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Hajime Asaoka Project T Tourbillon Indepedent Japanese Watch

Hajime Asaoka Project T Tourbillon Indepedent Japanese Watch Watch Releases

High-end, independent, and self-taught Japanese watchmaker Hajime Asaoka presents his second watch, the Project T Tourbillon – and it is beautiful. We introduced Hajime Asaoka back in 2011 when he released his first Tourbillon watch. The Hajime Asaoka Project T continues where he left off the with first tourbillon, further extending his cool and masculine art deco sense of style.

Interestingly enough, the Hajime Asaoka Project T Tourbillon watch is a collaboration project between Hajime Asaoka and two other companies. Is this watch for charity, or with a sports team, or is there some other type of lifestyle connection? No such BS in the world of Hajime Asaoka – for the Hajime Asaoka Project T watch he worked with two tooling and milling companies! One is the OSG Corporation that makes precision cutting tools, and the second is Yuki, a major company that produces precision machining equipment. Of course each helped with the production of the watch.

Hajime Asaoka Project T Tourbillon Indepedent Japanese Watch Watch Releases

Hajime Asaoka Project T Tourbillon Indepedent Japanese Watch Watch Releases

When you are a small independent watchmaker your biggest problem is getting parts. Finding the right tools and parts suppliers can be very difficult. So difficult that larger brands almost always have the edge when it comes to getting the best made parts. Therefore, it is interesting to see a collaboration with machining companies that has resulted in something very positive for the world of independent watch making. According to Hajime Asaoka, OSG and Yuki worked with him on producing new tools and milling techniques that allow for the creation of very small, very precise parts in ways that were perhaps not done before.

The result is a truly fantastic Japanese-made mechanical tourbillon movement inside of the Hajime Asaoka Project T timepiece. The the new tools used not only allow for the cutting of very small parts, but also of parts that look great afterwards, which can be properly finished by Hajime Asoka. In my opinion, there is a beautiful mixture here between modern industrial design and traditional watchmaking.

Hajime Asaoka Project T Tourbillon Indepedent Japanese Watch Watch Releases


Hajime Asaoka Project T Tourbillon Indepedent Japanese Watch Watch Releases

With 40 hours of power reserve, an 18,000 bph frequency, and the time with tourbillon, the movement inside of the Hajime Asaoka Project T looks relatively basic on paper. What is important to know is all of the little elements the movement has which most don’t. First of all, the movement makes use of many ball bearings as opposed to traditional ruby palettes. You can see one used, for example, in the right arm of the tourbillon bridge. Ball bearing pivots are generally much more robust than others.


The movement is also separated into various sections, making both production and servicing better. In a sense, the Hajime Asaoka Project T movement is designed like much higher production machines where service and maintenance are more of an issue. The balance wheel is free-sprung, and according to Hajime Asaoka, these are the only free-sprung balance wheels made in Japan – something rather necessary for a tourbillon. The entire tourbillon assembly is mostly made of titanium – again, something that without special machining technology would be mostly unavailable to smaller watchmakers. Furthermore, the entire section of the movement dedicated to holding the tourbillon, including the plate and bridge, are precision-cut from a single piece of metal which enhances the stability of the movement overall. Last, the movement makes use of wolf-teeth gears which are superior to normal gear teeth but are generally too difficult to machine. With these new techniques they aren’t an issue.

Hajime Asaoka Project T Tourbillon Indepedent Japanese Watch Watch Releases

Hajime Asaoka Project T Tourbillon Indepedent Japanese Watch Watch Releases

If anything, the Japanese Hajime Asoka Project T is a testament to how the Japanese can adopt an idea from another country’s culture and put their own spin on it. I’ve long since been fascinated by high-end Japanese mechanical movements (and products overall), and I love how in this case you don’t just see a Japanese execution of a Swiss product, but a Swiss concept that is combined with Japanese manufacturing intelligence.

I am totally in love with the dial design of the Hajime Asaoka Project T Tourbillon watch. The main face plate is DLC coated for a glossy high-end industrial look and the modern art deco-inspired aesthetic elements such as the hands, and hour markers are irresistible. The Hajime Asaoka Project T watch case is 43mm wide and I believe it is in steel. Price is 8,000,000 Japanese Yen or about $79,000.

