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Hajime Asaoka - Project T Tourbillon

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Independent watchmakers deserve great admiration for their creativity and their capability to face technical challenges without having the same resources of the big brands.

The new creation of Hajime Asaoka, an independent Japan-based watch manufacturer, is a true beauty successfully combining a personal design, a very high level of finishing and advanced mechanical solutions.

A mix of art-deco styling elements (like the hands and the minute circle) and modern details, the Project T Tourbillon features a 43 mm stainless steel case which frames a glossy black DLC (Diamond-Like-Coating) dial dominated by a large tourbillon cage positioned at 6 o’clock. The crown is decorated with a fine hobnail pattern.

The movement, beating at the frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour (2.5 Hz) and offering a power reserve of 40 hours, is structured into different sections for easier service and maintenance.

The tourbillon assembly, including the screws, is crafted from titanium, while the movement section which holds the tourbillon, including its bridge and the base plate, is cut from a single piece of metal to ensure greater rigidity and stability.

Interestingly, Hajime Asaoka replaced the traditional ruby palettes with ball bearings as they are more robust than jewels and make possible to create larger, hence stronger, pivots. The tourbillon cage itself is supported by ball bearings.

Another particular that confirms the excellence of this project is the adoption of wolf-teeth gears which are superior to normal gear teeth but are generally very difficult to machine. To achieve such a level of precision and technologically advanced solutions, Hajime Asaoka collaborated with two Japanese companies supporting the project with special cutting tools (OSG Corporation) and machining equipment (Yuki Precision).

As pictures confirm, the hand-finishes of the movement made by Asaoka are very beautiful with mirror polished bevels on the bridges, chamfered and polished screw heads, as well as bevelling on gear spokes.

The Hajime Asaoka Project T Tourbillon has a price of 8,000,000 Japanese Yen, about U$75,000 at the current exchange rate.

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