Saturday, 4 August 2012

Introducing the wristwatch from Hajime Asaoka with a 16 mm balance wheel

Japanese independent watchmaker Hajime Asaoka just announced his new calibre, a hand-wound, time only movement with a 16 mm titanium balance wheel - and the steel case is only 37 mm.



Though the movement itself is compact, it has an unusual design in that both the balance wheel and mainspring are unusually large. According to Asaoka-san, the barrel is similar in size to that of a pocket watch. That, of course, is quite evident from the photos of it.


One detail of this new movement I love is the octopus wheel similar to that of the incredible Patek 5016 minute repeater, perpetual calendar and tourbillon. Though the wheel here is brushed with bevelled edges, rather than polished and rounded like the Patek, it is still a wonderful detail.


The exceptionally large, free-sprung titanium balance wheel

Asaoka-san estimates the price of this will be JPY2 million and he can be reached via his website.

A CAD rendering of the new manual wind wristwatch

As some of you might know, Asaoka-san's first movements were tourbillons, and one of them, the cal. T1001 with an Art Deco style dial, is available at Wako, the grand old department store in Ginza, Tokyo.

Hajime Asaoka Tourbillon

Calibre T1001

Notably, Asaoka-san is not a trained as a watchmaker, but instead studied industrial design. I had the pleasure of meeting him the last time I was in Tokyo and I will endeavour to visit his workshop on my next trip there. 

For those who want to learn more, I wrote a short profile of him to be published in The Peak Selections: Timepieces, which will be available at newsstands and bookstores in Singapore from late August. That article will also cover other new independents, including the Americans Keaton Myrick and Australia-based Eva Leube.

- SJX

2 comments:

  1. Great write up! I saw the tourbillion when I was in Ginza last year. Thou I have to say he really outdid himself with the new movement. Fantastic work!

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  2. Exceptional for a self-taught watchmaker. Just look at the quality of the hand finishing.

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