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.