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Konstantin Chaykin Joker Watch Review

Konstantin Chaykin Joker Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Call me a hopeless romantic, if you like, but I’ll ask this anyway: When was the last time you reflected on how a watch made you feel? The Konstantin Chaykin Joker did just that with me, precisely because it had made me feel something new and different when compared to other watches. This is my analysis of my Joker, half review and half emotional reflection on how watches work — not just mechanically, but also emotionally. Consequently, there are two ways of looking at the Joker: as an ordinary watch with wearability, refinement, and utilitarian aspects; and as a fascinating concept that goes where so few watches before or after it will dare to go.

Konstantin Chaykin Joker Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Most all other luxury watches are about ticking or missing boxes — like top trumps or the options list for cars. For watches, it’s always about how precise they are, how refined their details are, how precious their materials are, how rare, exclusive, and cutting-edge they are. That’s all fun, of course, but the Joker is all, and yet none, of those things at the same time. And that is why I love it so very much. The way the Joker has made me feel allowed me to realize that I haven’t loved any other piece of watchmaking before it — only appreciated, perhaps lusted after, or just deeply liked.

Konstantin Chaykin Joker Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

It is a nearly impossible challenge to explain it, but I’ll try. The vibe this watch radiates, how it looks and operates, has removed it entirely from that aforementioned arms race defined by anglage and guillochage and karat counts and claimed (!) chronometrical performance. It is a proud, yet strangely discreet, middle finger right in the face of everything and everyone who would disapprove it. The Joker is taking no hostages. You either love it, or you hate it, and either is fine because both are a genuine reaction, something so few watches today are capable of evoking.

Konstantin Chaykin Joker Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

And while there are awe-inspiring, dare I say poetic, watches by the likes of Van Cleef & Arpels, Jaquet Droz, Hermès, and others, they are all stupendously expensive, way into the five-, but mostly rather six-figure range. By contrast, the Joker used to cost (back when it was available) €6,990 or just under $8,000, without missing one bit of character and definitely without a painful lack of refinement when compared to those much, much more expensive “alternatives.” Mind you, at the time of writing, Konstantin Chaykin Joker watches are listed from $14,000 to $19,600 on Chrono24. You tell me when was the last time you saw an appreciation like this in this segment from any brand, small or large, other than the usual suspects like Rolex and a select few Omegas.

Konstantin Chaykin Joker Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Technical Details As Amazing As the Concept Itself

This story on visiting the Konstantin Chaykin Manufacture tells you everything you need to know about not only where this watch is made, but also about one of the most creative watchmakers to have ever lived: Konstantin Chaykin. Sound like high praise? It’s well deserved.

Konstantin Chaykin Joker Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The Joker, on my wrist and soaking up the sun for the very first time just outside the Konstantin Chaykin manufacture.

The Konstantin Chaykin Joker is made almost entirely in house. The only sourced parts are the ETA base caliber (more on that soon), the jewels, the sapphire crystals, and the leather strap. Everything else is produced in the Konstantin Chaykin Manufacture in the Nagatinsky Zaton District of Moscow. “Everything else” includes, but is not limited to: the case, the bezel, the crown, the laser etched logos, the dial, the mouth, the plates for and painting of the moon phase and eye discs, the nose assembly, and the Joker module and all its parts. That’s a nice list, for sure, but this performance becomes truly appreciable only once you spend some qualitative time admiring any one of these in detail.

Konstantin Chaykin Joker Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Konstantin Chaykin Joker Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Take the dial, for example. CNC-milled from a single plate of brass, it is an exquisite piece of craftsmanship, way beyond what the Swiss corner-cutting solution of high-pressure stamping could produce, and extremely close to being on par with the crispness of guillochage. Pictured above is the dial blank for the Clown watch, but that and the Joker are close enough for you to be able to judge the quality of execution.

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Comments

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  • Agnar Sidhu

    I’ve been lusting after the Joker for quite some time now, so thank you for a well written review!

    It truly is a unique and beautiful piece, and I do appreciate the emotional and fun side of it.

    Nice engraving on the case back David!

    • David Bredan

      Thank you, glad you enjoyed the review!

  • •L•E•O•

    A very original and funny concept, well done.

  • SuperStrapper

    It’s great that you love the watch, I wish everyone had a watch that made them feel the same.
    Sounds like the watch has a ton of its own merit to stand on, I never really appreciate review where the subject watch is so great because everything else compared to it is garbage. I’m no SJW but don’t see the point of knocking down others in the persuit of explaining greatness, it always just rubs off as petty.

