Kurono takes affirmative action to boost their female audience with their Kurono SEIJI release
Whenever I get an email from Kurono I instantly perk up. Having purchased multiple watches, and even a watch box, from the brand, I definitely consider myself a Kuronophile – and I intend on continuing to grow the number of Kurono watches in my collection. I love the design language, dial colors, and aesthetics, pretty much everything the meticulous mind, eyes, and hands of Hajime Asaoka creates. So when I opened today’s email and saw the new Kurono SEIJI, with its celadon blue/green lacquered dial, I immediately had to wipe the drool from my mouth.
It’s Tiffany blue like shade is stunning, and very much a tonal alternative to the unobtanium Rolex Oyster Perpetual. It’s also only the second lacquered dial in this configuration, a deviation from the more metallic sunburst finishes we typically see. The high polished 37mm case is such a universally classic size, and as a dressier piece has a greater air of elegance in these more wrist inclusive dimensions.
Their aim has always been to create high quality, yet price approachable watches that encourage more people to join the watch community and the growing number of people who wear and appreciate a mechanical watch on their wrist. To double down on their mission statement, the SEIJI offering is an effort to create an opportunity for more women to have a Kurono watch – as these limited edition runs are very competitive to secure, typically selling out in minutes.
Is The Kurono Chronograph 2 The Most Desirable Chrono Under $4k?
This new-ish Japanese brand has become a fan favorite on social media. Making it one of the best known affordable independent brands from Asia. Founded in 2019, Kurono seemed to enjoy instant success. At launch every model sold out on the first day. Even with a delivery window many months away.
The case is very comfortable at 38mm, and also quite versatile. Across the top of the dial is the Kurono brand name in Japanese. While on the case-back appear the words “Designed by Hajime Asaoka” and “Bunkyō Tokyo”. It is a super nice, vintage looking luxury timepiece from Japan through and through.
Dark brown is an unusual color for a watch dial, yet it feels natural with the retro design of the watch. At first glance, the layout appears a bit busier than the Chronograph 1. Yet it remains legible thanks to contrasting colors and crisp markings. There are five hands with different shapes on a perfect symmetrical dial. The color choices of brown, black, copper and silver project a vintage look and art deco feel. For me, the aesthetic of the dial and the case design created by Hajime are what set the Kurono Chronograph 2 apart.
I was happy to add the Kurono Chronograph 2 to my collection, as it ticks so many boxes. The biggest delight is the classic aesthetic with a vintage, tool-like look and feel. This derives from the DNA common in Hajime’s creations. The build quality of the watch and the tasteful packaging are also very impressive.
Hajime put his heart and name behind the Kurono brand to produce the best quality products for the money...He makes these watches for his fans and himself to wear and enjoy. As a watch lover and collector, it feels good to be supporting an independent watchmaker. To be part of his success and get a great product in return as well. And one that seems set to only appreciate in value over time.
We are satisfied with the credentials presented by Asaoka. Since our first encounter with him in 2014, we have always been very impressed with his handmade watches. In our review of the Kurono Classic, we remarked that the watches are beacons in the world of watchmaking...And here, we present the Kurono Chronograph 2, a second model after the first Chronograph, which was wildly successful and sold out in double quick time.
The Chronograph 2’s watch face is a play of elements which bring together the copper, silver, dark brown palate of the Reiwa watch, and the aesthetic is one which is very successful in our view.
Overall, we are rather pleased with the Kurono Chronograph 2. The aesthetics are very nice, and the DNA touches by Hajime is evident in the watch. The Japanese aesthetic presence is strong.
Anybody who has been following me would know that I am a massive fan of Kurono Tokyo and Hajime Asaoka.
Today, we are going to do unboxing kurono Tokyo Chronograph 2.
REVIEW BY ERICK, RELOZO
WHY I BOUGHT IT: An owner’s review of the Kurono Anniversary
The Kurono Toki case retains the classic format my wrist truly appreciates, coming in at 37mm in diameter and slender enough to slide under a cuff with absolute ease. The fully mirror polished finish is executed really well, the case practically going black under direct light... Its tone pays homage to the feathers of the Japanese crested ibis – 朱鷺色(Toki-iro) – known for its peach-colored hue as it flies overhead.
