday, 25 Nov, 1:00am

It has a limited production of hundreds that shall not be repeated.

Deliveries start Christmas 2022 thru early Feb 2023.

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