Proper watchmaking is still a human thing, depsite the steady march of the AI controlled machines. Sure, Rolex can bang out over a million watches a year and partly, that is down to automated machinery which designs, cuts, shapes, polishes and finishes all manner of parts and even assembles some of them using the sort of robots usually seen on hi-tech operating theatres.
But there is a place for genuine hand-built watches and that place is not only Switzerland, but Japan. There, the culture of achieving perfection, summetry and balance, actually means something. Not every company would issue a press release marking the honour given their watchmaker – not beyond the trade press anyway. But Grand Seiko/ Different mindset there.
Here’s the word;
Seiko Watch Corporation is proud to announce that Osamu Sasagawa, watch repair technician at Seiko Time Labs Co., Ltd., has been awarded this year’s Medal with Yellow Ribbon. This honor is given by the Japanese government to individuals who have become public role models by devoting themselves diligently to their work.
Sasagawa has been engaged in watch repair since joining the company and is currently responsible for repairing Grand Seiko timepieces. A winner of the National Watch Repairing Contest in 2001 and 2002, he is responsible for training the next generation of the company’s repair technicians, many of whom have won the top prize in the National Watch Repairing Contest and the National Skills Competition.
Sasagawa has also served as a member of the National Testing & Certification Committee for watch repair. In 2013, the Japanese government awarded him the title of “Contemporary Master Craftsman.”
“I am very honored to receive such recognition and, at the same time, filled with a sense of responsibility,” said Sasagawa. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank my seniors and all the people who have supported me throughout my career. I will continue to improve my skills and train my successors to enhance our customer satisfaction.”