Watch Case KUDEN (Winder)

Watch Case KUDEN (Winder)

A painting of maki-e surrounded by a fascinating frame built using square kuden framing

A placeable watch winder case that can also be mounted on the wall.
The most significant characteristic of this product is that it is surrounded by square-framed kuden. The entire delicately assembled square framing is lacquered using a technique called tamenuri.
The sliding case cover features a traditional Japanese motif using raden and kirikane techniques. While it normally functions as a painting, sliding the cover open reveals the winders within. This case can hold 10 watch winders. The maki-e on the front can be applied to form whatever pattern the client desires.* Winder Case KUDEN is specially designed to hold the famously reliable SWISS Kubik winders.

TitleWatch Case KUDEN (Winder)
ThemeWatch Winder Case
TechniquesWoodworking, kuden square-framing, high-gloss lacquer finish, tamenuri (square-framing), dry lacquer (interior), gold maki-e, raden zaiku, kirikane zaiku, matte gilding
MaterialHiba wood, veneer board, lacquer, gold powder, mother-of-pearl, kirikane, metal fittings for pressing and sliding
Sizewidth: 902mm; height: 663mm; depth: 140mm
ClientInternally developed
DesignGreenValley Co., Ltd.

Integrated traditional materials and techniques

The wood base for this case is made of thick hiba wood and veneer board that together form a strong frame and cover. Around the cover, a combination of kuden techniques and design are used to create a frame for the maki-e images on the cover. This kuden embodies the essence of the Japanese aesthetic—that the spirit of the work dwells in the details.
The finish uses a wide variety of techniques. The square frame is finished using tamenuri, while the interior surrounding the winder case is finished with dry lacquer. Finally, the cover is finished with a high-gloss lacquer in red and black.
The four corners of the cover are opulently decorated with metal fixtures gilded in matte gold.

  1. Woodworking

    Working with unfinished wood is an important initial process for creating the foundation or frame of a product.
    Woodworking at INOUE is based on the exacting quality found in the traditional arts that have been cultivated by the production of Buddhist altars in the castle town of Hikone since the Edo Period (1603-1868 CE). Craftsmen produced these altars by hand and without nails, demanding uncompromising quality in the careful selection of the best materials for use in mortise and tenon construction. These altars are durable enough to be handed down through many generations. Furthermore, we have connections with woodworking shops in other areas that specialize in mass production, allowing us to select the appropriate methods of woodworking for any project.

  2. Kuden

    The detailed wood construction of the miniature roof that sits inside of a Buddhist altar is called kuden. These “palace roofs” are produced through a miniature construction process that is modeled after the construction of temples and shrines, which are themselves modeled after the buildings of the Pure Land, or the Buddhist paradise. In Hikone, this work is handled by kuden-shi, or craftsmen who specialize in building kuden.
    Sophisticated techniques are required to precisely assemble the components of these structures, such as their characteristic bow-shaped gables or other roof forms, roof tiles, square framing elements, and so on. These skills are not only applicable to Buddhist altars; they can also be used to bring many other sophisticated and delicate designs to life.

  3. Lacquering

    Lacquer is Japan’s exceptionally beautiful and high-quality traditional method of finishing. It is one of the most protective coatings in existence but can be very difficult to handle. Applying lacquer evenly requires the touch of a skillful craftsman from the first coat. The lacquer must be applied in many coats, from the first coat to the final finish, and the painting and polishing processes must be repeated many times over.
    A high-gloss lacquer finish, considered the highest level of lacquer, involves the painted lacquer being polished flat, after which raw lacquer is repeatedly rubbed into the surface and polished to bring out a deep luster that is nearly mirror-like.
    Based on our extensive knowledge of producing Buddhist altars, INOUE is able to offer the appropriate lacquering methods and craftsmen capable of implementing them, from a black, high-gloss lacquer finishes to a broad range of other coatings and lacquer colors.

  4. Maki-e

    Maki-e is an artistic lacquer technique that involves drawing pictures or patterns using lacquer and then sprinkling them with gold dust or other fine powders. Maki-e originates in Japan and is one of the unique traditional techniques developed here. Maki-e includes many subsidiary techniques, such as hiramakie, takamakie, and togidashimakie. Furthermore, maki-e includes a wide variety of different end products, such as the expression of depth through different types or sizes of gold powder and the application of a variety of processing techniques.
    At INOUE, we have built a network of maki-e craftsmen with a wide range of skills, allowing us to provide the skills needed for any project, from projects demanding the utmost quality to those needing to fit into a tight budget.

  5. Kirikane zaiku

    Kirikane zaiku is a decorative technique that involves cutting gold sheets of 0.03-millimeter thickness and adhering them using lacquer. This technique provides a feeling of three-dimensionality, setting off the beauty of maki-e even more extravagantly. Another term with the same pronunciation but a different meaning also exists; it is also used for ornamentation and involves drawing fine patterns by welding several sheets of gold leaf together and affixing them to an object, such as a Buddhist image.

  6. Raden zaiku

    Raden zaiku refers to another decorative technique that involves shaving off thin sheets of mother-of-pearl, primarily from limpet shells, and affixing them to an object using lacquer. Raden zaiku is often performed at the same time as maki-e, after which yet more gold powder is applied on top of the affixed sheet of mother-of-pearl. Hairlines are also often engraved upon the decoration to make it even more beautiful.
    A variation on this technique is called rankaku zaiku and uses the shells of quail or even chicken eggs in place of mother-of-pearl. Recently, some practitioners have begun to use artificial Kyoto opal as well.

  7. Decorative fixtures (kazarikanagu)

    While various types of metal fixtures are used in the arts, metalwork that is highly decorative in nature is called kazarikanagu. Metals such as brass or copper are used to fit the objectives and location of the fixture and various techniques are employed to shape the fixture, such as zibori to give the fixture a three-dimensional feel, kebori to engrave the fixture with fine lines and details, and sukashibori to create openings and provide a sense of depth. Other fixtures can also be produced through more cost-effective methods like metal pressing, electric casting, and etching.
    We also provide the optimal techniques and decorative methods for adding finishes to kazarikanagu, such as gold plating, nickel plating or some other technique or combination thereof.

  8. Gilding

    Gilding is a surface processing technique that involves coating a target object, either metal or a non-metal such as plastic, with another metal. In the case of Buddhist altars, brass and copper surfaces are often gilded with gold or silver.