Romano Alberti Italy

"Flashes of light from the past"


Romano Alberti Italy The O-Yoroi project has its roots in the three great passions of my life: the oriental culture, art and horology. The constant practice of martial arts, such as Aikido and Kenjutsu (“the art of the sword”), over time proved to be a true path of spiritual realization.
In these arts, the methodical search for perfection in the movements becomes the mean to find the perfect inner balance, in the union of body, mind and spirit. This is the same research that has led me to realize the O-Yoroi watch as an object of art and design, where every detail has a precise meaning and inspires concentration and continuous research of a dynamic equilibrium over time.
In a world where materialism seems to be dominant, this precious object, of intense and articulated design, reminds us that every achievement in the pursuit of “good, beautiful and true” is only temporary: it is our ability to continue “presence” that makes the difference and makes us truly unique.
O-Yoroi is a tribute to the legendary figure of the Samurai and his philosophy of life. The culture of the Samurai warrior is permeated by the awareness of the transience of things, which leads to a high appreciation for art and to a profound moral discipline. As evidence of this, the box of the O-Yoroi watch shows, handpainted, the sprig and the petals of a cherry blossom (Sakura) that was adopted by Samurai as an emblem of belonging to their own class.
In the classical iconography of the warrior the cherry represents together the beauty and transience of life. An ancient toward still remembered is “Hana wa sakuragi, hito wa bushi” - “Like the cherry blossom is the best among the flowers, so the warrior is the best among men.”
In the development of O-Yoroi I tried to merge into one harmonious and symbolic form the virtues of Bushido (the way of the warrior): just as Zen culture wants, “aware of everything, the whole becomes one”.
All the parts of the watch recall the various parts of the armor of Samurai, but in this watch every part assumes a connotation more philosophical and abstract.

The Samurai armor was composed of:
• Head protection (Kabuto), whose features we find represented in the dial and in the crown of the watch.
• Shoulder protection (Sode) whose features are represented in the crown protector.
• Protection of the arms (Kote), of the bust (Do), of the belly (Kusazuri), of the legs (Haidate) and feet (Sune-ate) whose features we find represented around the chest and in the lugs extensions.

The armor was not only for military use but also represented the clan of membership of the family: the armor was much more elaborate as much was high the rank of the family. For me today wearing the O-Yoroi watch on my wrist is like wearing a real armor and recognize me in a family of high rank of humanity, the one that pursues the same seven virtues of the warrior (Bushi):

• Honesty and justice (GI)
• Heroic courage, bravery, generosity (YU)
• Compassion (JIN)
• Kindness, devotion, healthy lifestyle (REI)
• Complete sincerity (MAKOTO)
• Dignity and honor (MEIYO)
• Duty and loyalty (CHUGI)

Observing the watch movement you can perceive the vibrations of a duel between two Samurai, represented by two pairs of opposite circles in the higher rehaut of the dial (eyes) and the exclusive lugs and hands (a reference to the “Kabuto maedate” helmet front crest of armor).
These elements are symmetrical, in a constant study and observation, heedless of the flowing time, concentrated in a single direction of the front, where the two singular hands create geometric shapes in overlap between night and day.
This “duel” is accompanied by the continuous rotation of the harmonious stylized chrysanthemum flower (emblem of Japan) that reminds us of the eternal becoming: everything changes, even if nothing seems to change in the present time.
Looking closely at the dial, you can seize the ribs of a typical and specific handicraft of an ancient helmet of the Samurai, the Suji Bachi Kabuto, made from strips of iron overlapped. In the center of the dial it is placed the Tehen Kanamono that holds the hands. Considered once the entrance of the energy of the universe to help the Samurai, in the watch it is the place from where starts the force that moves the hands.
The hours, marked with Japanese numbers, must be discovered as the secrets of the art: they are revealed only by a martial movement of rotation of the wrist typical of the art of the sword and they are located in the lower rehaut inclined. The date window shows deliberately not only the current day but also, partly, the previous day and the following: a clear warning to remind us that we live only in the “here and now” and that any distraction of the mind in the past, or in a possible future, will prevent us from truly living our time. It has the stylized form of the typical hole of a Tsuba (disk of protection for the hands in a katana) called “Kozuka hitsu ana”: only the person who lives in present time can protect himself and the others in any eventuality. The leather strap with stingray inserts, immediately recalls the handle of the legendary Katana (Tsuka) usually made of wood and covered in stingray skin (Same), covered with ribbons of silk, cotton or woven leather (Tsuka-ito).
The message for the modern man and woman wearing this watch is a clear warning to live in the awareness of being unique, and then to work accordingly with the consequent responsibilities. We must know ourselves first, then our travel companions and the opponents we will face. Knowledge is fundamental for the evolution of the individual and the society. However we must learn first (or remind?) how to live in present time (mindfulness).
This is the secret to better manage the evolution of every situation and prevent a conflict or the opponent’s moves. Are the right decisions and the right actions that enable us to survive and excel in every field. As in the Aikido practice, life is primarily a matter of harmony and time. Seize the moment, the right time. The winning movement is not about power, but time, clear intention and precision. Thus opening the doors to the expression of an invisible energy.