It takes a real genius to craft exceptional pieces, and we are in conversation with one such successful millennial – Marco Tedeschi - who shares his journey of reinventing the rules in Swiss watchmaking. A journey that began with curiosity, followed by passion, innovation and, vision, Mr. Tedeschi’s Kross Studio redefines the dimensions of a luxury watch
By: Tripti Jangpangi
Posted on: June 4, 2021
Marco Tedeschi invented a new horologe movement, while still studying in engineering school in Geneva, which he patented in 2006. This movement allowed watches to have a long lasting power reserve with a single barrel. Years later, Mr. Tedeschi employed this patent to make it the fundamental design principle of Kross Studio, which was unveiled in 2020 with the brand’s first product - the Batmobile Clock. This phenomenal clock was followed by their second timepiece, in collaboration with LucasFilms - the Death Star Ultimate Collector Set.
"We are a company driven by ideas and concepts just like an art studio, we have a diverse team, that can build exceptional things beyond watches."
Mr. Tedeschi is undoubtedly a reflection of Swiss finesses and humility, despite having an exceptional career in Haute Horlogerie. Dressed in a simple pullover, with a warm smile, Mr. Tedeschi vividly recounts how he got involved into the fascinating world of watchmaking over a virtual call.
His father had a watch and jewellery boutique in Geneva, and on Saturdays, approximately at the age of 8, his father started taking him to the boutique, where he would spend the whole day. To keep him occupied, his father would ask young Marco to wind watches. The sight of bringing dead watches to life fascinated him so much that, at that very moment, he decided that he wanted to be in watchmaking for eternity. His father later introduced him to Mr. Frank Muller, who became a great friend and a mentor, teaching him about watch design and aesthetics. He went to École Technique de la Vallée de Joux to study technical designs, and then to expand know-how, he went to engineering school to study materials.
He further reminisces, “In 2006, in my second year out of the three years of engineering, I went to Jean-Claude Biver’s office to show the central tourbillon movement that I invented, and he offered me a job, but I declined as I wished to finish my engineering school, Eventually, I was hired by Hublot in March 2007. I started working before graduating from my school. I moved from product design to commercial in my stint in Hublot, I learnt all the functions which enabled me to create a brand in future. Then I moved to Romain Jerome as CEO of the company, and when they closed the company, I decided to create my own brand. I was inspired by different projects in collaboration with pop culture while working for Romaine Jerome watches. I gathered a strong team from Romaine Jerome Watches, and this is how Kross Studio was born.”
The Dream Team with a Vision
Kross Studio was launched by Marco Tedeschi, along with four partners: Stéphanie Tedeschi who is the Chief Marketing Officer with more than 13 years of specialising in marketing; Julien Bouchard is the Chief Financial Officer and the ex-CFO of Romain Jerome watches; Sergio Silva, who is the master watchmaker, a genius who started his career in Vacheron Constantin, followed by 11 years in Roger Dubuis, eventually becoming responsible for the entire manufacturing unit of Romain Jerome; and finally Fabio Alex Rodrigues, the Chief Commercial Officer, who started with Audemars Piguet Sales division, followed by strong sales experience as Sales Director for Hublot in Latin America.
The Batmobile Clock by Kross Studio
When inquired about the vision for Kross Studio, Mr. Tedeschi explained, “Kross Studio is not a watch manufacturing company, it is a studio. We just released a container, in future we are planning to launch different products, the idea is to apply the Swiss watchmaking craftsmanship to other categories. We want to create innovative products with top hand finishing. We are a company driven by ideas and concepts just like an art studio, we have a diverse team, that can build exceptional things beyond watches. We are a team of spirited people who can engineer and create objects of art. We want to create timeless pieces with the craftsmanship of Swiss watchmaking at the core of each timepiece.”
Sustainability and ecological responsibility are also some of the strong pillars behind this young-at-heart brand.
Mr. Tedeschi has always been inspired by pop culture and entertainment, which drove him to lead Romaine Jerome back then and pushed him to create Kross studio now. There are already more than 20 big watchmakers inspired by sports, therefore he wanted to create something inspired by the entertainment industry. Kross Studio, literally, converts fans of movies and comics to start appreciating the high-end Swiss mechanical watchmaking industry.
This thought process is integrated into the simple yet innovative logo of Kross Studio as well. The cross stands for collaboration of Swiss watchmaking craftsmanship with different universes. The studio has collaboration with Disney and Warner Bros, and in future, will be collaborating with other production houses, and with other fields.
