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Sakura Time

The transient beauty of flowers

Every spring throughout Japan, busy citizens take time out to enact an age-old tradition: hanami. People flock in droves to parks, walkways, and gardens – wherever sakura (cherry blossom) blooms – to celebrate flowers that symbolise hope and new life.

The ancient custom has its roots in the peasant’s belief that the gods of the fields inhabited the cherry blossoms that bristled in the mountains. And so, they established a day of rest that brought them close to cherry trees, honouring and praying to the gods for the harvest to come. As required by Shinto rites, the peasants offered up food and drink and shared their meals with the deities. The Imperial Court adopted the love for sakura and celebrated the first hanami in 812, in Emperor Saga’s Shinsen-en garden in Kyoto.

Over the centuries the tradition propagated and today, cherry blossoms are everywhere in Japanese society, from stationery and homeware to gin, ice cream and all forms of art – including manga and anime. There is even a sakura forecast!

With the watches depicted here, we pay due deference to the beauty of sakura and the tradition of hanami. Life is short, and every second is an opportunity to embrace it.


Louis Vuitton’s whimsical and unusual take on hanami. At the centre of the dial is Vivienne, the LV character created in 2017, represented in traditional Japanese dress. The dial is a mixture of crafted elements with mother-of-pearl, gold, miniature painting, and diamonds. Minutes are indicated with a cherry blossom motif; an invisible central hand is made from transparent sapphire crystal.

The jump hour mechanism relies on two windows positioned asymmetrically. When the minute hand passes 12 o’clock, the mechanism causes the hour disc to jump, simultaneously switching the hour display from one window to the other, covered by a fan in Vivienne’s left hand. £93,500. Available HERE.


Reimagined in 2016, the Overseas collection is the perfect daily wrist adornment for those who favour discreet, casual elegance. Here featured in steel with a 35mm case and beige-pink dial that catches the light as sakura blossoms do when covered in early morning dew.

The bezel, set with 90 round-cut diamonds, calls to mind the sides of the Maltese cross, emblem of the Maison. Further symbolism is found in its open-worked case back, with a 22kt gold oscillating weight decorated with a wind rose, a tribute to the spirit of travel that inspires the collection. The watch comes with three easily interchangeable straps in steel, leather and Elasto NBR rubber. £29,400. More details HERE.


Grand Seiko continues to use Japanese nature as its muse with the creation of the “Sakura-Kakushi”. Enclosed in box sapphire crystal glass with an anti-reflective coating, the dial’s colour and texture are inspired by the sight of cherry blossoms frosted in early spring snow, with a tone and hue that changes depending on the angle and the light. The watch is powered by Seiko’s proprietary, 9S85 hi-beat automatic movement, accurate to +5/-3 seconds per day, with a 55-hour power reserve. The mechanism sits inside a highly polished, titanium 38mm case with matching bracelet. It can be viewed through the exhibition back. £6,960. Available HERE.

Left, Grand Seiko Heritage Sakura-Kakushi. Right, Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36 Candy Pink


Here is everything Rolex has learned in the past century – housed in a 36mm, steel case and Oyster bracelet with a candy-pink dial. The brass plate disk is first lacquered with six layers for a uniform surface, and then varnished and polished to bring out the full brilliance and depth of the colour. The watch, powered by Rolex’s own calibre 3230, is accurate to -2/+2 seconds a day and has a 70-hour power reserve. It features the Blue Parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers. £5,300. Further details HERE.


A seasonal watch for every occasion. The Club Campus line features a robust, highly-polished, 38mm steel case with a wide bezel, and is water resistant up to 100 metres. With their white, superluminova coating, numerals, hands and an inverse California dial hour marker glow blue in the dark or underwater and contrast vividly against the deep pink colour of the face.

Perfect for reading in any lighting conditions. The second hand is a vibrant touch in neon orange. The watch has Nomos’ own hand-wound calibre with 43 hours of power reserve. £1,300. Get yours HERE.

Words: Dr Andrew Hildreth

Opening photo by TOMOKO UJI on Unsplash

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