Graduation project of Japanese watchmaking school

Mar 23, 2013,09:36 AM

I had a pleasure of seeing the graduation exhibition of Japan's jewelry and watchmaking school, Hiko Mizuno (see my report on the "petite" Lange Academy held there: )

There were two projects from the graduate students or interns, both of which are pretty impressive:

1. Clover Seed Leaf Tourbillon
(by Makoto Yokoyama)
Twin barrel for the more torque to work with the heavier tourbillon carriage.

"Tourbillon carriage with motif of four-leaves clover, almost all parts are hand made.  Tried to make it not too big (39mm).  Twin barrel for stable torque."

Photos by Mr. Yokoyama.

And here is the video of when the movement started working for the first time.

2. Twin Retrograde Tourbillon (by Ryuhei Amaike)

"Hour and minute hands both moves as retrograde.  The gears of the function were all made by hand."

Still in the assembly stage - to be completed soon.

Photos by Mr. Amaike

And how it works in videos sent to me later:


They are equally impressive work.  It took 6 months for design and took another 6 months for actual construction, assembly.  Now they want to sharpen the accuracy department.

A bit sad part is that with these creativity, there are not many places they can use or expand such talent here.  Graduate tend to find jobs at watch repair shops, brands' service department, etc....  Only few can continue such creative work, including Mr. Kikuno ( ).  Well, that may be true in any watchmaking school in the world, though....

I just hope the best for those two young watchmakers.  Mr. Yokoyama is going to work for the servicing department of a famous brand, and Mr. Amaike will stay at the school for one more year.

Japan's young watchmakers: Mr. Yokoyama, Mr. Kikuno (Alumni of Hiko Mizuno, AHCI Candidate), and Mr. Amaike.

Thank you.


This message has been edited by KIH on 2013-03-23 09:42:03

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Great article.

 By: Pulli : March 23rd, 2013-09:53
Ken. All of your articles are very interesting.

Thank you! [nt]

 By: KIH : March 23rd, 2013-17:54


 By: patrick_y : March 23rd, 2013-10:13
Congrats to the graduates. Thanks Ken. Looking forward to seeing their impact in years to come.

Yes, me, too! [nt]

 By: KIH : March 23rd, 2013-17:55

Ken is normal for that school to have project that have the...

 By: Ronald Held : March 23rd, 2013-14:48
Student design and assemble a tourbillon watch?

Well, apparently, so...

 By: KIH : March 23rd, 2013-17:56
... there are lots of students and some stay after 2 year program and start designing and making complicated watches. And those are such "interns".

A great article Ken!

 By: foversta : March 23rd, 2013-15:10
And even more important: it shows that Japan has a bright watchmaking future. Thanks! Fx

Well, I hope so and...

 By: KIH : March 23rd, 2013-17:58
.... we have to make room for them! Thanks, Fx! Ken

Very enjoyable article to read.

 By: Nicko16 : March 23rd, 2013-16:53
Thank you I actually quite like the look of that retrograde hours and minutes tourbillon.


 By: KIH : March 23rd, 2013-17:59
.. yes, that's quite a mechanism to work flawlessly and that's why it has taken such a long time.... Ken

Fantastic Article & Congratulations to the Graduates

 By: samir530 : March 23rd, 2013-20:43
I look forward to their continued success.

Yes, same here.

 By: KIH : March 24th, 2013-01:25
.. somehow we have to make the system to support them....

So, there are students somewhere...

 By: Ophiuchus : March 24th, 2013-00:09
...making tourbillon school watches. Impressive. KIH, how long is their program total? My program is 2 years, with only 2/3 of one month working time allotted for a school watch, based off a ETA 6497 caliber. Bridges officially only, but anything complica... 

School program is 2 years...

 By: KIH : March 24th, 2013-01:24
... and these two interns decided to stay for another year, so these tourbillon watches are the product in their 3rd year.... Ken

I see

 By: Ophiuchus : March 24th, 2013-11:50
That makes sense. I figured there wouldn't just be a school somewhere where students were taught to make watches. There would be no point to the industry that way, who need those who can service timepieces, not just make them. Making is more fun though. I... 

Sure. I could arrange that.

 By: KIH : March 24th, 2013-18:16
it would be nice for me to see you, too.. Ken

Thank you Ken for showing us these watches...

 By: DonCorson : March 24th, 2013-02:58
It is great to see the "in work" pictures and then the finished pieces. Congratulations to the watchmakers. I hope we hear more from em in the future. Don

I wish they

 By: cen@jkt : March 24th, 2013-08:09
Would bloom to be a succesful independent watchmakers. I have been dying for an Asian watchmaker to arise. cen@jkt

and not just another

 By: amerix : March 24th, 2013-13:25
highly trained, skilled and talented Worker in the industrial process, but with the knowledge of what centuries of watchmakers have done before.. Design is what sells most nowadays, but we still need vision and the ability to use our heart, hands, mind an... 

So have I...

 By: KIH : March 24th, 2013-18:17
.. need to do something to foster these talent... Ken

Great report Ken!

 By: takashi78 : March 24th, 2013-23:19
Interesting to see other types of report. You featured 2 watches. Does it mean only 2 student "graduated" ? Interesting to see even a student only needs 6 months design and 6 months assembly when you hear of big name brands telling us 5yrs and such. But i... 

Of course they finished...

 By: KIH : March 25th, 2013-00:47
... 2 year program of watchmaking, and they both decided to remain and continue to advance their pursuit for the "better" watchmaker. Most of them do not remain after 2 years and those two are from those who decided to remain and for the year after the 2-... 


 By: Poktori : March 24th, 2013-14:13
...some one give these students a graduate scholarship; like cen@jktm, I'd love to see a new and innovative Asian brand (although tourbillons are a bit overdone the design is very appealing). Congrats to the students! And thanks for the great post. R

That's one of the things we are...

 By: KIH : March 24th, 2013-18:19
.. currently thinking of.... really. It would be a waste not to let them continue their work at least a bit longer.... Ken

Superb Report

 By: flamenco : March 24th, 2013-23:30
Ken, thanks for a yet another great writeup. Absolutely provides an insight into the state of horology industry in Japan. It takes tremendous courage to venture into ACHI as this must be few and far between in Japan, and for that, these great innovators h... 


 By: KIH : March 25th, 2013-00:49
Yes, I intend to follow up those two - although one has decided to work for an European brand service department. Another one (retrograde) decided to remain at the school as intern for another year and will be easier to follow. Thanks again! Ken


 By: RobCH : March 25th, 2013-09:54
Impressive stuff, Ken ! Thanks for sharing

Great post Ken and very interesting. Love the

 By: 219 : March 25th, 2013-14:59
retrograde piece. Almost a highly innovative Breguet quality to it. I have some theories on Japan and craft, and the young watchmakers seem to be bearing this out! Many thanks! Andrew H

What an amazing post...

 By: elliot55 : March 25th, 2013-15:19
... Ken-San, thanks so much for this information. I am happy to see what appears to be young kids doing amazing work. The retrograde tourbillon is fantastic. That guy is ready for the major leagues! - Scott