A start-up that focuses on design and watchmaking, Kross Studio was founded in 2020 but has already rolled out several pop culture-themed watches, including a desk clock in the form of the Batmobile from 1989’s Batman as well as a tourbillon wristwatch modelled the Death Star from Star Wars.
Timed to debut just before the premiere of the latest Batman movie, the Batman Tourbillon once again relies on the central tourbillon movement that Kross has used in its past editions, but restyles the tourbillon cage to resemble the “Bat Signal” searchlight.
As was the case with Kross’ earlier watches, the Batman Tourbillon excels in terms of design. Though the brand has launched different editions with the same case and movement, the Batman watch is unique in style and theme.
The tourbillon cage, for instance, has been transformed into a distress signal made famous by the “Caped Crusader”. And while the earlier Death Star Tourbillon was equipped with conventional hands, the Batman watch does away with traditional hands, rendering the it much more futuristic.
That said, the Batman theme gets in the way of the movement. The Bat Signal frame that sits over the tourbillon obscures an otherwise interesting, oversized central tourbillon. This compromise would be more acceptable if the cage was more figurative and decorative as on the Death Star Tourbillon – where the cage is shaped like the titular planetary laser – which would have made the dial more aesthetically pleasing.
But in typical Kross fashion, the attention to detail doesn’t stop with the watch. The box for the watch is a full-fledged “Bat Light” with an actual LED light (of 12-15W) sitting on a fully rotational base – the attention to detail is impressive, leaving it more akin to a film prop than a mere presentation box. Though it is constructed of lightweight aluminium, the box still weighs 12 kg.
Priced at US$100,000, the Batman costs far less than the Death Star Tourbillon while being slightly more expensive than the Lotus Tourbillon. Since the watches are all similar mechanically, the difference in prices must be due to the royalties due. It can be inferred that Star Wars owner Disney demands more than Warner Brothers, which owns the Batman franchise. Still, the price is reasonable for a central tourbillon, which remains an unusual set up even in high horology.
The Kross team that conceived the unique architecture includes Marco Tedeschi and Sergio Silva, both alumni of the now-defunct independent watchmaker Romain Jerome, which was famous for its unorthodox materials and irreverent style, both of which have been transplanted into Kross. One of the final watches launched by Romain Jerome before it went under was a Spider Man central tourbillon – certainly not a coincidence.
The Batman tourbillon relies on a large, slightly domed ring for the minutes. A tiny bat logo at 12 points to the current minute on the red minute scale, while a small fork just outside the minute ring reveals the hours.
While the obvious highlight of the Batman watch is the design, the movement is equally interesting. Few watches are equipped with a central tourbillon – the handful of brands that offer this complication include Omega and Haldimann – due to its complex construction.
Conventional practice is to have the regulator located on the outer edge of the movement, which makes the most sense since the central portion of the movement can be occupied by the going train and barrel. Being a form of regulator, the tourbillon is the final part of a gear train, so it has to be elevated above the plane of the movement in order to be central.
The mainspring is also located in the centre of the movement, several levels below the tourbillon. Notably, this allows the mainspring to be far larger than in an ordinary movement, resulting in a long power reserve of five days.
With the central position of the mainspring, the pull-tab crown is positioned to wind it directly from the case back. Setting of the time can also be done via the same crown, though the “TIME SET” button has to be pressed to toggle between winding and setting. The clever, hidden crown that sits in a recess on the back results in a clean, symmetrical case that is both aesthetically pleasing and functionally unique.
Key facts and price
Kross Studio Batman Tourbillon
Diameter: 45 mm
Height: 20 mm including domed crystal, 12.5 mm without
Material: Black-coated titanium
Water resistance: 30 m
Movement: KS 7’001
Functions: Hours, minutes, and central tourbillon
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 5 days
Strap: Black calfskin, black rubber, as well as red rubber with titanium clasp
Box: 3000K (warm white) LED bulb of 12-15W
Limited edition: 10 pieces
Availability: Direct from Kross Studio
For more, visit Kross-studio.ch.
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