May 4, 2023
by Ariel Adams
When in Geneva recently, I visited a temporary showroom dedicated to the still-fresh watch and luxury accessories company Kross Studio. The company was formed a few years ago by Marco Tedeschi and is dedicated to a combination of high-end timepieces and high-end toys. Tedeschi earned his chops working close to Jean-Claude Biver at Hublot before having his chance in the spotlight to run Romain Jerome (later renamed to just RJ). That brand wasn’t able to keep going due to insufficient investment (as I understand it), and after that, Tedeschi seemed to want to stay in the game by developing a concept that even better manifests his passions, and Kross Studio was born.
In this article, I want to mostly go hands-on with the Kross Studio Boba Fett Tourbillon watch (originally debuted on aBlogtoWatch here) and its accompanying replica of the Slave 1 ship that doubles as the case. I also took some pictures of the even more impressive carrying case (furniture, really) that came with Kross Studio’s previous Star Wars watch, the Kross Studio Death Star Tourbillon. That case is a fantastic replica of the kyber crystal container from the film Star Wars: Rogue One. I didn’t have time to take shots of the Kross Studio Death Star Tourbillon (aBlogtoWatch article here), but the limited-edition timepiece was the debut product of Kross Studio, and the container it came with should earn an award for probably the most impressive modern watch presentation case.
What we see in these two Kross Studio Star Wars Tourbillon watches are three powerful values of the brand. First is a dedication to original, high-end timepieces. Second is an interest in modern design and connection to artistic elements of pop culture. Third is a fascination with model making and miniatures. Many people develop a fascination with detailed models as children, and, for many generations, detailed models of larger things (real or otherwise that people enjoy) have been popular for even adults to play with (or just display). Just think about the heritage of model boats and ships going back hundreds of years. A case in point is how the Boba Fett Tourbillon watch has two models of Mandalorian Boba Fett’s ship the Slave 1: one model as the watch box, and the other over the tourbillon in the dial of the watch. The level of detail given to each is beyond impressive — but you are paying for it.
If you look at Kross Studio’s current collection of products, you might think that the company is only a collaboration brand. It is true that, for the most part, its products are the result of a licensing or collaboration deal. Its current watches focus on themes such as Star Wars, Batman, and Game of Thrones. Kross Studio also released a watch as part of a collaboration with acclaimed French watch designer Alain Silberstein. Moving forward, Kross Studio will produce such collaboration and intellectual property license-based products in addition to its own standard collection of watches — which, for now, are only tourbillons. The collaboration watches will tend to be more expensive and positioned as talking points, but the ambitions of the brand are deeper. And this doesn’t even go into the watch carrying cases (the Star Wars ones are fun), watch winders, and other accessories that the brand has also been working on.
By working directly with Lucasfilm (Disney), Kross Studio was able to get exacting images and details of the various items, ships, props, etc., in the Star Wars world. The kyber crystal container, for example, only existed as a rough movie prop made of foam for the Rogue One movie. Using images and schematics supplied as part of the licensing deal, Kross Studio needed to work with a local Swiss artisan to create a real-life version of this container that was not only a watch container but also a loving homage to the passion many people have for items in the Star Wars universe. The massive kyber crystal container not only lights up with working electricity but also has three tubes that go into it — just like in the movie. Much of this is actually produced by Kross Studio from mostly aluminum. The tube containers feature one that holds the watch, one that holds a few extra straps (they remove easily from the case via quick-release pushers), and one tube has a replica of a kyber crystal. (According to Star Wars mythology, this is the crystal that is used in lightsabers as well as for the planet-destroying ray that was a feature of the Death Star.) The entire set of items is a fantastic tribute to the Star Wars movie universe, a fantastically detailed model, and a great toy for adults who can afford one of the 10 pieces.
The Kross Studio Death Star Tourbillon watch was sold as a set that came with the presentation box. I think it is probably safe to say that the box cost as much as the wristwatch to produce. I don’t want to even think about the logistics of shipping it. For the Boba Fett Tourbillon, watch Kross Studio decided to get a bit more practical with the size of the presentation case. At the least, one person can carry the Star Wars Slave 1 ship model case without help!
