Many of us have developed a deep affinity for Hajime Asaoka’s Art Deco lines and Kurono Tokyo sub-brand. The story of Asaoka-san creating Kurono Tokyo so that he could actually wear one of his designs never gets old. In fact, it only deepens my respect for him. Now the Japanese watchmaker closes a circle by introducing the Kurono Tokyo 2024 Anniversary Reiwa model with a two-tone dial.

This will retire the Reiwa model with a colorful flourish for the brand’s fifth anniversary. Producing the most complex dial yet for the model also seems a fitting tribute to five strong years. After the copper-dial Reiwa model, released in 2019 to mark the start of Japan’s Reiwa era, this is only the second watch in the Grand Series to have a two-tone visage and perhaps the best version yet.

Kurono Tokyo 2024 Anniversary Reiwa

Kurono Tokyo 2024 Anniversary Reiwa

I’ll happily admit to knowing the brand intimately. If I weren’t on a budget stop, I’d even try to snag this watch for my collection. This particular design by Kurono Tokyo is perhaps the truest to Hajime Asaoka’s eponymous watches, similar to the Tourbillon Noir but in an entirely different budget sphere. However, within both, the hand-crafted finesse is strong. And as an architecture lover, I see clear references to early 20th-century Art Deco.

It is even more prominent in this vivid new two-tone dial with a touch of Frank Lloyd Wright. This time, the dial center is gloss black, in deep contrast to a ridged outer rim. Inspired by the beauty of the Ruri-Numa lake in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture, the lapis-green metallic hue makes for a colorful contrast. Hajime Asaoka says these dials have undergone the most complex manufacturing process yet. The fact that only five out of every 100 dials have been accepted for final assembly speaks volumes.

Kurono Tokyo 2024 Anniversary Reiwa

The second Reiwa model has a familiar form factor

Size-wise, there are no surprises in store if you enjoy small, slim wristwear. Whether from Hajime Asaoka’s eponymous Haute Horlogerie brand or Kurono Tokyo, nearly all watches have polished 37mm or 38mm cases. The latter size is for models with complications, like the Calendrier and Chronographs, and 37mm for the rest (aside from the 34mm Special Projects). With a mere 7mm thickness without the crystal, a slightly domed box sapphire, this is real slimness. And just as with my Grand Urushi Aoyama Edition, the lug-to-lug is a short 42.75mm, giving the watch a distinctly vintage-comfort feel.

Introducing The Kurono Tokyo Reiwa Anniversary

There’s no surprise in the case design, which I find an all-polished piece of perfection. Sure, if you have a big 19cm wrist or are used to 44mm tool watches, it might feel small. But try it, and you’ll soon become spoiled by its quiet, comfortable presence. And while dressy by nature, it will slip under the cuff of the slimmest denim shirt, offering great contrast.

Kurono Tokyo 2024 Anniversary Reiwa

A distinct flavor of Japan

Inside the 2024 Anniversary Reiwa beats Kurono’s usual choice of a Miyota 90S5 caliber, providing a 28,800vph frequency and 40-hour power reserve. In my experience, this is a solid movement with great accuracy for the price. But it is about the small details with Kurono Tokyo, as is true of all brands with strong identities. Here, the strap gets an extroverted touch for the very first time. You see, all watches from the small Tokyo atelier come on a soft, slim, and textured strap, usually black. It’s traditional but underlines the understated vibe, accentuating the dial art. This time, though, Asaoka-san has stepped up the strap game.

A bright turquoise edge pops in tune with the dial’s outer rim. It might seem a small touch, but for me, it would make the 2024 Anniversary Reiwa model a perfect party piece with a dark suit jacket. I’m sure this attention to detail with the eye-catching celebration of Art Deco will make this a coveted piece for collectors. Surely, this could even open a few more eyes to the small-cased intricacies of Asaoka-san’s Kurono Tokyo brand. The Kurono Tokyo 2024 Anniversary Reiwa will be available today, the 16th of May, from 16:00 CEST (10:00 EDT / 07:00 PDT) within a small order window for US$1,790 (ex. VAT) from Kurono Tokyo.

How about you, Fratelli? Can the new Kurono Tokyo 2024 Anniversary Reiwa tempt you away from other chic alternatives? Let me know in the comments.

Watch specifications

Grand Series 2024 Anniversary Reiwa
Black laquer in center, stepped with lapis-green metallic outer rim and applied high-polish indices
Case Material
316L stainless steel with high-polish finish
Case Dimensions
37mm (diameter) × 42.75mm (lug-to-lug) × 7mm (thickness ex. crystal)
Box-type sapphire
Case Back
Stainless steel, screw-in, with brushed finish and engraving
Miyota 90S5: automatic with manual winding, 28,800vph frequency, 40-hour power reserve, 24 jewels
Water Resistance
3 ATM (30 meters)
Textured black calf leather (20/16mm) with blue-painted edge and signed pin buckle
Time only (hours, minutes, seconds)