Japanese watchmaker Hajime Asaoka announced another of his accessibly-priced limited edition Kurono timepieces this week.
The Kurono Tokyo Chronograph II White “Shiro” features a conservatively sized 38 mm x 13.9 mm polished 316L stainless steel case with a vintage style domed sapphire crystal protecting the dial which has dual recessed azurage (stamped concentric guilloche) finished subdials with diamond-cut steel surrounds set against an attractive mixture of bright-white, heron-white, and red — with the company’s signature “kyudo” arrow hands stacked on top.
Covered in a thicker clear lacquer, according to the brand, the dial has a red printed tachymeter scale that encircles the center of the dial and intersects with the sunken subdials, while the outermost ring has a black printed telemeter scale. Tiny highly-polished circular steel dots mark the hours, except at the poles where the two counters and date aperture prevent the circular markers from being placed — and there’s a double baton index at 12. A black printed ring just outside the hour markers displays a 0-60 scale, for reading the minutes and chronograph seconds.
A solid steel caseback hides the movement, and it’s probably a good thing as underneath lies a Japanese-made Seiko SII NE86A automatic chronograph movement that’s not known for its looks or finishing. Although reliable, the accuracy will likely need to be enhanced by Kurono’s watchmakers, or else the rates won’t be that great. The movement beats at 4Hz, has 311 components, 34 jewels, and a power reserve of 45-hours. On a good note, this is a column-wheel-equipped vertical clutch-actuated chronograph, so operating the chronograph will not affect timekeeping accuracy, and the chronograph seconds hand will not wiggle when started. Plus, the magic-lever system requires fewer turns to fully wind the mainspring. Another beneficial design detail is that the chronograph minute counter runs continuously instead of jumping. And overall, the start/stop/reset feel of the chronograph pushers should be smooth.
As is the case with all of the timepieces from Asaoka’s entry-level sub-brand, the Kurono Tokyo Chronograph II White “Shiro” is being made as a limited edition, and the company states production will be in the hundreds. Asaoka’s latest chronograph is as gorgeous as ever. The price of $3,700 is not terrible however it does seem high considering the movement inside.
Photos by Kurono Tokyo.