Inspired by the hallowed Patek Philippe reference 96, the Murakumo inherits a refined aesthetic that has been finished to a very high degree. The stainless steel case at 36.8mm is entirely (and meticulously) black-polished by hand, as are the eye-catching sculptural hands. The grained, matte black dial is from Kari Voutilainen’s Comblémine manufacture, and powering the watch is the Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier self-winding calibre KN001, equipped with a uni-directional micro-rotor.
Japan's Passion for Independent Watchmaking
There is this compelling, almost gut instinct to want to link Japan’s love of fine watches with their traditional passion for finely made objects. So important is mastering a craft in Japan that they have a word, shokunin, for those who have dedicated their lives to learning one skill for the betterment of not only themselves, but their community as a whole. For anyone who has been lucky enough to visit the country and see one of the highly skilled sword-smiths forging a blade from raw metal, you can understand why these artisans are so revered in local culture.
An area for which Japan has developed quite a reputation, is collecting examples of independent watchmaking. The passion for the work of watchmakers such as François-Paul Journe, Kari Voutilainen or Philippe Dufour is undeniable and certainly recognised by the watchmakers themselves. Journe established his first ever boutique in Tokyo, and as we discussed in our short series on Dufour, roughly 120 of his Simplicities were originally sold to Japanese collectors.
Another aspect that became apparent in the design of the limited editions for the Japanese market, is that they ended-up being far more classic in nature. This suggests that the strong vintage community in Japan clearly affects the modern market as well, with classically designed, understated pieces in high demand.