THE HIROSHIGE STRAP
THE NEW HIROSHIGE STRAP (芥子色:KARASHI-IRO)
Kurono Tokyo presents our next line of limited production, artisan-made Hiroshige Straps. Coming to you in karashi-iro (sahara), our new line of Hiroshige straps features our unique Hiroshige script engraved on hand-patinaed leather, with the Kurono Tokyo logo lazered on the olive-green underside.
Made of calf leather selected for suppleness, the Hiroshige Strap – like all our other products – promises to redefine established price-performance benchmarks by delivering all the elements of a haute horlogerie strap at a more than decent price.
This new strap is part of our Hiroshige line of artisan-made collector-grade accessories that introduce time-honored artistic traditions, historical craftwork and materials at affordable price points. This new line of products is a reminder of our humble beginnings, and aspires to incorporate the very best of Edo-period art and reinvent them into a fresh, avant-garde aesthetic.
Central to this effort is an element of authenticity, and this authenticity is anchored by our recent acquisition of an original artwork by legendary Ukiyo-e master Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) - an independent, self-taught artist whose art popularized Japonisme - and his exotic, decorative works influenced old masters such as Van Gogh, Cézanne, Whistler and Monet.
HIROSHIGE SCRIPT & HAND PATINA
All Hiroshige straps are engraved with legendary ukiyo-e artist Utagawa Hiroshige’s original handwritten poem from an original artwork ca. 1840. The poem is loosely translated as:'The moon indulges into the night in various ways.'
As the Hiroshige script is derived from an original artwork owned by Kurono, it is unique to Kurono and cannot be replicated elsewhere. The strap’s olive green underside is lasered with the official Kurono Tokyo logo.
Each leather strap is further hand-dyed using the anticatura patina technique, bringing an additional level of character and refinement to Hiroshige straps. The patina is applied to highlight the Hiroshige script against the strap's true color in the middle, before slightly darkening at the edges. Even the smallest elements like the strap guides are patinaed.
To attain the desired sahara color takes extra precision compared to achieving a regular deep-brown finish as it requires strategic environmental conditions which mandates the leather to be kept in the stablest surroundings with consistent temperatures, humidity & air density. Multi-managing a stable external environment whilst combining different color layers makes the production process of the karashi-iro strap legitimately something to marvel at.
No two leather patina products will ever look the same, and they will over time take on their own character and personality by building on the original patina as it ages.
A lot of thought has gone into the design of the strap. We decided to minimize the use of stitches even though adding stitches would have been the same cost. This allowed us to have a final design that was very clean and minimalistic, bringing out the beauty of the engraved Hiroshige script and the hand-patinaed elements. While doing away with stitches may increase the chance for splitting over an extended period of time - we have mitigated such occurrences with stronger edge binders, and the fact that the straps are meant for refined wear and not sports wear.
While a Kurono watch is undoubtedly the focal point on a wrist, we believe that the strap is a pivotal part in completing the look.
The Hiroshige strap follows the same attention to design detail and craftsmanship as a Kurono watch, and is designed to be a seamless extension of a Kurono through its minimalist yet sophisticated attitude.
HAND-MADE & HAND-CUT
Although the straps are priced affordably, they are not machine made, nor do we use pattern cutters. Each strap is hand-cut, and from hand-penciled stencils. Patina is then rubbed onto the leather by hand. The only machine elements used are using laser engravers for the Hiroshige script and signing our logo.
In homage to Hajime-sensei’s lineage from a family of samurai sword makers on his patrilineal side, the long end of the strap is hand-cut obliquely to mimic the edge of a wakizashi katana. This samurai blade shape symbolizes strength, power and the bond between a samurai and his blade, or in this case, the irreplaceable relationship formed between the collector and his watch.
SIGNIFICANCE OF KARASHI-IRO
The sahara color presents an optimistic character, with its warm & elemental aesthetic illustrating a cheerful vibe for the wearer. From the natural aging of the hand-patinaed leather to the engravement of Hiroshige-sensei’s poem; the idea of finding beauty in nostalgia is exemplified in the beautiful karashi-iro strap which portrays an ever-growing unique beauty as the leather naturally ages.
Kurono Tokyo is proud to express the notions of growth and positivity, as we begin the new year through the launch of the karashi-iro strap.
The creation of this specific color is also unique - a slight green dye must be rubbed after the first layers to achieve the desired final hue. This is a more time consuming process and adds two more processes to the making of this strap, but the vibrancy of the final outcome is worth the effort.
QUALITY OF MATERIALS
The Hiroshige Strap is made of selected vegetable-tanned soft calf leather – both for the topside leather upper, and for the leather lining on the underside.
We specifically had an aim to create as soft and supple as possible a watch strap, so as to make the strap feel as though it is an extension of your own skin. Additionally, the vegetable tanning process allows for a high degree of hypoallergenic properties.
All Hiroshige Straps also feature quick-release springbars to allow for quicker changing in and out of straps according to the collector’s style-of-the-season, minimizing lug scratches and hassle.
Hiroshige straps are made of supple calf leather and like most artisanal straps, are not waterproof, nor are they meant to be used in active sport environments.
Kurono has always been attentive to the needs of customers, and we are dedicated to giving the best experience for customers who own our pieces. In accordance with feedback and reviews received, we have included a complimentary spring bar tool with every karashi-iro strap purchased.
The Hiroshige Strap is sized 20mm/16mm lugs/buckle - making it extremely versatile to match with other watches in your collection.
- Lengths: Standard: 115mm/75mm | Small: 105mm/70mm | Large: 130mmx80mm
- Lug/Buckle widths: 20mm / 16mm
- Upperside color: Karashi-iro (sahara)
- Underside color: Olive green
- Hand-dyed Patina
- Engraved Hiroshige script (original poem)
- Lasered Kurono Tokyo logo on underside
- Quick-release springbars at lugs end
- Hand-made & Hand-cut
- Limited production