It is yet another example of Japanese design influenced by nature, which is why I feel guilty at times simplifying its richly rooted design to what the western world may perceive as a salmon dial. The truth is it is not really a salmon dial by conventional standards...What you have instead is a very dynamic dial that conveys aspects of pink, purple, red and orange depending on how the light kisses the dial.
Thankfully Kurono continues to excite me with their distinct design DNA annually reinterpreted to introduce colours that you would be hard pressed to find from other brands
Alec Baldwin just posted the best new watch alert of the year for his Kurono Toki
Unknowingly, however, I was totally upstaged by none other than actor Alec Baldwin who had already shared his #NWA weeks earlier. This is truly what #watchfam loves to see...As the resident Kuronophile of the team, when I first saw this post my mind was literally blown. The only other very public figure I knew of wearing a Kurono watch is actor, horology lover, and trustee at the Horological Society of New York Aldis Hodge in the film The Invisble Man. I also love how Alec took the shot above the printed cloth Kurono sends their watches wrapped in...Not only did Alec purchase the second anniversary watch from this cult-followed brand, but he directly thanked founder Hajime Asaoka for the creation...Unsurprisingly the salmon-adjacent coral-vermillion dial was a total hit with new and existing fans of the brand, and the democratic process in which it was released may very well be the reason why it landed on the famous wrist of Alec Baldwin.
One (very satisfied) owner’s review of the Kurono Grand Akane
What haven’t I already said about my love for Kurono Tokyo watches...Cue the creations of Kurono Tokyo, with distinct Japanese Art-Deco aesthetics you cannot find anywhere else. Their collections, so far, have largely leveraged the same winning formula in varying colour schemes, but where the Kurono Grand Akane stands apart from their previous novelties is that it is their first “artisanal tier” release, with a highly intriguing Urushi lacquer dial inspired by Japanese sunsets... As a collector it is always fun to own something unique and distinct from the herd, and where this watch succeeds is through its winning case, movement, and hands formula paired with a highly artisanal dial that will never, ever, get stale.
Will I buy another Hiroshige strap in the future? Definitely! They maybe only carf leather but this strap comes with more than just a physical product. It comes with a story and design thoughts. If you own a Kurono Tokyo watch, my original statement in my initial review remains the same, this is the replacement strap to get.
REVIEW BY ERICK, RELOZO
Why I bought the Kurono Chronograph 2 – an owner’s review
I realised the Kurono Chronograph 2 actually met a lot of my personal requirements...One detail I enjoy, in terms of setting the watch, is that there is a well sized gap between the case and crown that makes it very easy to pull the crown out. The dial can be quite a colour chameleon depending on the environment. Under direct light the dark brown is very easy to discern, but at night it blends a bit more into the black middle ring of the dial...Kurono also did a great job ensuring there is no parallax error, and that the rings are perfectly aligned even as they step down to cross each chronograph register.
The hands maintain the distinct Kurono shape and format seen on the previous reference, and are polished very well. I love that they take the extra time and effort to bend the edges of the hands so they curve down for added elegance and legibility. The Kyudo arrow hand is a nice touch, adding Japanese influence and flavour that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Overall I am thrilled to own the Kurono Chronograph 2... it is clear Kurono’s journey is only just beginning and that it would be fair to expect some very interesting and exciting releases in the coming years.
The best brown dials of 2021 from a tasty cappuccino to dark chocolate
“In the Kurono Chronograph 2, Hajime Asaoka’s design language is once again at the core of what is a charmingly full mid-century dial design. The Reiwa cocoa brown centre plays a stylish game with the copper tachymetre scale intersecting the large twin registers...the polished small nugget of 38mm simply displays all we want in a vintage chronograph, with the bright polished details clearly denoting the Art Deco magic wand of Hajime Asaoka.”