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  • DangerussArt

    With my background in industrial mechanics and love for simple and restrained styling, I’ll say that this looks just about perfect to me from an aesthetic POV.  I’d remove only the Tourbillon text from the movement plate. It’s unnecessary and cheapens the look too much. I’m digging the tiny little ball bearings, they are much more interesting than a synthetic jewel.

    Now where’s that spare $80K?

  • gojiB

    wow, this is indeed as masculine as it gets, and me being totally not into tourbillions, this one is officially the first one i’d wear.. and that being said, at about the half the price of others that might consider. This is an absolute work of art.

  • Christmas came early! While quintessentially Japanese, it is daring in a way that Grand Seikos are not, without being flamboyant – that space is well-served by Seiko’s Galante and Credor. Reminds me a bit of a DeWitt dial, actually. 

    I believe this design would work well as a time-only watch too, provided Asaoka could produce the watch at a price-point that is in the same ballpark as a certain controversial British timepiece that was covered in the recent past.

  • DangerussArt Yea, this is some seriously good stuff. Few watches make me think “yup, that is totally worth the new Audi car cash.”

  • Henryus

    Wow. Wow. Wow.

  • Ulysses31

    I’m so glad this guy is getting more coverage.  It’s just a beautiful and elegant watch.  It doesn’t feel pretentious like so many Swiss watches do.  It is what it is – a combination of excellent engineering and design.  That oily black dial is gorgeous.

  • Fraser Petrick

    Breathtaking. Exquisite. Impeccable. Humbling. Perhaps one of the few watches worth its asking price.

  • Fraser Petrick

    Henryus  Ditto X 2

  • Borys Bozzor Pawliw

    The word that comes to my mind is purity: it just looks so clean, simple, elegant, but with a tourbillon. And this guy is self taught???? Genius, I can imagien him making a lot of high end mens fashion and engineering journals very soon…

  • gadgety

    Love it. Empire State hands and 12 o’clock marker, and those perfectly aligned screw heads, the ball bearings… I’ve seen his other watches but this one distills it all into something that just gels.

  • llcharl1e

    very impressive and stylish watch. swiss concept with japanese flair. Hopefully this brand picks up and makes watches in a more accessible price range.

  • socabaptist

    Love the watch and I love the Japanese design aesthetic. I like this design more than his first watch. The back of the watch reminds me a little of the Seiko Credor repeater. I think the Japanese take a back seat to no one in terms of their watches. The price is great for the watch, I’ve seen a lot more expensive prices for a lot less. Alas I will admire from afar.

  • Hacker4748

    Pity it’s so expensive. 🙁

  • Frauss

    Japanese perfection as usual. Jaw-dropping beauty.

  • Bam. What a great watch, and for what you get, what a great price too. Can;’t say I’m particularly fond of that handset, although I think it has more to do with them looking a little too small on that dial than the actual style in which they are made.

  • HiroSatake

    The artcle does not tell about its crocodile strap. It is a nile croccodile and waterproof. It means it lasts much longer than normal one. In addition, even inside straps are crocodile. Amazing!!

  • spiceballs

    As an engineer I can appreciate the effort from an independent (in Japan) that has gone into this timepiece.  Personally I’m no great fan of the dial and “12” but agree this watch does have mechanical purity about it. (I wonder if he has a brother that published a respected geotechnical engineering paper?)

  • au bloc

    I appreciate the Art Deco beauty and the engineering execution in the parts including the manufacturing innovation. But in the end it’s a slow beat rate, and rather low power reserve. If bearings are better than a crystalline surface (jewel) then why the low power reserve – the tourbillon? What kind of performance are they getting?

  • bnabod

    I will take two of them,

  • Impressive execution inside and out, aesthetically and mechanically speaking.  IMO, few things could be done differently: the tourbillon should mark the seconds, the hour markers are negligible, the opening around the dial is pointless when it’s so finely Art Déco, it’s too expensive.

    I’d love to see a big date window declined in Art Déco fashion!

    One question though: ball bearings have very low friction, but they don’t seem to be mounted on Incabloc to protect the balance wheel shaft from shocks, or do the bearings absorb shocks too?

    • Ball bearings are tougher and more shock resistant than jewels but have higher friction.

  • DG Cayse

    Absolutely beautiful.
    I am not a tourbillon fan, but his is just exquisite.

  • Andre_Madrid

    I guess that’s a lot of money for a non-Patek, japanese watch!!

  • This is simply exquisite.

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