The skull is the ultimate symbol of life, death, and human experience. As such, it has played a vital role in both horological history and art history. Through Fiona Krüger’s artistic approach to haute horlogerie and L’Epée’s know-how, the skull has been re-interpreted into a mechanical Vanitas painting for the 21st Century.
Quick history lesson: A Vanitas is a still-life artwork that includes various symbolic objects to remind the viewer of the transience of life. This was an important and popular genre of painting in the 1600s and included symbols like skulls and extinguished candles.
L’Epée 1839 and Krüger collaborated to create the Vanitas skull clock as a reminder to celebrate life. The charismatic cranium features a frontal escapement, with two barrel arbors as “pupils,” all designed to sculpt the mechanical skull’s face. Vanitas indicates the time by way of two hands that are centrally mounted on the nose.
A power reserve indicator is integrated into the mouth of the skull. As Vanitas loses power, it starts to yawn, warning its owner that it will go to sleep if some energy is not provided. Though with a 35-day power reserve, this monthly ritual will give you a moment to stop and take stock of the time you have.
Fiona’s fine art and design training, combined with her international upbringing, are apparent in the design of this mechanical symbol. Having spent part of her childhood in Mexico City, her vivid memories of the Dia de los Muertos festival have influenced her own skull collection and this latest collaboration with L’Epée. Vanitas is limited to 50 pieces each for the dark and colorful editions.