Konstantin Chaykin Cinema
From Russia with love
The brand Konstantin Chaykin delivers a new approach to crafting high-end timepieces with its innovative model, the Cinema.
I was born in 1967 and brought up in an era when the world seemed to be divided into two halves. One embraced capitalism, with resources held predominantly by individuals. Whereas, behind the so-called “Iron curtain”, an alternative political belief system saw resources held in the hands of the state.
I am not a political soul and I do not intend to change now. The reason for my mentioning the Soviet era was because as a child I knew little of the world which worked under a flag featuring the hammer and sickle. It seemed intriguing and I recall my interest being piqued by the James Bond films of my youth.
The fact is that with the changed political climate of Russia, we are increasingly gaining an insight into a fascinating culture that is different from our own. Not necessarily better or worse, but different nevertheless.
Recently, at Baselworld 2013, I found myself spending much time in the Palace exhibition area, where many of the independent brands showed their latest creations. I adore these brands because they bring a fresh perspective to haute horology and bestow an abundance of blue-sky thinking. This year, one watch which beguiled me with its charms was Russian.
The brand Konstantin Chaykin delivers a new approach to crafting high-end timepieces. Again, not better, nor worse than many of the established luxury watch brands, but most definitely different.
The Cinema, a rectangular shaped watch, resembles a camera or projector in appearance. Towards the northern aspect of the dial, hours and minutes are imparted with conventional open-worked hands in conjunction with two circlets presented in concentric form, one showing the hours and one displaying the minutes.
At the southerly aspect of the dial is a lens like aperture, revealing an image of a horse. Pressing the lever on the left hand side of the case causes the black stallion to gallop like a championship winning horse.
The animation is created with still images of a horse, presented on a disc, being shown in rapid sequence similar to the zoopraxiscope invented by Eadweard Muybridge, whose name is referenced on the dial. Each image is shown for 0.07 seconds and in combination with 11 other images of the horse, creates the illusion of movement.
The rest of the dial is presented in a black lacquered guilloché motif.
Reversing the watch, I was left dumbstruck by the spellbinding beauty of the movement presented. It is to my shame, that my preconceived ideas of Russian manufactured goods seemed skewed by the old-fashioned looking cars from the Soviet Union I remember as a child. They appeared to be blighted with utilitarian and perfunctory styling.
The finissage of the Konstantin Chaykin Cinema is exemplary and would shame many so-called high-end Swiss watches. The bridges are adorned with a motif similar in style to Côtes de Genéve or, as I suggested to Mr Chaykin when we met, “St. Petersburg stripes”.
Bevelling is expertly executed and gold chatons act as further testament to the quality of the finishing.
The in-house movement, Kalibre KCM 01-0 is fitted with twin barrels, one serving the hours and minutes display and a second providing the power for the animation sequence. The barrels are wound with the same crown, clockwise to wind the watch and counter-clockwise to power the animation. The attention to detail is meritorious.
An alternative approach
I was left aghast by my meeting with the modest Konstantin Chaykin. He is self-taught and has sourced high quality materials to bring this watch to fruition. The resultant timepiece is most virtuous and bodes well for the future.
In a world where many of us in the West have shared experiences of school and popular culture, we have much in common. We have followed conventions and norms to create our collective ideas of what is considered desirable. Indeed, by studying together it could be argued that there has been a convergence of ideas, resulting in accepted outcomes practised by the majority of companies.
It is therefore ironic that in a land that was once perceived by many in the West as restricting free-thought, some ingenious ideas have coalesced into this fine expression of haute horology. I look forward to seeing the next episode in this expression of Muscovite based free thinking and experience more Russian love expressed in ticking form.
- Model: Konstantin Chaykin Cinema
- Case: Stainless steel; dimensions 32 mm x 42.50 mm; height 7.5 mm; sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; animation.
- Movement: Calibre KCM 01-0, hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3Hz); 31 jewels; power reserve 48 hours for watch / 20 seconds for animation.
- Strap: Black Alligator leather