DESIGN

vol.8 Traditional Artisanship + OCEANUS

Here, we discuss the products that we create on a daily basis, looking at the steps in their development from the perspective of the designers involved. This article looks at the development story for the “Traditional Artisanship + OCEANUS” design.

Traditional Artisanship + OCEANUS

The project started with a single proposition: “Can we make an OCEANUS that incorporates traditional artisanship?”.
We started by wondering exactly what traditional crafts would be suited to the OCEANUS.
We visited studios and exhibitions in the various regions in search of ideas, and eventually settled on Edo Kiriko as the clear answer.
The exquisite beauty created by the clarity of the glass and the finely detailed cutting used in Edo Kiriko would be a perfect match for the design elegance that the OCEANUS is striving for. This was our conclusion.
That was the beginning of the “TOKYO DESIGN” concept with its theme of Tokyo as a city imbued with both tradition and progress.

Journeys in Search of Artisans

The designers themselves went looking for Edo Kiriko artisans, but it was not that easy. The more they searched, the more they realized that they had set themselves a very difficult challenge.
The began to wonder whether they would ever find an artisan with the sort of highly precise skills for their image of the OCEANUS.
Just they had almost lost hope, by chance they found the artisan they were looking for.
Toru Horiguchi. What we had in mind was to create a product that had a modern sensibility while also having the utmost respect for his traditions.
We immediately approached Toru Horiguchi, but he was very familiar with the difficulties of watch design and was not positively inclined towards the idea. But we persisted and kept talks going, eventually resolving that the project would be canceled if anything arose that either party could not agree to. This marked the beginning of the collaboration between OCEANUS and Edo Kiriko.

The Challenge of Melding Tradition and Innovation

First, the designers drew up some sketches. Following back- and-forth discussions with Horiguchi, the designs moved closer to completion, while at the same time trials were under way using the sapphire crystal actually used as the glass in the OCEANUS.
The traditional patterns and colors widely recognized as characteristic of Edo Kiriko didn’t fit well with the OCEANUS image, but by the same token, completely new designs would not register as Edo Kiriko.
We had to come up with a design that integrated both tradition and innovation, so we continued searching for ideas that would be the key to the solution. After repeated trial and error, we finally had a breakthrough.
While Horiguchi was staring at one of the trial samples, he noticed that the high-precision cutting looked exactly like streaks of light.
“That’s it!”
In that instant, the image came to Horiguchi and he saw the entire design.
The outcome of that moment was “Tokyo Sunrise” – a type of cutting that captured the moment when the morning sunrise first strikes the darkened city streets.
The united efforts of designers and artisans finally yielded an OCEANUS that used Edo Kiriko.

Birth of a New OCEANUS

This project involved processes that were unlike any previous OCEANUS owing to the collaboration with traditional artisanship. The design progressed amid a combination of unrelenting expectation and continual uncertainty, but there is no doubt that the unwavering commitment of the designers and the uncompromising stance of the artisans ultimately opened up a new world for the OCEANUS.

I think we have created a wristwatch that will give real joy to those who wear it.
I can confidently say that this design is definitely the most beautiful OCEANUS ever.

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