Hajime Asaoka first burst into the haute horologie scene in 2014. More or less creating tsunami sized waves in the industry with his Project T Tourbillon. This followed in 2015 with a three hand watch which he aptly named Project Tsunami. This Baselworld 2017, he returns to introduce his first, self designed, home made chronograph – The Asaoka Chronograph! Quite a remarkable feat, as the chronograph is considered by many horology experts to be at or near the pinnacle of the art.
Hajime Asaoka taught himself the craft of watchmaking from the book by George Daniels – Watchmaking and from watching YouTube tutorials, and experimenting and building the watches with tools bought from eBay. Perhaps this is the brave new world, where everything is done online. But yet the craft of watchmaking is ages old, and the juxtaposition of teaching oneself via the most modern way possible to create traditional timepieces is interesting. And impressive. Especially when Hajime does not speak English, and the Daniels’ book is written in a terse, text book like language. Interesting too that he is able to translate YouTube tutorials into practical techniques. And even more impressive is that the final result is a watch which can rival any the industry can offer. Most spectacular indeed. From the Project 1 Tourbillon first shown in 2005, to the various Tourbillons and the simple three hand Tsunami. All carry impressive workmanship, exceptional show of virtuosity, and brilliance in execution. Each bear the idiosyncrasies of the man himself, which makes it all the more intriguing.