Biker Time Bandits.
Custom motorcycle builder Austin Weiss raises a fully tattooed forearm to exhibit his diamond-studded Kriëger Skeleton wristwatch. Just behind him, in his Stuart, Fla. shop, the electric blue frame of the custom motorcycle he is building for the 20th anniversary of Switzerland’s Kriëger Watch Company is taking shape. Like the watchmakers who made the timepiece he sports, the 24-year-old Weiss-anointed Youngest Master Builder by the Pharisees of the custom motorcycle media-has the obsessed expression of someone immersed in a task for which ordinary mortals need not apply.
His phone is constantly ringing. One of his clients, lead singer for one of the world’s leading hip-hop groups, is calling to ask about shipping the trike Austin has built to the location of a movie the singer is shooting in Australia. A 10-foot chopper crafted for a Hollywood star is off to an exhibit at the prestigious Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in Ohio. Weiss’ vision extends beyond his Streamline Customs motorcycle company. "My dream is to build motorcycles powered by alternative fuels, such as bio-diesel," he adds with an authoritative ease befitting his background in computer technology, being one of the youngest ever Microsoft-certified software engineers.
Embedded in the frame of the motorcycle, as well as perched on curved struts atop the gas tank, the faces of Kriëger watches are embedded, like precious stones in the tiara of Catherine the Great. Weiss evoking the spirit of his Russian ancestors? He smiles at the comparison to the artisans who surpassed themselves in the service of the Tsars, and draws our attention to the 124 cu in S&S V-twin that gives his blue meanie its street cred.
"Kriëger wanted a comfortable ride with a retro look. I kept the mechanicals straightforward," he explains. "It’s a rigid with a springer front end, 6-speed tranny, wire wheels, rear brake only, and little touches like a mountain bike shock under the seat."
"Austin originally approached us because he was fascinated by the mechanical look of our watches, and wanted to acquire one.We’re an events-driven company, given our association with exceptional and famous individuals-and the exclusive nature of our products-and we constantly look outside the box for ways to connect with our audience," Kriëger USA President Lance Burstyn says, explaining the relationship. "Having Austin build this bike is a reflection of our creativity and brand personality." "The gas cap is a white Mother of Pearl chronograph dial with blue Mother of Pearl sub-dials," Burstyn says, pointing out some of the details.
"The tips of the handle bars feature our unique royal oversized crowns with a blue sapphire tip, and the footpegs also have crowns on the ends. Dials from our most popular models are embedded all over the bike. The dial used for the oil tank cap is enamel blue with silver sub-dials, and there are watch straps integrated into the body work. The paint scheme uses the Arabic numerals in the pattern of our dials into the decoration on the top of the gas tank."
For the connoisseur of fine timepieces who is equally passionate about motorcycles, the one-off Kriëger custom is an appropriate complement to the limited edition Skeleton Gigantium wristwatch. This Ultimate Gift Guide package prices them together at $80,000.With its PVD case, hand carved and engraved grey Rhodium movement, ruby-eyed skull on its face, alligator strap, and attitude to match its chronographic virtuosity, the watch speaks irreverence. But then, motorcycling is all about stealing time. Kriëger Watch Corp.
Photos by Don Rogers
ULTIMATE MOTORCYCLING DECEMBER 2008 / JANUARY 2009