BaselWorld 2017: Masahiro Kikuno New Model

Feb 18, 2017,23:25 PM

PuristSPro exclusive!

He is still making his second "Wa-Dokei" (makes only ONE per year, and he got three orders, one has been just delivered, and in the making of the second...), but he is ready to announce his latest model at the upcoming BaselWorld 2017.

(The first Wa-Dokei delivered: )

And you may remember his previous model - Mokume-Gane.

His knowledge and passion for Japanese traditional metal usage as well as coloring technique is just outstanding.  This time, he again tries to impress us with another Japanese traditional metal coloring and decoration technique.  "Mokume-Gane" took much longer a time to create than he had anticipated and it was discontinued soon after, but his passion for the Japanese traditional metal thing is well alive.

First, take a look at these pages from the book about the ”Funadansu".   "Dansu" or "Tansu" (when used independently) means "chest of drawers" and "Funa" here means "ship".  So, it is "chest made for the protection of fragile stuffs in a turbulence of wild sea" or something like that.  Hundreds of years ago, this was actually used - the decoration means its importance and worked as protection from the debris at the time of shipwreck.  And the chest actually floated (another high technique to make this chest) in the sea so that it would be found.

Okay, so?  He thought it would be interesting to design the dial with such motif, from aesthetic stand point (don't expect it to float in the water!).

The metal he chose this time is "Kuro-Sibuichi":

"Shibuichi" is the alloy 75% copper and 25% silver.  Shibuichi means "quarter", so 25% silver made that name.  It contained a tiny bit of gold, too.
Now, "Kuro-Shibuichi" is 40% of "Shibuichi" and 60% of "Shakudo" which is the alloy of copper + 3-5% gold.  Why "Kuro (Black)" they call it?  Please read-on.

This is the "Kuro-Shibuichi" or "Black-Shibuichi" plate as it is sold.

First, he punches the halls so that he can cut the metal to create the dial pattern with jig saw (by hand, of course).

Hand cutting has finished (before further engraving on the surface).

And, now, the process called ”Niiro-Shiage" or "Rokusho":

It has to be done right and his bathroom is like this (his house has two bathrooms, so that's okay).  Of course, the liquid after the process must be taken to the legitimate processing vendors (not into the sewage!).

And the result is this.   A bit greyish black.

The bottom gold-color plate becomes the dial on the top of this photo.

This model also has Moonphase (first for him) with accuracy of one day per 122 years.

The base plate for the Moonphase is silver, and the moons are "Kuro-Shibuichi", the same as the dial, inlaid into the silver plate.

The dial looks like this.

On 12h, he put the family crest, which you can choose or create.  Or, if you prefer, he can replace it with the small second (base model is two hand model).

Movement photos:

With dial and hands.

The case - also made of "Kuro-Shibuichi".

Bezel and the case back is made from white gold.

When completed.... (glass will arrive shortly)

Pretty thin....

Bezel looks like flower and it gives the watch some warmth and attractive accent.  The counter-balance of the minute hand is a bird....

And the diameter is 38mm - Mokume-Gane next to it was 43mm.  Very wearable.

His creations so far....

This is so cool.  His personal one, but I want this!

Now, his schedule is, as mentioned above, he will finish his 3rd Wa-Dokei in the middle of 2018, and then he will start taking orders of this.  Until then, he will check how "Kuro-Shibuichi" processed metal would change over time, if any.  He thinks he can make 4 to 5 of this per year.  But he still maintains ample time to "think" - he does not make watches during this period - and that makes me really comfortable.  Again, he is not doing this to become rich, but from his passion as a missionary to make watches in a very traditional way, design wise and mechanical wise.

Look for his booth (AHCI booth) at Basel next month.  He and his wife surely welcome you and show you this yet another wonderful watch.

Lastly, his wife made dinner for us and we drank wine together, talking about watches, movies....  Thank you, Kikuno-san and Miyuki-san!


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Really outstanding work!

 By: mpg13 : February 18th, 2017-23:53
I love the combination of fine watchmaking and traditional craft. Best, Martin

Very nice work indeed! Couldn't agree more!

 By: MCG (Markus) : February 19th, 2017-01:16
Question: the "thing" at the 12, what is it? Does it move or turn?

That is "Family Crest" - it doesn't move or turn.

 By: KIH : February 19th, 2017-02:03
You can have your house flag there or replace it with the second hand subdial, he says....

In this context, work of art is not an hackneyed expression

 By: Alkiro1 : February 18th, 2017-23:56
Many thanks Ken for this report. Best wishes Alkiro

I love such exclusive news !

 By: jrwong23 : February 19th, 2017-00:55
of such an exclusive Japanese watchmaker and his products ! Very very impressive. Thanks alot Ken for your report Cheers Robin

Yup, there are many types of watchmakers...

 By: KIH : February 19th, 2017-02:04
.. and his style is one of my most favorite!

Awesome work.

 By: VMM : February 19th, 2017-01:43
Fantastic post. Thank you. Vte


 By: Alex_KonTiki : February 19th, 2017-06:25
Just wow!

True craftmanship.

 By: willski : February 19th, 2017-11:32
Looks quite amazing, and I'm sure in person even more so. I actually prefer this model to the Mokume-Gane, even if the dial of the latter takes much more time and effort. Thanks for sharing as otherwise I'd never even be aware of this artist.

He has been AHCI full member since 2013...

 By: KIH : February 19th, 2017-14:37
.. now he is 34 years old, yet, adamant about making watches as if he were making watches hundreds of years ago. He hopes to make watches that would surprise those legendary watchmakers in the past, made in the same way......

34 years old!

 By: willski : February 20th, 2017-08:51
Wow so young. A great benefit is that any owners will have comfort he should be around for a long time It will be interesting to watch him 'evolve' and the direction is watchmaking takes him.

Thanks again Ken!

 By: sidneyc : February 19th, 2017-23:00
Masahiro-san is a watchmaker I admire dearly and I always dream to being able to own one of his creations. This new model look fantastic. I love his attention to detail and his unique style of incorporating Japanese elements into traditionally hand-made w... 

Hey Sidney, my pleasure!

 By: KIH : February 20th, 2017-02:18
Did I mention that he is also a GREAT guy? )

Fantastic Report...

 By: mdg : February 20th, 2017-20:17
Thank you for expanding my knowledge of a very interesting independent maker.

What movement is inside this watch?

 By: takashi78 : May 16th, 2017-20:38
His creations are always amazing. Any idea what movt he puts inside this watch? His own design or modified?