Anniversary pieces are significant to a brand, and Kurono Tokyo is no exception. For Kurono Tokyo, it brings back to the brand’s humble beginnings and why the brand was started...What makes this year’s release more remarkable is that this is was first designed on the premise that it’s a watch Hajime-sensei would like to wear...Like the previous models, this has Hajime’s design DNA all over it...The biggest reason why people love Kurono Tokyo is its design and story. This year’s colour might look like every other salmon dial, but the shade was made to be different from the western salmon shades. Hajime wanted a copper-based watch, but still different. The decision was to use the colour on the feathers of the Japanese crested ibis – Tiko-iro which is deeply rooted in the history in japan...
With all the thoughts, story and effort put into the watch, how can one not fall in love?
Hajime Asaoka’s tribute to a national treasure of Japan: The Kurono Anniversary 朱鷺:TOKI
Today, the white bird adorned with pink feathers is rightly one of Japan’s national treasures and stands as a symbol of happiness and bliss, which prompted Japanese watchmaker Hajime Asaoka to dedicate it a very special, time-limited piece...To celebrate Kurono’s two-year anniversary, Hajime-San set himself the goal of creating a new watch with a dial color that best captured Japanese culture. For this purpose, the Japanese ibis (also called “toki”) was the source of inspiration.
The watches produced by independent watchmaker Hajime Asaoka are always clear...New Anniversary Edition Toki: TOKI is also a very clear watch...Mr. Asaoka says that he has a firm belief that he will not compromise on his design as the basis of his design approach, but the details mentioned above embody that belief.
After a year of reflection, Kurono Tokyo is back with its second-anniversary watch, the Kurono Anniversary 朱鷺:Toki. The watch is similar to the 2020 release, but instead of a dial in metallic green, it features a dial that "exudes an exceptional array of coruscating metallic coral shades ranging from crimson to vermillion red," according to the product specs. It's powered by a Miyota 90S5 and features a 37mm 316L case and a sapphire crystal.
This Kurono Tokyo Watch Drops Tomorrow For 10 Minutes Only
Japanese watchmaker Hajime Asaoka launched Kurono Tokyo two years ago to offer a more accessible line of watches to young enthusiasts, that offer a similar style to his handmade haute horology pieces, only without the waiting lists and hefty price tag. Like most high-end independent watchmakers, not even Asaoka himself wears one of his own watches, such is the demand.
Is this the only truly democratic sales process? Get on board for the Kurono Anniversary 朱鷺:TOKI
But the Kurono mission has always been to create watches offering the distinct Hajime Asaoka design DNA at an affordable price to empower more watch buyers to own a luxury watch. This week Kurono lives up to that mission with their most democratic release yet: the Kurono Anniversary 朱鷺:TOKI. The Kurono Toki is the second anniversary watch from the small independent brand, and they celebrate their success with one of their most attractive dials yet.
The dial adopts a cylinder shape that gently descends toward the outer edge. By combining this with three silver rings and a typesetting bar index, and by arranging a railway pattern that creates a classic atmosphere, a small but three-dimensional look was created. The three hands that indicate the hour, minute, and second determine this delicate construction. Not only are they different in shape, but the hour and minute hands are all slightly curved. Using curved surfaces for delicate parts and polishing them is difficult. Moreover, the minute and second hands are "bending hands" with curved tips. In the latest work, Mr. Asaoka was most particular about the color of the dial, which was the origin of the model name.
The Toki is a simple expression of the Art Deco influenced Kurono aesthetic that has been a throughline that can be seen in every watch they’ve made...The dial has been rendered in a coral shade with a sunburst pattern that Kurono claims shifts dramatically in tone depending on how the light hits it... As with other Kurono releases, the design holds together nicely, the details work in conjunction with one another, and placed alongside previous Kurono watches, the new Toki makes a lot of sense and fits in coherently with the Asoaka’s other designs.
First and foremost, the Toki is a stunningly beautiful watch. The time-only piece features a sunburst copper dial that has been painstakingly painted in shades of crimson and vermillion red to create a gentle gradient of coral colours... For inspiration he turned to the crested ibis, a culturally significant bird in Japan, whose feathers appear to turn peach coloured when viewed from beneath as it flies overhead – a colour called toki-iro.
