Flowers of Evil – Skull Watches That Keep You On Time… Until It’s Your Time!

calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Xavier Markl | ic_query_builder_black_24px 7 minute read

A Carcass” (a must-read; here) is without doubt Charles Baudelaire’s most infamous poem, exploring the idea that beauty can be found in even the most morbid scenes. Like Baudelaire’s “Flowers of Evil“, skull watches attempt to extract beauty from horror. These magnificent mechanical works of art emblazoned with the face of death are at once both shocking and engaging. They also serve an important purpose, an allusion to which we can find in one of the last stanzas of the poem:

– And yet you will be like this corruption – Like this horrible infection

Memento Mori – remember that you must die. This familiar Latin expression, which traces its origins back to Ancient Rome, is intended to remind man of his mortality lest he should get too caught up in the trivial matters of this finite world. Memento Mori art is a popular extension of this concept which centers around symbols of mortality: clocks, skulls, hourglasses or candles.

Although this started as a Roman tradition, the skull is a symbol deeply ingrained in numerous cultures, religions and of course in the history of watchmaking. Skull watches remind us of the changing nature of beauty, of the fragility of human life. Paraphrasing Baudelaire again, “The Clock” (another must-read, here) is a sinister, impassive god, a reminder that our time on earth gets shorter with every passing second. Time devours human lives and we should live life to the full.

Today, the macabre symbol has become something of a fashion statement and, for better or worse, skull watches are once again gaining favor. Monochrome-watches takes a close look at a few watches that will keep you on time… until it’s your time…

HYT Skull Axl Rose

It should be no surprise that Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction horological expression is a skull watch. A custom model created under the direction of Axl Rose, this limited edition of the HYT skull was given a Damascus steel treatment with blue PVD coating framed by rhodium plated Clous de Paris.

Time is liquid with HYT and the black blood pumping in the veins of the Skull Axl Rose is pure rock and roll. This special edition uses the brand’s trademark bellows powered by a mechanical movement to propel fluid into a capillary to portray time in a linear fashion. The capillary contains two liquids separated by a meniscus; the first is black and moves from left to right to indicate the time. The second is translucent and works in opposition to the colored liquid. When the black liquid gets to 6 pm, it switches to retrograde mode, slowly flowing back to its original position. If you’re brave enough to look death in the eye, you’ll discover a barely visible seconds dial on the left which rotates continuously, whilst the right eye houses a power reserve. The Guns’n’Roses logo is transferred on the sapphire case back.

Technical specifications – HYT Skull Axl Rose

  • Case: 51 x 17.9 mm – DLC titanium micro-blasted finishes – sapphire crystal on with antireflective coating, sapphire case back with GUNS’N’ROSES logo – 50m water resistant
  • Movement: mechanical with manual winding – 65h power reserve – 28’800 vibrations/h – black fluidic retrograde hours and seconds and power reserve indicator shown in the skull’s eye
  • Strap: black leather with adjustable cuff with pin buckle
  • Limited edition of 25 pieces
  • Price: 100,000 USD

HYT Skull bad boy Harrods Limited edition

HYT shines light upon darkness with another version of their Skull featuring Arabic script numerals, the Skull Bad Boy Harrods. This limited edition was created specifically for London’s iconic luxury store. The watch is indeed striking, blending black parts (in particular a “diabolically” rigid 3DTP Carbon case) with metal (Damascus steel skull, bellows and rhodium-plated Clous de Paris).

Technical specifications – HYT Skull bad boy Harrods Limited edition

  • Case: 51 x 17.9 mm 3DTP carbon case – sapphire crystal on with antireflective coating, sapphire case back– 50m water resistant
  • Movement: mechanical with manual winding – 65h power reserve – 28’800 vibrations/h – black fluidic retrograde hours and seconds and power reserve indicator shown in the skull’s eye
  • Strap: buffed slate grey alligator
  • Limited edition of 2 pieces for Harrods (sold out)
  • Price: £75,000

Fiona Kruger Petit Skull Black

Fiona Kruger is a young Scottish designer/independent watchmaker. As you can probably guess the Memento Mori theme has been a major source of inspiration, the Petit Skull being Fiona’s fourth series from her hallmark skull collection.

Released in 2016, it features a sophisticated 9-piece dial with top-notch guillochage comprised of different motifs. These are manufactured by Comblemine, Kari Voutilainen’s dial manufacturing atelier. The mouth is detailed with a metal inlay with perlage. Cut-outs for the eyes and nose reveal parts of the skeletonized mechanical movement. The skull-shaped case is smaller than previous editions (these first Skull designs are perfectly wearable but larger in size) and now features its crown smartly positioned at 12 o’clock.

