As dusk fell and Tokyo hummed, two men stood quietly in a workshop.
The old man’s face was a deeply lined roadmap of his past. His hair, Hokkaido snow. He was a knife-maker, a master of his craft, an artist in pursuit of perfection. He was a shokunin.
The young man had come from New Zealand, to be inspired by the soul of Japan. He carried less years than the old man, needing space for his future instead. He was a thinker, a seeker, an artist's purpose undefined. He was our Founder.
He just didn’t know it yet.
The old man turned his knife in his hands, once twice three times. In it, he saw the spirit of every knife that had come before and the wisdom of ancient masters.
The young man looked at the long-handled blade and the man who held it near. He saw simplicity and detail, harmony and strength, tradition and elegant design. A balance of function and beauty with features that honoured the past.
He asked, what is it you value the most? The old man replied, it is time. For time is our most precious commodity, our only constant, our greatest gift. In the beginning we have nothing but time and at the end there is nothing we want more. We are our time and the time that came before us. And at some point, every master, no matter how accomplished, stood at the beginning of their time.
The young man had come from the world outside, where time ran faster than its chasers. Outside, his world was hurried, pushed for time, trailing time, running out of time. Inside the shokunin's workshop, time was savoured. Always moving forward, but never forgetting to look back.
The young man searching for clarity was Jeremy, our founder and the heartbeat of AOI. With time on his side and Tokyo in his soul, he knew he was ready to create. To pay tribute to shokunin and the spirit of Japan by creating a timepiece for life. A watch designed with purpose, using Japanese movements, to honour the gift of time.
As dusk fell and Tokyo hummed, AOI’s time began.
Respect time. Value time. Savour time. Celebrate time. Use time. Take time. Give time. Wear time wisely.