    • David Bredan

      I respectfully disagree with you on multiple levels.

      where the subject watch is so great because everything else compared to it is garbage
      1) This subject isn’t great because everything else is garbage. I think it’s great because it’s great, on its own merit. Not because it’s less garbage.

      2) Deliberately reading pettiness or an intent of knocking down into it just because the subject is described as superior in some ways I find to be a very odd way of looking at it. The nature of reviews ideally entails comparisons – and every once in a blue moon something truly stands out from the rest. When something is described (in great detail) and subjectively considered to be better in ways, it naturally entails its bases of comparison to be considerably less good. However, that’s not a result of pettiness, but of the way comparisons work.

      3) Last, but not least, calling everything else “garbage” is neither a word I used or implied, nor even remotely close to the point I was making. The point was how different this watch is to others – being different doesn’t necessarily mean any other part of the equation is “garbage.” It’s exciting, novel and refreshing; the rest I described as the blandest it’s ever been. I am yet to be convinced against this opinion.

      (In case anyone misses me going into further detailing of the whys of the above, it’s all in the article.)

      • SuperStrapper

        I wasn’t deliberately reading any pettiness, that’s an unfair accusation. My comment wasn’t an affront.

        Enjoy the watch,

  • Marius

    A well-crafted and original pointless gimmick is still a pointless gimmick. I am not sure how much disposable income one would need to be prepared to spend $8k on this.

    • SuperStrapper

      How is it different than any other $8k watch? Serious question, I don’t see how this “gimmick” is any different from a traditional watch.

      • David Bredan

        I was going to say the same thing. Would a diver’s bezel or some other (99% of the time useless nonsense) have made this “less pointless?”

        • SuperStrapper

          All wrist watches are the same gimmick as I see it. Some just happen to be more whimsical, some more buttoned down.

        • mclaincausey

          How is a diver’s bezel pointless? I use mine all the time to time things. Perhaps tourbillon would be a better example. though I guess the “point” of that is that you have loads of disposable money, as the “point” of the clown watch is that you like attention or have weird aesthetic taste.

  • otaking241

    I’d say this is the real “Eff You” watch–the one that says “I like what I like and I don’t care a whit what you have to say about it.” Compared to this, the “statement” that a white gold Yachtmaster makes is a soft fart in a strong wind.

    Thanks for the write-up and showing that the appeal isn’t just skin deep.

    • Joe

      I think David makes some excellent points – although I can understand why it doesn’t sit that comfortably with many people.

      I’ll put my hand up and admit that I consider the comparable attributes of a watch and eliminate many brands and models before I get to how I feel about it by which point I’m back to most of the mainstream (and slightly boring) offerings. I tend to have a fairly narrow view on the watches that I’ll consider buying.

      The hard part for many of us is: based on a finite budget, “how do we justify spending this much on (what for us is) a non-daily wearer?”

      For David, I imagine this watch helps to start conversations and strike new relationships within his industry.

      • David Bredan

        Thank you both for sharing. Come to think of it, it’s kind of weird to be spending this much on a (relatively more) bland watch with the justification of “hey, at least I can wear this piece of bland watchmaking every day!” Obviously, this is a harsh way of putting it and I don’t mean anything bad by it — it’s just food for thought.

        Spending a “special amount” of money for something that in some ways isn’t as special is a weird purchase decision that I myself have made many many times. Now, I’d rather get as much fun and real experience for the money as I can — and just get something cheap and capable for everyday wear. Like a GWX-5600C, or something from Seiko or one of the many more decent microbrands.
        There is no shortage of really good everyday wear watches in every price range, including affordable ones — so why spend more on what often are marginal gains and top trumps bragging rights? Again, as it should go without saying, I’m speaking in general terms and just as food for thought, not trying to dictate what anyone does or puts his/her hard earned money into. Thanks again for sharing

  • Jerry Davis

    This is the watch that Pennywise, the clown in the movie IT would wear. Hopefully no one else.

  • PR

    Cool watch, always been a fan but can never be an owner. While folks in the industry and watch circles can surely flaunt something so unique and conversation worthy ( I’d totally wear it to say every watch event I ever attended) .

    sadly I cannot see any real world wrist time outside of it. I’d be a parody of myself if I tried to justify or explain the nuances of this watch to the all the non enthusiasts at work or friends circles. Sure one might argue “what do you care what others think?”

