A few days ago I was delighted to receive an advance copy of my ‘Independent Watchmaker’ book. The publisher (ACC Publishing) has really excelled themselves as the final product is exceptional. To publicise the release, I did a two-hour interview for the New York Times, explaining the overall concept. The journalist was very thorough and enquired about my choice of selections. She was intrigued by the image of on the front cover, which is the amazing Lunokhod Prime by Konstantin Chaykin.

Originally came up with the ‘Independent Watchmakers’ book idea in conjunction with designing my own watches. It fascinated me how passionate these atelier’s, are about their craft, which isn’t entirely motivated by money. Obviously, these craftsmen (women) need to make a living but most of the budget is spent on materials rather than marketing. A great example is Konstantin Chaykin and that’s why his Lunokhod Prime seemed a natural choice for the book cover. Recently Konstantin has unveiled a very exciting new prototype called the Mars Conqueror MkI.

The most exciting thing about independent watchmakers like Konstantin Chaykin is their creative autonomy. Unlike corporate brands, they can effectively design what they want. The only real limitations are their own skills will normally exceed most people’s expectations. Certainly, this is the case with the Mars Conqueror MkI, which was unveiled on the International Day of Human Space Flight. This historic date (April 12th 1961) commemorates Yuri Gagarin first unmanned flight on the Vostok-1 spacecraft.

Dimensionally the Mars Conqueror MkI exudes colossal proportions and measures 60mm х 48.5mm x 15mm (including the lugs. Despite the size, I suspect the watch would be pretty comfortable to wear because the case is constructed from Grade 5 titanium. In fact, the case is incredibly refined and is composed of 74 individual components. This intricate detailing really sets this timepiece apart from many of the other generic models on the market. It also illustrates what makes an independent watchmaker like Konstantin Chaykin so remarkable.

Aesthetically the Mars Conqueror MkI has a really cool architectural façade which has been very carefully considered. I love the three sapphire crystals displaying earth time, average solar time on Mars, and of additional space and astronomical functions. Even though this timepiece is only a prototype I can see it appealing to discerning collectors. Futuristic space themed watches are really bang on trend and this is up there with the best of the best. Powering the watch is a highly complicated mechanism comprising 175 individual components. The Calibre K20-1 uses a Swiss made ETA 2836-2 as the base platform for this timepiece. However, Konstantin Chaykin has used his magic to transform this off the movement into something special.

As a final touch, the Mars Conqueror MkI has a custom made leather strap with spacesuit fabric inserts and a complimentary titanium buckle.

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