November 24, 2021
Although it only arrived on the scene in late 2020, boutique brand Kross Studio has already developed a strong brand philosophy. All of the marque’s releases to this point combine ornate ultra-luxury watchmaking with pop culture, using designs inspired by some of the world’s most popular media franchises. For its latest release, however, Kross Studio moves away from the realm of Batman and “Star Wars” to a more orthodox partner for luxury watch design – Alain Silberstein. Silberstein’s signature blend of bright primary colors, geometric forms, and playful Pop Art design elements have won the designer broad enthusiast acclaim and collaborations with brands from Louis Erard to MB&F. The new Kross Studio Lotus Tourbillon combines Alain Silberstein’s visual hallmarks with the brand’s cornerstone central tourbillon design to create its cleanest, most balanced offering yet, but does not abandon the sense of audacity that helped to launch the atelier.
The Kross Studio Lotus Tourbillon builds on the brand’s previous tourbillon designs, beginning with the familiar 45mm lugless black brushed DLC titanium case. This smoothly rounded pebble-like form has been a staple of previous Kross Studio releases and gives the watch a modern minimalist character in images while keeping visual focus on the dial and its glittering central tourbillon. To keep the overall look as streamlined as possible, winding and setting functions are handled by a folding D-ring crown mounted on the sapphire display caseback, and the crown is swapped between functions by a recessed pusher at 3 o’clock. This pusher introduces the Lotus Tourbillon’s first pop of Alain Silberstein-style color, with a series of five abstract ovals in bold hazard yellow lacquer. Like other models in this series, the Lotus Tourbillon’s Achilles heel is its water resistance, with a miserable rating of 30 meters.
For the dial of the Lotus Tourbillon, Kross Studio keeps its trademark central tourbillon and planetary gear hand system intact but simplifies the layout far beyond any of its previous iterations. The movement showing through the skeletonized center of the dial is finished in clean radially brushed black, and the stepped inner ring of the dial matches the color and finish for a stealthy and cohesive look. Rather than highlighting the intricacies of the movement, or the planetary gears that drive the hands, Kross Studio allows these elements to form a backdrop for the handset and indices. These bright and minimal pieces also follow Alain Silberstein’s signature look, with cleanly applied outlines in primary red and blue for the circular hour hand and minimal oval minutes hand. The applied indices around the outer minutes track echo this oval form, complementing the red and blue handset with vibrant yellow accents and a boldly legible set of hash marks for minutes. With the majority of the design playing into Silberstein’s brand of vibrant minimalism, Kross Studio creates an ornate centerpiece to act as a natural focal point. The brand’s oversized central tourbillon takes on perhaps its most complex cage yet here, with a delicate web of skeletonized polished titanium petals that form the watch’s namesake lotus flower. This ultra-stylized tourbillon cage elevates an already dramatic layout in initial images, and the relative simplicity of the rest of the dial design keeps this combination from feeling too overwhelming or baroque.
Kross Studio powers the Lotus Tourbillon with its in-house KS7000 hand-wound tourbillon movement. The massive open mainspring barrel takes up much of the visual real estate here, and while finishing appears simplistic in initial images one of the movement wheels is decorated with a playful red polka dot pattern in keeping with Alain Silberstein’s style. In terms of performance, the KS 7000 offers an immense 120-hour power reserve at a 21,600 bph beat rate, courtesy of the previously mentioned oversized mainspring barrel.
To complete the minimal look of the Kross Studio Lotus Tourbillon, the brand equips the watch with a pair of simple black straps in rubber and rubber-lined leather. The Lotus Tourbillon’s packaging, however, is anything but simple. Like previous Kross Studio releases, the Lotus Tourbillon’s box is a statement piece in its own right, with an Alain Silberstein-designed geometric form in bright toylike color. Although this stacked red sphere, yellow cube, and blue cone could make a fine free-standing desk ornament, the real display piece is concealed inside the cube, with a flush drawer that cleanly hides its function as a watch box in images.
By taking a more minimalist, Pop Art-inspired approach to its flagship design, the limited edition Kross Studio Lotus Tourbillon offers the brand’s most refined and mature stylistic entry to date. Only 18 examples of the Kross Studio Lotus Tourbillon will be made, and the watch is available now through authorized dealers at an MSRP of $80,000. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.