Masahiro Kikuno – There is balance in life, and life in balance.

Stories of visits with independent watchmakers. One of a series.

A big part of a watch from an independent watchmaker, is the watchmaker. These are the stories not of the watches and their technical marvel, but of my visits with the watchmakers themselves.

August 2018

There is balance in life, and life in balance. Both can be found in the watches and life of AHCI’s youngest member Masahiro Kukino.

An efficient and clean rail system transported me from the busy streets of Tokyo to quiet and narrow streets just 90 minutes away. Crowded restaurants replaced by a charming lunch in a local restaurant that seems more like a friend’s home. A brief taxi ride and we were at Masahiro’s atelier.

With us, Masahiro’s friend and translator Ken (known as “KIH” on some social channels) who, as fate would have it, I just met just the day prior. Another example of life in balance I suppose. Ken has written of Masahiro in the past and his joining makes the experience feel even more like a gathering of old friends.

Masahiro Kikuno

I’ve traveled here to see the Sakubou, Masahiro’s latest watch with his own in-house movement. With a prominent moon phase, Sakubou is designed to bring your attention to the often-forgotten moon. As detailed on his web site:

“Now there are so many artificial lights all around and we no longer see the true darkness, therefore we no longer look at the moon with the same admiration as we did in the past.  SAKUBOU was created to admire the moon again on your wrist.”

Masahiro Kikuno Sakabou

Made almost entirely in-house and by hand, this wrist worn reminder to balance one’s hectic life with time for introspection allows for significant personalization. In my case a larger size, custom engraving, selection of materials, and more.

Much like a group of conspirators working on a grand plan, Ken, Masahiro, his wife (who among other things is the operations mastermind), and I spend much time around a small table in a tight room moving parts around a felt lined tray, dreaming, sketching, talking, and bringing to life my personalized Sakubou.

During a tour of the home/atelier (the ultimate live/work balance) I discovered several glass containers each with a small fish or two, some snails, and plants submerged and sealed in water. Masahiro explained these are experiments he’s been doing on ecosystems – systems that are self balancing, each element adding to the others what is needed for the entire systems to survive. Despite being sealed, the plants provide the oxygen, the snails the cleaning, the fish the fertilizer for the plants and so on. Once again, I find balance in the life of Masahiro.

Sealed Ecosystem

Ken accompanied me back to Tokyo with a vivid conversation on economics, politics, and culture. While not obvious to me at the time, each a topic where balance is good, being out of balance not so much.

Deciding I need some introspection, I end my day in a cigar and jazz bar at the hotel. Of course, “Blue Moon” plays as I reflect, placing a bow on the first chapter of this particular addition to my collection.

Note – Article on my finished Sakabou can be found herehttps://monochrome-watches.com/collectors-series-customized-masahiro-kikuno-sakubou-watch/

Some links of interest:

https://www.masahirokikuno.jp

https://www.watchprosite.com/page-wf.forumpost/fi-16/pi-8496103/ti-1119588/s-0/t–baselworld-2017-masahiro-kikuno-sakubo-syzygy

https://www.watchprosite.com/page-wf.forumpost/fi-16/pi-8404268/ti-1113383/s-0/t–baselworld-2017-masahiro-kikuno-new-model

http://watchesbysjx.com/2017/05/portrait-masahiro-kikuno-japanese-watchmaker.html