Having launched in 2020, the Swiss design studio and integrated manufacture Kross Studio specializes in reinterpreting haute horlogerie through beloved pop culture characters and sagas. Kross Studio has collaborated with entertainment giants like Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Lucasfilm Ltd. to create Space Jam-inspired and Star Wars-themed watches, clocks and watch winders that variously embody sculptural display cases, museum-quality finishes and artistic details, all of which engender interactive and immersive experiences. In short, Kross Studio creates pop culture-inspired timepieces that also function as interactive objets d’art.
Based in Gland, Vaud, Switzerland, Kross Studio is led by Creative Director and micro-technical engineer Marco Tedeschi, and master watchmaker Sergio Silva. While Tedeschi also holds a Master’s Degree in Management and Business Administration, Silva worked over five years at Vacheron Constantin on complicated watches, including minute repeaters, perpetual calendars, and chronographs and also spent 11 years at Roger Dubuis, where he built a vertically integrated manufacture capable of producing all components of the watches, including the most complex parts of the regulator. Tedeschi and Silva have three other founding, core partners who keep Kross Studio ticking. Tedeschi recently found the time to discuss the Kross horological mission, vision and products over email with this writer.
RODERICK: Why are you and Kross Studio so focused on creating limited edition; masterfully engineered watches that reference pop culture heroes and classic films?
TEDESCHI: Kross Studio is led by five founders, who together possess decades of experience in the watch and luxury industry. Our ambition is to turn ordinary objects into extraordinary ones, by blending the worlds of fine art, pop culture, and watchmaking. To find its place in an already very saturated industry, Kross Studio is different from all other brands. We have created a small niche in which we have a large space to play, and collaborations are central to our identity. Our name “Kross” not only connects to the Swiss cross, but also refers to the cross symbol used for our collaborations. We only explore collaborations that resonate with our team, and it just so happens that we find much inspiration in the entertainment world, whether that be from comic books or iconic films.
Our first collaborations were with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Lucasfilm Ltd. because both companies are associated with some of the most revered universes in comics, cartoons and film. Batman and Star Wars taught us to dream, to fight for good, and to exercise our imaginations. Our hope is that when collectors acquire our Death Star Ultimate Collector Set, our 1989 Batmobile clock, or any other product of ours, that their imaginations plug into that feeling of childlike wonder and travel back to those mythical worlds.
RODERICK: What are the creative and technical goals of Kross Studio?
TEDESCHI: Our main goal is to create unprecedented, brilliantly engineered watches and collectible art objects, always with a twist. Each detail has to meet both creative and technical requirements. Beyond the creation of a truly unique object, we deliver experiences to carry our customers away into unconventional universes, as we have done with the Death Star Ultimate Collector Set and the 1989 Batmobile desk clock. We believe that our products will be collected by connoisseurs who appreciate our unique voice and the art and science we bring to each piece. We always strive to create museum-quality pieces that would look equally appropriate in a collector’s home, or displayed on a pedestal in a gallery. We also believe that younger generations are interested in discovering the products we develop through collaborations because they’ve grown up with certain franchises that they’ve assimilated into their life experiences. Our products resonate with them at a deep, personal level because we incorporate elements of beloved universes that align with their own values and memories.
RODERICK: How do you get these collaborations started?
TEDESCHI: So far, we have initiated these projects, relying on contacts I have developed over the course of my career. After the initial proposal to the partner, we work with their team establish consensus and fine-tune the product before launching it.
RODERICK: How and Why are Kross Studio watches important examples of horological design and engineering?
TEDESCHI: Our strong visual concepts tend to steal the show, but our high-end Swiss watchmaking skills and extensive experience are the runway that lets our creativity take flight. Behind these creative concepts there are some examples of high horology, as with the central tourbillon movement found in our Death Star Tourbillon that’s part of the Death Star Ultimate Collector Set.
RODERICK: OK, on behalf of watch lovers and Star Wars freaks, please tell us about the Death Star tourbillon.
TEDESCHI: When I was at engineering school in 2006, I created and patented a central tourbillon movement concept. The architecture of this movement is different from any other movement in the industry, as it features an oversized barrel that can deliver a 5 days power reserve, placed in the center of the movement. It leaves no space for the regulator that is therefore placed on top of the barrel in the center, within a tourbillon cage. Finally, the hands have been affixed to a peripheral display mechanism that orbits 360 degrees around the tourbillon.
