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Any time a shop has an on-site welder, we tend to take notice.

We stopped by Dedegumo recently, a Japanese shop currently honing its wares on the Lower East Side, and saw some pretty spectacular sights. The biggest surprise is that they make all their merchandise in the story, making it half-shop and half-factory tour. And if for some reason you’ve never seen the guts of a watch factory before, that makes for quite an education.

Step inside and you should notice a small booth on the right filled with three Japanese women in the midst of soldering, sewing and hammering the latest model into existence in true artisan style. The watches all run on Quartz movements, so there’s none of the gearheadedness you usually find in high-end watch shops. Instead, they focus on the off-beat, vaguely steampunk watchfaces with ornate welding and off-center dials.

It’s not for everyone—in particular, not for anyone looking for something to match their suit—but they’re some of the most downright creative pieces we’ve seen in years. And since the watches only run a few hundred bucks, it’s one of the less painful ways to expand your collection.

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The faceplate workshop

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Yumiko hammers out brass faceplates.

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The soldering station

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Mitsue solders a brass fitting.

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A mile of leather watchstrap spooled on the inner wall.

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The finished product

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom