December 4, 2021
by Ariel Adams
What started as the “Joker” watch by Konstantin Chaykin (aBlogtoWatch debut here) has since evolved into the most successful collection of pieces by the niche Moscow-based watchmaker. Joker watches and their predecessors have become known as the “Wristmons” collection by Konstantin Chaykin, and have proved extremely popular with collectors around the world. In fact, for the most part, you can’t even purchase a stock Wristmons watch, as they are sold out for a few years. Most consumers can still get one but need to order a personalized model that comes with roughly double the price point. That said, here is the latest evolution on the Wristmons watch featuring a “Minions” character that I was able to check out with Mr. Chaykin at Dubai Watch Week recently.
The Konstantin Chaykin Minions watch is not merely a new aesthetic version of the Wristmons, but a novel variation on the theme in a smaller case, and also the first Wristmons watch with an officially licensed pop-culture character. Konstantin Chaykin worked with Universal Pictures to license the likeness and name of “Minions,” which are yellow-colored creatures that started out as henchmen for the sympathetic animated villain called Gru (voiced by actor Steve Carell) from the film Despicable Me. Minions have since starred in their own films and have become a popular attraction unto themselves. Now, they are the focus of this latest luxury watch from the celebrated Russian watchmaker.
While previous Wristmons watches were 42mm-wide in size, the Konstantin Chaykin Minions is 40mm-wide, representing a new smaller case size, offered here in steel. The case is 13.5mm-thick and has a sapphire crystal over the dial. Konstantin Chaykin doesn’t remark on the water resistance, so I am guessing it either hasn’t been tested yet or is in the 30-50 meter range. Sapphire crystal pieces are also used on the dial for the “lenses” of the goggles over the “eyes” which are the hour and minute indicators. On the sides of the case are the “ears,” one of which is the crown and one of which has an inset pusher that allows you to adjust the moonphase indication (that is the tongue in the “mouth”) of the Minions face.
Let me remind anyone who isn’t familiar with the Joker-family of watches how to indicate the time and what the movement does. The mechanism begins with a Swiss Made ETA caliber 2892-A2 automatic, which has a proprietary module known as the K07-3, produced by Konstantin Chaykin. This adapts the 4Hz, 42-hour power reserve movement to indicate the time via a separate dial for the hours and minutes, while also offering a moonphase indicator. Hours are indicated by the position of the left green pupil, while minutes are indicated by the position of the left brown pupil. The mouth is a moonphase indicator, which means that the “tongue” makes one full revolution every 28-and-a-half days. The beauty of this system is that the elapsing indicators change the “emotion” of the face as the eyes and tongue appear to move around. Indeed, this happens slowly, but each time you look at the dial, it should have shifted a bit, meaning the facial expression looks a bit different. This brilliant blending of time indication and emotion is exactly why the Wristmons collection has been so popular for Mr. Chaykin’s brand.
The Minions watch is also the first on which I recall seeing an exhibition caseback on a Wristmons watch. It is a nice view of the mechanism with a custom rotor that has Minions branding on it. “Minions” is also spelled out on the bezel periphery, one letter at a time, around the entire face. The rich yellow color of the Minions’ face is produced from lacquer, and the overall colors are bright and fun.
For the strap, Konstantin Chaykin opted for a fabric strap with a calf leather inner lining. The fabric has a blue denim style with yellow stitching, which looks very cool and is meant to evoke the Minions’ clothing. The overall outcome is very pleasant, friendly, original, and makes us wonder…. what’s next? About the first licensed product, Mr. Chaykin said a few interesting things. For him, it was really nice to finally work with third-party IP, but he joked about how there was considerable additional effort necessary to get the rights holder to grant approvals for the designs, something he and many other independent watchmakers and designers are not accustomed to. That said, I don’t think he is deterred, and additional licensed Wristmons watches will likely be forthcoming.
The Konstantin Chaykin Wristmons Minions watch will be produced as a rather small limited edition of just 38 pieces. I actually don’t know if his license grants him the ability to produce personalized versions of the Minions in other colors or with slightly different styles, but if you really want one of these and can’t get one, it might be worth asking. Moving forward, I think it is also safe to say that both 40mm- and 42mm-wide Wristmons watches will be produced, now with likely more women’s models possible given the smaller case size. That leads to a lot more creative opportunities that I think will be a benefit to both Konstantin Chaykin and his fans. The Konstantin Chaykin Wristmons Minions watch is part of a limited edition of just 38 pieces, and the price for each is 13,800 Euros. Learn more at the Konstantin Chaykin website here.