Based in Toronto and New York City

, Nancy Matsumoto is a writer and editor who covers sustainable agriculture, food, sake, arts and culture.

Archival posts from my former blog, Walking and Talking

The making of a bespoke watch

It was Dedegumo CEO Bob Guest's idea to take the design from the back of my business card and use it as the taking-off point for a watch design.  Dedegumo's first U.S. store opened recently in Manhattan's Lower East Side, and specializes in handmade watches.

My friend, former Japanese classmate and Dedegumo artisan Kai Bailey took on the challenge of translating card design to watch. He took the negative white space shape of the card's design and reversed it to create the two swooping boomerang-shaped images on the watch's face, outfitting it with jagged-edged black hour and minute hands and an elegant curving red second hand. The gold face is scored with ray-like lines and stamped with the Dedegumo cloud logo. The overall effect is Deco meets industrial, and it's very handsome.

The wrapping up of a Dedegumo watch is an art form in and of itself. Kai arranged the watch's double-length band around a plump beige pillow and placed it in a cloud-emblazoned cedar masu, or sake cup.

Then, he channeled memories of his mother tying furoshiki, and began wrapping. Tied properly, these Japanese-style cloth squares make beautiful and practical satchels, with their knots serving as handles. I picked out this flame-orange and cream colored furoshiki; all of Dedegumo's are made in Japan. "We tried making them here but they just weren't the same quality," Kai told me.

Here's the finished package, looking cute as a button.

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