Known for her intricate and exceptional Skull-shaped watches, Fiona Kruger could be called the queen of the skulls. Her watches – in several sizes – attract attention from across any crowded room thanks to the colorful and detailed designs of the open-worked skull that reveals the movement within. Thanks to this collection, which has been evolving over the course of five years, many watch lovers equate skull watches with Fiona Kruger. However, today, she changes that by unveiling her second collection of timepieces: Chaos. And guess what, the line is not skull-shaped. Instead, Fiona Kruger unveils the oval timepiece that embraces the concept of skeletonization and chaotic mechanics.
“I have always been fascinated with the concept of time and also of chaos and entropy,” said Kruger in a private interview a couple of weeks ago, when the line was still under wraps. Explaining the concept of chaos as a system going totally out of control if left alone for the right amount of time, Kruger quipped, “I wanted to find a way to showcase that chaos in watchmaking – where chaos can’t enter into anything. Classical watchmaking is perfection and precision at its finest, and I wanted to blow that up.”
Now, if you know Fiona Kruger like I do, you know that she is incredibly enthusiastic, passionate about her designs and driven by unflagging determination. She put together her designs and concepts for this Chaos collection and discussed it at length with master watchmaker (and another good friend of mine) Jean-Marc Wiederrecht of Agenhor, well-known movement conceptualizers. Wiederrecht loved the concept, but said to properly execute it, there were a number of inherent challenges, not the least of which was making an all-new movement.
“I never dreamed of having my own movement,” says Kruger. “I am a designer and I focus on that aspect, but I also knew exactly the way I wanted the watch to look, so if he said we need a new movement, then that’s what we will do. We know time moves forward and you can’t un-spill a glass or milk or un-shatter broken glass, but still we constantly explore time and if we can change it. I wanted to showcase that dynamic concept of time moving, and an explosion made sense to me.”
The entire process of creating the new Chaos movement, and bringing the first editions of the collection to fruition was startlingly quick: just about one year. Kruger, working side by side with the experts at Agenhor, developed the mechanical drawings for the manual-wind movement – showing it right in the middle of the “explosion.”
Fiona Kruger Chaos Mechanical Entropy watch
Before we tackle the challenges of making this watch, let me describe it for you. Obviously, the pictures herein say a thousand words, but essentially, Kruger wanted to showcase a movement almost exploding in air – like when chaos strikes and everything explodes. This effect takes place via the dial-free, skeletonized movement that not only is elongated so the gear trains, barrel, teeth and wheels occupy the entire length of the oval case as though they are moving away from one another, but also the parts are cut and finished – framed — in such a way as to show off the dramatic shards emulating an explosion. The various “explosions” are graduated in size, building up from the bridges to the mainplate.
The hour and minute wheels are off-center, and the barrel of the mainspring is visible so that as the watch is being wound, the wearer can see the barrel turning … time moving closer to that explosion. The first versions of the two-hand skeletonized Chaos movement come in the form of two Mechanical Entropy watches – one in a black and gold color theme, and the other in black and silver. Each watch retails for $29,200.
Challenges in Making the Chaos Movement
“The movement was very unusual to make because the positioning and production of the components was down to the aesthetic desired rather than our technical requirements,” says François Merot, Director of Production at Agenhor. “It is extremely rare to adapt the technical aspect of a movement to an aesthetic wish. Fiona’s approach about how to think of a watch movement is highly innovative. Her approach elevates the movement from being a technical element into something artistic.”
In addition to creating the technical movement to double as the artistic aesthetic, there were other challenges inherent in the production of this timepiece.
“To create this piece we combined many different existing technologies in order to achieve the result we wanted. The order in which these were utilized and combined is as important as the technologies themselves. In essence we had to create our own “recipe” for production. These techniques include CNC, Laser, PVD, Hand-finishing, Painting,” explains Merot, adding that the laser was necessary to achieve the exploding effect with the pointed openings and two-tone finishes. “A lot of research and development went into finding the right combination of techniques and technical settings to achieve the effect and the level of quality we were looking for.”
Technical Specs of the Chaos Movement
Movement: Mechanical Manual movement, CHAOS I, developed with Agenhor.
Manual wind movement with 50 hours power reserve.
The plates and bridges of the two-tone movement have a brushed finish with a black PVD coating, while the openings and the larger surface explosion on the font of the movement were created with laser technology and a galvanic colouring process in either gold or rhodium. The Chaos movement is a manual-wind two-hand skeleton movement with innovative regulating system patented by Agenhor: AgenPit. Hand-finished components, including engraved and hand-painted exploding barrel and shattering skeletonised hour wheel. Versions: black and rhodium or black and gold finishing.
Technical Specifications of the Mechanical Entropy
Case material & colour: Titanium with brushed and polished finishing & black PVD inner ring
Case size: 48 x 40 mm (length x width), 7.5mm thick, three-part case, and crown at 12:00
Crystal: Sapphire with exploding metal hour markers
Hands: Polished “shard” hour and minute hands with white lacquer details
Indexes: Metallic fragments on the underside of the sapphire mark the hours.
Buckle: Titanium pin buckle
Bracelet: Hand-stitched technical fabric