A few months ago my ‘Independent Watchmakers’ book was reviewed in The New York Times. It was a huge honour to be included in this prestigious magazine and the journalist Melanie Abrams wrote a beautiful article. Before this, she interviewed (via Skype) for nearly two hours. As a devout professional she wanted to know every intricacy about the book and my reasons for writing it. I explained that I had created several bespoke timepieces and wanted to shine a light on these talented artisans. One of my personal favourite’s is Konstantin Chaykin and that’s why his amazing Lunokhod Prime was a natural selection for the front cover.
Within the world of horology, there are numerous brands but very few actually create their own movements. Konstantin Chaykin is part of this rare breed and he is also the president of the Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI for short). This elite organisation promotes independent watchmakers with an extraordinary skill set. Normally, their timepieces are highly limited and exceedingly exclusive. In fact, in many instances restricted to a few units or even unique 1/1 pieces. That is why it was very surprising when Konstantin unveiled an affordable production model called the Joker a few years ago.
Konstantin Chaykin’s Joker model has proved to be a real winner and has actually appreciated in price. There are now several versions available including the ‘Joker Selfie’ which has been kindly donated to the ‘Only Watch’ charity. This philanthropic cause is dedicated to research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy and was founded by Luc Pettavino. Impressively 99% of the proceeds are donated to worthy causes.
The ‘Joker Selfie’ is definitely my favourite version and it’s clear that Konstantin has invested time to produce something special. Everything about this exclusive model is unique including the complex 12-part dial with electroplating coatings and silver plating. I love the raised watchmaker’s magnifying glass indication, which pays homage to the master himself. As an artist I love self-portraits but this is the first time I have seen it done in watch form. Certainly, this is a very clever concept and aesthetically the timepiece has a bold identity.
Beneath the textured 42mm x 13.7mm, solid Bulat steel case is a refined movement from the Soviet Chistopol Watch Factory. The Caliber 2809 has been significantly modified by Konstantin Chaykin and now includes a bespoke selfie module. This incredible mechanism comprises 148 individual components and oscillates at a frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour. Functionally the ‘Joker Selfie’ features Hours, minutes, moon phase and days of the week indication. The timepiece also has an ingenious gravitational function that gives the illusion (when the watch is in the horizontal position) that the eye is closed.