Japan Wednesday, October 3rd 2012
Land of excellence, Japan embraces watchmaking in the person of Hajime Asaoka, a self-taught young watchmaker, as well as through research by Swiss historian Pierre-Yves Donzé, and the reopening of the Seiko Museum.
Worlds away from Switzerland in every sense, Japan is experiencing some important developments in watchmaking. Hajime Asaoka from Tokyo, a designer who trained at one of the country's top schools, got it into his head to make watches, with astonishing results. He learned his craft from George Daniels' book Watchmaking and by watching YouTube. He aims to exhibit at Baselworld in 2013, possibly as a member of the AHCI. In the meantime, he gave us a glimpse of his talent.
> Hajime Asaoka, the watchmaker from Tokyo
Visiting Fellow at the University of Kyoto, the Swiss historian Pierre-Yves Donzé questions whether Japanese quartz watches really were responsible for bringing Swiss mechanical watchmaking to its knees. His conclusions are clear: the industry was no longer competitive because it was too diversified and lacked rational organisation. Something Nicolas Hayek would put right. As for Rolex, he suggests it may well have escaped the quartz crisis altogether.
> Japanese quartz didn't kill the Swiss watch industry
In its redesigned and renovated museum in Tokyo, Seiko tells the story of how a retailer gave rise to one of the country's biggest industrial groups, with a fascinating staging of its rich watchmaking heritage and some surprising discoveries.
> The Seiko Museum in Tokyo
Louis Nardin - Osaka