The influence of a country as diverse and historically complex as South Africa is long reaching, sometimes in completely unexpected ways. One such way is the inspiration that the South African art scene has had on the work of emerging watch designer Fiona Krüger, a name leaving a mark in Swiss luxury watchmaking.

With studies in Fine Arts and Product Design, Krüger’s background is surprisingly multicultural. While most of her work has a Mexican staple all over it, having resided there for a sizable portion of her life, in truth her design process is impregnated with the cultural identities of each country she has inhabited. Among these lies South Africa, where she worked briefly as assistant gallery manager and office manager for a design start-up, both in Johannesburg. This period, taking place a little before she specialized in Product Design, somewhat influenced her work further down the line.

Wandering into watchmaking by fate, her brand launched with the Skull Collection, then named Memento Mori, heavily inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead tradition. A great commercial interest surfaced for what was originally an MA final project, and thus the Fiona Krüger brand was born with luxury design and Swiss watchmaking always at the forefront, with each edition in the line consisting of only 12 pieces. The original collection was a design challenge for Swiss watchmakers that partnered with Krüger since her approach to watch design was an aesthetic-first one.

Breaking conventions was always in the young designer’s mind, allowing her deeply diverse upbringing to influence her approach to aesthetics and watchmaking. Unconventional shapes, mechanisms and sizes ruled her work on the entire Skull Collection, creating multi-layered designs and mechanisms to give birth to each skull. Some of the aesthetic choices on the skull editions, such as colours and shapes, not only took inspiration from Mexican sugar skulls but also from South African and Brazilian motifs.

Her latest line, the Chaos Collection, features really disruptive design decisions. Inspired by the concept of entropy and time itself, as well as Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View, an art installation by British artist Cornelia Parker, the watches in this collection were designed from scratch by Krüger. Jagged lines, offset hands and a semi-skeletal design, the whole mechanism was designed by Krüger to comply with her vision of time as chaos in movement and the juxtaposition of this concept with the human obsession of measuring it precisely.Luxury watchmaking and haute horlogerie are typically closed worlds, and for the longest time have strictly adhered to canon and tradition, and few designers can pride in saying they break this mould, and Fiona Krüger is one of them. Revolutionizing the Swiss industry from its very foundation, her designs put her artistic value and aesthetic vision before the technical and mechanical requirements. Her brand consistently achieves innovation, creating unique timepieces that stand off from the crowd. For those seeking a more personal piece, Fiona Krüger accepts custom orders, designing special pieces for each customer. Krüger is the perfect designer for those who dare to break convention and beat to their own rhythm.

Photos: courtesy.

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