Watch Artist BACKGROUND Award-winning (Japanese lacquer) artist Kiichiro Masumura was born in Tokyo in 1941. Since 2009, he has supervised the creation of unique dials for Chopard based on traditional techniques. His father, Mashiki, was also a renowned artist in the discipline. Kiichiro pursued his interests by taking up lacquer art studies at the Tokyo University of the Arts. In 1982, he started teaching at the university and has since become a professor emeritus.
ARTISTIC DIALS Chopard’s L.U.C XP Urushi is the first timepiece with a dial adorned in this fashion. In 2009, a few initial models were crafted and presented exclusively in Japan. Chopard showcased a collection of nine different dials, technically supervised by Kiichiro and designed, painted and adorned with gold dust by lacquerware company Yamada Heiando, an official supplier to Japan’s emperor.
TECHNIQUE Kiichiro uses varnish from the sap of the
tree, which mainly grows in Japan and Mainland China. The resin harvesting can only be done once a year and in very small quantities. Three to five years later, the resin is made into an extremely resistant, honeytextured lacquer. is a specific technique of sprinkling the lacquer with metal powder—in this case, gold—to accentuate its contours. The gold dust is applied using bamboo tubes and tiny rat hair brushes to trace extremely fine lines. Only a few masters today have the high level of expertise required to create The L.U.C Urushi Bamboo and L.U.C Urushi Year of the Goat watches are great examples of the artistic dials that Masumura creates for Chopard