Misuzu Corp., a trading company dealing mainly in high-end watches, held a grand opening ceremony on Oct. 28 for the HANDA Watch World Kichijoji Universe Watch Shop at the shop near Kichijoji Station, in Tokyo’s Musashino Ward.
Misuzu recently bought Swiss luxury golf watchmaker Jaermann & Stubi and Misuzu President Haruhisa Handa also serves as the president of the Swiss watch company. Misuzu is also the exclusive importer in Japan of several other international brands such as Hysek, Roberto Cavalli, Catorex and Candy Time.
The new shop has three above-ground floors, as well as a basement, each boasting a huge selection of fine timepieces.
The first floor has casual models that appeal to the younger generations, while the second and third floors have higher-end models. The basement serves as a showcase for rare models.
The new shop officially opened following a ribbon cutting ceremony shortly after 11 a.m.
One of the special guests for the opening ceremony was Masahiko Komura, vice president of the Liberal Democratic Party, who lives in the Kichijoji area.
“Let’s pray for Kijijoji to flourish further,” Komura said in making a toast in front of the new shop.
After the toast, Handa led journalists into the shop to show them the space and speak about the watches on display.
“The theme is ‘universe’ and ‘tightly packaged.’ There are so many watches in such a small space. It’s fun to visit and see so many watches. People can easily spend a whole day here without getting bored,” Handa said.
On the third floor, customers who spend more than \1 million can enjoy night sky views of their birthday constellations in a planetarium.
More than a hundred people were waiting in front of the shop before it officially opened.
First in line was 32-year-old salaryman Tomohiro Shibata, who lives in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture. Shibata stayed at his friend’s place the night before to make sure he arrived at the shop at 6:30 a.m.
“I’m excited as the new shop has so many watches from overseas that you can’t find anywhere else in Japan,” he said.
Prior to the grand opening, Misuzu held a pre-opening event at the Kichijoji Dai-Ichi Hotel, a short walk from the new shop, on Oct. 26.
Former and current Miss Japan representatives and other models, including one from Malaysia, walked Misuzu’s watches and jewelry on the catwalk at the event. A person dressed as Hello Kitty, former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and world-renowned super model Naomi Campbell were special guests.
Key is an official ambassador for Jaermann & Stubi and held the prime minister’s post from November 2008 until last December. Key and Handa held a discussion on timepieces at the event.
Handa founded Misuzu in 1978 as the operator of Misuzu Gakuen cram schools, and the company established its watch business in 1979, distributing more than 140 watch brands, as well as its own designs, in Japan.
Besides horology, Handa wears many hats. He is behind the promotion of various sports, especially golf, as the chairman of the International Sports Promotion Society (ISPS).
In April, ISPS held the ISPS Handa Jaermann & Stubi Owners Cup, inviting amateur golfers who own Jaermann & Stubi watches to play golf with prominent professionals, including Jumbo Ozaki, in the Hakone resort area of Kanagawa Prefecture.
Handa also founded the Japan Blind Golf Association, the first such club in Japan, in 1988, and is known as “the father of blind golf in Japan.” The ISPS regularly sponsors blind golf tournaments.
In addition to his work with the ISPS, Handa is also the chairman of the International Foundation for Arts and Culture, which has held international concerts in Tokyo featuring famous singers and musicians such as David Foster, former Chicago vocalist Peter Cetera and many others, including several other Grammy Award winners. He is also the chairman of the Tokyo Art Foundation, which organizes various concerts and plays.
On the philanthropic front, Handa is the chairman of Worldwide Support for Development, which holds a variety of summit meetings on global welfare.