Looking into the attraction of “Knot,” a new “Made in Japan” force
Japan's watch industry is in fierce competition with its Swiss counterpart. Huge manufacturers such as Seiko, Citizen, and Casio are world famous, but we would like to introduce you “Knot,” a small watch brand that started business in Kichijoji, an area far from the hustle and bustle of central Tokyo.
“Knot” has entered the field of watch making as Japan's first mass production brand in 80 years. They have been in the media frenzy domestically and overseas, because of its strong preference towards domestic manufacturing. Let us show you the never-ending attractions of “Knot.”
The fairy tale that started out from adversity
Mr. Hiromitsu Endo, who had been managing an import agent of North European watches, established a small watch brand “Knot” in 2014. His aim was to provide high-class watches at reasonable prices — half the price of other Japanese brands. Quartz movement models would be 50,000 yen or below and mechanical movement models would be 100,000 yen or below.
“A watch spends time together with its owner. In order to provide high quality and a feeling of security, I was particular about ‘made in Japan.’ But Japan's watch related factories had their hands full with orders from the major brands, and since they were small-scaled, we had a very difficult time finding a place we can place our order.”
However, after patience and perseverance, they finally found all the collaborators they needed — from a manufacturer in Fukushima with the world's highest level technology in precise metal processing, to a small factory in downtown Tokyo that makes watch straps.
This is how they started “Knot,” a watch brand that provides everything made in Japan, from the movements to the straps.
“Japanese consumers of watches are particular about them. So, we attach special importance to quality. Our quality control is thorough. We want to pursue something more than mere quality.”
This strong belief is what is supporting Knot.
Enjoying your watch. That is what's important.
The high quality of Japanese watches is well known to the world, but on the other hand, the major brands lack a bit of individuality. This is where Knot seized a business opportunity.
“With the smartphones entering into the picture, watches have become ‘a tool to be looked at’ rather than ‘a tool to look at.’ So, not being able to customize by freely matching the watch and the strap isn't much fun. Coordinating should be one way of enjoying your watch. So, we decided to devote ourselves to keeping the watch a simple design, and allow a ‘custom order’ of enjoying coordinating the straps.”
This system is actually quite favorable among the customers overseas. They find the right style that matches their taste, and enjoy their watches like accessories.
“Many of the strap designs and materials use Japanese culture as a motif, such as Uji, Kyoto's kumihimo (braid), Yamanashi's umbrella fabric, Okayama's tatami-beri (decorated edge of a tatami mat), and Fukui's textile fabric. These started from the MUSUBU Project, which supports outstanding producers in rural areas. “Knot” means tying together. So, Knot strives to tie together “made in Japan” with the world.”
The Gallery Shops are where you enjoy “experience”
Knot's watches and straps can be bought through the internet, but if possible, you should visit their gallery shop in Japan, because there are many watches and straps available in the shops for you to actually touch them to find the best match for yourself.
“The Knot watches are very orthodox, but you can add something extra in your own taste. More people who have already been using the Knot watches have been visiting our shops to look for new straps. The variation of straps is expanding, and some straps are limited in number since the material used is scarce. But the important thing is allowing our customers to enjoy an experience of making a watch in their own taste.”
Because we live in a world where we can easily buy things through the internet, actually going to the store and choosing something for yourself should become a good memory. This may be the way you come across special watches that you spend your time with.
Mr. Hiromitsu Endo, CEO of Knot Co, Ltd.
Born and raised in Tokyo. After managing an official watch import agent, he established an import agent of North European watches. In 2014, Mr. Endo established “Knot,” a domestic mass production brand of watches “made in Japan.” From his base in Kichijoji, he continues to spread his brand to the world.
(Written by Tetsuo Shinoda, photo by Eiichiro Abe)
If you are from overseas, or want to see a large selection, go to their Omotesando shop, or Shinsaibashi shop. If you want to have a deep experience, go to their Kichijoji shop
There are seven Knot Gallery Shops in Japan, Taiwan has two, Thailand, Singapore, and Vietnam each also have a branch. All seven domestic shops are tax-free, and the shops in Omotesando, Tokyo and Shinsaibashi, Osaka especially have a wide selection and can assist foreign customers.
“Omotesando Gallery Shop”
●Espace Omotesando, 1st floor, 4-21-7, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
●11:00-20:00 (irregular holidays)
“Shinsaibashi Gallery Shop”
●1st floor, 4-6-6, Minamisenba, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
●11:00-20:00 (irregular holidays)
While you are in Japan, you may enjoy visiting their base in Kichijoji. It is a Gallery Shop located in the corner of a residential area away from the busy Kichijoji Station square. A few minutes' walk from the shop is their Factory Shop, where they handle maintenance, etc. of the watches.
“Kichijoji Gallery Shop”
●La Ruelle Kichijoji, 1st floor, 2-33-8, Kichijoji Honcho, Musashino-shi, Tokyo
●11:00-19:00 (irregular holidays)
Incidentally, the Kichijoji Factory Shop is scheduled to move to a nearby area, along with their main shop. The new Factory Shop will be in the first-floor space of a building with glass sides, so Knot fans should have something to look forward to.
Other Knot Gallery Shops are found in the below areas. For details, please refer to their website.
Japan: Motomachi Yokohama, Hoshigaoka (Nagoya), Kobe Motomachi, Fukuoka Tenjin
Taiwan: Taipei, Taichung
Singapore: Tiong Bahru
*The above information was last updated June 1, 2018. For further information, please contact the facilities directly.
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