Monochrome Watches
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The Kikuchi Nakagawa Genmon, A Stunner That Comes At A Price, And With a Lot Of Patience

Kikuchi Nakagawa's relentless attention to detail and finishing shine through in the Genmon once more.

| By Robin Nooy | 3 min read |
Kikuchi Nakagawa Genmon

For those that recall the story, we did on Kikuchi Nakagawa when we first discovered the brand, roughly six months ago, the simply incredible attention to detail will surely stand out. The Japanese duo of Yusuki Kikuchi and Tomonari Nakagawa are highly trained watchmakers and have devoted their craft to the art of finishing. Working with top-end partners only, and doing all the finishing in-house, Kikuchi Nakagawa creates stunning Calatrava-like watches at very low volumes. We first wrote about the Muakumo and Ichimonji, but there is a third model released just now, called the Genmon. And while it once again looks absolutely mesmerizing, a few details about the Kikuchi Nakagawa Genmon must be addressed.

Kikuchi Nakagawa Genmon

The Kikuchi Nakagawa Genmon uses the same style case as the Murakumo and Ichimonji, but with a few subtle tweaks. For instance, the bezel is no longer flat but now has a round profile. It also seems like the lugs have been reshaped just a touch, as they look a tiny bit shorter. Overall, it still measures a deliciously compact 36.8mm in diameter and 9mm in height (including the domed sapphire crystal). Although that might sound petite, the proportions perfectly fit within the Calatrava style of the Genmon (and the Murakumo and Ichomonji before it). The case has a two-part construction with a solid caseback and is fully black polished, something you will not see on other watches.

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The dial for the Genmon is a true work of art and made by Comblemine (Kari Voutilainen’s high-end dial manufacturer). The black dial has a very fine sunray-brushed finish with contrasting pad-printed tracks and numerals. The minute track on the outer edge visually reduces the dial a little but it is in fact just as large as in the Murakumo and Ichomonji. The Breguet-style numerals have been printed in white in multiple passes, to give them a bit of depth. The spade-and-whip hands for the hours and minutes are black polished by hand to achieve a mirror-like finish.

Kikuchi Nakagawa Genmon

Kikuchi Nakagawa once more relies on the Vaucher Fleurier VMF 5401 micro-rotor movement, dubbed the KN002. The biggest thing to set it apart from the previous models is the exclusion of the small seconds indication. The movement measures 30mm in diameter and is only 2.6mm thick, which is the main reason you often see it in relatively slim watches such as this. Running at a rate of 21,600vph, the power reserve is 48 hours. As said, the case has a closed caseback which hides the movement from prying eyes. Personally, I would have liked to be able to see it as it is a nice movement to look at, but it falls in line with the brand not to.

Kikuchi Nakagawa Genmon

The new Kikuchi Nakagawa Genmon is worn on a black crocodile leather strap with a hand-polished stainless steel buckle. There’s no communication of the number of pieces that will be produced but expect extremely low volumes here. That also brings us to two very important details about this very watch. First, it’s about the price. While we certainly see the extreme attention to detail Kikuchi Nakagawa pours into this watch, at USD 26,000 before taxes it is priced quite steep for what it is. Sure, the finishing is damn-near perfect by the looks of it but that certainly is a lot of money!

Kikuchi Nakagawa Genmon

Second, Kikuchi Nakagawa states the delivery time is between 96 and 120 months, which means 8 to 10 years! That seems a little ridiculous to be honest. A ten-year lead time for a watch? We know a lot of brands are struggling to keep up with demands, dealing with delays caused by suppliers and perhaps a shortage in skilled staff, but not to this extent. Imagine me asking you to pay what is basically new-car money but you can’t have what I sold you for the next decade. Would you accept that?

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10 responses

  1. Please note that Kikuchi Nakagawa only produces 8 watches a year. The brand also acknowledges that the 10 year waiting list is not acceptable and are in the process of adding another watchmaker to their small team. The ethos of the brand though is to maintain finishing at the highest level, something it will not compromise on.

  2. How does one define the “highest level” of finishing? Asking $26’000 for, all in all, an ordinary product can’t be justified by the finishing factor.

  3. I take it this article is a stinging satire on the state of the watch industry.
    How far can the consumer be pushed to buy mediocre watches at ridiculous prices? Up to now the watch industry in general does a pretty good job in achieving this objective.

  4. Japanese watch, with swiss movement and USD 26,000 excl. taxes price… Nice joke!

  5. Adriaan, if only it were a satire! Unfortunately no, it’s an undistorted mirror held up straight.

  6. The word is bizarre for that price and that movement perhaps it is the time to restore vintage Timex pin levers for €10k and 5 year waiting list!

  7. Absurd is not a strong enough description. Next they will try to sell an NFT of this watch for $1 million.

  8. 8 to 10 years wait time? I’m out. If they add another watchmaker, maybe wait times will be “only” 7 to 9 years.

    I don’t see how this company’s business model will be viable over the long haul. 8 watches a year times $21,000 to $26,000 depending on the model does not sound like it will be sustainable.

    Wait times and prices in general are absurd these days but those who are afflicted with the watch fetish perpetuate the absurdity. JMHO.

  9. Monochome, you guys are at least partly Dutch. Please honour the (deserved, and positive) stereotype and do publish some more critical opinion pieces. Pretty sure that your readership will enjoy them; there’s enough of hodinkee already.

  10. I’m enamored with Kikuchi Nakagawa but the skepticism of others is warranted. Please, Monochrome, give space to those with a well thought out critique of this watchmaker. “A Japanese watch with a Swiss movement” isn’t enough to dissuade me. Do you have a better argument?

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