Technical specifications – Fiona Kruger Petit Skull Black

  • Case: 48 x 35.5 x 9.8 mm steel case – sapphire crystal and sapphire case back– 30m water resistant
  • Movement: ‘skeletonized’ mechanical with automatic winding (personalized Soprod A10) – 42h power reserve – 28’800 vibrations/h – hours and minutes – mainspring and balance wheel visible in the skull’s eyes
  • Strap: hand-stitched leather strap with pin buckle
  • Limited edition of 18 pieces (also available in silver and blue in 18 pieces each)
  • Price: 13,000 CHF

RJ-Romain Jerome Skylab Speed Metal 48 Skull SLN

The RJ-Romain Jerome Skylab Speed Metal 48 Skull SLN has a very technical feel and characterized by straight vertical and horizontal bridges. The symmetric positioning of the barrel at 12 o’clock and the balance wheel at 6 o’clock is indeed eye-catching. The movement is enhanced with a skull-shaped applique with luminescent material glowing in the dark and creating a nice contrast with the movement and case… Death never sleeps as they say.

The Skeleton movement RJ004-M is framed by a bi-color (steel/Black PVD) case, 48mm in diameter.

Technical specifications – RJ-Romain Jerome Skylab Speed Metal 48 Skull SLN

  • Case: 48 x 14.3 mm steel-PVD case – sapphire crystal and sapphire case back – 30m water resistant.
  • Movement: RJ004-M (made with La Joux-Perret) with manual winding – 48h power reserve – 28’800 vibrations/h – hours and minutes
  • Strap: black alligator with steel folding buckle
  • Price: 18,950 CHF
  • Limited edition of 25 pieces (several variants available)

Perrelet Turbine Toxic

Part of Perrelet’s signature series of Turbine watches, the ‘Toxic’ edition bears the image of a skull and crossbones on its dial. Set with diamonds, it is visible when the 12 aluminum blade turbine is rotating above the dial. Revealed through this cool and hypnotic spinning wheel, the skull is indeed striking and reminds you to seize the day while avoiding toxic thoughts.

The Perrelet Turbine Toxic is powered by an automatic movement housed in a generous 48mm steel-PVD case. It is worn on a soft black rubber strap.

Technical specifications – Perrelet Turbine Toxic

  • Case: 48 x 14.3 mm steel-PVD case – sapphire crystal and sapphire case back – 50m water resistant – 12 blades black turbine revealing a skull set with 210 diamonds.
  • Movement: P-331 (base Soprod A10) with automatic winding – 42h power reserve – 28’800 vibrations/h – hours, minutes and seconds
  • Strap: rubber strap with pin buckle
  • Price: 8,100 CHF

Corum Bubble Skull Tourbillon

With its distinctive, massive domed ‘bubble’ sapphire crystal, the Bubble is without doubt one of Corum’s most iconic timepieces. Created in 2000 by the late Severin Wunderman, it was reintroduced a few months ago. Its distinctive design lends itself marvelously to every kind of fantasy.

The brand has released numerous ‘skull’ Bubbles, and its latest creation is a magnificent unique piece crafted in pink gold and housing a superb micro-rotor movement regulated by a tourbillon.

Technical specifications – Corum Bubble Skull Tourbillon

  • Case: 47 x 18.55 mm pink gold case – sapphire crystal on with antireflective coating, sapphire case back – 30m water resistant
  • Movement: mechanical with automatic winding (micro-rotor) – 72h power reserve – 21’600 vibrations/h – hours and minutes, one minute flying tourbillon
  • Strap: rubber strap with pin buckle
  • Unique piece
  • Price: 103,000 CHF

Hublot Classic Fusion Skull Tourbillon

The Hublot Classic Fusion Skull Tourbillon is quite literally (and not simply in the horological sense) a skeleton movement. Its skull tourbillon at 6 o’clock is complemented by bone-shaped bridges and plate. These are laser transformed to create a relief. Unusually for the brand, the watch features Roman numerals.

Always keen on innovative materials, Hublot has used a super-light ceramic-coated aluminum case with micro-blasted finish. This gives the case a distressed look and ensures each piece has a unique finish while being super scratch-resistant. The watch is indeed far from conventional and looks insanely cool!

Technical specifications – Hublot Classic Fusion Skull Tourbillon

  • Case: 45 mm micro-blasted ceramic-coated aluminum case – sapphire crystal on with antireflective coating, sapphire case back – 30m water resistant
  • Movement: HUB 6014 mechanical with manual winding – 120h power reserve – 21’600 vibrations/h – hours and minutes, one minute flying tourbillon
  • Strap: rubber strap alligator with folding buckle
  • Limited edition of 50 pieces
  • Price: 100,000 CHF

1 response

  1. I still don’t get it. What is the obsession with skulls? Sorry, but I would never have one in my collection even if it were given to me.

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