I don’t know if Sheb Wooley saw this one coming, but I have no doubt that he would be tickled by the new collaboration between Louis Erard and Konstantin Chaykin. Louis Erard, known as well for its collaborations as anything else (previous partners include Alain Silberstein, Vianney Halter, and William Massena), has lent its Le Régulateur to the Mad Russian of Horology, Konstantin Chaykin. Chaykin, of course, is best known for his anthropomorphic and zoomorphic timepieces like the Smilodon and the Joker, though his Mars series is even more impressive. For this collaboration, though, Chaykin has brought his trademark whimsy to Louis Erard in The Time Eater, arguably the scariest watch either brand has ever produced.

Louis Erard has a knack for choosing exceptional collaboration partners, especially ones who will capitalize on the opportunity. The best watch collaborations fuse the DNA of both partners for something new; the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and all of the brand’s efforts so far have achieved that ideal. The Louis Erard Le Régulateur has been a natural platform for this as it offers a huge minute hand and two sub-dials while still giving plenty of dial space. Chaykin has taken full advantage of the canvas, drawing monstrous inspiration from Slavic folklore, Greek mythology, and American horror.

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This new collab piece comes in two sizes: the green-flanged 42mm and the purple-flanged 39mm. On the wrist, the 39mm Le Régulateur wears a bit tall on account of its fully polished 12.85mm-thick case. It’s not unmanageable, but we are approaching chronograph-level thickness here. The 42mm may sound bigger on paper, but its thinner 12.25mm case affords a better height-to-diameter proportion, which means it felt a bit better on the wrist. The 42mm case has a 49.6mm lug-to-lug, while the 39mm model’s is 45.9mm, but those lugs curve down nicely for a bit of hug on the wrist. Chaykin’s logo graces the pull-out crown and the case offers 50m of water resistance. Both models are paired with black toad leather straps with contrast stitching that matches the dial flange; the straps are equipped with curved quick-release spring bars for a snug fit and easy swaps.

The dial of the Time Eater gets all the fun. The playfully haunting visage is built on the regulator layout: large central minute hand, subsidiary hours, and subsidiary seconds. Between the two models, the only differentiating factors are the shiny minute flange in either green or purple and whether the brands are printed on the flange itself (purple) or on separate plates (green). The wavy sunburst pattern on the main dial lends a bit of zaniness to the otherwise fearsome face.

At 12 o’clock, the hour is displayed by Chaykin’s trademark wandering eye surrounded by an anthracite flange. While it’s identical to the design of his other watches, he reportedly took particular inspiration from Francisco Goya’s painting Saturn Devouring His Son and the one-eyed Likho from Slavic fairytales. At 6 o’clock, surrounded by a red flange, the usual seconds hand is turned into a running indicator with a circle of rotating teeth; I immediately thought of the sand worms from Dune and Star Wars. Rounding the dial out is the full-width minute hand. Chaykin has had a bit of rude fun here, putting “hands” at either end, with a certain gesture pointing to the current minute (immediately above, the time would be read as 4:56). Louis Erard has models where the pointing end is significantly longer, and I strongly prefer those for the sake of being able to tell the time.

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Louis Erard has never done much with the movements in its various collaboration pieces. They are all rather run-of-the-mill Sellita SW266-1 movements with simple LE-branded rotors. At the very least, I’d like to see a creative caseback (an embossed toothy maw to echo the seconds sub-dial?) or custom rotor (maybe green/purple?), continuing the theme of the collaboration. As it is, we get a captivating dial and a disappointing caseback; call it a 3/4 effort (because if we’re being honest, casebacks are not important). The Sellita SW266-1 operates at 28,800 with a ho-hum 38-hour power reserve.

Despite some of my nitpicky grumblings, this is an undeniably fun watch that is plenty wearable for the occasions when one might strap it on (I’m assuming this won’t be a daily wear for anyone). In another successful collaboration, Louis Erard has allowed Konstantin Chaykin to bring all his creativity and quirk to Le Régulateur. The Louis Erard x Konstantin Chaykin Le Régulateur “Time Eater” is priced at $5,000 USD, and is limited to 178 pieces in each model; 28 pieces of each model will be set aside for a limited-edition diptych set priced at $9,900 USD. For more information, please visit the Louis Erard website.

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