New Releases Watches

Kurono Tokyo 34mm ‘Calligra’ Special Project Introduces Breguet Numerals to Famous Watchmaker’s Repertoire

Kurono 34mm Calligra

Kurono Tokyo’s launches are always some of the most exciting due to the intoxicating mixture of accessibility and the design work of legendary watchmaker Hajime Asaoka. Throw on top of that their penchant for limited production runs and very short ordering periods and these watches drive enthusiasts into a furore almost without fail. Their latest launch is the new 34mm ‘Calligra’ Special Project.

The name ‘Calligra’ is derived from calligraphy and is a reference to the introduction of Breguet numerals to the brand for the first time. Breguet numerals were first developed by Abraham-Louis Breguet and have become a byword for class and refinement in watchmaking. For the ‘Calligra’ Asaoka hand-drew his own interpretation of the Breguet numerals maintaining all the key features of the style including where the linework meets or doesn’t meet as well as the overall design that lands somewhere between cursive and print.

Kurono 34mm Calligra

This isn’t the first time in recent history that a watch uses a specific person’s handwriting in its display – the other example being the Audemars Piguet x Cactus Jack with Travis Scott’s writing. Of the two, Asaoka’s precise numerals are definitely the more attractive. They were produced using traditional calligraphy techniques of brushes and ink prior to being enlarged and used as the template for the numerals.

The reasoning behind the adoption of Breguet numerals is interesting as well because it comes from Asaoka’s dissatisfaction with the way that the majority of typefaces look when arranged in circular fashion around the face of a watch. Traditional Arabic numerals were designed to be presented in a straight line “123456789” and read from left to right, not separated out on different levels and read in a circle. However, Breguet numerals specifically were created to be read on a watch face and so there is no visual disjunction. In short, they just look right.

Kurono 34mm Calligra

There are three versions of the 34mm ‘Calligra’ Special Project being produced: Dark MOP, Stark Black and Silver White. They’re all made from stainless steel with 34mm cases, which is particularly small. Vintage sizes may be in the ascendancy right now but I’m not sure I personally would drop quite that small. If it weren’t for the very unisex appeal of the Stark Black and Silver White I’d call this a women’s collection. The Dark MOP (Mother-of-Pearl) is on the more feminine side with the iridescent disc in the centre of the display. All three also share blue syringe hands.

Kurono 34mm Calligra

Beneath the dial is housed the calibre Miyota 90S5, a Japanese automatic movement with a 40-hour power reserve and accuracy of -10/+30 seconds per day. It’s nowhere near as prestigious as Hajime Asaoka’s own work but then, the ‘Calligra’ has a price of $1,170 (approx. £930) as opposed to £25k+. So for the price, the Miyota is fine.

Kurono 34mm Calligra Dark Mop
Kurono 34mm Calligra Stark Black
Kurono 34mm Calligra Silver White

If these watches were 36mm – 38mm I would be seriously, seriously tempted. I love the elegance and Art Deco influence witnessed in the sector style display and railway minute track. The Stark Black would be my personal choice because I like the uniformity of its colour. The Kurono Tokyo 34mm ‘Calligra’ Special Project goes on sale on February 23rd at 2pm GMT.

Price and Specs:

Model: Kurono 34mm 'Calligra' Special Project
Case: 34mm diameter x 9.6mm thickness, stainless steel
Dial: Green
Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: Miyota calibre 90S5, automatic, 24 jewels
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph
Strap: Calf leather
Price: $1,170 (approx. £930), available on Friday 23rd February at 2:00pm GMT

More details at Kurono.

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About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Digital Editor for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. He's a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better. Recent purchase: Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation. Grail watch: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.