Despite its relative youth, newcomer Kross Studio has firmly planted itself at the wild, playful, and deliberately divisive intersection of pop culture and haute horlogerie. With previous watchmaking partnerships with pop culture juggernauts like Batman and “Star Wars” under its belt, the brand now turns to its wackiest partnership yet – Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Tunes. Designed to commemorate the July 16th theatrical release of “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” the limited edition Kross Studio Space Jam Tourbillon is a bright, cartoony tribute to basketball and classic animated characters that may not be for all tastes but packs a serious horological punch.
The new Kross Studio Space Jam Tourbillon shares a platform with the brand’s “Star Wars”-inspired Death Star Tourbillon design, and the similarities begin with the 45mm case in Grade 5 titanium. With a lugless, rounded brushed form, the smooth pebble-like case of the Space Jam Tourbillon features no traditional crown to detract from the curving lines. Instead, the watch uses a folding D-ring style crown mounted flush against the sapphire display caseback. Rather than pulling the crown out to different positions for different functions, the Space Jam Tourbillon offers a flush pusher at 3 o’clock to swap between winding and time setting functions. Despite the sporty theme, however, this might not be a watch for taking on a strenuous workout, with a water resistance of only 30 meters.
Like the case, the skeleton dial of the Kross Studio Space Jam Tourbillon shares its general layout with the Death Star Tourbillon before it, but here the look is radically different. The massive central tourbillon is undoubtedly the focal point, with a playful hemispherical basketball-shaped cage that rises far above the level of the movement surrounding it for an immense feeling of visual depth in images. The handset is built on a unique planetary gear system, with both hands supported from below and visually floating above an outer ring gear. While the minute hand is a relatively simple skeleton paddle design, the hour hand takes a more stylized approach by emulating a basketball court’s free throw lane. The raised outer chapter ring furthers the sense of overall visual depth, while neatly tying into the theme with its bright basketball orange PVD finish. Outside of the central tourbillon, though, the real visual highlight is the rich blue PVD inner ring. Sitting just beneath the chapter ring with its minutes scale, this contrasting element features detailed engravings of the full roster of the Looney Tunes’ Tune Squad basketball team – Tweety Bird, Sylvester, Marvin the Martian, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, Granny, Taz, Lola Bunny, Speedy Gonzales, Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner, and Elmer Fudd. Interestingly, this adds up to 13 characters. This ensures that this ring does not at all correspond with the flanking applied hour indices, and may lead to confusion while reading the watch. That said, the engraving work itself is impressively intricate.
The manufacture KS 7000 handwound skeleton tourbillon movement inside the Kross Studio Space Jam Tourbillon is also shared with the previous Kross Studio release. Despite relatively simple brushed and polished finishing throughout, the movement layout itself is arranged for maximum spectacle. In addition to the oversized central tourbillon, many of the movement wheels use a playful basketball motif, while a broad mainspring barrel dominates the view from above surrounded by blue PVD skeleton bridges. Thanks to that hefty mainspring barrel, power reserve is a robust 120 hours at a 21,600 bph beat rate.
Kross Studio finishes the Space Jam Tourbillon with a pair of straps. The first, a tapering rubber lined calf leather strap in royal blue, flows neatly into the dial colorway. The second strap is the bolder and more playful option, made from orange laser abraded rubber that takes on the iconic color and bumpy texture of a regulation basketball. As with previous Kross Studio models, the packaging of the Space Jam Tourbillon is half the presentation, and the Space Jam Tourbillon continues this trend with the oak wood and aluminum B-BALL sculpture. By lifting the wooden ball sculpture from its base, the wearer exposes a storage compartment for the watch itself.
With a bold, playful design that doesn’t shy away from the cartoonish nature of its source material and an impressively complex movement design, the limited edition Kross Studio Space Jam Tourbillon is an unrepentantly fun statement watch for the ultra-wealthy basketball fan or Looney Tunes die-hard. Only 10 examples of the Kross Studio Space Jam Tourbillon will be made, available now through authorized dealers at an MSRP of $100,000. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.