Kurono drops a new chronograph – its second, with a brilliant white dial known as “shiro”.
Press Release info with Editorial Commentary in italics.
This is the third chronograph in the Kurono series by Hajime Asaoka. The first was the Chronograph I in two dial versions: white on black and black on white released in 2020 at USD 3,680 / SGD 5,190. Sales began at 10:30 PM Japan Standard Time on May 1, 2020, and sold out almost immediately. The series was a limited edition of 68 pieces in each variant. As a side note, a two variant series, which looked identical to the Kurono Chronograph I was released in November 2020. However, it was sold under the branding “Chrono Tokyo” in a limited edition of 50 pieces each.
The next was the Chronograph II released in February 2021, and was a limited edition of 500 pieces. The Chronograph II bore carried on with the Kurono branding and had Asaoka’s art-deco styling which brings together the copper, silver, and dark brown color palette. This Reiwa styled chronograph carried a retail price of JPY 418,000 / USD3,993 / SGD 5,700. It was released for public sale globally on February 20, 2021 in two batches: Public international sales began at 11:30 PM JST, while domestic sales started at 12:00 PM. The model sold out in under 5 minutes despite the large 500 piece production run.
And this third installment with a brilliant white dial with lacquer print. Kurono nicknames this model the “shiro”. The name Shiro in Japanese can be translated to have several meanings, from ‘a gentleman’ and ‘a samurai’, to ‘castle’ and ‘palace’. Shiro also means ‘the color white’ or ‘pure as white’. We think the name is chosen not only for the white dial, but also to attract the other connotations that the Japanese word brings.
Kurono now does not state the limited edition size, but includes a statement that the release will be “a single limited edition run in the hundreds”. This is an interesting proposition, and suggests to us that Kurono is only deciding on the limitation number after seeing the take-up rate during the pre-orders and global order release. We also note that the pricing has increased slightly with each new release, while the release size is increasing.
The movement remains the SII NE86, which is a standard workhorse movement from Seiko.
As with the 2021 Chronograph II, where 20% of the production was reserved for “Contributors” and Japan Domestic Market, a small number of the new Chronograph II White “shiro” is offered to “Contributors”. Kurono does not disclose what is the proportion reserved for “Contributors”. This offer is only by invitation, and has to be reciprocated with an expression of interest, and will be on an allocation basis. It has been open to invited contributors since February 18, and has closed earlier today on February 21 February 2022 1300hrs JST (9.5 hours before this article goes live.)
Kurono Chronograph II White “shiro”
Pre-order price is set at JPY 428,000 before taxes, approx USD 3,700. A 50% deposit is required on placement of order (see below on how to do so). Shipping will be from April 2022.
Kurono is an initiative to create high-quality, Japan-made luxury timepieces designed by independent Japanese watchmaker Hajime Asaoka. It aims to deliver to watch collectors a more accessible timepiece that shares the design DNA of Hajime’s exclusive handmade atelier watches, at affordable levels.
Hajime Asaoka is proud to present the new Kurono Chronograph II in white – nicknamed ‘Shiro’ – a refined classical interpretation of his iconic Chronograph II design launched in black in early 2021.
‘This watch is my personal desire. In 2021 I really wanted to release a white chronograph but was forced to launch only black. As a small independent, we are limited in the number movements we can procure, in the year since the first prototype. I’ve been wearing it myself, figuring out improvements, and then making many new dial samples. As a result, I’m proud to say I have created a dial with a very high degree of perfection, and one with absolute balance. Looking back, it was good that the delay allowed me to release something exceptionally complete. I am very happy to be able to make this deferred desire a reality.’Hajime Asaoka
Chronograph ii white, nicknamed ‘Shiro’, is a refined interpretation of the iconic chronograph ii design by Hajime Asaoka, a longer prototyping period has allowed for numerous improvements across the board from higher definition printing to greater depth of field, from thicker lacquer from light refraction and concentric guilloche to parallax overprinting and ‘kyudo’ arrow hands. We hope customers will find pleasure in the exploration of the details put into the construction of the watch.
‘Simple elements such as the white on the dial is much more than just color – the brilliance of the white was achieved by fine sandblasting of the dial followed by silvering, and with the thick lacquer giving it the
appearance of bright white’.
Hajime chose the mechanical chronograph calibre NE86 from one of Japan’s most esteemed movement manufactures. The movement is positioned by SII as its newest flagship chronograph movement and successor to the 6S a premium caliber.
The 311-part movement combines traditional chronograph features like a column wheel, vertical clutch, and a magic lever winding system it has a unique three-pointed hammer system that starts, stops, and resets all three wheels simultaneously this allows for all the counters to advance continuously rather than only at one-minute intervals. Additionally, instead of driving the minute and hour counters from the chronograph seconds wheel, each is driven by a powered wheel with its own clutch this delivers increased accuracy and longer-term durability the movement has a power reserve of 45 hours.
How to order
The public sale offered globally will be released at 11:30pm Japan Standard Time Thursday, February 24, 2022. ((gmt) london: thursday, 24 february, 14:30 / (est) new york: thursday, 24 february, 09:30 / (gst) dubai: thursday, 24 february, 18:30 / (aedt) sydney: friday, 25 february, 01:30)
Kurono Chronograph II White “shiro” Specifications
• Pulsometer/tachymeter with date
• High-polished domed-steel hour markers
• Japan-made mechanical self-winding chronograph movement
• 316L high-polished 38mm stainless steel case ∙ solid caseback
• 38mm diameter, thickness 13.9 including sapphire
• 45 hour power reserve, frequency of 28,800bph, 34 rubies
• High-curvature sapphire crystal
• Water resistant to 3atm
• Made in Japan
• A single limited edition run in the hundreds