    But this watch is designed to take notice and indeed trigger response and while within the industry it might be a middle finger to traditionalism and also a highly specialized unique watch, to the rest of the world you are burning thousands of dollars on something ridiculous.

    Enjoy your watch, you are one of the few of us who can.

    • David Bredan

      Thank you for your kind words. The thing is, as I learned from experience, although this watch does get attention (it can, in fact, be worn in ways that it might get noticed but not get asked about) its nuances should not be discussed.

      I tried to do it with non-watch enthusiast people and although I often succeed in getting said nuances across, you’re absolutely correct — it wasn’t happening with the Joker. But here’s how it does work: without bringing these details into the equation. Just show how it works, etc, and leave the engineering side or how this sits in the watch industry out of it.

      The Joker is tremendous fun, but I wouldn’t wear it for the sake of “oh great, I’ll get to talk about it.” There are more pressing issues with the industry, that we get to discuss at select insider industry events, and all those make for pretty good conversations too…

  • 200F

    “When was the last time you reflected on how a watch made you feel?” Uh, every day?

    • David Bredan

      Happy to hear, good for you!

  • farar

    “When was the last time a watch truly made you *feel* something?”
    For me, anytime MB&F trots out of the Gates of Hell to disturb balance of the universe with a new watch…

  • Disturbing!

  • ray h.

    I stopped reading when he started bragging about the the run up in price. That’s so where watches are now! Just a commodity . I remember when people looked at expensive watches and went that’s great or that’s crazy ! Now every body just wants to be on the ground floor of the next thing. It’s like beanie babies or cabbage patch kids. Makes me think of what little I know about the art market. People are buying who they think will be the next (incert x) and could give a crap if they would ever pay x for the piece but rather if they think the odds or in the favor of making a home run. Not saying that’s what happened here, with the watch. But I would like to see a story about the watch a guy loves and how he got ass handed to him for loving it ! Yet he still would buy it again but, maybe wait till there are few more used one’s around ! lol

    • David Bredan

      I understand and share your frustration with the more recent speculative price hikes of select watches – which is why, at the end of this article (that you sadly have missed), I recommended people to scout Konstantin’s site for new iterations (sold at msrp), as opposed to suggesting that they try and buy one at said inflated prices.

      That said, I find trouble in sharing your frustration when a simple statement provokes an immediate negative connotation, based on assumptions alone. What you read as “bragging” was a simple fact of a matter – not something I get excited about, nor something I felt the need to be “bragging” about. I wouldn’t sleep better or worse if this watch started trading for however much.

      It was simply stating the fact that most of the 100 (or however many) original Jokers that were made got scooped up super quickly, while a handful few started trading at a price some people were apparently ready to pay for it, given the limited supply on the 2nd hand market. The Joker was never intended to be, nor I reckon was originally purchased by anyone (but maybe a handful few who got lucky this one time) for quick resale purposes as buyers seem to be hanging onto these hard. It really doesn’t matter to me, personally – so the bragging element and its negative sentiment stems from your head, not mine.

      Your other point is a more cheerful and realistic one – and something I will actually address in an upcoming hands-on article (the draft is finished and we’ll publish soon). That will feature some very big drops in some very “big watches” from some major brands. Now those, I doubt any of their original buyers would ever want to buy again…

    • cluedog12

      Even if you’re a watch snob, sometimes you just want to enjoy the best watches that the world has to offer, without considering whether your tastes match the consensus. It can become absolutely tiring when every luxury good has some esoteric newsletter that reframes the product as an investment, complete with scatter plots and comparisons to other classes of luxury goods. Yay, Patek Philippe outperformed The Macallan and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in 2018. Go Team Luxury Watch!

      It’s never the most emotional products either – just strong, safe brands that go well with a black suit, blue shirt and red tie. The Macallan has been mediocre for as long as I’ve been an alcoholic.

  • Joe

    Nice review, if polarising – judging by the comments.

    I know that it’s probably not an everyday watch for most of us but I find it refreshing compared to the expected Rolex, PP or ALS review.
    The fact that David has actually spent his money on it and it isn’t simply a loaner for review says quite a bit, I think.

    Normally these types of watches will be purchased by individuals who will never write a review of the watch – or at least not be in a position to write a review that is so accessible by so many.

