For Baselworld, Seiko launched many new models to catch people’s eyes. One of the most memorable watch is the FUGAKU Tourbillon, it is a limited edition of eight pieces.
The FUGAKU Tourbillon is a combination of some very traditional watchmaking, seen through the filter of Seiko’s idiosyncratic watchmaking philosophy, with some very traditional Japanese decorative arts techniques used to re-interpret one of the most iconic works of art of the Edo Period (1603-1868) which marked the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate – a period of prolonged political stability marked by the flourishing of many aspects of Japanese culture that are still with us today. The woodblock known as The Great Wave Off Kanagawa was the first in a series of prints by Hokusai, collectively known as 36 Views Of Mount Fuji.
For the FUGAKU Tourbillon, The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, which shows a giant wave about to engulf boats, with Mt. Fuji in the background, has been reinterpreted using traditional Japanese lacquerware techniques known as maki-e, and the skills of maki-e artist Isshu Tamura, who’s also known for his work in the creation of maki-e fountain pens (the use of the technique for the decoration of pens is a long-standing tradition in Japan). The wave itself is represented in gold, with engraving by Kiyoshi Terui, an artisan working at Seiko’s own Shizuki-ishi Watch Studio in Morioka, where Grand Seiko and Credor watches are made and assembled. Overall design was supervised by Nobuhiro Kosugi, and the master watchmaker in charge was Satoshi Hiraga; both are recognized by the Japanese government as Contemporary Master Craftsmen.
The back of the watch has been very elaborately decorated as well, continuing the wave motif found on the dial side of the watch, and using both engraving and maki-e lacquer techniques. Technically, this is a quite thin tourbillon wristwatch, in keeping with the general design philosophy of Seiko’s Credor watches: thin, elegant, and often, showcasing traditional Japanese arts and crafts. The 43.1 mm platinum case is 8.8 mm thick, and the tourbillon movement itself is quite thin, at 3.98 mm in depth, and 25.6 mm in diameter, which according to Seiko makes it the world’s smallest tourbillon “by volume”.
Mother-of-pearl inlay has also been used to decorate the movement and case. Blue sapphires on the lugs and bezel pick up the blue highlights of the lacquer work and mother-of-pearl, as well as the deep blue steel of the hands and tourbillon bridge on the dial side, and movement screws on the back of the watch.