The Harajuku select shop “A Story” came onto my radar only relatively recently when a friend asked me if Japan had a steampunk scene (they do), and in doing so I discovered this great little shop in an Ura-Harajuku backstreet that is home to the best handmade watches and jewelry I have seen in quite some time. They stock a great number of brands including: Gothic Laboratory, Mari Goto, Lhiannan:Shee, Ventriloquist, HOASHIYUSUKE, Mantam, curione (who we have seen before on Tokyo Telephone), 4uatre, Tomoko Tokuda, LIENS and TOKIAKI KUMONDAI. The output varies from the aforementioned steampunk, to the Mori-girl friendly, but all with a refreshingly obviously hand-wrought vibe. But don’t go jumping to any Etsy comparisons (unless it is the best of Etsy), there is no dodgy plating here, chains are sterling silver, brass is of the highest quality and the standard of finish aludes to attention to real artisanal ability rather than handmade tat.
Everything in the very twee shop has a real atmosphere to it, it feels handmade, but in a really good way. It has been a real challenge to pick out some of my favorite items, but I have and I guarantee it will have you wanting to run straight off to Harajuku to see it for yourself.
Ripped saddle leather, nails and rust, yes please! But surprisingly wearable at the same time…
Handmade watches are indeed a dying art, but on the other hand this is a place that celebrates them as an item of jewelry primarily and a practical instrument secondly – the fact that some of these are handmade mechanical watches is just the icing on the cake.
This solid brass rabbit is actually a pocket watch on the other side – very sweet but with a nice edge.
This guy’s work – 4uatre – really appeals to me. It is so raw and rusty, but wearable at the same time.
A secret watch just for you…
Nice bit of quartz with a steampunk vibe.
And while I have mostly selected the pieces that appeal to me, there is an awful lot that is very feminine and out-right beautiful.
Like this very cute watched eyed creature.
Now this is right up my alley. This is brass that has been allowed to thoroughly patina which effectively seals the brass as well as giving it an amazing colour.
And they work in nicely darkened silver as well – by the way you can get that great purple / green tinge by using sulphur on the surface of the silver.
This Gothic Laboratory beauty is 100% 925 silver with a handmade mechanical mechanism – you don’t see many of them these days. Really quality and class all round.
If I have done my job properly you will want to see more and you can on the official site here. They have also been kind enough to give visual directions from a couple of Harajuku stations here because it is a bit tricky to find.
I hope this has been a good introduction to this little group of Harajuku creatives, no doubt I will go into more detail with the individual designers further down the line.