|Reference||Joker Titanium, limited to 88 pieces|
|Case||Titanium, 42 mm|
|Dial||Silver and ruthenium plating, two types of guilloche|
|Crystal||Scratch resistant sapphire with anti-reflective coating|
|Waterproofness||0m / 0ft|
|Power Reserve||Approximately 38 hours|
|Functions||Regulator dial for hours and minutes, moonphase display|
|Bracelet||Black alligator leather, violet calfskin lining, green stitching. Titanium pin buckle.|
Established 10 years ago, Konstantin Chaykin has become somewhat an enfant terrible in the world of haute horology; and the release of the Joker steel (99 pieces) at Baselworld 2017, to significant critical acclaim, provided further support that his growing reputation was richly deserved.
Such was the runaway success of that watch, Chaykin (a member of the Académie Horlogère des Créatures Indépendents) was convinced to make a second, titanium, version for 2018. But this time limited to just 88 pieces.
With inspiration for the watch taken from the Joker character in the Batman comics, and specifically Jack Nicholson’s iconic portrayal of the Dark Knight’s arch enemy, this piece is nothing short of genius.
Too many watch manufacturers, whether newcomers or those from the firmly established maisons, struggle to create pieces that are genuinely novel in their approach. Chaykin and specifically his Joker however, cannot be tarnished with such a brush.
Powered by a heavily modified ETA 2824-2 movement and adjusted by the right ‘ear’, the time is told by two separate dials; the left for hours and the right for minutes. Together, they combine to represent the eyes of the Joker with incredible effect. Surprisingly legible, they are sometimes googly, other times crossed, but always engaging.
The next piece of ingenuity is that of the mouth and, more specifically, the Joker’s tongue. Operated by pressing a sunken pusher in the left ‘ear’, it can be set to accurately reflect the moon’s current phase; waxing, waning or full. This means that as the Joker lives its daily chaotic, villainous lifestyle, it will wag its tongue at you. Combining this feature with its constantly moving eyes, the Joker has an animation in its face that is really quite endearing and unlike any other watch face I have seen previously.
The colours have been combined perfectly. The metallic nature of the red and green is beautiful and the two types of guilloché, one used to define the Joker’s nose and the other around the face give a warmth and additional intrigue to the watch. There is also a pearlescence to it that does not quite come out in photographs, providing rich depth.
As you might be able to tell, I cannot praise this watch enough in many ways. However the one area it is not quite so impressive is the finishing of the titanium case. Whilst the ‘five of a kind’ Joker hand around the edge of the dial is conceptually brilliant and the two crowns set at three and nine o’clock work well to create the ears, the brushed and polished finishing as well as the way the shapes are created could, and should in my view, be sharper. One can look at this two ways; either it lends a ruggedness to the watch or it detracts slightly from its finesse. Titanium is known to be notoriously difficult to work with but I cannot help but feel that if Chaykin is to be taken seriously as a specialist in haute horology, despite this piece’s relatively modest price point, I should not be in a position to comment on something so fundamental.
First impressions would suggest this watch is, perhaps, the least versatile piece ever created. But even allowing yourself to think that would be to miss the point of the Joker entirely; it’s a conversation piece and should be worn at any opportunity. It fits well with a shirt and jacket, neatly slipping under a cuff, thanks to its sufficiently thin and slightly domed case, whilst it compliments a more relaxed outfit equally well. What one cannot do however is get the Joker anywhere near water as this would swiftly bring about an untimely demise to the comic book criminal.
So whilst the Konstantin Chaykin Joker Titanium is not perfect, it is one of the very few pieces around today that illustrates there is still real imagination in the world of horology. It has presence, personality and an ingenious take on how to tell the time. And I love it.
The Joker II Titanium is sold out at RRP. It is currently trading for around double that, at £14,000, on the secondary market.