Monochrome Watches
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Konstantin Chaykin Minotaur Special Chinese New Year 2021

The “Joker” watch by Russian independent watchmaker Konstantin Chaykin goes full beast mode.

| By Robin Nooy | 4 min read |

Trust the free-thinking, independent Russian watchmaker Konstantin Chaykin to create a watch dedicated to the Minotaur, the half-man half-bull creature from ancient Greek mythology. While the Minotaur might be the most well-known reference to the mythological beast, the bull is actually used in folklore and mythology the world over. Often a symbol of power, strength and fertility, the bull was frequently used in sacred rituals and sacrifices. It is also the Chinese zodiac sign for 2021, the year of the bull. Coinciding with the current Chinese 12-year cycle, Konstantin Chaykin introduces a special 8-piece limited edition: the Minotaur Special Chinese New Year 2021.

As mentioned, the bull is not only used in Greek mythology, but the saga might be the best known of all. Nevertheless, there are countless references to bulls having symbolic significance in cultures or religious beliefs worldwide. The Minotaur, though, was the result of a feud between King Minos of Crete and Poseidon, god of the oceans. King Minos was granted a magical bull by Poseidon, to be sacrificed in his name. Trying to deceive Poseidon, King Minos swapped the bull for a regular one and hid the magical bull in a herd. Poseidon found out, of course, and through the help of Aphrodite, he made King Minos’ wife fall in love with the bull and became pregnant.

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Theseus fighting the mythological Minotaur.

Honestly, we’re not making this up; it’s in the history books. Regardless, the bastard offspring born from that “romance” was the Minotaur, half man and half bull. King Minos trapped the Minotaur in the Labyrinth, a maze-like structure, before Theseus eventually killed it.

The Konstantin Chaykin is less, shall we say, beastly nature but does take inspiration from the mythical creature. Set in an iron bronze case measuring 42mm across and 13mm in height, it has some very intriguing design elements. From the outside in, it starts with the double crowns. Both are functioning crowns, one to set the hour and minutes and the other to correct the secondary indications, which we’ll get to in a minute. Next, there’s the notched bronze bezel with the word “Minotaur” spelt out in relief lettering.

The thing that stands out most, though, is the facially expressive dial, a trick Konstantin Chaykin has become very familiar with through his Wristmon watch series. This series of watches literally give a face to time, where the hour and minutes sub-dials are made to look like eyes, and usually, a moon phase indication is shaped like a mouth. As the hour and minute discs rotate, the watch goes through a whole range of facial expressions during the day.

The entire dial is constructed using no less than 18 components. It is finished in a textured brown hue, with intricate decorations on most of the components. This includes guilloché work and a labyrinth-style pattern on the main dial components. On the left-hand side, there is the hour dial, with a similarly styled minute dial on the right, both using a disc that looks like an eye. The disc has a small white dot set in a black circle, the pupil, if you will, that points to the corresponding hour or minute. The black circle is outlined by a labyrinth pattern in red over white to make it look like the eye is bloodshot.

The rest of the dial aims to evoke the head of the bull. On the bottom section, there are two apertures shaped like nostrils set into a nose-like segment of the dial. These nostrils show you the day of the week, indicated by two discs underneath the dial. This is a change from previous Wristmon models, such as the Mouse King dedicated to the Chinese year of the rat, where you would normally find a mouth-shaped moon phase indication. The days of the week discs are a combination of bronze and silver. All components are finished using traditional watchmaking techniques.

Underneath all of this, there’s the calibre K08-1, which is a Vaucher VMF 3002 automatic movement with an in-house developed module on top. The module uses 67 components in total and is designed and constructed in Chaykin’s atelier. The movement runs at a frequency of 28,800vph (or 4Hz) and has 50 hours of power reserve. The Vaucher base movement is upgraded with a new rotor, again featuring a Labyrinth decoration, the Minotaur name and the Konstantin Chaykin logo. A titanium caseback covers the movement to prevent any staining on the wrist as the bronze gathers patina over time. Similar to the Mouse King, the water-resistance is rated at 30 metres.

The Konstantin Chaykin Minotaur Special Edition comes on a cognac leather strap with a vintage finish. It is limited to eight pieces and costs EUR 18,500. To me, this watch is a perfectly good reminder that every now and then, we should take a break from seriousness and keep in mind that watches are meant to be enjoyed. So why not wear one that looks back at you every time you look at it?

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7 responses

  1. I really love Konstantin Chaykin’s watches. I really liked the original Joker version and all the other versions of this watch. I think this is my favorite version. I agree watches should be fun and interesting and this ticks all the boxes. If I could afford it I would snap it up.

  2. I’m in a bad mood today (some big UK retailer [not an AP AD] I’ve bought many new pieces from over the years is trying to screw me on a RO they agreed a price to buy from me where I’d already given generous consideration to their margins, as they’re now trying to drop it lower with every possible excuse they can find, including mentioning the market value of a 2016 15400ST, when mine’s a 2020 15500ST – Frank, would love to write about the experience) so I *feel* like giving my honest opinion of this…watch.

    But I won’t.

  3. @Gav, Please do ! You like so, so many, heap praise on this commercial industry that is so romanticized it should be illegal ! So if you have an other side of the coin moment, you have to share it, and in detail !

  4. @Ray

    Have I been that bad? Just trying to be nice, but could’ve sworn I’ve had my more critical moments.

    I’ll share it, in detail (facts), when I’m ready. It’s one of those cases where it’s difficult to know where the ignorance ends and the attempt at fleecing starts. It’s not over yet.

  5. Unfortunately for the consumer the point of the vast majority of companies it to make money , not cars, Watches etc the product itself is incidendal hence the incredible price inflation in desirable brands.

  6. Oh I get that, I understand the luxury retail business and its margins by this point, but this was showing the signs of base opportunism with my watch hostage, by a company I thought I could trust. I really hope I don’t have to name them, see what happens.

  7. It ended really well, sorry Ray.

    Was definitely a lack of knowledge rather than anything else, but boy did I get angry.

    *sigh* I’m tired now.

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