Congratulations 宇譽護 關(Norifumi Seki). It gives us great pleasure in announcing that Mr Seki and his Sphere Moon Phase Pocket Watch have won the F.P. Journe Young Talent Competition 2020.
Despite the burgeoning success of the independent watchmaking scene, it is by no means an easy profession. Talent and determination aside, access to equipment and machinery remain a prohibitive factor for young watchmakers; furnishing a workshop with everything required to make a watch by hand requires a financial outlay in the tens of thousands of dollars. Our involvement in the F.P. Journe Young Talent Competition seeks to draw attention to their accomplishments and to offset the financial burden – allowing each watchmaker to focus on creation, not administration. Organised with support from Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) the competition is part of a concerted effort to perpetuate and support the art of haute horology and the appreciation of horological craftsmanship.
Norifumi’s win is welcome news for a nation which has been a long-time supporter of independent watchmaking. Philippe Dufour has developed somewhat of a cult-following (deservedly), with 120 of the 200 Simplicity watches made, sold to Japanese collectors.
Watchmaker Profile: Norifumi Seki
Inspired by Masahiro Kikuno – the first Japanese watchmaker permitted to joining the AHCI – Norifumi enrolled in the Shibuya-based Hiko Mizuno College of Jewelry. With courses in jewellery, shoemaking, bagmaking and watchmaking, it was an ideal environment for Norifumi to focus on watchmaking, whilst drawing inspiration from diverse creative environment of Hiko Mizuno.
Prior to graduation, Norifumi began construction on his F.P. Journe Young Talent Competition winning piece: a regulator-style pocket watch with a classically inspired dial, with oversized date and month indicators flanking a large (20mm) spherical moon phase. Made entirely of titanium, one third of the sphere is blued, with the remaining two-thirds coated in gold. The silver-plated dial has the appearance of an engine-tuned dial, however, lacking access to a rose engine, Mr Seki made do with a lathe.
The movement is a combination of components made from scratch and from classic calibres. The going train is from the Valjoux 7750, while the escapement comes from Peseux 7040 in order to run at 3 Hz (instead of the 7750’s 4Hz). Despite the constraints of a student’s budget, Mr Seki has managed to design and finish the movement to an impressive quality. It’s gilded in 18K yellow gold, as is the case and crown. The calendar is operated via the crown, and unlike the more common disk-based configuration, Norifumi utilises two drums for the digits, driven by gears mounted perpendicular to the to the movement.