Introducing: The Seiko FUGAKU Limited Edition Tourbillon

The FUGAKU Tourbillon is a combination of some traditional watchmaking, seen through the channel of Seiko’s idiosyncratic watchmaking theory, for certain traditional Japanese decorative arts strategies used to re-decipher perhaps the most notorious show-stoppers of the Edo Period (1603-1868) which marked the standard of the Tokugawa shogunate – a time of delayed political stability marked by the thriving of many aspects of Japanese culture that are still with us today. The woodblock known as The Great Wave Off Kanagawa was the first in a progression of prints by Hokusai, on the whole known as 36 Views Of Mount Fuji.

For the FUGAKU Tourbillon, The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, which shows a giant wave about to inundate boats, with Mt. Fuji out of sight, has been reevaluated utilizing traditional Japanese lacquerware procedures known as maki-e, and the abilities of maki-e artist Isshu Tamura, who’s also known for his work in the creation of maki-e fountain pens (the utilization of the strategy for the decoration of pens is a long-standing tradition in Japan). The actual wave is addressed in gold, with engraving by Kiyoshi Terui, an artisan working at Seiko’s own Shizuki-ishi Watch Studio in Morioka, where Grand Seiko and Credor watches are made and assembled. Overall plan was directed by Nobuhiro Kosugi, and the master watchmaker in charge was Satoshi Hiraga; both are perceived by the Japanese government as Contemporary Master Craftsmen. (That program is planned by the governement to, ” . . . honor technicians with outstanding abilities who are perceived as leaders in their field.”)

The back of the watch has been elaborately decorated as well, proceeding with the wave theme found on the dial side of the watch, and utilizing both engraving and maki-e lacquer methods. Technically, this is a very meager tourbillon wristwatch, with regards to the general plan reasoning of Seiko’s Credor watches: flimsy, elegant, and frequently, showcasing traditional Japanese arts and crafts. The 43.1 mm platinum case is 8.8 mm thick, and the tourbillon development itself is very slender, at 3.98 mm top to bottom, and 25.6 mm in diameter, which according to Seiko makes it the world’s smallest tourbillon “by volume” (the base development is 1.95 mm thick).

Mother-of-pearl inlay has also been utilized to decorate the development and case (the strategy is known as raden in Japan). Blue sapphires on the drags and bezel get the blue features of the lacquer work and mother-of-pearl, as well as the dark blue steel of the hands and tourbillon connect on the dial side, and development screws on the back of the watch.

Price is set at 50 million Japanese Yen; at the current rate of exchange at the hour of composing, that’s approximately $462,000. So what are we to make of all this? Aside from the sudden astonishment of Seiko making a tourbillon at all, I think on the off chance that anyone had asked me what kind of tourbillon I figured Seiko may make, I’d have speculated that it would probably be something austere, with an emphasis on nuance and chronometry – a tourbillon Eichi for instance, with a porcelain dial, and the tourbillon not even noticeable on the dial side. Instead, what we have is a vivid, vibrantly enthusiastic re-interpretation of the tourbillon, and of quite possibly the most dearest and recognizable of Japanese artworks. The impact, face to face, is dramatic, and takes a touch of becoming acclimated to – yet at that point, so does the idea of a Seiko tourbillon itself, and there’s no uncertainty that a gigantic level of craft, and miniaturization of craft methods, have been lavished on the FUGAKU Tourbillon; and that, as well, it’s a really characterizing statement of expectation from Seiko that it means to keep on rethinking itself, both to itself and to its fans, as a genuine extravagance presence in fine watchmaking.

For more understanding into the work, and world, of Seiko, look at our visit to Seiko Japan, with accompanying video, here.

The Seiko Credor FUGAKU Tourbillon: Movement, Caliber 6830, hand-wound, 21,600 vibrations each hour (6 beats each second) running in 22 gems. Accuracy: mean daily rate of – 10 to +15 seconds. Force save: approximately 37 hours. Platinum 950/18K white gold/18K yellow gold case with 48 blue sapphires (3.22 carat, including crown and carries) and dial with 18K white gold/18K yellow gold engraving, Urushi lacquer, mother-of-pearl, and Yakogai (turban shell) inlay. Sapphire crystal with anti-intelligent coating. Water resistance 3 bar; magnetic resistance: 4,800 A/m. Diameter: 43.1 mm; thickness: 8.8 mm. Crocodile strap with Platinum 950 three-overlap clasp with press button release.

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