Kurono Tokyo, the affordable brand conceived by renowned independent watchmaker Hajime Asaoka, has announced their first watch release of 2021, the Chronograph 2. We’re pretty big fans not only of Kurono’s watches, but the concept behind them. Asaoka is a world class watchmaker, but his handmade watches are well out of reach of the common enthusiast, costing well into the five figures. And by their very nature, production is low, so they’re exceedingly rare. Kurono presents an opportunity for the average collector to get a taste of Asaoka’s design with watches that, while limited in production, cost a small fraction of one of Asaoka’s bespoke pieces. The Chronograph 2 is a follow up to the brand’s first chronograph, released last year, offering a new dial variant in a similar Art Deco style.
You’ll recall that Kurono’s first chronograph design featured dials in black on white and white on black versions – the classic panda and reverse panda. With the Chronograph 2, the tone is quite a bit darker throughout, with earthy brown and copper tones dominating. The center sector of the Chronograph 2 is a dark brown, and it’s surrounded by a glossy black mid-sector, with the outer sector picking up the brown once again. The central scale is a tachymeter in a contrasting copper color, with silver chronograph seconds and telemeter scales toward the dial’s perimeter. The dial is busy and complex, mainly due to the unusual placement of the tachymeter scale at the center, but every decision on its execution has been made with an eye toward legibility and creating something that’s purely eye catching.
Like its predecessor, the Chronograph 2’s case is 38mm in diameter and measures 13.9mm thick. It also retains one of my favorite small details that Asaoka has implemented in his Kurono line: hour markers that are simple, polished steel studs. This is a rarely seen method of marking the hours and gives the Chronograph 2 a unique Art Deco flourish. It also, according to Kurono, presents a new way for the dial to play with light, which they claim was the guiding principle behind the Chronograph 2’s design.
The Chronograph 2 is powered by the Seiko NE86A, which is a column wheel chronograph movement with a vertical clutch, offering 45 hours of power reserve. This is still a relatively new, and to this point underused, movement, which features running seconds at 3:00 and a 30 minute totalizer at 9:00 (as well as a date window which has been placed at 6:00). The two register look feels like the right choice for a vintage inspired watch like this, and allows the wearer to focus their attention on the prominent chronograph scales, rather than a trio of subdials.
The Chronograph 2 is limited to 500 pieces, and will sell for $3,993. It goes on sale to the public on February 20, at 11:30 PM JST (that’s 9:30 AM on the east coast of the US – set your alarms if you’re in California and don’t want to miss this one). More information can be found at the Kurono website right here.