by Dana Li
I have long been an admirer of Kurono Tokyo and the amazing designs on their watches, so I was extremely excited when I was able to get the 2022 Anniversary Grand Mori. From the gorgeous urushi dial to the shine on the case, this watch is an absolute stunner.
Close up of the Kurono Grand Mori
The Origins of Kurono Tokyo
Hajime Asaoka is an incredibly well respected and self-taught Japanese independent watchmaker who creates high-end, beautifully hand-crafted timepieces. Asaoka himself is involved in the design and production process, creating and assembling all the components and the movement by hand. Though his artisanal approach results in some jaw-dropping watches, it also means that Asaoka has a long waitlist and fairly high price tag for his pieces.
In order to provide collectors and enthusiasts a more accessible way to enjoy his watches, Asaoka created Kurono Tokyo, an extension of his name sake brand that still incorporates his design ethos at a lower price point. With the latest releases, Kurono has been opening a short ~10 minute window rather than limiting the number of pieces to give people as fair of an opportunity as possible to place their orders online.
The Grand Mori
The latest in the Grand collection, the Grand Mori features an incredibly detailed, handmade urushi dial that is meant to resemble a luscious green forest. Urushi is a lacquer that is produced from a tree sap and has been used for over 10,000 years in Japan. The lacquer is applied by hand to the dial by female craftsmen who have inherited the technique through years of apprenticeship and mastery. The urushi dial is also expected to brighten and take on a unique patina over time as the moisture in the sap dries.
Another close up of the Grand Mori on my wrist. The dial is so stunning.
Thanks to its 37mm case and slightly curved case, the Grand Mori wears incredibly well. From afar, you can easily see the striking green dial, but the detail of the urushi really shines the closer you look. The Grand Mori makes for a stunning every day watch but can also be dressed up as the perfect accent piece for more formal outfits.
The 37mm case is the perfect size and sits incredibly well on my smaller wrist
Having worn this piece a few times since receiving it, I have to say that I am exceedingly impressed with the level of artistry and thought in the design of the watch. For under $3000, it’s hard to find another watch at that price point with such meticulous craftsmanship. In addition, I love that Asaoka provides an accessible way for watch enthusiasts and collectors to enjoy his high-quality designs through the Kurono collections. The Grand Mori continues to showcase the best of the brand with its unique and memorable dial design that needs to be experienced in person if you’re able to see one.