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Konstantin Chaykin Mouse King
The Konstantin Chaykin Mouse King is the latest addition to the brand’s ‘Wristmom’ collection. Beyond its cheerful appearance, this model employs extraordinary watchmaking expertise. It is housed in a 42mm titanium case and features a silver-dial with a multi-coloured lacquered coating, enriched with a relief guilloché pattern. Assuming the Mouse King proves as popular as other Wristmom models, demand will inevitably outstrip supply.
Konstantin Chaykin clearly has a sense of humour. His Joker watch burst on to the watch scene at Baselworld 2017. His creation sidestepped watchmaking convention, imparting the hours and minutes with revolving eyes. However, beneath the veneer of fun, there is a high-quotient of serious watchmaking know-how. Indeed, Chaykin’s talents were recognised at the GPHG (Grand Prix d’Horlogerie) in 2018, with the ‘Clown’ winning the ‘Audacity Prize’.
At the heart of the Joker is an ETA 2824-2 with a special in-house module sat atop. The model is equipped with a moon-phase display, housed within the Joker’s smiling face mouth. A crown positioned at 9 o’clock provides a simple means of correcting the moon-phase display.
To say the Joker has been a roaring success is somewhat of an understatement. Demand has surpassed supply, waiting lists are lengthy and resale values continue to rise. Today, the Joker is one of several models which belong to the ‘Wristmom’ collection.
Chaykin’s latest creation, the Konstantin Chaykin Mouse King features a Vaucher 3002 base paired with an in-house module. It is housed in a 42mm titanium case and features a silver-dial with a multi-coloured lacquered coating, enriched with a relief guilloché pattern.
The meteoric rise of this self-taught Russian watchmaker shows no signs of waning.
The brand’s press release (August 2020)
The Tale of the “Mouse King”, epilogue
In late January this year, Konstantin Chaykin announced the release of the Mouse King watch. The source of inspiration for the creation of the new “Wristmon” watch was the idea to connect the theme of the Chinese zodiac animal with the fairy tale of the Mouse King. The official presentation of the watch was originally envisaged to take place at the end of April 2020 at BaselWorld-2020, however, due to the pandemic the world’s leading watch exhibition has been cancelled. Therefore, the Russian master decided to devote more time to the new project in order to perfect all its details. According to Konstantin Chaykin, the result was worth the effort – the finished watch turned out to be more interesting and attractive than the initial prototype.
Thanks to the careful finishing of the dial, the mouse nose, decorated with a relief guilloche pattern, unexpectedly began to look as if it were really covered with fur, the linear relief worked just as well in finishing the character’s whiskers. The lugs of the case, made in the form of the mouse ears, are one of the most impressive design details. For the first time, such a technique was tested in the Unique Pig watch, released by the beginning of 2019 on the Chinese calendar, but there the character’s ears were milled on the lugs of the case of the standard shape, here the lugs of the case were shaped like the mouse ears. This detail is harmoniously combined with the dial, made in the form of the mouse face, and with another unique styling part of this watch – the crown, which, according to Konstantin Chaykin’s idea, was supposed to look like the crown of the Mouse King.
The watch term “crown”, (in French ‘couronne’ and in German ‘Krone’), had given him a long-term desire to create a watch with a crown in the 12-o’clock position. This acts as a reminder of the earlier period of the development of wristwatches, in which some watches positioned a Lépine-type movement as the crown at the top of the dial. The Mouse King watch is the first watch in the history of watchmaking when a watch has been crowned with a real royal “crown”, Konstantin Chaykin decided that the crown should be made of 18-carat gold and adorned with a genuine ruby. The royal crown appears once again in watch design – in the rotor of the automatic winding system.
The imposing character of the Mouse King watch is underlined by another extraordinary detail – a high- quality leather strap with an ermine mantle designed by Konstantin Chaykin especially for this watch.
Some more haute horlogerie
Especially for the Mouse King watch, Konstantin Chaykin modified the joker-indication module invented by him and used in the “Wristmon” collection. The changes have been adopted due to the master’s decision to crown the watch with a gold crown set at the 12 o’clock position. Therefore, the second fixed crown like all the “Wristmons” have, which was intended to install the corrector of the moon phase indicator, had to be abandoned. In the new Caliber K18-10, the moon phase indicator is adjusted using a corrector installed in the lower part of the case (at the 6 o’clock position). When designing and finishing the module, the Russian master was guided by the principles of haute horlogerie, despite the fact that the module is hidden under a non-transparent dial. Therefore, Konstantin Chaykin approaches the finishing of every detail of the module with extreme meticulousness, using classic techniques: pearl textured grinding, fine longitudinal and circular grinding, sandblasting matte finishing, manual chamfering and polishing, engraving, polishing of recesses for screws, pins and stones, spherical polishing of wheel axle tips, rhodium electroplating. There are a total of 8 jewels in the module, intended to reduce friction, the moon phase indicator is made on the base of a wheel with 59 teeth.
Finishing techniques, which are equally hard to do, are used to create the dial of the Mouse King watch – according to the master, this is an obligatory attribute of watches in haute horologerie category. Contrary to the market tradition of ordering dials from specialized suppliers, Konstantin Chaykin has organized his own dial production. Thanks to this solution, the Russian master completely controls the entire production process of creating the dial – from design concept and 3D prototyping to the manufacture of parts on CNC milling machines and the final finishing and decoration done exclusively by hand. Fine longitudinal and circular grinding, chamfering and polishing, abrasive blasting, four types of guilloche, silver and ruthenium plating are used in the finishing of dial parts. Particular attention is paid to the perfection of the lacquer coating, in particular, an unprecedented painstaking technique of multilayer lacquering is applied – from one hundred to several hundred thinnest layers of varnish are applied to every part of the dial, creating an incredibly impressive play of tones on the details of a complicated volumetric structure.
To meet the wishes of collectors who would like to see the base movement of a prestigious category in the ‘Wristmons’ model raw, Konstantin Chaykin first decided to assemble the Mouse King calibre K18-17 on the basis of the Vaucher 3002 fine automatic movement made by the Swiss factory Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier. The future owner of one of the seven pieces of the limited edition will be able to see for himself, for this, a sapphire crystal is provided in the caseback. The base calibre was also modified by Chaykin, in particular, for the Mouse King watch a rotor of the automatic winding system of a unique skeletonized design with a seven-edged crown.