Watch Fantastic
Brian Cheong 
The watch features one of Kuster’s favourite patterns, the camouflage

Antonio Terranova, founder and chief designer of Cvstos, is focused on producing watches that are cutting-edge, “different from others”, as he would put it.

His recent collaboration with Eric Kuster, the Dutch designer whose flair for balancing the classical and the contemporary has won him many accolades, reflects that philosophy with a tonneau-shaped case dressed up in military green and a rubber strap in camouflage. The watch evokes strength and power, with a unique aesthetic.

The case is crafted of titanium and ergal (a type of aluminium alloy) with an open caseback that reveals an automatic chronograph calibre. The luminescent hands are pierced, the indexes are treated with orange Superluminova and the dial is composed of several layers adorned with the exclusive Cvstos Technology decoration. The name Eric Kuster appears on the bezel below ‘6’. It comes in two sizes, 53.70mm x 41mm and 59mm x 45mm, each limited to 14 pieces.

In Kuala Lumpur recently to launch the Challenge Chrono II Eric Kuster, which is available exclusively at Sincere Fine Watches, Terranova shares more about the creative process behind the watch


How did you meet Kuster?

I received a call from Holland last year telling me to come to a luxury fair to meet Kuster. The caller said that I would appreciate his design philosophy. So I hopped on a plane and we met. We immediately hit it off and I could see the respect and passion that he had for his craft and the consumers. After only a few minutes, we decided to work together on a watch.


Terranova prefers designs that are functional

I flew back to Switzerland and we chatted some more over the phone. Eventually I made five proposal and sent them to him, expecting him to choose only one. He ended up liking all of them! Then I asked him to make any changes that he wanted – except for the colours, he didn’t change anything.


I’m a bit cold at the start of the collaboration not because I’m insecure but because I don’t want to make mistakes. I don’t want any risk of producing something bad, hence I’m very focused on making a successful product. Eric shares the same philosophy.

What do you enjoy most about the collaboration?

Design is part of my personality, and Eric expresses himself the same way, only through fabrics, furniture and lamps. But having a nice design is not enough; there must be more to the products than design. There must be a purpose to the design. It has to be functional. At the same time, the stories behind the design are what I thrive on.

Eric has a love for fabrics, dimensions and space; he thinks of how he can make the space nicer and functional. For me, this is interesting. For instance, the use of the camouflage pattern. I asked him why and he told me that years ago he stumbled upon an old military jacket that has a unique patina, and he immediately fell in love with it. He took the fabric from an army tent and started making chairs with them.


How do you approach your design?

I’m Italian and for me, the Italian culture is not to be a follower. We each have our own style and we stay true to that style. I like getting my shirts tailored as it not only reflects my style but also fits me better. We don’t buy things for status symbol, we buy because we know they are good products and they suit our individual style.

My customers are not followers either. I’d call them outsiders who buy the watch because they know what they want and they love the DNA of the brand. They want something personal that reflects their personality. Luxury is about being true to your own style.


What do you usually look for in a partnership?

It’s all about the experience. It’s the exchange of ideas, finding out more about your collaborators and their essence. The design may be nice but it’s usually not what seals the deal for me. I’m more interested in the people behind the design. It’s this kind of experience that gives me and my company the opportunity to grow. 

This article first appeared in Focus Malaysia Issue 258.