Why I bought it: Kurono By Hajime Asaoka Chronograph 2
It is rare to offer both tachymeter and telemeter scales on a watch and they greatly enhance the tool watch appeal of the Chronograph 2. The five different hands of distinct shapes on a perfect symmetrical dial and the color choices of brown, black, copper and silver project an unmistakably vintage look and art deco feel. The overall aesthetic of the dial and case design created by Hajime is what sets the Kurono Chronograph 2 apart in driving the strong collector interest.
I was really happy to add the Kurono Chronograph 2 to my collection, as it just ticks so many boxes. The biggest delight is the classic aesthetic with a vintage, tool-like look and feel, derived from the DNA common in Mr. Hajime Asaoka’s creations. The rigorous process of bringing every Kurono model to fruition with an artisan's mindset and eyesight is key to the success of the young brand. The tireless efforts in pursuing excellence in watchmaking and engaging watch enthusiasts have resulted in GPHG nominations and successful launches of one model after another.
REVIEW BY SFWATCHLOVER, MY WATCH COLLECTING JOURNEY
IN FOCUS: KURONO, JAPANESE HOROLOGY MADE ACCESSIBLE
The new chronograph is rooted firmly in the mechanical timekeepers of the sixties but, like Asaoka’s own watches, has a distinct art deco slant. On the one hand, you have a retro bi-compax layout complete with a technical-looking minute track; on the other you have the beautiful mix of copper, silver and dark brown first used in Kurono’s earlier time-only Reiwa watches.
Time Seemed to Stand Still, but Watch Fans Certainly Didn’t
Timing is certainly everything, in particular for Gary Getz....he scored one of the 288 37-millimeter Kurono Anniversary Green Mori watches from Kurono by Hajime Asaoka, an independent Japanese watchmaker. Sitting alongside his vintage Mathey-Tissot, Rolex Oyster Perpetual in turquoise blue, vintage Cartier Tank and smattering of Patek Philippes, to name a few, “for me, watch collecting is like going shopping in my own safe every morning.”
I was blown away. It looked so much better in real life than in the initial renders. The finishing on the hands, markers and case is, dare I say, almost Grand Seiko-like, and you have to see in person how well they catch the light. The Art Deco details like the pin stripes at the centre of the dial, combined with japanese touches like the Kanji Kurono logo and the kyudo arrow in the minute subdial really set this apart from other chronographs. It really is a beautifully designed dial.
Chronographs are the most elite measurement tools around and Kurono has really taken that to heart by including almost every possible counter or scale you could want, all packed into the dial without looking cluttered. The layout is the same as the original model and it still looks amazing, the interconnected dials and various measuring scales draw the eye and the longer you look at it the more details you see.
KURONO RETHINKS THEIR CHRONOGRAPH WITH A NEW DIAL COLOR
The dial is busy and complex, mainly due to the unusual placement of the tachymeter scale at the center, but every decision on its execution has been made with an eye toward legibility and creating something that’s purely eye catching.... It also retains one of my favorite small details that Asaoka has implemented in his Kurono line: hour markers that are simple, polished steel studs. This is a rarely seen method of marking the hours and gives the Chronograph 2 a unique Art Deco flourish.
INTRODUCING: Don’t miss out – the new Kurono Chronograph 2 from the cult Japanese brand will sell out fast
What really makes Kurono so intriguing, beyond these more approachable price points, is the design language utilised across the various lines. This Japanese take on Art-Deco design has really caught the eye of collectors around the world. No detail is left unconsidered and the Kurono designs really revive an era of more classical proportions and aesthetics.
Actor Aldis Hodge Wears Independent Watchmaker Hajime Asaoka’s Kurono Classic In ‘The Invisible Man’
“I chose Hajime because I was drawn to the idea of what he does and the fact that he has this other subsidiary brand at a lower price point but still a fantastic quality. I thought it paired perfectly with my character, what he does, what he could afford, and what my character meant to me personally. I saw somebody that exuded these principles within the watch.” ~ Aldis Hodge
Looking at the watch itself, the beauty is really layered in its dial and hands above all else.....An outer railroad minute track, applied concentric inner rings, and additional high-polish baton indices at 3, 6, 9, and 12, all help in delivering a very classic dial design without feeling derivative or overplayed.
