Three popular limited express train models get a semi-digital, semi-analogue watch makeover!
Ueno Station is one of Tokyo’s most famous train stations, known for its proximity to Ueno Park, a popular place for cherry blossom viewing and the location of Tokyo’s biggest zoo, and Ameyoko-cho, a bustling outdoor shopping and restaurant area (where we’ve found some really unusual food). Beyond that, it’s considered the “gateway to the north” since it’s a transit station that connects Tokyo to the Tohoku region of northeast Japan.
But did you know that Ueno Station is also one of Tokyo’s oldest stations? It was originally opened on July 28, 1883 (the 16th year of the Meiji era, when the country was just beginning to build trains). That means this year it’s 140 years old!
In celebration, Japanese watch company Citizen is releasing three special, train-inspired watch designs as part of its Ana-Digi Temp line, which combines both analogue and digital displays. Each watch is based on a popular train that once stopped–or currently stops–at Ueno Station.
For example, one is based off the Tokyu Express Hitachi 485 series (bonnet style), which began running in 1969 from Ueno to Taira Station in Fukushima (now known as Iwaki Station). It was initially run by the Japanese National Railway (which operated the railway network between 1949 and 1987), before the founding of Japan Railways.
The watch band and case are silver but the face is red and cream to match the colors of the train. Underneath the face is the JNR Logo, the stainless steel backing is etched with the Tokyu Express Hitachi logo.
The second design features the Hokutosei 24 Series Class 25 Limited Express Sleeper, which ran from Ueno to Sapporo from 1988 until it was retired in 2015. This train’s signature dark blue color is incorporated into the watch’s face, which is accented by gold lines. Underneath the face is the logo that was used in the train to designate its lounge car.
The band is black to represent night, since it’s a sleeper train, but the back is stainless steel and etched with the Hokutosei logo.
The last watch design is based on the Cassiopeia E26 Limited Express Sleeper, which currently connects Ueno and Sapporo. It’s known for its fresh new design and luxurious interior, and also for its all-double-decker cars.
The watch is silver and black, and the seconds face is decorated with the Cassiopeia logo, a starburst. The train’s five-color line logo accents the bottom right side under the face.
The Hitachi and Cassiopeia watches retail for 38,000 yen (US$266.76), while the Hokutosei sells for 40,000 yen, but all three watches are being sold by special order only between now and January 28. You can put your order in online through the Trainiart JE Mall online shop, and expect to receive one at the end of July.
If you’d like to see samples before buying, you can spot them at the museum shop of The Railway Museum in Saitama, at the Gransta Tokyo Station branch of Trainiart, and at a shop called Nomono at Ueno Station. They’ll be on display throughout the ordering period, so even if you just want to take a look as a train fan, you’ve got plenty of time.