JeanRichard celebrates 150 years of Swiss-Japanese diplomatic relations with a new Aquascope

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February 2014

This new timepiece was conceived to celebrate the 150 years of Swiss- Japanese relations in 2014. Its special dial design is derived from a well-known Japanese woodblock print by renowned artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760 – 1849). “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” is amongst his best known works from “The Thirty-Six Vews of Mount Fuji”.

“The Great Wave off Kanagawa” by Katsushika Hokusai (1760 – 1849)
“The Great Wave off Kanagawa” by Katsushika Hokusai (1760 – 1849)

“We are proud to unveil this special model as a homage to this anniversary between Switzerland and Japan”, said Bruno Grande, CEO of JeanRichard. “As Daniel Jeanrichard is the first Swiss watchmaker to have ever built a watch movement back in 1681, we appreciate the pioneering spirit of the delegation that came to Japan 150 years ago.

Blue “Hokusai” style engraved dial by JeanRichard
Blue “Hokusai” style engraved dial by JeanRichard

It is easily imagined that the delegation was strongly driven by their passion for success and pursuit to achieve something extraordinary. And what better way to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the two countries than to create unique timepieces by a Swiss watchmaker that pays respect to one of Japan’s greatest artists ever – Katsushika Hokusai”.

Aquascope with grey “Hokusai” dial by JeanRichard
Aquascope with grey “Hokusai” dial by JeanRichard

Katsuhika Hokusai (1760 – 1849) is probably the best ukiyo-e artist in Japanese history. Hokusai produced a tremendous amount of outstanding prints and paintings which have made him famous over the years.

It was 150 years ago on February 6, 1864, when a Friendship and Trade Treaty was signed between Switzerland and Japan. It was in the final years of the Edo period (1602-1868) when Japan opened its boarders to foreign trade.
Aimé Humbert-Droz, a native of Neuchâtel, was mandated in April 1861 by the Swiss Federal Council to conduct an official delegation to Japan with the intention to seize this opportunity to open new markets for the Swiss watch industry and the textile manufacturers in Eastern Switzerland.
A proponent of liberalism, Humbert served as president of the Watchmakers Association and was a member of the Swiss Council of States. He ultimately played an instrumental role in concluding the Treaty of Friendship and Commerce between Switzerland and Japan.
Humbert landed in Yokohama harbor on April 27, 1863, on the Dutch warship Medusa. From his arrival onward, he tirelessly pursued negotiations with the Japanese authorities.
Finally, on February 6, 1864, representatives from the Tokugawa shogunate and Humbert’s delegation signed the Treaty of Friendship and Commerce - the eighth such treaty signed by Japan with a foreign country. As a consequence, Swiss trading houses in Yokohama were among the leading exporters of Japanese silk in the 19th century and in return, Switzerland exported fabrics and watches in significant quantities. The trade of Swiss watches to Japan flourished ever since.

Source: JeanRichard