Pacesetting Time: The Kriëger Watch Corporation
His office is on the third floor; his whole office is encased in glass. “I can see what’s going on and people can see how hard I am working – that’s one of the reasons why I did that.” President and marketing guru Lance Burstyn of the Kriëger Watch Corporation heads to the new boutique-style headquarters of Kriëger everyday and is surrounded by royal blue grass wallpaper and special dark wood that cocoons him in refuge as he sketches and plans and strategizes. Maps of the world plaster the back wall and beyond his desk and through naked windows the streets of Miami clamour as its ocean oscillates and Burstyn’s Power Reserve watch of rose gold and straps of blue shimmers in the reflecting sunshine. It’s in the midst of South Beach’s heat and rising waves that the story of Kriëger begins; born from the pioneering spirit of Burstyn’s step-father, Ira Krieger. On a beautiful day in 1985, Krieger and family board his newly purchased boat and set out to enjoy an oceanside dinner. But as he attempts to return to the marina, an unforeseen rising tide prevents him from steering his boat under a bridge. That’s an inconvenience, thinks Krieger. From then on, the business lawyer and self-declared boat amateur makes a point to pay attention to timetables that report the day’s high and low tides. He even places tide clocks in his home and office. Eventually, he longs for a watch that can tell tides. “I thought that like everything else in the world, it had been invented.”
But no tidal watch exists on the market, so Krieger doodles his dream watch with his children’s crayons, embarks on a patent search and takes to Switzerland. The manufacturer applauds his ingenuity and in 1988, the first Swiss-certified Kriëger Tidal Chronometer launches for serious sports enthusiasts. “I just wanted a watch for myself, I had no intentions of getting into the business,” says the chairman and CEO of the company that bears his name, but with an accent on the “e” for a touch of European distinction.
Today, the billion-dollar boating industry and Kriëger’s fashionable, tech-savvy innovations stay afloat in seven impressive categories: Chronograph, Power Reserve, Elite and Gigantium, Tidal Wave Chronoscope, Sea Stallion, Mysterium and Lunar Chronoscope.
“Our product is all about now and today. We dare to be different, and we stay focused on our brand and not try to be everything to everybody,” says Burstyn. But from sport aficionados to celebrities, the luxury brand stylishly ticks away on the wrists of those searching for a unique, certified product that has significantly lifted innovation standards and popularized certification methods in the luxury watch industry. Burstyn: “We watch what we’re doing.”
And in his office or in his backyard and on a boat across the world, Krieger continues to sketch and stretch his visions, which are available not just in Miami but in New York, Dubai, Hong Kong and Switzerland boutiques. “I rarely even look at watch magazines, because I don’t want to be influenced by another company’s ideas,” he reveals. “I want to slip into my own imagination.”