Hakose craftsman's workshop

Hakose craftsman’s workshop completely destroyed by an earthquake

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For several years, Minase has been working with Junichi Hakose, an undisputed master of the art of Japanese Urushi lacquerware. We are saddened to announce his workshop suffered a grave earthquake at the beginning of the year.

On January 1, 2024, an earthquake of 7.6 on the Richter scale struck the Noto peninsula. It devastated several kilometers of coastline, including the town of Wajima, where artist Hakose lives and works. Fortunately, Junichi Hakose, his family and employees are in good health, but his workshop was destroyed.

In addition to the workshop and all its stock, Hakose and his team also lost their homes and possessions. With infrastructure and roads still to be re-established, reconstruction is complicated at present and will take many months.

Production on hold

Hakose has been producing urushi lacquer dials for Minase for several years. For the time being, the production of Hakose dials is no longer possible. A few watches with these dials are still available from our stocks in Switzerland and Japan. Details can be found on our website. Once those dials are gone, the waiting period is anticipated to stretch to the first half of 2025. A pre-order system has been set up on our webshop, minasewatches.com/webshop. People wishing to reserve a watch with urushi lacquer dial will be asked to pay 30% of the price to validate their pre-order, and the balance will be required when the watch is ready to be shipped.

Want to help?

Hakose must now rebuild everything. It will take time and money. The artist has put out a call for donations on his web page. If you’d like to support him, you can send your name, phone number, address and email to shino.hakose@gmail.com.

Urushi Maki-e by Hakose

Minase Urushi Maki-e Hakose serie is the latest novelty in the Masterpiece collection. Every Masterpiece is based upon the Windows collection. These watches are rare pieces of art available in very limited quantities. All of them are embodying beautiful and traditional crafts and techniques from Japan. The watches are crafted from solid 18K yellow or rose gold or stainless steel upon the customer’s choice. Movements are of Swiss origin and customized by Minase with special finishing. Movements are of Swiss origin and customized by Minase with special finishing. Each movement is equipped qith a Minase customized rotor. Each timepiece comes with its own Certificate of Authenticity and packed in a hand-made wooden box, wrapped in Minase furoshiki. Available in regular or midsize.

Urushi Master Junichi Hakose

Born in 1955 in Wajima-city Ishikawa, Junichi Hakose graduated from school at the time when Wajima lacquerware industry was in a boom. The industry thus offered good employment in the city and Hakose started a 4 years, in his own words “extremely tough with no time to sleep” apprentice. Hakose was a fast learner with a strong character of persistence and he learned all the processes of Wajima lacquerware.

The difficulties of the formation pushed him to learn always more, because he thought that at least, he would go out of this difficult period with a good know-how. Today, he’s one of the most internationally acclaimed Japanese lacquer artists. He runs his own workshop and takes several apprentices to pass on his knowledge. Minase is very proud to be able to collaborate with such a great artist who shares the brand’s values.

The process

Hakose begins with drawing drafts. The overall balance, production methods and coloring will be chosen specifically in accord with the sketches. A first layer of Urushi laquer is applied and heated in order to prevent the dial from future decolorating and rusting. The procedure is repeated 2 to 3 times. Hakose will then start decorating the dial. Alternating between painting, spreading metal powder on a urushi lacquer base and placing flat flakes of gold (hirame gold). This process takes time as the paint or lacquer needs to dry after every step of the dial decoration.

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