Sustainability and ecological responsibility are also some of the strong pillars behind this young-at-heart brand. “It is very important for our company to provide products that are sustainable. I always keep it in mind before creating something that we must leave the planet for the next generation. We have enough knowledge to be sustainable, therefore, there is no reason for creating anything less than ecologically-responsible products. I hope the regulations will become even more stricter in future. Kross Studio for me is our third child, therefore, for me, it is very important to build a socially responsible company.”
The Death Star Tourbillon by Kross Studio
As an example, the brand’s latest Death Star Tourbillon uses a 100% bio-compatible material for the movement. “There is no lead in it,” he explains. “We always choose higher-end and more complex materials, even if they are more expensive and more difficult to machine. We put a lot of attention in creating watches which have zero toxicity in it.”
The Death Star Universe
Star Wars fans would remember the fearful Death Star, which could destroy whole planets with a single blast! Kross Studio’s watch architecture provided the perfect platform to install a skeletonised Death Star within the machine, just the way it was visualised in the Star Wars movies. When proposed to the production house, Lucasfilms suggested integrating the Khyber crystal to complete the design marvel. This led to the inception of creating objects-of-art around the watch, hence Kross Studio decided to create an intricate container for the Khyber crystal.
When we enquired about the most challenging aspect of their second time piece, Mr. Tedeschi replied, “The container design in Rogue One is as complicated as the watch architecture. It is a machine with 700 moving parts. We reached out to the leading experts in different mechanical fields, such as woodworkers, to make it a reality. We launched the product on March 25 and have received exciting responses from our clients and the media both, which makes me super happy.”
Speaking about the collaboration, he further added, “The team re-engineered the tourbillon movements to accommodate the dome of the Death Star collection. The collaboration with LucasFilms was with the movement itself. Even the wheels of the watch have the galactic empire logo, while the hands of the watch are inspired by the star destroyers. We wanted every tiny detail in the watch to be inspired by the Star Wars saga.”
"Even the wheels of the watch have the galactic empire logo, while the hands of the watch are inspired by the star destroyers. We wanted every tiny detail in the watch to be inspired by the Star Wars saga."
Why Death Star? “The Star Wars saga begins with the Death Star, a very original concept in the cinematic universe, and we chose Rogue One for inspiration because it is this movie that explained the intricacies and construction of the Death Star. Our time piece is both inspired by the first Star Wars movie, which is episode IV, and Rogue One - the prequel to the Death Star,” said Mr. Tedeschi.
The Death Star ultimate collector set is limited to only 10 pieces, but the Kross Studio is planning to launch more products in coming months in different categories. The vision is to offer a diverse range of products with top-end craftsmanship and materials, with different price ranges, within 2 years.
According to Mr. Tedeschi, consumer habits have changed because of the Pandemic across all domains. Luxury consumers have also adopted digital channels, as they had to change consumptions habits across different areas of life. Being a company born in the middle of crisis, Kross Studio did not have to go through a transformation phase, it was already compliant to the needs created by this unfortunate pandemic.
It is impressive that the Studio has sold exclusive watches directly to customers and to the watch retailers who approached Kross Studio directly. Their online store launched the Batmobile, and to everyone’s surprise, there were buyers who bought these niche luxury timepieces online without hesitation. And this, according to the founder, is the beauty of digitalisation. He sees a lot of potential in Blockchain in the watchmaking industry, especially in the domain of certification, warranty and authentication.
The Batmobile Clock by Kross Studio
Things are changing, and in the future, the whole distribution will change due to digital transformation. We can already see the rise of alternative channels, and Kross Studios sees itself in those alternative channels in future. Kross Studio also creates personalised watches made exclusively for its clients.
Commitment to Excellence
When asked about one advice he would like to tell young professionals in watchmaking industry, he replied, “The art of watchmaking has been alive for centuries. We don’t sell time, we sell experience, we sell a product, a know-how, the beauty of the project. The most important element for anyone who works and would like to work in this niche yet diverse watchmaking industry is that you have to be inspired by what you are doing. Passion is the only way to succeed. All the successful brands such as MB&F and others, they all began with passion for what they were doing. They were all with big brands and then they decided to launch their own brand. And this fundamentally applies to Kross Studio as well. We wanted to create our own niche brand with own concepts, we want do things that have not been done anywhere else. Hence passion is the key.”
“For me, building watches is like building a space station; watches are in fact a mini space station in itself.”
At Kross Studio, a lot of attention is given to be educated about highest quality standards and regulation, which often differs from one country to another. The goal is to always look for the highest standards in the markets, and then explore ways to do it better than that. Kross Studio always pushes itself to achieve it.
As Mr. Tedeschi expresses it just right, “For me, building watches is like building a space station; watches are in fact a mini space station in itself.”
Precision. Passion. Origination. These are the principles which Mr. Tedeschi’s new brand swears by.