In the Death Star Ultimate Collector Set, the timepiece and its straps are presented in highly detailed capsules alongside an authentic screen-used film prop from the film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The three capsules are then enclosed in a very large container (measuring over 3 feet long) that we finished to look like an authentic Imperial Crate, complete with Aurebesch script and glowing elements. Each creative element is absolutely integral to the project, closer to sculpture than mere packaging. I believe this artistic mind-set and presentation sets Kross apart.
RODERICK: So Kross is the only high concept house of haute horlogerie that celebrates global pop culture.
TEDESCHI: Yes indeed, and that is definitely the case with our Space Jam: A New Legacy collaboration. We want to bring a modern vision with our unique mix of pop culture and haute horlogerie, that I feel from experience better meets the expectations of a new generation. We are always looking for innovation, from the designs we elaborate to the full, immersive experiences we provide. We are very adamant that attention to detail and immersive design must extend beyond our horological products to every element in our collector sets. Together, these elements combine to create uniquely conceptual objets d’art, something that distinguishes us a studio and as a brand.
RODERICK: Kross Studio and Lucas Film keep producing Star Wars collaborations, What’s the latest one?
TEDESCHI: In late 2021, Kross Studio and Lucasfilm debuted a new Star WarsTM watch rolls collection. The series offers six different watch rolls for individual sale, each featuring an inspired design of a Rebel or Imperial character from the space saga. You can choose from a Darth VaderTM, StormtrooperTM, Boba FettTM, C-3POTM, R2-D2TM, or a ChewbaccaTM. Those who purchase the set of six will receive a special bonus YodaTM watch roll featuring the great guru character of Yoda.
Each watch roll model is crafted of 100% vegetal leather and comes screen printed with the character’s likeness and complementary colors and patterns, including C-3P0 in yellow, Boba Fett in green, Darth Vader in black, Chewbacca in brown, the stormtrooper and R2-D2 in white, and Yoda in tan.
RODERICK: What prompted the Kross Studio and Space Jam collaboration?
TEDESCHI: I think that for many, Space Jam marked a unique moment in time where athletic excellence crossed over into the iconic pop culture world of Looney Toons. The opportunity arose to design a limited edition collectors’ set and watch with Warner Bros. Consumer Products that celebrates the world of Space Jam. This made total sense for us, because of our fondness for the Space Jam universe, and also because the film teams up unconventional partners to achieve a common goal, something we as a brand seek to do with each partnership. Our collaboration celebrates the 25th anniversary of the film’s release.
RODERICK: Please describe in brief how you and Sergio Silva work together.
TEDESCHI: As partners, Sergio Silva and I function in a perfectly complementary way. Sergio is THE Master watchmaker for Kross Studio and he has over 30 years of industry experience. He has created over 30 watch movements in his career. Here at Kross, he typically oversees the technicalities. My micro-technical design background comes more into play in the conceptual and visual elements of our projects and collaborative designs.
RODERICK: Why does Kross Studio manufacture in Vaud?
TEDESCHI: Our Studio is located in Gland, Vaud because we wanted to work close to home. All Kross Studio members already lived in this area, which happens to be ideally located near Switzerland’s historic watchmaking regions, between Lausanne and Geneva and close to La Vallée de Joux.
RODERICK: What were the most important insights and skills you gained during your 11-year tenure at Hublot as a Product Director, member of the Executive Committee and as a Regional Director in charge of Middle Eastern and African operations in the Middle East & Africa?
TEDESCHI: When I joined Hublot, it was a small brand that was subcontracting most of its product development and production. In only a few years, we turned Hublot into a full fledged manufacture. The best advice I received from Jean-Claude Biver, Hublot former CEO, is to take the counsel of each member of the team and integrate their views to create a winning concept. That is our approach at Kross Studio. Every voice on our team matters. Since we are fully vertically integrated as a design studio and independent manufacture, we have the flexibility, skills, and the resources to exercise our creativity to the fullest and turn our visions into reality.
RODERICK: How many watches are in your watch collection? Please give us a sense of how they range in terms of style and substance.
TEDESCHI: I own approximately 20 watches, from my first Swatch to the Patek Philippe 5712/1A-001 I wear daily. I don’t buy watches as an investment. I buy them because I like them, and very often for a special occasion.