There’s one question that always seems to come up at parties I attend; what do you give the Russian oligarch in your life that already has everything? Ok, so maybe that question doesn’t always come up and maybe I don’t know any Russian oligarchs (or attend parties for that matter) but I do happen to know the answer. Presenting the wonderfully elaborate Moscow Comptus Easter Clock by Konstantin Chaykin, the most complicated clock ever made in Russia.
Before I go into more detail on the Moscow Comptus Easter Clock – and believe me, there is a lot of details – I’d like to take a moment acknowledge the incredible tenacity of its creator. As some of you may know, Konstantin Chaykin is the first and only Russian member of the Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI). Admittedly I’m not sure how steep the Russian competition is in this particular arena but this is still an incredible achievement. He also happens to be a really innovative watchmaker who possesses that rare ability to continually challenge himself. Just check out some of his past creations and you’ll see what I mean.
A Miniature History Lesson
Now I’m the first to admit that I’m not really a clock guy – although MB&F seem to be doing their best to change my mind – but I can still appreciate the incredible level of work that’s gone into the Moscow Comptus Easter Clock. I don’t necessarily understand it mind you but I can appreciate it all the same.
A labour of love in the truest sense of the phrase, the Konstantin Chaykin Moscow Comptus Easter Clock is modelled after the famous St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow’s Red Square. Built to commemorate the Muscovite victory over the Kazan Mongols in the mid 1500’s, the elaborate exterior of St Basil’s was meant to embody Ivan the Terrible’s vision of the Heavenly Jerusalem as described in the Apocalypse (whatever that means).
Just take a look at the photo above and I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a seriously impressive piece of architecture and certainly not one lacking in detail. In fact, I would go as far to say that Kontantin Chaykin probably could have picked something a little less challenging to recreate in miniature form. It seems though that Mr. Chaykin felt particularly moved by St Basil’s and its rich history. So much so in fact that he yearned to realise his own dreams about a perfect clock, just like Ivan the Terrible in his day. The official press release even goes as far as to say that ‘this miniature version of St. Basil’s can be compared with the Heavenly City of Jerusalem, both in beauty and in execution’. Intense stuff.
It’s All in The Detail
I can’t speak to beauty of the Heavenly City of Jerusalem but I can say this is one very distinctive looking clock. The result of several months of intense labour, the case of the Moscow Comptus Easter Clock consists of over 2,500 components (!!!) carved from stone and various precious and semi-precious minerals. Reduced down to thin sheets they have then been affixed to a skeleton made of duralumin. Each component has undergone 6-7 finishing processes, whereby each surface was minutely polished to achieve just the right finish.
What is perhaps most impressive from an aesthetic point of view however is how many of the elaborate decorations that adorn St Basil’s have been reproduced in miniature form. The patterns on the base and the towers for example are assembled from hundreds of tiny pieces of stone, which have been carved and polished and then assembled into mosaics using a special technique to affix each and every piece to the skeleton of the case.
Without a doubt though the most eye-catching feature of St Basil’s Cathedral is the brightly colored towers that soar out of the top of it. Not to be outdone, the case of the Moscow Comptus Easter Clock is topped with nine towers of its own, eight of which are carved and polished by hand (not really sure what happened with the ninth). In a nice added touch precious stones have been used to emulate the colors of the original St. Basil’s: yellow and green marble, jasper, nephritis, cacholong, coral and lapis lazuli.
There are four different faces on the Moscow Comptus Easter Clock, combining to display more than 25 different functions, the majority of which I am sure you will never use. On the main face we find the indicator of the dates of Eastern Orthodox Easter both in the Julian and the Gregorian calendars, a lunar phase indicator and a power reserve indicator. On the opposite side there is a one-minute tourbillon, an equation of time indicator and a Star Map of the Moscow sky. It’s on the sides though where things get really interesting.
On one side there is an indicator of the lunar movement relative to the sun which consists of models of the Earth, the Moon and the Sun, which reflect their relative positions at all times, as well as the light and dark sides of both the Earth and the Moon. This indicator also shows the world time on the model of the Earth by placing cities around the world in their correct time zones.
The other side meanwhile depicts the analemma and the current position of the Sun on its trajectory at any given point in time (here’s a Wiki link for those who want to know what the heck that actually means). There are also four small dials with hands – one in each corner – which indicate the length of day, the length of night, the time of sunrise and the time of sunset in Moscow. As a final touch the Moscow Comptus Easter Clock also features a special hidden complication which emits a sound when the clock needs to be wound. That last one is critical in my opinion, imagine having to reset all those indications because the clock ran out of juice!
So there you have it, the next time someone asks you what they should get for the Russian oligarch in their life, now you have your answer. You’re welcome.
For more information on Konstanin Chaykin please visit the brand’s official website: www.konstantin-chaykin.com
Technical Specifications of the Konstantin Chaykin Moscow Comptus Easter Clock
- Movement T03-1 – Size: HxWxD 175X164X160 mm – Materials: brass, steel, duralumin, bronze, gold, lapis lazuli, hard alloy, sapphire, diamonds – Jewels: 13 – Number of bearings: 102 – Escapement: anchor, tourbillon regulator – Power Reserve: 10 days – Accuracy: +/- 20 seconds per day
- Size: 158.128 mm – Materials and techniques: brass, steel, lapis lazuli, sapphire glass , sandstone, mother of pearl, ofiokaltsit, rhodonite, diamonds, fianit, beryl (heliodor, nickeling, gilding, guilloche, circular grinding, polishing, laser engraving, stamping, enameling, mosaics.
- Hands – Materials: steel, gold, diamonds and blued steel
- Number of components: 2506
- Case – Size: 440x290x320 mm Materials: brass, steel, duralumin, silver, mineral glass, malachite, marble, lapis lazuli, jade, cacholong, coral, jasper – Finishing and Decorative Techniques: nickeling, gilding, patination, stone carving, Russian mosaics.
Functions of the Konstantin Chaykin Moscow Comptus Easter Clock
- Hour Hand
- Minute Hand
- Second Hand
- One-minute Tourbillon
Eternal Calendar Complication:
- Days of the week indicator
- Date Indicator
- Month Indicator
- Year Indicator
- Leap Year Indicator
Annual Indication of Eastern Orthodox Easter by the Gregorian and Julian Calendars.
Power Reserve Indication:
- Hand to indicate power reserve
- Critical power reserve Indicator
- Single tone critical power reserve signal
- Lunar Phase Indicator
- Star Map for Moscow
- Sidereal Time Indicator
- Equation of Time Indicator
- Time of Year Indicator
- Analemma Indicator
- Sun’s declination
- Sunrise in Moscow
- Sunset in Moscow
- Length of the day in Moscow
- Length of the night in Moscow
- Indicator of the Lunar Cycle relative to the Solar Cycle
- World Clock
- # 2353978 – Calendar complication and method for tracking the dates of Eastern Orthodox Easter
- # 2306618 Calendar complication for tracking the dates of Eastern Orthodox Easter and related Feast Days.
- # 2557345 – Clock with a mechanical complication for reflecting lunar cycles relative to solar cycles.
- # 2526554 – An indicator of the power reserve of a clock movement, and clocks with indicators of power reserve.
- # 2408043 – A method and calendar complication of reflecting the differences between the true position of the Sun relative to the mean Sun position, as well as the vernal and autumnal equinoxes and the, summer and winter solstices on the analemma.