Who would want a 34mm watch these days…? That is the question Hajime Asaoka, founder of the eponymous high-end manufacture and more accessible brand Kurono, asked himself. The answer was that regardless of tastes, this is the size he prefers. He thus started to design a new collection, with a truly compact case and, because that’s also one of his preferences, an Art-Deco style inspired by glorious vintage watches of the 1920s-1940s. The result… This new Kurono Tokyo 34mm Art-Deco Collection. Highly limited and very possibly under great demand, as always with the young Japanese brand, this is a bold but very cool move we’ll discover now.
“I prefer watches of this size. That is also why I am enamoured with vintage watches. The challenge is how carefully they must be handled, which makes me nervous. So I had an idea: what if I could create something I would like that was both waterproof and robust enough for regular use? As a result. I made four prototypes for myself. My watch enthusiastic friends wanted one when I wore them out! The majority of them shared my taste and design choice for a vintage size from the past, while some wanted to gift it to their loved ones. So I made 80 pieces in each colour for those who shared my taste. To me it is not important whether or not it sells, I can assure you that this watch is a good one.” This is how Hajime Asaoka explains the creation of this new collection, showing how personal these new compact, vintage-sized models are.
When we talk about vintage-inspired watches, we often look at cases of 38mm. Anything below that is, nowadays, considered too small by a vast majority of potential customers. And those who are really inclined to wear smaller watches often go directly to the source, by acquiring vintage models. What Asaoka is quite bold because 34mm is really uncommon in the current state of the market. Yet, if the details are right, if the proportions are done correctly, and if the rest of the watch has enough story to tell, 34mm is not necessarily small. It’s all about presence and dynamism.
As a quick reminder, behind Kurono Tokyo is a talented watchmaker named Hajime Asaoka who produces high-end, complex hand-made watches under his own name. A few years ago, Asaoka had the idea to enlarge his spectrum, to offer fairly priced watches with a high level of detail and a true Japanese sense of design, hence the creation of Kurono Tokyo. We’ve recently seen the White Chronograph II Shiro. It’s time now for a compact time-only watch to be presented.
So, the first thing to catch the attention is surely the 34mm diameter of the watch. Simple, it’s a true vintage size. The case also has a vintage vibe, made of polished stainless steel with a stepped bezel. It’s rather simple but is new to the brand, with a screwed caseback and a 50m water-resistant. It’s topped by a box-shaped sapphire crystal, reminiscent of past plexiglass crystals, and features an anti-reflective coating.
The Kurono 34mm is launched as a collection of 4 different models, each with its own colourful dial. No.1 has a combination of white background with a light blue chapter ring. No.2 plays on earthy vibes with an ochre colour and white contrasting accents. No.3 combines dark red with white and No.4 is light blue with ivory contrasts. All dials are equal otherwise, with a circular hour chapter ring with luminous Arabic numerals and a strong Art-Deco vibe. Time is read by the mean of luminous, blue IP-plated hands with a time-only display. Each watch is paired with its own colour-matched grained calf leather strap, closed by a pin buckle.
Under the solid caseback is an automatic Miyota 90S5 movement. Reliable, relatively precise and easy to service, this accessible movement helps keep the Kurono 34mm at a fair price. It runs at 28,800 vibrations/hour, boasts 40 hours of power reserve and features a stop-seconds device.
The new Kurono Tokyo 34mm Art-Deco Collection will be produced in only 80 pieces per dial variant. The Pre-Order campaign opens on July 21st, 2022 at 11PM Japan Time (so 4PM Europe Time or 10AM Eastern Time). The watches will be priced at JPY 150,000, thus approximately EUR or USD 1,080.
For more details, please visit kuronotokyo.com.