A striking example of “living craft” is Tong’s incorporation of heritage Japanese textile into something you wear every day on your wrist.
We talk to the watch strap artist, Tong, about this unique craft.
Before becoming a watch strap artist, I started as a consultant helping Japanese companies entering Singapore, and marketing Japanese products & tourism for overseas market. I was living in Kyoto where I was surrounded by world heritages as well as traditional Japanese crafts such as kimono textile, pottery, tatami, bamboo crafts, etc. I become interested in Japanese traditional crafts, learnt about Japanese craftsmen’s spirit, and found that their trades are rapidly dying due to lack of domestic demand, and the younger generations are not continuing the trades.
We recently got an email from 47 Ronin, a manufacturer of bespoke straps. Their designs really made us sit up and take notice.
47Ronin 浪人 Watch Straps are designed and handcrafted piece by piece with exotic materials from Japan. They make their straps from all sorts of materials other than the usual leather, including Kimono fabric, Japanese print, and other materials from various parts of Japan. Each watch strap is designed and handcrafted by Tong, a Singaporean business consultant turned craftsman, who also has a very special relationship with Japan.