Review: Daizoh Makihara Kikutonagimon Sakura

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We introduced Daizoh Makihara in our article in August 2018, where we met him in Tokyo and talked about his watchmaking. He brought the Kikutonagimon Sakura, and we managed to take a few photographs of the watch. We also wrote a short review in the article linked above.

Daizoh Makihara Kikutonagimon Sakura

We covered the watch and Daizoh in some detail in our earlier article and recommend that you read it first for the introduction to this fascinating new independent and his work.

Introducing Daizoh Makihara and the Kikutonagimon Sakura

Recommended reading

So for this article we will focus on our hands-on impressions we obtained after spending an hour or so with Daizoh and the watch. And also to bring you the full photography set as is usually delivered for our review. The Chief Editor was on vacation in August, when he met with Daizoh in Tokyo, and was not equipped with his portable studio with macro lenses.

Daizoh Makihara Kikutonagimon Sakura is an artisanal offering with elements of traditional Japanese craft and high end watchmaking.

The case, dial and hands

As mentioned, the name Kikutsunagimon sakura (菊繋ぎ紋桜), or “chrysanthemum link coat of arms and cherry blossoms” is a reflection on his thinking about combining vanishing Japanese craft with traditional watchmaking. This is boldly show cased on the dial.

The case is a three piece case, mildly reminiscent of the ones used in Lange watches.

The case has a rather teutonic feel. While not chunky or bulky, it does have a sense of heft while still remaining elegant. Rather reminiscent of those used by Lange, a fact which Daizoh acknowledges. The case is made to his specifications by a precision Japanese manufacturer, and as shown is in rose gold.

No complications, in the traditional sense is offered in this watch. As such, it is more like a Metiers D’Art piece. And in that tradition, the artwork must shine and the other aspects fade. Reducing this to the minimum, the watch shows only the hours, minutes and seconds with no other markings on the dial. Rather like a “Mysterious” clock face. One can argue that it could be simpler by omitting the seconds hand, but perhaps that is splitting hairs. I will call the watch as personification of simplicity, of sorts.

The watch is a simple three hander, with no other complications.

The highlight is thus the intricately made dial. The kiku pattern is shown in the dial using a special and ancient, swiftly vanishing technique called Edo-kiriko.  It looks like crystal lattice works, but is done by cutting the glass surface of the dial to make the patterns.

The movement

The movement is sourced from a Unitas as a base. And beautifully hand engraved with a sakura (cherry blossom) pattern showing the foilage.

The back shows the beautiful hand engraving and tremblage excuted on the dial.

The technique is executed by Daizoh himself, and is made first by hand engraving the pattern. This in itself is an intricate and time consuming task, as the pattern extends to all parts of the bridges. He then polishes the entire surface, so that it is highly shiny, including the engraved groves which outline the sakura. He then creates contrast for the high polish of the sakura to shine by executing a hand hammering pattern using a nail like tool to create the texture. This technique is similar to that used to create tremblage used in Lange’s Handwerkskundst products. The pattern is very elaborate, and the entire watch movement is thus decorated.

Detail on the bridge with the hand engraved sakura, and the tremblage pattern. Note also the sharp inward anble on the cocks of the third, fourth and escape wheels.

Also of note is the wide, exceptionally beautifully executed anglage on the bridges. Note also, the anglage is beautifully polished to a high shine.

Even the balance cock carries this hand engraved sakura and tremblage pattern.

The execution of the movement finish is exceptionally fine, and fully transforms the “ugly duckling” Unitas into a magnificently beautiful swan. The entire ensemble is very eye catching and aesthetically very pleasing.

Concluding thoughts

The Daizoh Makihara Kikutonagimon Sakura is a beautiful timepiece. The purpose of its creation is to marry the traditional Japanese craftsmanship to traditional haute horlogerie. And we think Daizoh has largely succeeded in this task.

On the wrist, the 42mm case size is just about perfect for my wrist.

The price of ¥4,900,000 or approximately US$50,000 is admittedly very high. But this is commensurate the skill and time required to execute the fine artwork of the dial as well as the decorations on the movement. Is it justified? We think that for those seeking something exceptionally crafted, and have the means to do so, the Kikutonagimon Sakura is peerless. For the rest, we can only admire what the human spirit is capable of, and the beauty created by human hands. And that’s all right too.


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