The Eichi II is, despite the fact that it was inspired very much by Dufour’s work, a very characteristically Japanese object. The single-minded pursuit of craft to an extremely high level of skill, done not just out of respect for the craft itself, but out of a sense of obligation to one’s peers and community, is not exclusive to Japan, of course. But it is taken to a higher level in collective culture in Japan, perhaps than it is anywhere else.
My own experience of this level of attention comes most directly from the practice of meditation, and mindfulness in the martial arts, where any anticipation of a result or a particular outcome ultimately detracts; goals provide orientation, but attachment to achieving a goal actually obstructs the development of skill. Much of the Eichi, and the craft it expresses, comes from a certain orientation to the gradual development of skill and the necessity for the development of sure intuition through mindful action. A critical aspect of this way of doing things is that it is best passed on through direct experience; Nakazawa says:
“Of course we teach the types of basics, standards, and work processes that can be written down, but there are many aspects of watchmaking where a craftsman, including myself, has to rely on his own feelings and sensibilities. It’s hard to put this into words, so it’s best that students experience it firsthand. They have to cultivate this kind of intuition.”
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