Actor Aldis Hodge Wears Independent Watchmaker Hajime Asaoka’s Kurono Classic In ‘The Invisible Man’
Aldis Hodge is not your run-of-the-mill Hollywood personality. An actor with a career just starting to really take off, you may have missed or didn’t recognize him in 2016’s Oscar-nominated Hidden Figures or 2015’s rap opus Straight Outta Compton. And if so, go back right now and watch those significant films.
These events and much more of course didn’t happen overnight: they were preceded by an acting career beginning back in 1995 at the age of nine with a small role in Die Hard with a Vengeance.
But 33-year-old Hodge is much more than a Hollywood actor. He has a mean creative streak that includes writing, painting, violin playing, and designing watches – self-taught.
While his growing uptick in meaningful roles probably means that he has a little less time for his horological pursuits than he would like, the additional media attention also means that he has a chance to choose to help publicize the world of watches, and independent watchmakers in particular, to help raise interest in their work.
The Invisible Man and Hajime Asaoka’s Kurono Classic
Hodge landed his biggest role yet playing police detective friend James Lanier to lead actress Elisabeth Moss in 2020’s The Invisible Man. The massive publicity surrounding this major Hollywood production has allowed him to showcase two independent watchmakers: MB&F, which he wore during the Los Angeles world premiere, and Hajime Asaoka, whose Kurono Classic he wore in character during filming of the movie.
But why did he choose what could be considered by the public at large such an obscure timepiece for his portrayal as James Lanier?
“Because I can straddle the worlds of both entertainment and horology, when I have the opportunity to support other brands, primarily independents who I respect and really admire, through my entertainment efforts, those are the opportunities I take,” Hodge told me.
“When it came to a particular type of role with this particular type of police [detective], I was looking for a watch with a presence that fit the elegance of James. He’s a good father, an upstanding man, a good cop, a take-charge kind of guy. I wanted something that had a simple aesthetic to it that exuded some of these elements paired with the character.
“I also needed something that fit within his financial budget in terms of relativity. That’s why I didn’t go for the Hajime Asaoka Tsunami. I spoke with Hajime, and he told me about Kurono and was very kind in allowing me to wear two different models, one with a cream-colored dial and one with a blue dial in the film.”
“As a watch designer and ‘independent brand’ myself, when I get to support other independent brands, I take the chance.”
That makes sense to me. And perhaps he feels a special kinship because Asaoka is also self-taught. And who doesn’t love the independent watchmakers? Here at Quill & Pad, they hold a special place in our hearts too.
But was there another reason Hodge specifically chose Asaoka’s work for his character?
“I chose Hajime because I was drawn to the idea of what he does and the fact that he has this other subsidiary brand at a lower price point but still a fantastic quality. I thought it paired perfectly with my character, what he does, what he could afford, and what my character meant to me personally. I saw somebody that exuded these principles within the watch.”
Hajime Asaoka Kurono Classic
Asaoka’s sub-line Kurono differs greatly from his “normal” watches in that they are much, much lower in price, but in contrast to his other work like the Tsunami and the Chronograph have a sourced movement (a Citizen Miyota 9085) and little to no work done by hand. Their visuals certainly exude the Asaoka touch, though.
The big advantage of this watch is of course the fact that it is much more possible to buy a Kurono than one of Asaoka’s normal watches, which can take years and years for delivery because they are handmade. The price notwithstanding.
From photos of the Kurono – I have not yet had the pleasure of being able to see this piece in the metal – the stainless steel watch looks very solid, well made, and certainly well designed. And unlike other watches on the market today for sure. The case is quite reminiscent of the Tsunami, I find.
Click here to read Peter Chong at Deployant’s hands-on review of the now sold-out Kurono and here to find out why GaryG opted for wait for a Tsunami in Why I Bought It: Hajime Asaoka Tsunami.
For more information, please visit www.kuronotokyo.com.
Quick Facts Hajime Asaoka Kurono Classic
Case: 37 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Citizen Miyota Caliber 9085, 40-hour power reserve, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Limitation: 50 pieces each of 3 dial colors
Price: $2,190 / sold out
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