Meine erste Uhrenvorstellung: die "BUNKYO TOKYO" von Hajime Asaoka
Bei mir wächst die Freude an der Uhr immer noch jeden Tag. Sie steht für Vieles, was ich mag, für Schönheit und Schlichtheit, für Klarheit und die Liebe zum Detail, für Verlässlichkeit und Vergänglichkeit, für Originalität und Tradition, für Zeitlosigkeit und die verstreichende Zeit zugleich, für das Besondere und das Seltene, auch für das Unbekannte
For me, the joy of the watch still grows every day. It stands for many things I like, for beauty and simplicity, for clarity and attention to detail, for reliability and transience, for originality and tradition, for timelessness and the passing of time at the same time, for the special and the rare, also for the unknown.
WHY DO YOU KEEP HEARING ABOUT KURONO WATCHES? READ THIS AND YOU WILL WONDER NO MORE'
The Kurono brand is known for its transparency and engagement with their fans and consumers, offering step by step, play by play visibility into the manufacturing process and resulting timeline for their watches... They really go the extra mile to hear and respond to consumer sentiment.
The stitches were kept to a minimum to maintain a minimalistic and clean look. Most of the time this could that the stitches can split after a few years, but Kurono has it covered. They have reduced the risk of that happening with stronger edge binders while taking into consideration that the strap is not meant for serious activities.
KURONO BY HAJIME ASAOKA ANNIVERSARY GREEN MORI – GOOD NEWS, IT‘S RELATIVELY AFFORDABLE; BAD NEWS, IT’S HARD TO GET
That green dial is also a winner; I almost called it an “unusual” green dial, but it seems that green is the new whatever these days. This particular color and dial, however, have the ability to look quite different in varied light conditions, seeming to shift from forest green to aqua and back again while shimmering in the light.
INTRODUCING THE KURONO BY INDEPENEDNT WATCHMAKER HAJIME ASAOKA
Asaoka’s aesthetic can be summed up by an adherence to simplicity. His designs, regardless of price point, are clean and straightforward, with an undeniable Art Deco inspiration. You won’t see a lot of ornate dial or case work on an Asaoka designed watch — he takes an idea and seems to continually reduce it down until it reaches a type of minimalism that is still distinctively his own.
For me in today’s watch world and environment , the smaller the case size the classier and more subtle it was. A 37-39mm case is a standard of dapperness and elite size that suits a well dressed man perfectly. The attention to details on the dial is a typical Japanese standard of perfection and precision.
Proportions are important in watch design, but so too are the seemingly small design decisions such as how many circles to have, the thickness of each circle, each marker, the minutes track etc. If you read Asaoka’s words about these, from his website, you will find that each of these was thought through down to the last 0.1mm.
La collaborazione con Kurono rafforza lo status di Hajime Asaoka come uno dei pochi marchi non nati in Svizzera che tengono la qualità. Il segreto? Lo racconta ancora il maestro, con parole che sono la chiusura perfetta di questo articolo: "Molte delle mie idee mi vengono mentre cammino, ma tante di queste idee sono frammentate e un’idea da sola non crea un orologio: è quando più idee si incontrano, che diventano un orologio".
Asaoka’s Kurono Classic – Midnight Blue and Eggshell White
The Kurono Tokyo Classic watches, either in Midnight Blue or in Eggshell White are beacons in the world of watchmaking. Here a ultra high end independent watchmaker is doing his part to spread the cheer of beautiful watches at an affordable price.
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My personal pick, the Kurono Tokyo Mori (which I also happen to own) as it really pushes the boundaries of what people can expect from accessibly priced watches. If one were unaware of its price, many would assume the Mori was four-to-five times more expensive than it actually is. The design language from Hajime Asaoka is also incredibly distinct and is a fresh Art Deco aesthetic that is so beloved that people rush to secure one when orders open – selling out in minutes.
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The printing on the dial is razor sharp, and the classic chronograph date window at 6 is balanced by the classic Asaoka detail of a long lonely double indice at 12. The fact that we have a low production enthusiasts piece like this in one of the most important categories for men’s watches is a surefire sign that the world is changing to a more inclusive scene.