Welcome back to an original aBlogtoWatch feature, “My First Grail Watch.” In this series, we ask prominent people in the watch industry about the first timepiece that they lusted after. Today, we’re speaking with Fiona Krüger, one of the newer independent watch designers to have caught our eye with her creations. She tells us about her First Grail Watch, which is the oldest Grail Watch we’ve featured.
aBlogtoWatch (ABTW): Who are you, and what is your relationship to the watch industry?
Fiona Krüger (FK): My name is Fiona Krüger, and I am a young independent Scottish watch designer and producer working in Switzerland. I design and produce my own “Swiss Made” timepieces as well as collaborating with brands looking for a more emotional and unique take on watch design. I’m best known for my skull watches, which are produced in limited series.
ABTW: When did your fascination with watches start?
FK: When I came to Switzerland to do my Masters. One of the sponsors of the course at that time was Audemars Piguet, and so we went on many watch-related visits. The two that made the biggest impact were the manufacture of AP and the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva. I was amazed at the precision and skill required to work on a watch, and the pieces in the Patek Museum showed an unparalleled marriage between poetry, creativity and craftsmanship. The timepieces were so interesting – real pieces of art.
My background is actually in Fine Art, so the creativity of the watches really struck a chord with me, and seeing the variety of materials and techniques used to make these beautiful objects opened up a whole world of possibilities.
ABTW: What was your first grail watch?
FK: The 16th century skull watch of Mary Queen of Scots. It was one of the pieces which inspired my original skull watch design.
ABTW: What drew you to this particular watch?
FK: Firstly the name – being Scottish, I was curious and proud that there was a timepiece associated with my country! Then, when I saw the images of it, I was even more drawn to the piece because it’s an object with which I had an emotional connection. It made me think. It was beautifully crafted with intricate and meaningful decoration and engravings.
Having also lived in Mexico as a child, I experienced the celebration of the Day of the Dead – a very different approach to what I was used to back in Europe, and one of my most vivid memories. When I saw the Mary Queen of Scots watch, it reminded me of those celebrations and the combination of these two worlds really inspired me.
ABTW: Given the pedigree and rarity of the watch, I’m guessing I know the answer, but I still need to ask – was there ever a time in your life when you could afford it – and if so, did you get it?
FK: Not a chance! But my skull watch is my interpretation of the ideas embodied in this piece, so in a way I did get it! Seeing the finished watch for the first time was an emotional moment for me, and the support it has received from the watchmaking industry (press, clients, and other watchmakers) has been fantastic, particularly as it is such a personal watch.
ABTW: Has anything else become the grail you seek? Or have your own creations “scratched that itch?”
FK: I have one of each of my watches, the SKULL and the BLACK SKULL. I love them both. They are like my children, each with very different personalities.
You can see her latest designs here: fionakruger.com