I’ve seen a lot of high-end models in my life, ranging from museum quality to hobby-grade. This is also by no means the first time a collectible wristwatch has come in a themed box that is meant to look like a model of something else. Most of those are packaging first, and a model of something else second. In this instance the opposite is true. These boxes, packages, and watch accessories are highly detailed display models first, and only second do they have a functional purpose. That means the detailing is excellent, making these watch presentation boxes something that you very much want to display in your home or office. Kross Studio probably gets a lot of requests just to buy the models. That isn’t possible as they are connected to the watches, but you can see that Kross Studio took the message to heart with regard to some of its non-watch products including Star Wars character watch pouches and a Tie Fighter-shaped automatic watch winder.
Did you notice that the two Star Wars watches produced by Kross Studio focus on “the dark side?” I think that is smart because righteous people typically don’t have tourbillon money. And The Empire really did have the cooler toys. For fans of Darth Vader’s favorite murder sphere in space, the watch has a very interesting half-sphere cage over the tourbillon that looks like half of the Death Star. The entire watch is the same as the Boba Fett Tourbillon but with different decor and a more detailed approach to modeling in the watch itself. On the dial of the watch are three hand-painted models including Boba Fett’s jet pack as the hour and his rocket as the minute hand. In the center of the dial sitting over the tourbillon is a tiny miniature of the Slave 1, complete with battle damage and space wear.
While more modern Mandalorian characters in the Star Wars universe are “good guys,” Boba Fett was not. At best, he is neutral with questionable morals. He is mostly known for being on Jabba the Hut’s side and hunting down Han Solo, as a bounty hunter. His famed ship known as the Slave 1 is (according to Star Wars canon) a modified vessel known as a Firespray. I believe that part of Boba Fett’s original background was that he was supposed to be a bounty hunter and slaver. Thus, his modified ship wasn’t only supposed to be a better fighter, but it was also designed to store prisoners. I’m not sure if that level of internal detail was carried over into the luxury watch version of the Slave 1 ship. For the many Boba Fett fans out there, the Kross Studio Boba Fett Tourbillon watch is probably at the top of the list for luxury toys. Then again, I don’t know how good the replica cosplay Beskar armor is getting these days.
The watch itself is produced from titanium and is 45mm-wide (20mm-thick and water resistant to 30 meters) with a case that is both lugless and does not have a traditional crown. The Boba Fett Tourbillon case is PVD-coated in a brown (“chocolate” color) with a pusher on the side that is supposed to be in Mandalorian letters. Thus pusher is used to adjust the time when combined with a turning motion of the fold-out crown on the rear of the case. If you just turn the crown without pressing the pusher, then it winds the manually wound movement. While this system is different from that used in most other mechanical watches, it is rather intuitive and feels both fun and novel most of the time. Then again, you don’t have to do anything other than set the time with this particular system.
Inside the watch is an exclusive movement known as the Kross Studio caliber KS7000. The manually-wound movement operates at 3Hz with 120 hours of power reserve. Some of the newer Kross Studio watches have a slight modification to the movement that allows the tourbillon to sit higher in the case, closer to the highly-domed sapphire crystal. That extra height isn’t necessary in a watch like this with the Slave 1 model sitting on the tourbillon, but for a more standard collection Kross Studio central tourbillon watches the updated design decision makes sense.
The watch case uses small pushers on the caseback that release the straps. While they are proprietary, Kross Studio includes three of them. The case is comfortable despite the side, and the strap closes using a relatively discreet and simple buckle. What I can say is that while wild watches like this in the past might have been large on spectacle and low on practicality, the Kross Studio offering to the “mega movie/mega watch fan” product category is remarkably easy to wear (though it is tall on the wrist). Again, only 10 of the reference SWBFT22 Kross Studio Boba Fett Tourbillon watches will be made. Price for each is 120,000 Swiss Francs. Learn more at the Kross Studio website here.