Fiona Krüger’s Unusual Petit Skull Watches Have Made Me A Fan
Fiona Krüger‘s Skull watches have been a watch world insider hit for about two years now, having captured a fair share of press for the hitherto unknown designer as she resolutely plugged away at raising her profile.
Her perseverance has paid off in a wicked way: Krüger’s Skulls are carried by some of the world’s best watch retailers, shops like Chronopassion in Paris, Westime in Los Angeles, and Berger in Mexico City.
Even Harrods in London will soon host an event in honor of her colorful symbols of mortality.
“Harrods is launching the Skull collection exclusively in the U.K.,” she told me as we chatted at Baselworld 2016. “I’ve designed an exhibition for their Fine Watch Room, which will showcase the whole collection including the new Petit Skull series.”
The expo launches on March 31 and runs through April 27, 2016.
But I will admit to having been reticent for a while. I felt that the Skulls launched as of 2013 were too big to wear (though very apparently not everyone feels the same way), and I wasn’t even sure about them as a design motif. Even if I really did personally admire Krüger’s temerity, ambition, drive, apparent talent, and the altogether crazy idea to create a watch like this.
Her confident temerity in particular has paid off for the young Scottish designer; talking some of the world’s most renowned watch retailers into taking on such an edgy, design-driven mechanical timepiece by a relatively unknown British designer in an uncertain economic atmosphere is not an easy accomplishment. Though to be fair, both Westime and Chronopassion are retailers with big hearts for independents, and the Celebration Skull (see Fiona Krüger’s Celebration Skull: Life, Death, Mortality . . . And Watches) was predestined for acceptance in the land of sugar skulls and Día de los Muertos.
Nonetheless, I would still call this a feat. Which is also one major reason I took a closer look at the new trio of watches Krüger released at Baselworld 2016 called Petit Skull.
Smaller, finer, better
The age-old themes of mortality and time comprise the starting point of Krüger’s Skulls. However, these are not your run-of-the-mill memento mori. These are contemporary renditions through and through.
These skulls are quirky, interesting, and beautiful in their own special way. And they do something that is very near and dear to my own heart: they highlight the beauty of the mechanical watch movement. “In my opinion, the movement is what is truly fascinating about a watch and yet in so many timepieces it is hidden away,” Krüger told me most likely the first time we met. She, too, fell quickly under the spell of micromechanics with an anachronistic purpose.
The Petit Skull is her fourth series of Skulls, and it encompasses three new variations: Silver, Blue, and Black, each of which is limited to 18 pieces.
So what exactly is it about these new Petit Skulls that I like so much? Let me give you a short list.
The cases are smaller, and thus they are now able to fit tiny wrists like my own. The new stainless steel housings measure 48 x 34.5 x 9.8 mm compared with the 57.4 x 41.3 x 10.9 mm of the previous three editions. The Petit Skulls are still not exactly what I would call petite, but they are much more proportionate and comfortable for smaller wrists.
The dials are finer. The nine-piece brass dials of the automatic Petit Skulls are produced in Kari Voutilainen’s dial workshop. They are hand-polished, galvanized with silver, blue or black color, and milled with guilloche patterns. There are two different guilloche patterns on each Skull, which is what makes them all look so different aside from the color.
For example, on the black Petit Skull there is a sunburst pattern on the forehead and cheek bones while a hobnail pattern forms the eye sockets and T zone. The “mouth” is actually the rhodium-plated base plate decorated with perlage. Cool effect!
The hands are new. The previous hands Krüger used were purchased from the same supplier that Peter Speake-Marin uses. I love the shape of those hands, but for me they didn’t fit the Skull design nearly as well as Speake-Marin’s Serpent Calendar or Spirit models. These new polished steel hands (blued steel on the Silver edition) are Krüger’s own design, and I have to say I am quite enamored of them.
The crown, which Krüger designed fresh for the Petit Skull, has a great shape, and the positioning of it is pure genius: 12 o’clock. In my eyes, this has actually enhanced the entire design as the crown no longer sticks out from the head, but rather disappears more or less between the lugs.
The Skull’s face is more finely detailed. Perhaps this is just the result of making the once-colorful and skeletonized Skulls monochromatic, but I really like the face details that now come out more clearly. Two movement jewels also now grace the center of the “eyes,” which is a very nice touch as they now look like pupils. When the watch is running, you can actually see the balance moving behind the eyes. This makes them look very lively.
Not that much has changed on the back of the watch, though somehow it seems much more aesthetic to me. That could be just the overall change in the case size. But what I think is super cool is the rotor with guilloche pattern and colorful galvanization to match the front of the watch. Great detail!
For more information, please visit www.fionakrugertimepieces.com.
Case: 48 x 34.5 x 9.8 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Soprod A10 fully skeletonized and with custom components including the rotor, which has the same guilloché pattern and color treatment as the dial
Functions: hours, minutes
Limitation: 18 pieces each in blue, black, and silver color schemes
Price: 13,000 Swiss francs (excluding VAT)
Also published on Medium.