    Whilst we might think the watch is eccentric, I think we’re in a privileged position to have someone working for a fairly mainstream watch blog review such an unusual watch with great passion.

  • LetoAtreides69

    I actually had no idea how much these cost. I think that’s a lot of watch for the money. Sure its looks are polarizing – but who gives a crap how you spend your money as long as it makes you happy. I’ve always liked it and I would definitely love to wear one around. not sure I could justify 8000 on a novelty watch right now in my life, but you never know

  • XX-Pat

    Great review. And what a fantastic watch!

  • David Bredan

    This comment was refreshing, I’ll give you that. Not in a nice way, but I do feel “refreshed” nevertheless.

  • David Bredan

    Thank you Joe, and Agnar, I really appreciate your support and kind words.

  • Ulysses31

    Personally, I just – don’t like clowns. I see them as people that tend to attract ridicule and invoke a sense of pity, perhaps a little tragedy. Maybe that’s the point, who knows. Either way, from a visual standpoint, I don’t find them to actually represent “fun”, nor do I find them aesthetically pleasing, so having said that, it’s perhaps understandable that I don’t like this watch. It’s supremely engineered and finished, but the subject matter isn’t for me. Perhaps a Chaykin of a different theme would appeal to me a lot more – there certainly is no lack of skill and dedication involved in the manufacture of the watch.

    I can understand the need to feel emotions when choosing and wearing a watch, but I actually thought that was a given. Any watch, whether $100 or $10,000, should make you feel something. A watch is not really a utilitarian tool, unless it is a required part of your job to fulfil a clearly defined purpose. Different people find different things appealing (obviously) and I think we choose watches that amplify those feelings, and that represent those values that speak to us the most. Our environment and the people we tend to spend time with can affect that too. I imagine if I spent all my life in meetings with boring, grey-suited snobs who all wear standard issue Omega or Rolex timepieces, this clown watch might appeal to me more, adding a much-needed dash of irreverence to my life.

    For me though, I enjoy watches that are more subtle in their irreverence than this one. And that should be perfectly OK. Briefly touching on the subject of value, yes this watch does represent “good” value in the sense that it is cheaper than a lot of mainstream luxury watches, but I find that trying to define “value” in the high echelons of the luxury watch world to be difficult. Beyond a certain point, the prices can vary wildly and rarely accurately describe the cost of materials and labour.

  • Doober

    Love this watch. I will never have that high-end watch, but I have Invicra’s The Joker watch. It is a Reserve level, limited edition. But I certainly know the difference between this one and mine. Plus, this watch theme is different. Cards here, and DC Comics Batman for the one I have. But this watch rocks.

  • Jeffrey Miles

    Hard to take this even remotely seriously, its like something my 8 year old daughter would love and enjoy. I draw the line at the Corum Diablo Bubble im afraid – this is a step too far.

  • dkaufmansyd

    I adore the playfulness – and craftsmanship – of this watch. l wish there were more watchmakers like Chaykin.

  • Buy and Sold

    The joke is on the wearer, and this is the ultimate conceit. Konstantin Chaykin is a master.

  • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

    Not denying the skills…… only the execution.

  • egznyc

    From the comments this piece is clearly a divisive one. I am not sure I would wear this piece enough to be worth the purchase but it’s fantastic to read this paean to the Joker, which struck me as – likely intentionally – a metaphor for giving up a life of promiscuity upon finding one’s true love. You found deep connection and meaning in your watch-love; no more messing around with any flavor-of-the-month ;-).

  • cluedog12

    Enjoyed this review. You’ve done Chaykin proud with the coverage you’ve provided across his creations over the years. I’ve been appreciative of this series from the time the Joker was first unveiled. It’s fine watchmaking, novel and carefully executed.

    The latest PVD Dracula is hardly versatile, but it’s the cutest Chaykin yet. I’m no fan of Clown and the big red nose.

    I would like to see Chaykin eventually collaborate with some artists for this series. The concept is just asking for a darker take, in my opinion. For those days where the Joker is not an appropriate watch, it would be pleasing to have a similar concept that discreetly conveys that you are in a dark place and do not wish to interact with others.

  • ???

    Hi David, thanks for your another great review and sharing first. Your writings almost always force me to introspect about my thoughts and plans for my further purchases. This time after reading this review, I’ve reminded my long lusting Ochs und Junior…

  • Gavino

    Perfect for the clown world we live in these days.

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