Over time, I’ve checked out numerous watches – and over the previous ten years visited many, many cubicles at watch exhibits – however none of that fairly ready me for what I noticed after I met up with unbiased watchmaker Konstantin Chaykin on the A.H.C.I. sales space at Baselworld in 2017: a whimsical but completely thought-about timepiece he referred to as the Joker.
I had briefly met Chaykin as soon as earlier than and had lengthy admired his ingenious, and infrequently technically complicated, timepieces. These embody the Moscow Comptus Easter Clock, which shows 26 indications together with the date of Orthodox Easter, and his Cinema watch, which includes a zoopraxiscope, a tiny recreation of Eadweard Muybridge’s very first shifting image machine, which displayed a galloping horse.
The Joker was like none of those, not less than not on the floor: as a substitute, the “face” of the watch was actually simply that with two googly eyes exhibiting the hours and minutes with their respective pupils and a lolling purple tongue displaying the part of the moon.
I used to be transfixed and moments later I positioned my order.
The way it matches
In my pal Terry’s assortment taxonomy, it’s fairly straightforward to see the place this piece matches: squarely atop the divide between enjoyable (has there ever been a watch that brings extra smiles?) and patronage of the unbiased watchmakers.
For me, it’s not less than as fascinating to contemplate how this watch matches inside Chaykin’s portfolio of items and enterprise mannequin. Actually, it should have introduced some threat for him to determine to create a sequence of 99 metal watches at an inexpensive value level primarily based on an ETA ébauche, with a comic book really feel.
The end result has been to catapult Chaykin into the consciousness of a wider set of potential prospects whereas on the similar time bringing substantial revenues into the until and reinforcing, quite than diluting, his well-earned fame for considerate innovation.
Why I adore it
At the beginning, I do love this piece for its inventiveness. Much more, it’s creativity that works; as an example, I used to be a bit involved that there could be just a few positions of the “eyes” that regarded pure, however I’ve discovered that it doesn’t matter what time of day it’s the Joker’s expression appears partaking. And for anybody who has learn a regulator dial of any sort earlier than, the hours-then-minutes studying of the time quickly turns into second nature.
There’s additionally the effective stability between affordability and high quality. I feel that Chaykin has made nearly all the proper calls right here, as an example utilizing the workhorse ETA 2428-2 motion as a basis however including a customized module for the time and moon on prime that’s attractively completed with hand-applied perlage.
And let’s admit it: a “enjoyable” watch must be enjoyable and this one actually is! Whereas photographing this piece, I moved fairly shortly by means of the usual units of positions however actually began to take pleasure in myself after I began taking part in with making the Joker turn into extra of an lively observer, and even motion determine, and taking extra benefit of “his” means to make totally different enjoyable faces.
The enjoyable is backed up with a number of substance, too.
Chaykin has made good use of environment friendly strategies like laser etching on the bezel and case again to make pretty complicated shapes just like the 4 fits of playing cards and Joker emblem that interact the attention. The multi-piece dial development catches and throws gentle from all angles and has simply sufficient splashes of coloration to maintain us entertained.
I significantly like the marginally domed, sparkly surfaces of the “eyeballs.” It might have been easy sufficient to make use of flat, matte disks however as with most of the different design components of the watch, Chaykin went the additional mile.
The deeply etched time-setting crown shows Chaykin’s eagle-meets-Ok emblem. It’s situated straight throughout from different “ear” on the face, a false crown that comes with a pusher for the moon part adjustment.
And as you’ve most likely observed by now, even the strap has that little bit additional with vibrant inexperienced stitching and lurid purple backing that makes me smile every time I see it.
Talking of smiles, that’s what the sporting expertise with this watch is all about. I stored the Joker on my proper wrist all through the SIHH week after taking supply, and each time anybody noticed it they broke into a giant grin. The CEO of a significant model requested to strive it on as soon as he noticed it, and at two separate Geneva model boutiques employees members who had seen my Instagram photographs of the watch requested whether or not I had it with me!
And it’s not simply watch lovers; everybody who meets the Joker appears to like him.
Even higher, the enjoyable with the Joker doesn’t cease with the watch itself.
My private instance hadn’t been accomplished on the time of final November’s Solely Watch public sale, however Chaykin was in attendance and handed alongside my set of customized Joker cufflinks, which on their very own had been sufficient to gentle up folks’s faces the remainder of the weekend.
I’m additionally lucky to have one of many restricted variety of Joker card decks to assist whereas away these darkish winter evenings.
Did I point out that the watch comes from Russia?
As an American who has been bombarded just about nonstop over the previous yr with anti-Russian claims and reviews, I’m happy to do my bit to remind people that the folks of Russia and America probably have rather more in frequent than we now have variations; that the Russian traditions of arts and crafts are extremely wealthy; and that among the best methods to keep away from the tendency to demonize folks from one other tradition is to satisfy them and study them.
If my new pal the Joker helps remind us of that, all the higher!
Inside the scope of what it’s supposed to be, I feel the Joker performs virtually completely. I do should say that on supply my explicit piece didn’t appear completely pristine, however after a number of days of wear and tear it was going to look that manner anyway so I’m not too bothered.
I’m additionally not too fussed by Chaykin’s bulletins of a second sequence of Jokers in titanium and a sequence of “Clown” watches with an analogous design to the Joker; Konstantin has held to his promise of constructing solely 99 items in metal, and if he can make the most of the robust demand for these watches by making different variants, I’m solely too joyful to see it.
Principally, I’m a contented boy!
However, is it best for you?
You might want to leap on the bandwagon for the titanium Joker or preserve your eye out for a pre-owned metal model if:
- The Joker’s mixture of a humorousness and strong horology attraction to you.
- You’re in search of a painless and enjoyable entry to the world of unbiased watchmakers.
- You want seeing different folks smile while you share your passion.
- Like me, the suggestion of staging a “Joker vs. Batman” battle along with your Rolex GMT-Grasp II Batman BLNR sends you operating to the sunshine tent.
However, this watch is clearly not for everybody! Indicators it’s best to cross embody:
- Your tastes run to the standard and you’d preserve passing over the Joker while you noticed it in your watch field or protected.
- Your funds at this value level is best spent on an on a regular basis wearer.
- The entire Joker idea merely doesn’t make sense to you as a watch design.
I’d love to listen to your ideas on the Joker – and on the Joker-Batman battle – within the feedback beneath!
For extra info, please go to www.chaykin.ru/manufacture/konstantin-chaykin.
Fast Details Konstantin Chaykin Joker
Case: 42 x 13.7 mm, chrome steel, 36 components; sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
Dial: silver and ruthenium plating, two kinds of guilloche stamping; 9 components
Motion: automated Caliber K07-0, primarily based on ETA 2824-2 with module by Konstantin Chaykin manufacture; 4Hz frequency, 38-hour energy reserve
Capabilities: regulator hours and minutes; moon part show
Limitation: 99 items in metal (offered out)
Manufacturing years: 2017-2018
* This text was first printed February 1, 2018 at Why I Purchased It: Konstantin Chaykin Joker.
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